ADDENDUM: As you see, I am daily adding my thoughts in between each statement below.
In Order to generate some discussion, which of these are true statements to be found in the KJV Bible? Are any of these Biblical truths or are some of them doctrines of men generated by religions?
I will appreciate your comments..
(1) You must turn from or be willing to turn from your sin and then trust Jesus to be saved.
FICTION: God never makes it a requirement that you either turn or be willing to turn from sin in order to trust Christ as your Savior. God’s Gift of Salvation is His Gift to everyone but only appropriated by those who believe or trust in Christ. To ask a person to turn from sin to be saved is asking them to do works of righteousness in order to qualify. This is Satan’s lie. God’s salvation is “Not of works..” [Ephesians 2:8-9]. However, true repentance IS a requirement for salvation — but repentance is NOT turning from sin. Repent means a change of one’s mind — specifically, in context, about who Jesus is — He alone is the only Savior!
Nowhere does the Bible say that we must “Repent of sin” to be saved.
Sure, as ones who have trusted Christ as Savior, believers should, by the power of God, turn from our sin… but not to gain or keep our salvation — but because we are now in God’s family by faith. “Because He first loved us…” [I John 4:19]
(2) You must make Jesus the Lord of your life to be saved.
FICTION: Many preachers and religions teach that you “must make Jesus Lord of your life to be saved.” Others will say that if He is not “Lord of all He is not Lord at all.” Likewise they say if Jesus or God is not “Lord and/or Master of your life,” you must not be saved or you may have lost your salvation. This is the lie of Satan.
It is very important to remember, Jesus Christ IS the Lord God Almighty in the flesh. That fact cannot be changed by one’s behavior, belief or unbelief. The word “Lord” in the New Testament is the Greek word “Kurios,” meaning “Master.” His Salvation is eternal — without an end!
To be saved, guaranteed Heaven or eternal life, one must simply trust or believe that Jesus is who He claims to be, the Savior and that He is the only Way of salvation. To make an unbeliever think he must submit to the “mastery” or Lordship of Jesus in order to have or keep salvation is confusing God’s clear, simple salvation message.
Submitting to the Lordship of Christ is a decision believers should make AFTER they have received Christ as their Savior. It is a work that believers decide to do, not in order to be saved but, because they are already saved by their faith in Jesus. Why? “For the love of Christ constraineth [compells] us; ….”2 Corinthians 5:14
Every believer in Jesus Christ, secure in Christ, is wise in following the Lordship of Christ (which is simply obedience to Scripture) for the sake of seeing others come to Christ and for the sake of harmony in and building up the Body of Christ.
Let every believer in Christ plead for and work toward a crystal clear Gospel message to help the lost understand the question, “Who is this that forgiveth sins….?” Luke 7:49 Likewise, a clear message will help and encourage those who have already trusted Christ as Savior.
(3) Jesus is standing and knocking on the door of your heart. You must open your heart and let Jesus come in to be saved.
FICTION: It is a pity that many Pastors and some Christians misuse that phrase in an effort to get people to trust Christ as Savior.
Such an unclear statement is a misunderstanding or a misstatement of the Bible verse in Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” In context, the Apostle John, writes the words of Jesus, spoken to John by special revelation. If you will read the Book of Revelation from the beginning to the verse above, you will easily see the context. John quotes Jesus after He has just addressed the Seven Churches. Jesus is pleading for a close and proper fellowship between Him and the people, leaders and messengers of each of the seven churches (“and will sup with him” fellowship, not salvation). Let us speak the Truth clearly!
To be saved, one does NOT open his heart and let Jesus come in — but he must simply understand Who Christ is and what He has done for the world and then trust Him alone as Savior. Christ was crucified, was dead, buried and rose again, thus paying for everyone the death penalty we all owe. This eternal life is available only to those who will trust Jesus Christ alone as their Savior.
Jesus died — That’s History.
Jesus died for ME and I trust Him — that’s salvation!
(4) In order to be saved, you must ask Jesus to save you.
FICTION: Salvation (to be saved) is God’s GIFT through our mental faith decision to trust Jesus Christ. He has offered that Gift to whosoever will trust or receive Christ.
There is no requirement or need to ask God or Christ for His Salvation when He has already offered or given it as His Gift to you. He asks you to simply receive Jesus Christ as your Savior to have eternal life. John 1:12 “But as many as received Him (Christ), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, to them that believe on His name (Jesus);”
Think about it… When God offers to you His Gift of eternal life (and He has), must you ask, beg or plead for it? “Please, please, please Lord, give me the Gift of Eternal life!”
NO, simply take His Gift, receive His Gift and you can be thankful for it. Romans 6:23 “….. the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Wages are what we earn or deserve (“The wages of sin is death“). Any true gift is never earned but simply offered to be received with no strings attached. GIFT = FREE , but it must be accepted.
If you have never done so, receive or accept God’s free Gift of Eternal Life right now.. Simply trust or believe in Jesus Christ alone to be your Savior.
Please note: because this post has become so large, I have made a new post which includes the last three (#5, #6 and #7) points of discussion.
Please go to the new post, read and comment.
Pingback: Bible Truth or Fiction? Part II « Notes From A Retired Preacher
Hi ExP, I feel like this is going nowhere fast. Let’s agree to discuss something else a different day.
ExP, I agree 100% that the decsion is mental.
I just think the phrase you chose,”mental faith decision,” is unnecessairy confusing. A person decides to accept God’s gift of salvation in the same way he/she accepts any other gift. You just take it. You don’t need special language to do it. Confusing people with language is as bad as using as saying things that aren’t true.
An unsaved peson (or anyone for that matter) who tries to look up what you mean by “mental faith decison” will come up empty. That phrase just isn’t in the Bible, and it isn’t necessary to know what it means to gain eternal life. What is obvious to you and me isn’t necessarily obvious to everyone.
By clarity, we must mean obvious, beacause religion does have a vocabulary specific to it, but this phrase isn’t a part of it.
About your question about #4.
A “decision” to believe (have “faith,” trust in the truth of God’s Word) is a function of the mind (mental).
In various contexts the Bible speaks of “a willing mind,” “a ready mind,” “love the Lord with all thy mind,” “readiness of mind,” “humility of mind” which are all mental decisions (of the mind).
Helen, how do you think one would accept God’s gift of eternal life if not by faith, a decision of the mind?
Discussion is is a two way street — Point and Counterpoint.
And such can end with agreement or disagreement.
Concerning comment following #4: How can you support the phrase “mental faith decision”?
So, is the discussion over?
I plead guilty:
(1) The first 35 years of my life I was lost without Christ. I am now a 77 year old Conservative Bible believing Christian.
(2) I am an “old white male preacher” but without a “throne.” Old, white and male by physical birth (no choice), Christian by my choice and preacher by God’s appointment.
(3) I try to have an appropriate Bible verse for every question, to “give an answer to ever man..” 1 Peter 3:15b “….. be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
(4) Finding answers for every question in the Bible is not “silly” but wise.
(5) Good theology is not based on feelings but Bible facts.
(6) Yes, I absolutely do “want unsaved people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ” but “saving knowledge” of Christ without a personal decision to trust Christ as Savior is not salvation. Every person is responsible, every person must decide.
Obviously, we have points of disagreement. But I pray both of us will be diligent to use every personal and Blog opportunity to share God’s beautiful salvation in Jesus Christ with everyone we meet and with every person who reads our words.
Whoa, ExP, Maybe there’s more to a “Retired pastor – 77 year old narrow-minded Conservative Christian” than I thought. Okay, so I, and I imagine you, have a bit of religious baggage. It is unfair to project onto you the sins of other preachers. So I won’t.
By way of background, through the years, I’ve heard my share of old white male preachers who stood in the pulpit like it was a throne, while I sat on a hard bench seat – too big and hardly designed for a woman with short legs – looking at what ever scripture they called out in what ever order they wanted them presented. I’ve heard lots of foolish, and even cruel statements made by men who had a verse for every question, including some I didn’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful I know scripture, but . . . now on the web I get an opinion.
Here’s the deal. In proper relationships, we learn from each other. One problem as I see it is that some in some churches there is no distinction between Bible study and worship. Bible study is a time to ask questions and find answers. Worship is a time to come before God in praise and thanksgiving. (The real problem is time. No one can do all that in an hour. If you want to “blame” the Catholics for something, which I don’t, blame them for the one hour service. Most Protestant services are the same length as the Mass.)
I understand why pastors want a gospel message at every service, no question there. And I know that I will stand before God and answer for every action and reaction I have made in this world, but I don’t think (and yes, God allows thinking) that God is make if we made our worship “warmer” by lighting candles.
We light candles in our house every evening. It makes the place cozy. So why not in church? Are we mad because that’s a Catholic thing? If so, we wouldn’t allow them at weddings. Are they mentioned in the Bible? Well, I don’t know right off. But I do own Strong’s Concordance and can find out as easily as you can. But I don’t care. If you care, look it up. But don’t bother me with the answer. That wasn’t my point.
My point was looking for every answer to every question in the Bible is silly. And people who do it divorce themselves from the very ones they wish to touch. (I am presuming you want unsaved people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.)
Just as people have many learning styles, they also have many questions. When we insist that facts be presented in a given order, or that feelings do not matter in salvation, or that Biblical tongues have ceased; but it is obvious that someone is interested in a different set of facts, or that someone’s feelings are so overwhelming that nothing else matters, or that a different group of Christians present just as much evidence that tongues do still exist within the church, because we fail to listen, then we do more damage than good.
Thus, while the preacher speaks with a plain tongue, the poet speaks with a wise one. The poet is concerned with image and with setting and with character and with emotion. The poet’s purpose is to create such a powerful image that the reader has no choice but to follow. Three point and a poem. That’s the formula, right? Sometimes the salvation is in the poem.
May God bless you as richly as He has bessed me.
As usual you are very perceptive and right.
May God Bless you and yours.
I find no Biblical references to “candle flames” regarding our prayers reaching Heaven or any other imaginations. Our prayers, prayed “In Jesus Name” go directly to God through the “only mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5b. Candle flames and imaginations derived from Catholic dogma are not needed if the Bible is accurately taught.
You mention “tongues” as an example of imaginations. The Biblical gift of tongues (languages) has ceased. The gibber-jabber in some churches today, called “tongues,” is not scriptural and is not necessarily from “the pitch-fork guy” but from misguided people being taught that such is the way to be “spiritual.”
“I beleive it is important to imagine God.”
It is more important that we believe what God’s word says about Himself.. because by believing and understanding God’s Word we do not need imaginations.
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
You said regarding Jesus standing at the door:
“And if the knocking brings just one lost soul to Jesus, so be it.”
But Helen, why not make our Gospel message comply with Scripture? God honors His Word. To use Revelation 3:20 as a salvation verse is using His Word improperly. The ends do not justify the means, especially when the ends (results) would be questionable.
“we drive away precious children of God.”
Precious children of God are believers and they are secure in Jesus. Before I trusted Christ I was a creation of God. When I believed, I became a “precious child of God.”
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Quoting you, you said, “There are already too many divisions among Christains to make any more over how folks present the gospel.”
I think you are misguided here.. There is only one way to present the precious Gospel, Biblically, truthfully and in simplicity. The Apostle Paul implored believers to use simplicity to avoid corruption..
2 Corinthians 11:3
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Helen, if you agree that my exegesis is correct, then why do we not try to be clearly Biblical when we present God’s wonderful Gospel. God designed His message for young and old. We dare not change it to suit the whims of the world.
And Christ did make a provision for salvation when He died for the sins of the whole world so that those who make the decision to believe in Him would be with Him eternally.
Helen, I see no reason to “bleep” your comment. I see areas for discussion between two believers who are concerned for the lost. Let us endeavor to share Christ clearly and often with everyone.
May God bless you richly,
You know bro. Jack, I believe the confusion often centers around the words “…come IN TO him…” We often read it as …”come INTO him (or her)…” when it is not Jesus coming INTO a person’s heart or life, but Him coming IN for the purpose TO fellowship with us. That little space between IN & TO is important (like the little space between my ears!!)
Another thing that comes to mind, you nailed! Jesus is not speaking to UNbelievers in Rev.2-3, but ONLY believers! Some say that there are believers & unbelievers scatterd among them, but Jesus knows our hearts!! He knew who were the genuine believers among the professing Christians in all those churches, & the messages were to THEM!I am just almost certain that many have truly believed in Christ as Savior using this phrase, but I agree with you, it’s so much better to be Biblical! God Bless you my brother!
Hi ExP, Concerning your explanantion to #3:
Technically, your exegesis is correct. The verse in Revelation has nothing to do with salvation. Salvation is by faith and faith alone.
But,. . . in becoming so clear we (Protestants) have lost our religious imaginations that the Catholic and Orthodox churches have retained. Where are the candle flames that take our prayers to heaven? Charismatic and Pentecostal churches endeavor, at least in part, to regain this. But they often delegate those of us who do not speak in tongues ( I do not) to second class Christians, as we often do to them (or worse, saying tongues are from the pitch- fork guy).
I beleive it is important to imagine God. The image of Jesus standing at a closed door, knocking and hoping for entrance, is a powerful way to imagine a God Who is seeking all of us, as I belive God is. (“For God so loved the WORLD . . .”) And if the knocking brings just one lost soul to Jesus, so be it. Sometimes in our entusiasm for correctness, we drive away precious children of God.
I know this is your blog and that you have every right to bleep me, (so do it, if you want to), but I won’t fight about words, when there’s a world of hurting people out there! We need to come together. There are already too many divisions among Christains to make any more over how folks present the gospel. The gospel is good news: God made a provison for us all at Calvary!
Thank you, ExP.
Thanks for your question about my use of the King James Version (KJV) Bible. Is it my favorite? Yes. Do I reference it so we will all be on the same page (figuratively)? Yes.
I am an inveterate researcher and I find the best research, Greek and Hebrew language studies, references and commentaries have been done on the KJV. My research and the process of digging the true meaning of words is facilitated by language references — whereas the newer versions have no historical language or contextual references. In that case, we must just take the word (and biases) of the “translator” and I hesitate to do that.
Probably the most accurate modern translation is the New King James Version (NKJV).. but research is difficult. There are so many modern versions it takes too much time separating truth from fiction.. Therefore, being the narrow-minded Conservative Christian that I am, I use the easily researchable KJV.
The New Living Testament, The Message, The New International Version, The Living Bible and many other adaptations or subjective paraphrases (not translations) of the Bible may be easy reading but many of these contain grave Biblical errors generated by the apparent prejudices of the writers.
I may see a verse in one of the other versions that may appear, at first glance, more clear-cut than the KJV but I hesitate to use it for fear it would appear to be an endorsement for a biased version. I would rather explain the KJV verse from a position of contextual truth.
Helen, this is a great question and is actually a subject for a separate (long) post which I may do later (with examples). Thanks.
Thanks for contacting me, hope the RSS works. BTW, why did you specify KJV? So we’d all be on the same page? Or because it’s your favorite? Surely you, even as a “narrow-minded Conservative Christian,” don’t think it’s the most accurate translation. It’s my personal favorite, but that’s because it’s the most familiar to me.
Thanks for the great comments from all of you..
I am amazed and pleased with the discernment of those who read and comment on this blog.
I will add the “why” of each statement on a day-to-day basis, Lord willing.
In Christ eternally,
All of these basically came from the poor understanding of the free will aspect of salvation. Accept the gift of grace or not, that is the decision we are allowed to make and that is our only part to play in the salvation process. The Lord did it all. It’s done. It is finished! But we do have to make that decision to accept what is offered. That’s where all of these little Christian-ese phrases came from, I believe. Plus, I think it is an effort to make sure that people aren’t doing it without understanding that salvation from God means that you are bought with a price… you do not belong to yourself, but to Him. I know far too many so-called Christians who, in a moment of emotion, prayed a prayer and basically took out fire insurance. But it is the work of the Holy Spirit to correct that. Lots to think about, here!
Absolutely right, helenl! It’s amazing how prevalent ideas such as “give your heart to Jesus” & other things have become when such ideas are never given in the Bible! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, & believe in Me, Jesus said over & over again in the Gospel. Man just HAS to turn the offer of salvation around from God being the giver, to our being the giver, for some reason. We want to be in the driver’s seat, doing the giving of our hearts or lives, etc rather than letting GOD be in the driver’s seat, so to speak, giving eternal life to whosoever believes in Him for it! Hey, I’m indicting myself. For many years I went along almost thoughtlessly using these terms, being very unclear. I know most if not all those who use these terms mean well, but it is so much better to be clear. The way I see it anyway. Thank you bro. Jack for insistng on clarity. God Bless!
None of the seven are true, as stated.
I’ll comment on numbers 3 and 4. #3 This is not correct. The verse used for this is actually a picture of Jesus standing at the door of a church and asking to be let in! #4 Also, not quite correct. Jesus already saved you. One must believe in his heart and confess with his mouth that Jesus is raised from the dead, one must call on the Name of the Lord (Jesus the Son), in order to be saved. Belief in the heart is the key (not just the head: the demons believe and tremble!), with confession (agreeing with God) as the personal signature to the covenant into which one has just entered. God did all the work and offers the contract, we can accept it or not.
What do you think of my take on these?