Developing Spiritual Understanding ~Part 2
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Wow! That seems pretty restrictive, doesn’t it? As a child, and then for years, I pondered the dilemma of how a Good God could automatically condemn the millions of poor souls who had never heard of Jesus and never would. The clear answer I have received is, “He doesn’t.” As He loves his mankind creation, God has always made a Lawful provision for His people to get to Him. It is by turning from their evil ways ~ and His son, Jesus, will be the final judge of that. (CEV) Romans 2:14~16 Some people naturally obey the Law's commands, even though they don't have the Law.
This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, when God has Jesus Christ judge everyone's secret thoughts, just as my message says. (TEV) Romans 2:14~16 The Gentiles do not have the Law; but whenever they do by instinct what the Law commands, they are their own law, even though they do not have the Law. Their conduct shows that what the Law commands is written in their hearts. Their consciences also show that this is true, since their thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them.
And so, according to the Good News I preach, this is how it will be on that Day when God through Jesus Christ will judge the secret thoughts of all. So, even if one does not know The Lord Jesus, they will still be judged by Him, judged according to our actions and our heart’s condition. It seems to me that God wants to give people the time to change and stop doing what is wrong. 2 Peter 3:9(NKJV) The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (BBE) 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his word, as he seems to some, but he is waiting in mercy for you, not desiring the destruction of any, but that all may be turned from their evil ways. (GodsWord) 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord isn't slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn't want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act." For those of us who are blessed to have been introduced to Jesus, it is a little different. We have the recorded life example of Jesus, His own words, and those of the early apostles, to serve as model of how we must live to help us.
Receiving salvation via Jesus is pretty simple. These three translations all say how. (NKJV) Romans 10:9~10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (CEV) Romans 10:9 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others. (Darby) Romans 10:9~10 that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from among [the] dead, thou shalt be saved. For with [the] heart is believed to righteousness; and with [the] mouth confession made to salvation. Once we have done that, what next? We are told in the scripture to be baptized. Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Each one of you must turn away from his sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip's message about the good news of the Kingdom of God and about Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 1 Peter 3:21 "Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn't save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life." Entire volumes have been written about baptism. Baptist denominations have been established which indicate the importance of the act. Catholics consider baptism a sacrament. Certainly there is more involved here than the simple act of emersion in water.
Perhaps something occurs in the process which is spiritual. But, at the least, the baptized person should come out of the water convinced that he or she has been totally forgiven for past sins, saved from eternal death, and determined to serve Jesus. Does this mean that we can continue sinning (doing what God has made clear to us is wrong) once that we become Christians? I don’t think so. Mark 10:19 "You know the commandments, `DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.' " Romans 13:9 For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 1 Cor 6:9~10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. So, it seems that we Christians must change too, if we are ~in fact~ believers. 1 Cor 15:34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
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