"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

19 August 2006

The Gospel According to Me, Part 3

Okay, here is my nutshell explanation of God and his plan of salvation. I use this for someone who knows absolutely nothing about God or the Bible. Very simplistic, but it is a start.

An all-powerful, Holy, never-changing, perfect God created man. But man sinned against God (he violated God’s command – deliberate defiance) and caused a rift between himself and a Holy God. All men sin and fall short of the glory of God. Man has violated the commands of God and has incurred a penalty. This is because God is infinitely just. He could not just turn a blind eye to man’s sin (that would go against his nature), a price had to be paid.

But God knew that man could never pay the penalty for his sin. He knew that he would have to pay the penalty for man. So God sent his son, Jesus, to live a perfect, sin-free life and die in man’s place. Jesus took all the sins of men onto himself and died to pay the penalty for those sins. His sacrifice satisfied the wrath of a just God and was accepted as proven by his resurrection.

So all men have sinned and all deserve punishment, but Jesus has paid the debt for us. Salvation is Jesus saving us from the penalty of our own sin so that we can live eternally with God in heaven when we die. It is a free gift, we can not earn it ourselves, but we must accept the gift by believing and trusting in Jesus. We must repent of our sins and turn to God. If we do not accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, then we are still under the penalty of our sins.

There is a great analogy of the salvation plan and the justness of God in the book More than a Carpenter. Basically, a woman violates a traffic law and goes before the judge. The woman is found guilty of the violation and the judge fines her $100. But then the judge gets down from his bench, takes off his robe, and gives the woman $100 to pay for her fine. Why? Because the judge was her father. Because he is a judge, he had to fine his daughter for breaking the law. But as her father, he could pay the fine for her. Justice has been served and a father’s love for his daughter is revealed.

God IS a loving God. But he is more than just loving. He is also Holy and Just. Those attributes of God can not be excluded from our understanding of Him. Likewise, we are all sinners. We have all broken God's commands (check out just the 10 commandments) and our sins separate us from God. The only way to bridge the divide between our sinful nature and God's Holy nature is the cross of Christ.

To deny God’s salvation plan through Jesus is to either deny that you are a sinner before God and/or to deny that Jesus’ death was for a purpose. What are you going to do with Jesus?

19 comments:

aquamarine said...

And what are you going to do with the people God created but who never heard of Jesus or saw a Bible?

What are you going to do with the millions of people who lived before Christ was born?

What are you going to do with the people who only ever heard a twisted, selfish version of Christ's message (prosperity theology comes to mind...)?

Christ FREELY died for our sins. He gave this to us FREELY. Not contingently. And he showed us the way to God. Not through labels and clubs and elite groups (all of which he loathed and spent most of his time preaching against), but through a genuine desire to live the way God wishes us to live.

Christ gave us the last two great commandments - love God and love your neighbor. That's the way to the father. Not a big ol' glitzy rhinestone Jesus pin tacked on to your lapel or a "Left Behind" bumper sticker plastered on to the back of your car.

You say one just has to "accept Jesus' gift". Well, I know lots of Christians who talk a big game about Jesus-y sounding stuff but who live lives of selfishness and greed. They don't love their neighbor at all. They gossip and buy insanely expensive cars and clothes while others go without. They eat at fancy restaurants every night and ignore the beggars in the street.

But they've accepted Jesus' gift and they won't shut up about the fact that they have for five minutes.

Are they guaranteed salvation?

Is "accepting Jesus as your personal saviour" a free pass to heaven, no matter how you deny Christ with your actions?

And what about the person who loves his neighbor and what he perceives as God, and lives his life accordingly - because he's not a member of your club, he's damned?

Carrie said...

From a previous comment I made regarding "people who never heard about Christ":

Paul states in Romans that all men can realize the existence of God through his creation (I’m paraphrasing). In Acts, Cornelius, a Gentile who worshipped the God of the Jews was recognized by God for his alms and his prayers. God sent Peter to Cornelius to deliver the Gospel message (ie “he learned about Jesus”).

From the above I would say that all men can recognize the Creator through his creation, and those that acknowledge the Creator will likely hear the Gospel message. But even if that were not true the “God I worship” is a just God and will no doubt deal with every man fairly based on what knowledge they did or did not have access to

Carrie said...

Aquamarine,

Do you really want answers to those questions or are they mostly rhetorical?

For now I'm not going to answer as I plan on discussing alot of the things you are asking about in future posts. I will be moving on to what the Gospel message is, what genuine faith in Christ means, and what does the Bible say about salvation.

I answered alot of your comments in the previous post. If you still aren't understanding I'm not sure what else I can say.

I am sorry if "Christians" have left a bad taste in your mouth. But don't let that keep you from understanding what God's Word really says so you can decide if you want to believe it or not.

aquamarine said...

They're real.

And this:

From the above I would say that all men can recognize the Creator through his creation, and those that acknowledge the Creator will likely hear the Gospel message. But even if that were not true the “God I worship” is a just God and will no doubt deal with every man fairly based on what knowledge they did or did not have access to

is exactly what I'm saying.

You're contradicting yourself again. You say that the ONLY way to salvation is through accepting Christ's sacrifice on the cross, yet now you're saying that people CAN respond to God without even knowing about Christ's sacrifice on the cross and that their response can be a path to salvation.

I've read the Bible, and there is nothing in there that leads me to believe that everyone who isn't a Christian is damned to hell, and the message is more than clear that being a Christian isn't going to guarantee you much, either.

It's going to come down to what's in your heart and how you live what you say you believe.

Carrie said...

I am not contradicting myself. Salvation is through Christ alone. The idea that I stated is that those who respond to the Creator will have Christ revealed to them.

The last line of what I said is to state that I do not necessarily know every permutation of what knowledge people may come so all I do know is that God is just. That doesn't deny salvation through Jesus alone but acknowledges that I can't account for some guy like Tarzan who is raised by apes.

and there is nothing in there that leads me to believe that everyone who isn't a Christian is damned to hell

Well, I'll get to those verses in a later post.

Again, you haven't told be what you are going to do with John 14:6. You can also add in Acts 4:12, John 3:16-18 and Matthew 7:13-14.

Carrie said...

AM,

Let me clarify something. I can not say for certain what would happen to some pigmy in the rainforest somewhere that has truly never heard about Jesus.

But what I do know is that those who have heard the Gospel message must chose to believe or deny. Everyone in my life so far has "heard" of Jesus. To these people I can confidently say that salvation is through Jesus alone.

Unfortunately the concern for some pigmy in the depths of a rainforest just seem like an excuse for most people to not believe. In actuality, it is irrelevant. What is relevant is what are YOU going to do with Jesus.

phd4jesus said...

Everyone know this verse:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

But in John 3:18 Jesus says, Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

This is again reiterated in John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

These two verses in John indicate that Gods wrath is on us already. It is only by trusting in Jesus is His wrath extinguished, because Jesus bore God's wrath on Himself on the cross.

In terms of Gandhi, although the Sermon on the Mount was one of his favorites, Gandhi rejected Christ as his savior (assuming no death bed conversion). Because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), Gandhi is not in heaven. Regardless of how good he was, none is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10) and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (Isa 64:6) to God.

Carrie has indicated what is necessary to be reconciled to God. It is through His Son Jesus. For God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Yes that’s right, For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). So the most excellent news is that although the wages of sin is death, the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23).

So Aqua, stop worrying about everyone else and get to know the God of Abraham and His plan for man’s redemption by reading the bible. "Your" god (you know, the "all roads lead to heaven" type of god) is not the God of the bible. The living God, creator of heaven and earth, is a loving and just God. You can’t separate just from loving or else it isn’t love.


eph2810 said...

Carrie, I think that you have stated everything what one needs to go to heaven. Belief that Christ is the One and Only. No one can earn the way to heaven, not even people like Gandhi or others who lived a 'good' life. It is not us who say that Jesus is the only way to heaven; it is God Himself who did.
I know that many people say that Christ is a myth, but there is just to much evidence that He is not. Why would 1st century Christians die for the belief that Christ rose from the dead?
Regarding people who have not heard the Gospel? I believe that God's mercy is greater than our human understanding. But there are many people who have heard the simple message of salvation and still deny Him and His precious gift.
Thank you for yet another great post on the 'simple' truth of salvation.

aquamarine said...

PhDwhatever (if that's really your degree...hmmm...)

I've read the Bible. Dozens of times. Do not dare to presume I haven't because I don't come up with this mindless, hateful God created in the image of mindless, hateful people who want an exclusive country club heaven populated only with people like them.

I did NOT say all roads lead to heaven AT ALL. Do NOT put words in my mouth.

Ghandi did not reject Christianity or Christ. Ghandi rejected Christians.

I can't imagine why...

Obviously you people have ALL the answers, you know God's mind intimately, and have the power of knowing what his final judgment will be for all of mankind, so there's really zero point in continuing this farce of a conversation with you. You don't need to discuss anything. You just need to yes each other to death and congratulate each other on how perfect you are and how you're on the fast track to paradise, free ticket, done deal, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Just remember - atheism is caused by this kind of mentality. This type of nonsense is WHY people reject Christianity and think the whole Christ thing is a load of horse manure.

Frankly, I'm not into a God with an IQ of less than ten, which how you position him here. I have higher standards for the God I worship.

Carrie said...

AM,

I am happy to have you here and answer any questions you have about what I believe. And I am fine if you want to share your beliefs, but please, there is no reason to get upset with us.

We are telling you what we believe the Bible says about salvation. If you disagree, then I would ask you to support your beliefs based on biblical passages.

What you are saying about us is not true but seems to be just a way to vent anger at all Christians. Your synopsis of our beliefs is not correct and your views as far as I can tell are not biblical.

You seem to think that the beliefs we are stating are our own creation and something we came up b/c we all desire to have some "exclusive country club" in the sky. There is nothing farther from the truth. What I believe is based on God's revelation of himself and his plan for salvation based on the Bible, so your arguement isn't with me but with what the Bible says.

If you think that our view of what you have said is incorrect, then correct us. But please, either give us a good biblical arguement for what you believe or let's just leave it at that.

aquamarine said...

No, Carrie, you are absolutley 100% right about everything and I am 100% wrong and you are going to heaven and I am going to hell.

I get it.

Completely.

And that's just fine with me.

Good-bye.

Carrie said...

I am sorry that you feel that way, Aquamarine.

Thank you for your comments over the last few weeks.

Tony said...

This is again reiterated in John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Some interpreters end the quotation after verse 30.

Carrie said...

What is your point, Tony?

phd4jesus said...

Tony, does your bible, which is officially sanctioned by Rome, contain John 3:36?

I have never run across anything suggesting the end of John 3 is absent in some manuscripts.

Tony said...

phd4jesus:
My Bible contains 31-36 with the following note:

15 [31-36] It is uncertain whether these are words by the Baptist, Jesus, or the evangelist. They are reflections on the two preceding scenes.

Carrie:
My point is this. Are the verses 31-36 of John 3 the Word of God, Or are they the words of men.

What do the footnotes on "your" Bible say? Do you read the footnotes?

(BTW, the above link is to the Bible that's officially sancitoned by "Rome". Is it the same as yours?)

Carrie said...

And what part of that verse is it that you would deny, Tony?

phd4jesus said...

Tony said: What do the footnotes on "your" Bible say?

None of my bibles (KJV, NASB, NIV [Ryrie]) give any notation suggesting differences in manuscript in reference to John 3:31-36. These bibles do indicate differences in older v. newer manuscripts for other verses (e.g. John 5:3b and 4 (NASB) or 5:4 (KJV) and notably, Mark 16:9-20). I also have a comparative bible that has a footnote stating that "some interpreters end the quotation after verse 30". It is interesting that this bible states that it is the "interpreters" and not differences in manuscripts for the discrepancy in John 3:31-36. As best as I can tell from a quick survey of the N.T. footnotes, this is the only place that mentions "interpreter" and not "manuscript".

phd4jesus said...

Sorry Tony. I guess I misunderstood your point. What is the point that you are making about the quote? Is not all scripture inspired by God or just the quoted scripture? Is it not all God's word? Does 3:36 carry less weight than other verses in the bible?

Christian Women Blogging

Articles for Christian Women