How Does Someone Get Saved?

“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”

James 2:19

From Alex,

How does someone get to heaven? What is the requirement for admission into the Streets of Gold? What has to happen in order to bridge the gap between a human and God? Many religions claim to know. Many religions (particularly Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) claim that the relationship between humanity and God has been severed and needs to be reset, but what do they say must take place in order for that to be completed?

See, almost all religion can be summed up in one sentence: humans, through grit, inner-strength, and self-righteousness attempt to earn their way or prove themselves to god (or to gods). This statement, however, stands in shady contrast to the method of salvation found within the Christian Scriptures. Shown numerous times throughout both the Old and New Testament, the way someone goes about mending their relationship with God isn’t by stirring their inner-good-person to follow the rules. The situation described by the Bible is one where all people, everywhere, are absolutely incapable of “earning” anything in the sight of God. Hence, “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There are many calls to obey and submit, yes, but is submission and obedience the same as “following the rules” and “sticking to the books”? Not according to the text. The Word describes all people as in a helpless position, in the sense that, no matter how hard someone tries, they cannot do anything to make God love them more or do anything that makes God indebted to them.

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Sustain Us Lord!

“As it is written, ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4

From Alex,

There is a lie that is accepted far and wide in the church. It is one that, if by the power of the Holy Spirit, were examined and despised, would lead to the changing of many lives for the good of the kingdom. I believed it, and you might too. I’m scared it is stunting our growth and making the Church incredibly vulnerable to temptation. It seems we’ve convinced ourselves we aren’t in need of armor anymore. We’ve given in to the lie that every Christian can sustain themselves spiritually through worship music, occasional prayer, and small group meetings… but not on the Word of God.

This is what distinguishes the true Follower of Christ from the Christian. The True Follower of Christ is constantly washing themselves in the truths of Scripture, and is in love with the Bible in all its awesomeness. There is a daily desire to get alone with God and chew on the promises He’s laid out for us. There is nothing like cracking open a perfect book full of truths and learning about the One who created all of the veins in your body, the streaks of cloud in the sky, and the mossy dirt beneath you. There is nothing like reading the exact words of God, which are able to bring unimaginable comfort to your troubled body (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

All of Scripture is infallible. It is without error and should be completely relied upon when making decisions about life and personal beliefs. It can be trusted and is sure to bring its reader closer to reality. The Bible is the true source of Joy and sustenance for the follower of Christ, and it is what we rely upon to grow and mature in our relationship with our Creator (2 Timothy 3:16). Think about how blessed we are to have such abundant access to it now! Not only do we have a large book filled with knowledge about the Author of Life, but for those who personally know Him as Lord, we have His Spirit living within us! How amazing is that! How contrasted that is to the situation of those living in Old Testament times, who had neither (Except maybe a copy of the Law, the first few books in the Bible)! I pray the Lord would turn our hearts in submission to Him in this way. That we would be so in love with Him, the same way a newlywed couple can’t get enough of each other, that no one would have to remind us to read our Bibles! That we would do it because the Holy Spirit of the Almighty God lives in. Our. Bodies.  

Because we want to!

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Psalm 1:1-3

Are Mormons Christians?

Mormons

“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

– Isaiah 44:8

From Alex,

The Lord has recently laid the Mormon church and people on my heart, and I think it is my duty to share this with you. Many people have claimed that Mormons are Christians. “I follow Christ, I want to be more like Christ, of course, I’m a Christian” a Mormon might say. The official name for the Mormon Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for goodness sakes! Under the “Scriptures and Study” tab on the LDS website, in fact, they list the Bible as one of their Holy Books they subscribe to! But, foundationally, does the Bible and the Mormon Church speak of the same God? Let’s test every spirit here and look at a few core Mormon beliefs, in order to discern whether they are parallel to what God says in the Bible.

Before that though, let’s ask: Where is the authority in the Mormon Church?

The answer is: there are many different sources. From the Church governors, consisting of a small 3-person team by the name of the First Presidency, to the group of 12 Apostles under them, to the Book of Mormon. All of these forces are considered eligible to dictate truth regarding god, man, doctrine, etc. through mediums like prophecy and revelation (as both the First Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles are believed to be current-day Isaiah’s, who receive revelation from god today and pronounce it to the church as doctrine).

Mormons believe that all men have the potential to become gods themselves. They teach that men, through living a good Mormon life, are able to become exactly like the God of the Bible, and, through “afterlife work” (which they really won’t admit to knowing much about), they too can become all powerful, all knowing, and all present. In fact, they would support the claim that the same God described in the Bible used to be a man just like you and me, a sinner even. I don’t know about you, but this sounds an awful lot like the promise given by Satan in the garden. This belief by itself distinctly separates Biblical Christianity from Mormon theology. The Mormon god and the God of the Bible are not the same because of this.

But, to support that claim even further, let’s take a look at another belief that (discreetly) distinguishes the two: the method of salvation (how someone gets to heaven). In Mormonism, like in almost all religion, you are saved by living a life devoted to the rules of the Deity. Contrary to the Bible, Mormons believe the grace of God comes “…after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). In other words, if you try hard enough, pray often enough, and give regularly, then the mercy of God is extended to you. The Bible does not teach this at all. The Bible says “…by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight…” (Romans 3:20), “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3: 22), and “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). Meaning, you can’t earn it! Because everyone has sinned, we are all condemned before God, and it is only by faith that one is made right with God before any good works are done. Paul speaks clearly about this in Romans 4, that before Abraham did anything good for God, he was innocent in God’s eyes. He wasn’t justified because he lived a good life filled with rule-following and good intentions. Even with that, he still would’ve been condemned without faith.

Mormonism teaches 1) that you can earn your way to heaven, and 2) that one day, in the afterlife, you can become a god too. These beliefs directly conflict with the teaching of the Bible. Mormons are not Christians.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “Becoming Like God.” Doctrine and Covenants 8, www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god?lang=eng.

Politics? Yes, Politics.

 

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Proverbs 14:34

From Alex, 

Hello reader, the recent controversy regarding Brett Kavanaugh and the Senate has stirred a heartache within me that been troubling recently and I strongly desire to share some thoughts and advice with you.

Politics in America has always been under the umbrella of “topics you don’t mention” when hanging out with friends and family. But as Christians, the field of politics can be utilized so thoroughly to open up conversations about God and sin. A person that comes to mind is Al Mohler, Southern Seminary president, and outspoken evangelical who hosts multiple podcasts from his website, www.albertmohler.com. One of these podcasts is called, “The Briefing,” where he lays out current news stories and discusses them from a biblical worldview. It is incredibly insightful and highly recommended. 

Unlike Mohler… why don’t we engage in politics more frequently? Is it fear? Is it the dread of confrontation from someone who holds an opposing view? We are called to be lights to the world, on every level. How much more would our world be changed if Christians stood up and began to tackle societal issues with a spirit of genuine concern and humility? There is a massive payoff, a plentiful harvest to be had!

Just the other day, in fact, I used the topic of Politics to open up a conversation with a girl I had just met, and in the end, after navigating through issues like abortion, and same-sex marriage, I told her not only what I believe, but why I believed it. It’s not enough to just state your stance. In order to make an impact for Christ, there must be a biblical foundation behind that stance. For example, “So, what do you think about same-sex marriage?” “Well, I don’t think it’s good for people. Not because I seek to crush or hinder love, but because if the Bible is right, then men were created for women and women for men, and only when a man and a woman are in a thriving, marriage-tied, God-centered relationship, joy abounds! If this is true, then would it be loving for me to support? I don’t think so.”  (An effective equation to use when seeking to make a claim is simply, “If the Bible is right, [insert biblical truth here], then [insert discussion topic here],” and after that “close the loop” on the statement!) There has to be that love-saturated reason behind the claim, and not just a “cause God says so,” for an ear to continue inclining. And you know what neither of us did while we discussed? Neither of us attacked, belittled, or undermined the other’s belief. I was able to show her that Christ isn’t on one side or the other in terms of affiliation, he doesn’t band together with one party and snicker at the other. He gets down in the dirt and loves both. At the end of this conversation, guess what happened as well? The Gospel was shared!

If you haven’t already gotten interested or familiar with societies issues on a grander scale, do so for the sake of the Kingdom. Reach out to those people around you and start conversations with an intention to make intelligent conversation for the sake of Christ!

Trust me, Jesus will be with us, and there is so much joy to be had. Come along with me!

Thoughts on True Humility

“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.”

Proverbs 22:4

Greetings friends,

We’ve all been trained to believe in a cultured definition of the word “humble.” According to this definition, humility is the attitude of rejecting all praise and cowering at the thought of glory, putting the self down. But is this true by the Bible? What answer would the Bible give for the meaning of humility?

It’s actually fairly simple. Humility is: knowing the Lord for who He truly is, coupled with the actions that flow from dwelling on the truths of His character and of sinful man.

For example, it humbles me to read and think about the fact that I am a sinner, desperately in need of a Holy God. It humbles me to read that once this God has given me a new heart, I am freed from all condemnation, by both Divine and human authorities (Romans 8:1). It humbles me to know that no matter what, my God will never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Not only does it humble me though, but it prospers me to know these things. The latter half of the scripture passage for this post reads, “…it’s wages are riches and honor and life.” Meaning, not only do humble people personally know God and His true character, but because they do, the natural acts that follow from that relationship produce, in time, (you guessed it) riches, honor, and life. Our world is broken, and the prideful attitude is becoming more and more popular. Therefore, societies outside appearance may be getting prettier, but their inside soul is turning to slop. That is why those with true humility stand out so much because they have legitimately attained life, whereas everyone else is clawing for it. We who hold fast to the Lord have flourishing hearts. Those who reject the Lord have dead hearts. Thus, Jesus was incredibly accurate when he stated, “You are the light of the world.” The light indeed blossoms, but is kept shining by our pondering on the glorious identity that has been given to us.

To know deep inside that your identity is one of a servant, who doesn’t deserve any pleasure of life, but who is so loved, kept, and cherished by the Creator of the Cosmos, it creates a perspective where you aren’t the center of the universe anymore. Ultimately, by this view, you are just another beggar in the presence of the king (and oh so happily so!). We are outshined by His greatness when we behold it, creating a joy within us unimaginable. This allows for a freed mind (John 8:32) that isn’t obsessed with anything this world has to offer. It releases your spirit. No longer are you dominated by thoughts of being number one, or how many followers you have, or how attractive you are. These things (and countless others) will never satisfy you, and will consistently leave you empty. An identity that is built upon status, material wealth, intellect, strength etc. will crumble, and it will fall.

There is a God, whose name is Jesus Christ, who wants to prosper your spirit in every way, and when you truly know Him, you know your place; and you don’t want it any different. 

Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ, the Lord.