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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Do Denominations Invalidate Christianity?

I could wish that no definitions had ever been felt to be necessary; and, still more, that none had been allowed to make divisions between churches.

~ C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer

From Caleb,

First, I want to clear something up. It has too long been an issue among Christians about which denomination you follow. Too many people think they go to “the best” denomination church, and sorry to be blunt, but I am sick and tired of it. Whether you attend a church that is Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Nazarene, Catholic, or any other, you’re not anymore of a Christian than the next guy that goes to a different denomination church.

What is important is what you think about who Jesus is and the things that he did. There is no one “right” or “better” denomination. We are THE CHURCH; we are all followers of Christ. Reality is, no matter which kind of church you attend, there are people who go every single Sunday that could be dying and going to hell.

There are people who go to Lutheran churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Presbyterian churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Nazarene churches that aren’t actually saved. There are people who go to Baptist churches that aren’t actually saved.
There are people who go to Catholic churches that aren’t actually saved.

Attending a specific denomination of church doesn’t save you, following Christ wholeheartedly and trusting in his sacrifice does. When these divides go up based on “denomination,” the Church as a whole is being weakened. From the outside looking in, this conflict within God’s people makes us look foolish to non-believers.

Parents and older believers, listen up! We must stop indirectly creating this mindset in the minds of young believers through how we speak about other churches. Making stereotypical jokes, speaking bad of another church, or simply vocalizing assumptions we have about a particular church based on their denomination further encourages this mindset among other believers. It must be stopped for the sake of uniting the church in the future.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the answer is no: Christianity cannot be invalidated simply because there are many different denominations. The truth is The Church is all of the people that love Christ and believe that they have received salvation by grace through faith and because of that, repent and turn from their sins. Furthermore, the Early Church differences in many denominations are what I would like to call “Nonessential pieces of Doctrine”, these are things that even though they are slightly doctrinally different, they are not a deterrent to the truth of the Church. Ultimately they have no bearing when it comes to trusting in salvation from Jesus by grace and through faith.

Is Hell a Real Place?

“The God that Jesus teaches us about doesn’t give up until everything that was lost is found. This God simply doesn’t give up. Ever.”

~ Rob Bell, Love Wins

From Caleb,

As every day “case makers” for Christ, it is important for us to be able to answer this question; moreover, this is a part of Christian doctrine.

Yes. It is a real place.

Unlike what Bell proposes in his book Love Wins, the truth is, as Christians, hell is a real and important place. Hell turns our faces to God in pure worshipful trembling. Hell is a reminder of what we deserved and what we were saved from, this should drive every follower of Christ to worship even more. This doesn’t mean all we preach is “hell-fire-and-brimstone”, there’s a balance.

What scripture shows us that hell is a real place. Here are some examples, “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10) “And throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:50).

My Real Experience…

Guy: “So… What do you think about hell?”
Me: “Do you mean do I think it’s a real place?”
Guy: “Well… Sorta, yeah.”
Me: “Yes, I do. It is something that is made very clear all throughout the Bible.”
Guy: “If hell is a real place, do you think, even if I am a really good person and believe in a higher power, I will go to hell?”
Me: “I’ll preface my answer with this: I couldn’t say that I loved you and cared about you as a person if I didn’t tell you what is truth. All love with no truth is being a hypocrite, but all truth with no love is being brutal. With that being said, yes. That’s what God’s word says. I know that can be a hard statement to hear, but I say it because I care.”
Guy: “Dude, that’s gutsy. I can’t believe you would say that! You said what you thought was true even though you knew I might be offended? That’s bold. I like that.”

Do-s and Don’t-s…

Do – ACTUALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION! I know this question can be super intimidating to answer, but you can’t dance around answering the question. People will notice what you’re doing and will call you out potentially; furthermore, you will accomplish nothing by not answering the question. The only thing it helps is your pride.

Do – Speak in Love. While we have to speak the truth to people, doing so with no compassion won’t get anything accomplished. With no compassion, people will be hardened, turned away, and angered. Remind the person that you are telling them what you know to be true because you care about them and love them.

Don’t – Use it Against Them. This isn’t something you should say to hurt someone, you tell them the truth because you’re broken for them. Your heart should break over the eternal destiny of a persons soul, that’s why you speak the truth. There must be a balance of truth and love.

Don’t – Allow Yourself to Think You’re Better. Don’t think that you have some how magically gotten it all figured out. The truth is this: you are just as much of a sinner as them, and you deserve hell just as much as the next person. It is Christ’s sacrifice that covers us. Make sure you are constantly thinking and praying for humility while you speak to them. We’re simply beggars pointing to where the bread is.

Challenge…

Go forth and speak the truth in love.

Giving Thanks for Grounds4Faith

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:8

From Caleb,

In the States, it’s almost time for the Thanksgiving holiday. With that in mind, I want to give praise and thanksgiving back to the Lord. HE IS SO GOOD!

For a long time, I planned on going overseas to a country I had been praying over for a couple of years. I thought it would finally be my time to go overseas to the country I longed to be in. It was around May of 2018, I opened my email, ecstatic to read one I had recently received from the missionary I had been in contact with; unfortunately, my excitement quickly dissipated.

They said that they wouldn’t be able to have me in December like we had planned earlier that year. I was crushed. I hit my knees in prayer, asking that the Lord would use my time here in the United States for his glory since it clearly wasn’t my time to go.

Since then, I have seen the Lord do mighty things. Christ has allowed me to publish my first book, begin drafting a second book, and start Grounds4Faith and its many other aspects. Not to mention, I have been able to have countless gospel conversations with people because of the reach of Grounds4Faith.

All along the way, Christ has constantly encouraged me through the people around me. I want to be honest with you all, when the ministry first began, I was concerned about numbers of every: how many of “this” did we have, how much of “that” did we do, how many people were there, how many “views” did we get, how many likes do we have?

The numbers used to greatly concern me, and I used to base our success off of that. Time and time again, when numbers looked “bad” to my prideful human eyes, God would send someone along to redirect my focus by showing me how he had been working around me. After numerous times of this happening, I stopped thinking about the numbers, and I asked the Lord to open my eyes up to all the things he’s doing around me.

It has been so liberating to see all that he is doing and how he is moving. God isn’t concerned about the numbers I generate, he’s concerned about me being faithful. The Lord has blessed me significantly through everyone around me that has continually encouraged me through God’s word. God is on the move all around, and I am thankful that he chooses unworthy people, like me, to be a part of his amazing plan. 

Everything that has happened and continues to go on through Grounds4Faith is all the Lord’s doing. To him, all thanks is due. May all the glory honor and praise be to Christ Jesus. Amen.

Give thanks back to the Lord in all things. Being thankful to God is not just a once or twice a year thing, it’s an everyday thing.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

~ Psalm 100:1-5