Christian Home Bible Course

Lesson 6   


The BIBLE reveals that Jesus Christ spent a lot of time with His disciples.   They would travel from town to town preaching the Gospel and healing the sick, while Jesus taught them about the things of God.   They had much to learn and only three years to learn it.   Eventually their responsibility would be to spread the Gospel throughout the world (Matthew 28:19).   No doubt during their training they asked many questions.   And while not all their questions are recorded in the BIBLE, God did choose to record the ones he knew people would be asking again and again for generations to come.   For example, one day Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Jerusalem and one of them asked:

"...Lord, are there few that be saved?" LUKE 13:23

In other words, the disciple was asking, "Will most people make it into Heaven?"

   No doubt this question has been asked many times throughout the years.   Perhaps like most people today, the disciple was expecting an encouraging answer.   Maybe he thought that Jesus was going to say,
"Don't do anything horrible, like murder, and you will be okay.   Hell is only for the very wicked."

   However, this is not what Jesus answered at all.   Instead He replied:

"Strive to enter in at the strait [narrow] gate: for many, I say unto you,
will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
  LUKE 13:24


   The answer is YES!   In another Gospel account, Jesus made it even more clear by comparison:

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it."
  MATTHEW 7:13- 14

This sobering passage goes contrary to what many people believe.   Jesus is saying that, by a large margin, more people are on the road to Hell than are on the road to Heaven.   A primary reason for this is because of what Jesus said in the following verse:

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
  MATTHEW 7:15

   One reason why so many people are going to Hell is because there are many false prophets in the world teaching lies about salvation.   Consequently many people end up trusting in the wrong things to get them to Heaven.   To further accent this truth, Jesus stated what is perhaps the most horrible prediction recorded in the BIBLE:


"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
  MATTHEW 7:21-23

   Now, a person would assume that preaching, casting out devils, and doing many wonderful works, all in the name of Jesus, would surely earn them entrance into Heaven.   As it turned out, they were trusting in the wrong things.


   We are now living at a time when false prophets are everywhere.   With each false prophet comes a false doctrine that results in someone trusting the wrong thing for salvation.
   Fortunately no one has to be misled because we have God's Word to warn us against false prophets, expose their errors, and show us the right way to Heaven.



All right class, before we begin our next lesson, let us review what we have already learned.   Please raise your hands and I will call upon you.   Ready?   What will keep little boys and girls from going to Heaven?   Let's see. . . . . Lori?
Very good.   Now how do we make up for the sins we commit? . . . . . Chuck?
    We must pay for them.
Right, but how do we pay for them? . . . . . Rob?
    By doing good deeds.
Ok, that is one way, can any one name another? . . . . . Dave?
    By selling subscriptions to religious magazines?   (Classroom erupts with laughter)
Now class quiet down, how many times have I told you not to laugh at Dave, it's not nice.   My next question is . . . . . oh, I see another hand up in the back.   Yes?
    Why did Jesus die?
Now Tony, you know the rules: I ask the questions, you give the answers.   Here's the next question - what are the 7 pillars of wisdom? . . . . . ok Tony, I see your hand is up again.
    Why did Jesus die?
Very well young man, if you insist on asking that question I shall answer it - He died for our sins.
    Then why do we have to pay for them with our good deeds?
Because we do.
    But you said He paid for them when He died.
That is correct.

    Then it's paid for and there's nothing left for us to pay.
No, that is not how it works, He did not pay for all of them.
    You mean the payment for our sins was not finished when He died?
That's right.
    Then why did He say "It is finished"?
    He said "It is finished" while He was on the cross.
Tony, how old are you?
    Old enough to read the BIBLE.
Young man, don't get smart with me.   I'm afraid the answer to your question is too theologically profound for you to understand.
    Try me.
Very well, don't say I didn't warn you - He died for original sin.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, "NOPE"?   That is the answer!
    Nope, can't be. . . "Original sin" is not in the BIBLE.

    Yep!   The BIBLE says sin is sin and Jesus paid for all of it!   If we have to pay for any of it ourselves then He's not really the Saviour, He's just a co-saviour with us.   In fact, I happen to have my BIBLE with me, let me read what it says:

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law,
but by the faith of Jesus Christ....who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law,
then Christ is dead in vain
  GALATIANS 2:16-21


   THE WORLD HAS ALWAYS HAD ITS SHARE OF FALSE PROPHETS.   Many throughout the years have come claiming the authority to act as mediator between God and man.   Sometimes they were simply individuals with a gift for persuading the unsuspecting.   Other times it would be a group of people organizing themselves into a religion, as in the case of the scribes and the Pharisees.   These were the self- proclaimed religious leaders of Jesus' day, who took it upon themselves to look after the spiritual well-being of the Jews.   They were self- righteous, pious, and constantly boasting of having a good working knowledge of the Scriptures; making themselves out to be teachers of the BIBLE.

But did they really know the BIBLE as well as they claimed they did?

   Well, consider this.   With over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament pertaining to the coming Messiah (Lesson 2), one would expect the scribes and Pharisees to be among the first to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.   Yet in spite of their self-proclaimed authority, they totally "missed the boat".   Jesus Christ had to tell them to:

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me."
  JOHN 5:39

   In reality, the Pharisees were not teaching the Jews the Scriptures but instead were teaching them man-made doctrines and Jewish traditions that they had started.   They were notorious for adding these man-made doctrines to God's Word, and had done it to such an extent that their traditions were overriding the Word of God.   This was so obvious to Jesus that He had to ask them:

"...Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" MATTHEW 15:3

   The sad truth was that many of the Jews were trusting in these traditions to help get them into Heaven.   This made the scribes and the Pharisees false prophets, misleading the people.   Jesus rebuked them for it by saying:

"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men,
as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.   ...
Full well ye reject the commandment of God,
that ye may keep your own tradition
  MARK 7:8- 9

   Jesus was able to discern between the commandments of God and their traditions, but those unfamiliar with the Scriptures could not.   Consequently they were easily misled.

Today, many churches have allowed so much tradition and man-made doctrine to "creep" in, that
unless a person is familiar with what the BIBLE teaches they can easily end up trusting the wrong
thing.   Some denominations will even claim the BIBLE alone is not enough, and must be
supplemented with a second book.   However upon close examination, a person will normally discover
that most of that church's doctrine actually comes from that second book and not from the BIBLE!
(This second book is sometimes called a Catechism or Articles of Faith).   The only book God requires
for His church is His Word - the BIBLE.   Another book is not necessary, and can actually cause many
to miss Heaven.   God only wrote one book and in it we have everything He wants us to know this side
of heaven.   In fact, Jesus said that adding anything else makes. . .

"...the word of God of none effect through your tradition..." MARK 7:13


   With Heaven and Hell at stake, it is vitally important to separate tradition and man-made doctrines from God's truth.   The BIBLE tells us to examine any doctrine that we encounter and. . .

"...if they speak not according to this word,
it is because there is no light in them."
  ISAIAH 8:20

   In fact, one of the reasons God has provided us with the BIBLE is to correct false teachings:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

   God's Word should be used like a level -- the standard by which all other teachings are compared against, and. . .

"Whosoever....abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God."   II JOHN 9

   Some may wonder if a person is being too judgmental by exposing false doctrine.   But how else can people avoid trusting in the wrong things to get them to Heaven.   The BIBLE says:

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition
of men
, after the rudiments
[principles] of the world, and not after Christ."   COLOSSIANS 2:8

   Most people would have to agree that it is better to look into God's Word and hear what He has to say now, than to hear Him say later:

"...I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [sin]."   MATTHEW 7:23

   Throughout the rest of this lesson, we will examine some of the more common false doctrines and traditions that exist today and compare them with the Word of God.


What is meant by the term "works"?   Strongs Greek Dictionary of the New Testament defines "works" as being a toil, an effort.   By implication; an act, deed, doing, labor, basically anything a person does to earn entrance into Heaven.   For example: keeping the Ten Commandments, baptism, church sacraments, good deeds, church membership, doing our best, giving to charity, etc.   Many teach that a person must earn their way to Heaven through these works.   However, SEVERAL QUESTIONS come up when a person compares salvation by works with what the BIBLE says:

[Q] If God expects us to earn our salvation then why does the BIBLE say the exact opposite?

   The BIBLE clearly teaches that a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by their works.   No effort or deed, no matter how impressive and self-sacrificing, can pay for sins or persuade God into allowing a person into Heaven.   The BIBLE says:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast."
  EPHESIANS 2:8- 9


By examining this passage further we can learn the following:

   "For by grace are ye saved" - Grace means an unmerited, unearned favor.   In other words, grace is displayed toward a person when they receive something they don't deserve.   WE AS SINNERS DO NOT DESERVE HEAVEN nor can we be good enough to earn its entrance.   Yet God offers it for free!

   "through faith" - Faith is simply believing God (taking Him at His Word) when He says salvation is a free gift, and TRUSTING in the fact that Jesus Christ paid for ALL of our sins.

   "not of yourselves" - Man could not save himself if his life depended on it (and it does).

   "it is the gift of God" - Salvation is a free gift offered by God to the repentant sinner who will accept it by faith.   Does one pay for a gift?   Of course not, it would no longer be a gift if the recipient pays for it.

"...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."   ROMANS 6:23
"...the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."   ROMANS 5:18
"...the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ..." ROMANS 5:15

   "Not of works" - Salvation comes not through our efforts, nor fulfilling church sacraments, nor by church membership.   We can't earn our way to Heaven.   It is impossible!

   "lest any man should boast" - No one will brag about having made it into Heaven.   Nobody, once there, will say "I got here because I kept the Ten Commandments, gave to charity, helped sick friends, complied with all of my church's sacraments, did my best, got baptized, etc."   Instead those in Heaven will praise Jesus Christ, the one who had to "bail them out" and save them:

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.   ...
But God commendeth
[demonstrated] his love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
  ROMANS 5:6-8

[Q] If our salvation depends on our total lifetime efforts, then why does the BIBLE teach
that we can know for sure (right now) that we are going to Heaven when we die?

   Most people don't realize that the BIBLE teaches that A PERSON CAN KNOW FOR SURE THEY WILL GO TO HEAVEN when they die.   God never meant for anyone to go through life wondering and worrying if they will make it there; that would be cruel on His part.   The BIBLE says:

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
  I JOHN 5:13

Christ was offered on the cross to purchase our salvation with His blood (Lesson 5).   Now God can offer it as a free gift that we can accept RIGHT NOW and therefore KNOW that we are saved.   This is demonstrated by the illustration found on the next page.


Once upon a time a certain man in a certain town wanted to buy A CERTAIN THING.   The problem was this thing cost much more than what the man had with which to pay.   He wanted it so much that he decided to obtain a second job and work as much as he could until he could buy it.
   And so THE MAN under took his quest and began a rigorous life of working and saving.   After two weeks of this, one of his friends asked him, "Will you be able to buy this thing you want?"   "I hope so," replied the man, "but I can't know for sure.   It depends on how hard I work at it."
   And so the weeks turned into months, the months into years.   During all this time the man kept up his rigorous pace of working and saving and his friends kept asking, "Will you be able to buy this certain thing?"   And always the response was the same.   "I hope so, but I don't know for sure, it depends on me and my ability to work and earn."   "But when will you know for sure?"   Sadly the man would reply, "I'll know for sure when I've saved enough and can actually buy it.   I'll just have to wait and see what happens in the end."   And so it went on and on with the poor man never really knowing for sure if he would ever obtain his goal.   It all depended on him.   He would just have to keep on doing the best he could.
   After several years everyone in town knew the man and HIS EFFORTS, including the richest man in town.   The rich man knew all about money and realized the man would never reach his goal.   This thing the man wanted simply cost too much and was constantly going up in price.   THE RICH MAN felt compassion for him.   "I know what I'll do!" he said.   "I will buy this thing myself and offer it to him as a gift."   And so he did, but when he offered it the man refused to accept it, for you see, he was a proud man.   He wanted to earn this thing himself.   "But why spend the rest of your life wondering?" reasoned the rich man, "hoping that perhaps you will obtain this thing, but never really knowing for sure."
   And so after several days of reasoning with the man, he finally convinced him how hopeless it was to do it on his own.   The man accepted the rich man's gift.   And from that point on whenever he was asked, "Have you obtained the thing you wanted?" the man would smile and reply "Yes, now I have it, not because I paid for it, but rather someone else bought it for me and I accepted it as a gift.   Now I know for sure and can finally rest and have peace about it."

   In the previous illustration the man trying to buy the "certain thing" represents many people who are trying to earn their way into Heaven.   The rich man represents Jesus Christ who has bought the way for us.   It's amazing how many people are always looking for "something for nothing", yet when it comes to the salvation of their souls they will try to work for it, rather than accepting the free gift bought by Jesus Christ on the cross.

[Q] If our salvation depends on our good works outweighing our bad deeds, then why
does the BIBLE teach that it only takes one sin to keep us out of Heaven?

   Many people assume (and are taught) that on judgment day God will weigh their good works against their sin.   Yet the BIBLE teaches that no matter how many good deeds a person has done, it only takes ONE SIN to tip the scale against them!

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."   JAMES 2:10

   God's holy standard requires "all or nothing" when it comes to obeying His laws.   Since no one is sinless, it is hopeless to trust in our acts of righteousness no matter how many we have done.   God says:

"...if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity [sin], all his righteousnesses shall
not be remembered
; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it."
  EZEKIEL 33:13


[Q] If our salvation is obtained by following the Ten Commandments then why does the
BIBLE teach that it's impossible to follow them?

   Many people believe that salvation can be earned by doing the best they can at keeping the Ten Commandments.   However this is a misconception that comes from not fully understanding why God gave them to mankind in the first place.   So let's learn, from the BIBLE, the three real purposes of the Ten Commandments (otherwise known as The Law).

1) God gave us the Law to teach us what sin is.

The BIBLE says: "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes..." PROVERBS 16:2
   Determining right from wrong often becomes a matter of personal opinion.   We see this take place today as many in our society practice "situation ethics", and try to justify lying, stealing, adultery and even murder according to a given situation.   But without an absolute standard defining right from wrong, society (and mankind as a whole) would self-destruct morally.
   Fortunately, God gave mankind His Law to define sin.

"...I had not known sin, but by the law:
for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."
  ROMANS 7:7

"...for by the law is the knowledge of sin."   ROMANS 3:20

"for sin is the transgression [breaking] of the law."   I JOHN 3:4

   With God's Law as the standard, sin is no longer defined by someone's personal opinion but by God's, which is the only "opinion" that counts!

2) God gave us the Law to teach us that we are sinners.
   This realization comes when we, with our natural inclination toward sinful behavior, try to follow the holy standard of the Law.   The Law exposes our sin nature by showing us how incapable we are of following it.   All the self-righteousness in the world can't hide the fact that we are sinners guilty of not following God's Law:

"...the carnal mind is enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
  ROMANS 8:7

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law:
that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
  ROMANS 3:19

3) God gave us the Law to teach us that we need a Saviour.
   Once the Law defines sin and exposes us as sinners incapable of keeping it, our honest reaction should be "since I can't save myself by keeping the Law, I need a Saviour."   This realization leads us to Jesus Christ.

"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ,
that we might be justified by faith."

   Due to our sin nature we are unable to save ourselves through the Law and therefore need a Saviour.

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own
Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"


[Q] If our salvation is obtained through our own efforts,

   In Lesson 5 we looked at the events surrounding and including His death.   Would God have put His Son through all that, if there was any other way to save mankind?   Obviously not.   Christ's death is the only payment God will accept for sins.   The BIBLE says:

"...without shedding of blood is no remission [forgiveness of sins]."   HEBREWS 9:22
" his own blood he entered in once into the holy place,
having obtained eternal redemption for us."
  HEBREWS 9:12

   Yet many are substituting God's requirement of Christ's death with their own acts of righteousness.   The Apostle Paul said to do this is to make Christ's death worthless:

"if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."   GALATIANS 2:21


"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." ROMANS 3:20
"for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."   GALATIANS 2:16
" him all that believe are justified from all things,
from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
  ACTS 13:39

   If someone could save himself by keeping the Law, he would have something of which to be proud.
However, salvation is a humbling experience because God is offering us a salvation we don't deserve (this is called GRACE) and holding back the wrathful judgment we do deserve (this is called MERCY).

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus..."

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us,
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"

" is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."   EPHESIANS 2:8- 9

   It's sad to think of all the people who are trusting in their good works to pay for sins.   Their endless efforts are not reducing their sin debt one bit.   In fact, if they would stop and think, they would have to admit that with all their efforts they have no peace, rest or complete assurance of whether they are going to Heaven when they die.   The BIBLE describes the saved person as being able to rest from trying to work their way to Heaven:

"For we which have believed do enter into rest....   There remaineth therefore
a rest to the people of God.   For he that is entered into his rest,
he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."
  HEBREWS 4:3,9-10




   The word baptism means immersion or submersion.   Therefore to baptize means to dip, to immerse, to submerge, to bury under, which is what baptism represents.   When a SAVED PERSON is baptized he is PICTURING the burial of the old sinful life and is PICTURING the resurrection of the new life in Christ:

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up
from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
ROMANS 6:4-5

   The burial represented by baptism is performed as a public testimony of a person's new life in Christ.
It tells the world that the person has PREVIOUSLY BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, has become a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17), and is now going to live his life for the Lord.   BAPTISM IS ONLY A PICTURE OF SALVATION, IT HAS NO SAVING MERIT IN ITSELF!   However some have insisted on teaching that baptism saves, in spite of the fact that throughout the BIBLE we find evidence to the contrary.

   1. We find two incidents where the person was BAPTIZED YET DID NOT REALLY GET SAVED.
Judas Iscariot (John 3:22; Acts 1:21-22) and Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24).

   2. We find various people who were SAVED YET WERE NEVER BAPTIZED.
Moses, Abraham, Joshua, David, Daniel and many more Old Testament saints.   In fact, one particular person could not have been baptized even if he wanted - the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43).

The Pharisees and Sadducees -- the religious leaders (Matthew 3:7-8).   They had to repent and get saved first before they could be baptized.   John the Baptist told them,

"Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:" MATTHEW 3:8

   4. We find many who were BAPTIZED AFTER THEY GOT SAVED.

  • After Cornelius got saved and received the Holy Spirit, Peter asked,
    "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized,
    which have received
    the Holy Ghost..."
    ACTS 10:47
    Therefore it was not baptism that saved him but receiving Christ as Saviour (John 1:12).

  • The Philippian Jailor asked Paul,
    "...Sirs, what must I do to be saved?   And they said,
    Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..."
    ACTS 16:30-31
    He believed and got saved BEFORE he was baptized (Acts 16:33).
    It was his trust in Christ that saved him, NOT BAPTISM (Ephesians 2:8- 10).

  • The Ethiopian Eunuch asked Philip,
    "...what doth hinder [prevent] me to be baptized?
    And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest."
      ACTS 8:36-37
    It was not the baptism that saved him but his trust in Christ as his Saviour (Romans 10:9).

       5. We even find one who DIDN'T NEED TO BE SAVED YET WAS BAPTIZED!
    Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:13-16).

    But we don't find one example of someone getting saved by being baptized!


       Some teach that infant baptism makes a person a child of God.   However, all other arguments aside, the bottom line is this:


    Salvation is a supernatural event.   No one who has truly been saved remains the same after salvation:

    "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
    old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

       A supernatural transformation takes place when a person becomes a true child of God.   They tend to act and live like one.   The Father and child relationship that God provides is real, noticeable and life changing.   The BIBLE has much to say about what a true child of God is really like.

    1) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD HAS HIS FATHER'S SPIRIT DWELLING INSIDE OF HIM.   "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts" GALATIANS 4:6
       This comes from being born again (John 3:3).   Man is born spiritually dead (Lesson 4) and needs to be spiritually born into God's family.   Since God cannot be seen (John 4:24), when a person gets saved, God provides the proof of salvation by giving His Spirit: "...Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."   I JOHN 4:12-13 "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" ROMANS 8:6
       Yet many who think that infant baptism made them a child of God have no absolute assurance that God is their Father.   Many are totally unaware of any spirit present or that one is even supposed to be there!   "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."   ROMANS 8:9

    2) A TRUE CHILD CAN FULLY UNDERSTAND AND APPLY THE TEACHINGS OF HIS FATHER.   "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."   I CORINTHIANS 2:12
       Yet many who are told that baptism made them a child of God consider many of the things taught in the BIBLE as foolish and outdated and can't even understand why they should obey them.   Obviously they don't have the Spirit of God.   "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."   I CORINTHIANS 2:14

    3) A TRUE CHILD HEARS WHAT HIS FATHER SAYS.   "...Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.   ... He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."   JOHN 8:42-43,47
       Yet many believing to have been born into God's family through baptism, do not actively seek to hear what God says in His Word--instead their BIBLE lays closed on a shelf somewhere and never opened.
    Some, when exposed to it, will resist it's teaching because it may not agree with what they already believe.   Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" JOHN 10:27


    4) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD WILL BE LED BY HIS FATHER.   "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."   ROMANS 8:14
       Yet many assuming God is their Father through baptism do not sense God leading in their lives.
    They constantly try to run their lives independently of God; but by not having His wisdom, they make bad decisions leading to frustration and sometimes despair.   If God was truly their Father He would not let them run their lives to a sinful ruin.

    5) A TRUE CHILD DOES NOT FIND HIS FATHER'S COMMANDMENTS HARD TO FOLLOW.   "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [burdensome]."   I JOHN 5:3
       Yet many thinking they are a child of God can't find it within themselves to live the BIBLE'S standard.
    It just doesn't come natural to them; there is no spirit to empower them.   "Because the carnal mind [the unsaved person] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.   ... But ye [the saved person] are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you."   ROMANS 8:7,9

    6) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD HAS BEEN MADE FREE FROM SIN BY HIS FATHER.   "For sin shall not have dominion over you..." ROMANS 6:14
       Yet many assuming baptism made them a child of God can't have complete victory over sin.   They can't overcome pornography, booze, gambling etc.   They are drawn to dirty jokes like a magnet is drawn to steel, can't help but lie when in trouble, and simply have no dominion over sin.   They can't consistently produce fruits of holiness, only sin!   "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."   ROMANS 6:22

    7) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD DOES NOT WILLFULLY PRACTICE SIN.   "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth [practices sin] not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him."   I JOHN 3:6
       Yet many who trust that their baptism has made them a child, live according to the world's standard of morality, and not God's.   They swear, take God's name in vain, steal things from work, cheat on their income tax, hold grudges against others, have sex outside of marriage, and much more in plain sight of God without even thinking about it.   "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit [practice] sin; for his [God's] seed remaineth in him: ... In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God," I JOHN 3:9-10

    8) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD IS CONSTANTLY GROWING SPIRITUALLY BECAUSE OF HIS FATHER'S INTERVENTION IN HIS LIFE.   "For whom he [God] did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed [changed] to the image of his Son [Christ]," ROMANS 8:29
       Yet many trusting in their baptism cannot look back a year or two ago and say, "I have grown to be more Christlike (less selfish, more patient, more compassionate etc.)."   In many cases the opposite is true.   IF THERE IS NO GROWTH THEN SALVATION HAS NOT TAKEN PLACE.   In fact, the unsaved person is pictured as a tree not capable of producing good fruit.   "...therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."   MATTHEW 3:10


    9) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD HAS A REPENTANT ATTITUDE TOWARD HIS FATHER.   "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."   ACTS 20:21
       This is an attitude exemplified by the parable of the prodigal son: "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee," LUKE 15:18
       Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change from self will to following God's will.   It is an attitude that says, "whatever you tell me to do Father, I will do it!"   It is the opposite of a rebellious attitude.   Another Biblical parable illustrates this repentant attitude: "But what think ye?   A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.   He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went."   MATTHEW 21:28-29
       Yet many thinking that baptism has made them a child of God, grow up rebelling against God's will and not following His Word.   They refuse to submit to God's authority over their lives.

    10) A TRUE CHILD OF GOD IS DISCIPLINED BY HIS FATHER WHEN HE SINS.   "...My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."   HEBREWS 12:5
       There are three levels of discipline mentioned in this verse:

    1. rebuked - to convict, to expose
    2. chasteneth - to train, to correct
    3. scourgeth - discipline involving calamities.

       The true child of God cannot sin without God dealing with it, be it through simple conviction or a calamity occurring in their life as a result of their sin.   This discipline comes with the full knowledge that God is behind it.   "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" HEBREWS 12:7
       Yet many who think baptism made them a child of God can go on sinning without any immediate conviction or correction from their Father.   The BIBLE says: "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards [illegitimate], and not sons."   HEBREWS 12:8

       Once again the bottom line is this:


       A true child of God has a real relationship with God.   Through God's indwelling Spirit they are continuously aware of God's presence in their life.   Their thoughts, desires, decisions and actions revolve around the will of their Father.   Yet millions have been told that baptism has made them a child of God and are running their lives as if God doesn't exist.   They only acknowledge He exists one day a week, and even then they do it more out of duty than genuine desire.   In fact, considering all the millions upon millions who have been baptized, one would expect the world to be a much less sinful place with all these "children of God" running around doing their Father's will.   But reality shows that is not the case.   If those millions were honest with themselves, they would have to admit that THEIR BAPTISM DID NOT MAKE THEM A CHILD OF GOD; instead it only satisfied an inherent aspect of man's fallen state - the desire to be religious!

       Through baptism many are assuming they know God, but the real question is, does He know them?

    "...I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [sin]."   MATTHEW 7:23



       What is "easy believe-ism"?   It is a phrase that has been used to describe a version of the gospel in which repentance is not emphasized.   This "simply believe without repenting" gospel has managed to creep its way into many churches.   It is best described by comparing the following two personal testimonies with what the BIBLE says.   (Both examples are based on true stories)

    Bob's Testimony:
       Bob was there on a friend's invitation.   This was the first time Bob had come to a church that preached a gospel message.   He was hearing things he had never heard before.   In fact, the message was making him emotionally unsettled.   When it was over, the preacher invited all who wanted to accept Christ to come forward.   Many people responded as they began to walk toward the front.   Bob too, was debating whether or not he should walk when his friend said, "Go ahead Bob.   Jesus loves you."
       Once everyone was in front, the Preacher led them in the following prayer:
    "Jesus I believe you died for my sins, come into my heart as my Lord and Saviour."
       Bob repeated the prayer, and when it was all over the preacher said, "Congratulations you are all now saved!"

    John's Testimony:
       John had come to church on a friend's invitation.   He had never before been to a church like this.
    He saw a man standing up front preaching from the BIBLE.   His message was unsettling and throughout the following week John kept thinking about what he had heard.   He knew what the preacher had implied, but he wondered if it was true.   For several weeks he kept attending the services and as time went on the feeling in the pit of his stomach grew until he could no longer sleep well at night.   "What if it's true?", he kept thinking.   After two more weeks he no longer wondered if it was true, he now knew for a fact it was.   So he asked to speak with someone at the local church and soon they were both sitting in a room, just the two of them and a BIBLE.

       There seems to be something on your mind, John, would you like to talk about it?
    Yes I would, I need to get saved.
       Saved from what?
    From God's judgment and wrath.
       You really don't believe you deserve God's wrath do you?
    Yes, I have sinned against Him, I'm guilty, I now realize I am a sinner in God's eyes.
       So where would you go if you were to die right now?
    To Hell.
       Are you sure you wouldn't want to think about it some more and come back, say, in a few days?
    Look!   I'm lost, I need to get saved, I could die at any moment and then it would be too late!

    The man wanted to make sure John understood God's plan of salvation

       Now John, Jesus said "...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."   LUKE 13:3
       To repent means to change your mind about the direction you have been going in.
    You mean when it comes to my sin?
       Yes.   But it also includes changing your mind about the things that you are trusting in to get you
       to Heaven.   Tell me, what have you been trusting in to get you to Heaven?

    I guess my baptism, and any good deeds I've done along the way.


       John, the BIBLE says "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
       it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
      EPHESIANS 2:8-9   Do you
       realize that baptism and good deeds are "works" that cannot save you?

    Well, I guess they haven't done me any good, because right now I realize that I might die and go to Hell at any moment.
       Then will you change your mind about trusting in your baptism and good deeds to save you?
    Yes I will.
       Now, you must understand that repentance is not just turning away from sin but it's also turning
       toward God.   "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let
       him return unto the LORD
    , and he will have mercy upon him;"
    ISAIAH 55:7

    I'm willing to do whatever God says in the BIBLE.
       That's the attitude God wants, John.   Now lets talk about faith because while repentance brings
       you to salvation's door, it takes faith to open it.   The BIBLE says "He that believeth on the Son
       hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God
       abideth on him."
      JOHN 3:36   Believe means to trust or put confidence in something.   This means
       that you need to trust Jesus Christ to save you, based upon the fact that He died for your sins.   Let
       me illustrate.   Do you believe a person can safely go to the Moon?

    Yes, of course I do, it's been done.
       Ok, but would you be willing to trust in what you believe and actually go there yourself?
    I'm not sure if I'd go that far.
       That's because there's a difference between simply believing it's safe and actually trusting that it's
       safe.   The same applies to salvation.   It's one thing to believe Christ died for your sins, but God
       wants you to TRUST in Him to forgive you for your sins.   Referring to Christ, the BIBLE says: "In
       whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth..."
    EPHESIANS 1:13

    When John understood his need to repent and believe, he called upon Christ to save him.

    "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."   MATTHEW 18:11
       It was necessary that John see himself as lost.   (By lost, the BIBLE means condemned, separated from God, on the way to Hell.   Lost does NOT mean confused and misguided.)   Jesus relates how salvation and understanding the Gospel are interwoven:

    "...he that received seed [God's Word] into the good ground is he that
    heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit,"
    MATTHEW 13:23

       John heard enough of God's Word to understand that his need was to repent and trust Christ.

    "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."   ROMAN 10:17

       Bob however made his decision prematurely.   Did he truly see himself as lost?   Did he understand his need to repent and trust Christ?   Unfortunately the church he attended did not sit down with him and clearly show him from the BIBLE how a person is saved.   Millions like Bob, have been led through a simple "sinner's prayer" that does not emphasize repentance nor prepares the heart.   The result has been many who are assuming they are saved but are tragically still lost, as in Bob's case.   Sadly, without having repented and trusted Christ, poor Bob believed in vain.   The Apostle Paul, questioning the salvation of some of the members at the church at Corinth said:

    "...I declare unto you the gospel...unless ye have believed in vain."   I CORINTHIANS 15:1-2



       One night a man named Nicodemus paid Jesus a visit.   Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a religious leader of the Jews.   He was a sincere man.   He prayed 3 times a day, fasted twice a week, gave alms to the poor, observed the Sabbath and did anything else his religion required.   Yet with all his religious zeal he still felt something was missing.   He had no assurance that he would go to Heaven when he died.   He didn't even know God on a personal basis.   What he didn't realize was that he was spiritually dead and cut off from God.   He needed to be reconnected spiritually with his Creator.   He needed a spiritual birth.   Jesus told him:

    "Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
    Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
      JOHN 3:3

       Nicodemus thought Jesus meant he had to be physically born again but Jesus made it clear that He meant a spiritual birth:

    "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
      JOHN 3:6-7

       Nicodemus had been taught all his life "do the best you can, be as faithful as you can at keeping the Law and try to please God with all your might."   Unfortunately no one, until Jesus, had told him that as a spiritually dead sinner, it was impossible for him to keep the Law or even please God.

    "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God,
    neither indeed can be.   So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
      ROMANS 8:7-8

       He needed to be born again!   Many today are in a similar situation as Nicodemus.   They have been taught to get baptized, take communion, go to confession, keep the Ten Commandments, etc., and yet in spite of their life-long efforts, they still sense something is missing.   The spiritual void never gets filled.   Some even drop out of religion because of all the hypocrisy they see in church from members who claim to follow God yet behave as if He doesn't exist.   But these poor souls can't help but act "hypocritically".   They have no indwelling Spirit to empower them, THEY HAVE NOT BEEN BORN AGAIN.

       Cornelius is another example: he also was a very religious man.   He feared God, prayed, gave money to the poor (Acts 10:2).   He referred to God as Lord (Acts 10:4).   He even fasted (Acts 10:30).   Yet with all his religious zeal God looked down upon him in mercy and sent Peter to preach to him the Gospel.   The BIBLE says as a result of hearing the Gospel he received the Holy Spirit and was born again! (Acts 10:44)
    Religion never saved anyone; in fact, religion is the opposite of true BIBLE salvation.

    RELIGION is what man does for God.   SALVATION is what God does for man. (Isaiah 53:6)
    RELIGION is trusting in a work we do.   SALVATION is trusting in Christ's work. (Hebrews 10:10)
    RELIGION depends on our behaving.   SALVATION depends on our believing. (Acts 16:31)
    RELIGION is the improvement of the old nature.   SALVATION is the imparting of a new nature through receiving Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. (John 1:12)

       Nothing any one can do will bring about this spiritual birth: not works, not baptism, not self righteousness, not religion.   Only God, through His Word can do it:

    "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
    by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
      I PETER 1:23
       It is through the Word of God that we avoid all the false doctrines that man has devised, and learn that salvation comes ONLY through:

    "...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."   ACTS 20:21



        8:30 AM - Plumber makes a house call. . .
    . . . that pipe is all rusted, you need a new one, it'll cost you $65.00.   TRUST ME!

    Like the dickens I will!   Sir you are grossly mistaken if you believe for one second that, I.M. Prudent III, will simply accept your assessment of the matter without obtaining a second opinion.   Good Day!

        10:00 AM - Mechanic looks over the car. . .
    . . . right now you're misfiring on one cylinder.   Leave your car here for a day, and we will have her all fixed up; for $50.00 that is.   TRUST ME!

    Sir you must assume me to have been in my mother's womb the day before yesterday.   I assure you that I.M. Prudent Ill does not simply "leave any car" without securing a second opinion.   Good day!

        1:00 PM - Dentist office. . .
    . . . your tooth's in bad shape Mr. Prudent.   You need a new crown.   And. . .

    How much?

      $150.00.   TRUST ME!

    Simply trust one opinion with so much at stake?   My fine man, I've known you for many years.   Yet in spite of our prolonged friendship I still must insist upon a second opinion.   Good day!

        4:30 PM - Minister's office. . .
    . . . that's right, Just stay faithful and keep working on those good deeds and you might have a fairly halfway decent chance of maybe getting to Heaven when you die.   TRUST ME!



    * Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, Riverside Pub.
    * Holy Bible   King James Version.

    «««««««««« A Sneak Preview ««««««««««««

    In our next and final lesson we will learn that the most important reason why God gave us the BIBLE was for the salvation and consequent spiritual growth of mankind.   We will deal with the following questions:

    * What happens after salvation?
    * Why is salvation only through repentance and faith?
    * How much faith does it take to be saved?
    * Can a person lose their salvation?
    * How much can a person grow spiritually?
    And more. . .



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