Tuesday, 25 April 2017

What Does the Resurrection Prove?

Christians around the world have celebrated Christ's resurrection for millennia. Though Christ's rising from the dead is  certainly a wonderful event, what does it mean for Christians?

Our faith isn't in a defeated Lord. If Jesus didn't rise, then everything preached about his resurrection is wrong. And if what we believed is wrong, our hope in being raised to new life is also gone. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV), "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

Additionally, Christ fulfilled all the prophecies concerning him. Look at what he said to two discouraged disciples. Luke 24:25 (KJV) reads, "Then he said unto them, 'O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

And because Christ lives, his followers shall live in incorruptible bodies when he returns. 1 Corinthians 15:42 (KJV) states, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:" We don't become disembodied spirits floating around forever, as some false preachers teach.

This is such a blessed hope for all of us who trust in Christ, especially for those of us whose bodies are chronically in pain. As Paul aptly put it in 2 Corinthians 5:4 (KJV), "For we that are in this tabernacle do  groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but  clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

How wonderful that Christ led the way by being the prototype of resurrection to eternal life. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:10 (KJV), "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"

Paul also comforted mourners in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 15:54 (KJV) by writing, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

My earnest hope is to expand upon this awesome promise of resurrection to eternal life in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Only Christianity promises new, immortal bodies because of Christ's rising from the dead. How I wish people who condemn the faith would come to accept and embrace it.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

What Must We Do to Have Eternal Life?

I've shown in past posts that surrendering our wills to Jesus is the only way we can spend eternity in Heaven. But what must we do to inherit eternal life?

Jesus gave the answer in John 3:15 (KJV) when he said of himself, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." The word "believe" means to have implicit trust in Jesus and his gift of salvation.

We must realize that we are hopeless sinners and ask the Lord for forgiveness of our rebellion against him. Then we must become Christ's disciples, following and obeying everything he commands. As the Apostle Paul pointed out in Romans 6:23 (KJV), "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

But merely believing about Jesus isn't enough. We must be a hundred percent devoted to following him and to do so every day. Look at what Paul wrote to his protege, Timothy. He said in 1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV), "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."

We can also see the guarantee of our entrance into heaven in 1 John 5:11 (KJV). "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."

And as it says in Jude 1:21 (KJV), "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

We can therefore put our full trust in Christ because he is God. Peter realized this when he said to Jesus in John 6:68 KJV), "Then Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.'"

There was a time when I thought that just believing about God would get me into heaven. Then I learned at a vacation Bible school meeting that I must repent and place my trust totally in Jesus Christ. This is what I'll emphasize in my upcoming book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many people claim to be Christians but they haven't yet placed their lives in his hands. My goal is to let as many people know about true salvation in Christ alone as I can through my writing.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Why Didn't Christ Save Himself?

Speaking of naive believers, I used to wonder why Jesus didn't save himself from being crucified. When I was a child, I thought that he was Pilate's victim. How wonderful it is that the Lord had everything under his sovereign control.

Jesus himself knew that he would die on the cross and rise again. He said to his disciples in Matthew 26:2 (KJV), "Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."

As I pointed out in a previous post, he had power to lay down his life and take it up again. He wasn't the hapless victim of the Romans and Jews as some people believe.

We can see this truth of the Lord's sovereignty in his answer to Pilate which is recorded in John 19:11 (KJV). "Jesus answered, 'Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.'"

Jesus could have easily defeated the Romans. He knew it too since he said in Matthew 26:53 (KJV), "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"

Consider what one angel did in 2 Kings 19:35 (KJV). "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."

Being human as well as divine, the prospect of the cross and taking the filthy sins of his people upon himself terrified Christ. Matthew 26:39 KJV) reads, "And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, 'O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.'"

And because Christ submitted himself to the Father's will, he suffered physical, psychological, and spiritual agony. Look at what the prophecy in Isaiah 52:14 (KJV) says of him. "As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:"

Because of these scriptural proofs, we can be assured that Jesus was the victor and not the vanquished. He rose on the first day of the week and ascended up to heaven after forty days of instructing his disciples.

I'll be writing much more about this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The resurrection of Christ gives us hope that we too shall rise to live in his kingdom.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Was Judas Substituted for Christ?

Here's another incorrect doctrine. According to The Bible Answer Man, some Muslims believe that Judas was substituted for Christ and was crucified. They claim that Allah tricked the Roman soldiers and the Jewish officials into crucifying the wrong person.

This is manifestly wrong. The whole plan was for Christ to be the Christian's substitute on the cross. Jesus himself said in Luke 18:31 (KJV), "Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, 'Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished'.'"

Jesus also described what would happen to him in Mark 10:33 (KJV). "Saying, 'Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles':"

One of the clearest prophesies showing that it was Christ who would suffer is Isaiah 53:3 and 4 (KJV). "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."

Nobody treated Judas like that. In fact, it was he who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 27:5 (KJV) clearly states, "And he (Judas) cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." So how could he be Christ's substitute if he hung himself?

No, it was Christ who, like the Passover lamb, shed his blood for us who believe in him. Romans 5:11 (KJV) says, "And not only so, but we also joy in God  through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." No mere mortal could have accomplished that.

Christ's substitutionary atonement is one of many doctrines I'll feature in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? As Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV), "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." If Jesus didn't pay the price for our sin, we would be facing eternity in hell and been found to be liars.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Was Christ really dead for three days?

I wrote in a previous post about scoffers who made fun of the descriptions of hell in the Bible. Just as wrong-headed is the notion that Christ wasn't crucified on Good Friday. People who hold to that view say that Jesus was in Joseph's toomb for seventy-two hours. What they don't realize is that first-century people told time differently than we do.

In all four gospel accounts, Christ was crucified on the day before the sabbath. After the sabbath was the first day of the week. And as you can read in the first chapter of Genesis, sundown was reckoned as the beginning of the new day.

The Jews also were told not to leave a dead body unburried on the sabbath. As John 19:31 and 32 (KJV) explains, "The Jews therefore, because it was the  preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on  the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought  Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken  away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him." Since Jesus was already dead, a soldier shoved a spear into his side to make sure he was deceased.

These things were done before sundown to fulfil the law. Not yet being the sabbath, the day was claimed as a full day without any fussing about  hours and minutes. This meant that Christ was put into the tomb on that first day, his body was there on the sabbath, and he rose early on the third day.

Assuming that it had to be exactly seventy-two hours and zero minutes is foolish at best and prideful at worst. Misapprehensions like that come from ignorance of the customs, laws, and regulations of the time in which the scriptures were being written. This is why Bible readers must learn all about the times and ways of the folks to whom the books of the Bible were written.

When I get out of debt and save up enough money, I want to publish my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many people mistakenly claim various ideas as biblical when they actually arent. Additionally, naive believers fall for these blasphemous lies. My hope is that my writing will prevent them from falling for spiritual scams.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Why Was Christ Crucified?

Continuing on with this month's theme, I need to explain why Christ was crucified. Jesus himself explained why in John 3:16 (KJV). "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

From the beginning, God's plan of salvation called for his son to be the substitute to take the punishment of those who would put their lives in his hands. He promised this way back in Genesis 3:15. The King James Version reads, "And I (God) will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, (Eve) and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This "seed" is none other than Jesus Christ. The "him" in that passage is the Devil.

Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)foretold Christ's atoning work.  "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Furthermore, Jesus was no hapless victim, as some folks believe but a willing saviour who died and rose to save his followers. John 10:18 (KJV) reads, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."

Being human as well as divine, Jesus still had his qualms about being our spiritual whipping boy. John 12:27 (KJV) records him as saying, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour:' but for this cause came I unto this hour."

Jesus could have easily chickened out but he staid the course. John 18:37 (KJV) describes how he was resolute in his purpose. "Pilate therefore said unto him, 'Art thou a king then?' Jesus answered, 'Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.'"

Christ knew what his sacrifice would eventually accomplish. Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) explains, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

In addition to having all power and authority in heaven and earth, Christ is our go-between, advocating our case to his heavenly Father. As Hebrews 9:15 (KJV) explains, "And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

Additionally, Christ always had the long view in mind. 1 Corinthians 15:28 (KJV) shows this when Paul wrote, "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."

What an awesome truth this is! From before creation, the Trinity agreed on this mighty plan to provide Christ a gift, meaning those who would believe in him, so he could lay us at the Father's feet as a token of his love.

I hope to write much more on this mind-boggling rescue mission and gift of love in a book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? If people could have even a glimpse of how comprehensive the Lord's plan is, it would astonish them and even cause them to surrender to Christ's will.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Do Our Souls Sleep Until Christ's Return?

This month, I'd like to move on to the subject of the resurrection. It's the most important factor in our lives and our eternal destination. But I first want to clear up the matter of what happens before we believers rise from the dead.

I read a blog post recently which claimed that Christians don't go to heaven when they die. This sounds like the doctrine of soul sleep to me.

One scripture passage which the post claimed to prove soul sleep is 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 17 (KJV). "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

It's obvious from the passage that this is speaking of resurrection at the last day. Even so, some people think that the word "sleep" in the previous verses means that the souls of Christians remain in the ground.

But what about John 11:11 to 14? The King James Version renders the words of Christ this way. "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, 'Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.' Then said his disciples, 'Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.' Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead.'"

And what of Revelation 6:9 to 11? The Bible in Basic English reads, "And when the fifth stamp was undone, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been put to death for the word of God, and for the witness which they kept. And they gave a great cry, saying, 'How long will it be, O Ruler, holy and true, before you take your place as judge and give punishment for our blood to those on the earth?' And there was given to every one a white robe, and they were ordered to take their rest for a little time, till the number was complete of the other servants, their brothers, who would be put to death, even as they had been."

Any clear-thinking person can understand from the contexts of those verses that sleep is a euphemism for death. It's also obvious that the souls of departed believers are in the presence of God. As Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV), "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." He never said he or we would rest in the ground.

Because I was grossly misled by wicked phoneys, claiming to be advanced teachers of spiritual revelation, I wrote How I Was Razed. This glorious testimony shows how the Lord led me out of a toxic church and into his awesome truth.