Monday, December 27, 2010

Understanding Biblical Repentance

This topic is not a popular topic to be discussed without having one side accuse you of something you have nothing to do with.  There are different views of repentance; but just as there is only one gospel that saves, there is only one true repentance in the Bible that is genuine.  Paul said to the Galatians that any man who preaches any "other" gospel than that which the Bible teaches, let him die and go to hell.  He used the word "accursed" but it means the same thing.  I didn't say that, God said it in His Word.  That ought to tell you how much God cares about His gospel.  The sad thing is that today many are presenting a false gospel by presenting a false repentance not taught in the Bible.  Throughout this article, I'd like to examine the difference between true repentance vs. false repentance because it is such a thing that cannot be ignored.

Repentance Is a Must; Not a Should, Could, or Would

The first thing we must be aware of is that repentance is always a command, not an option.  Today, we see this doctrine being thrown away because preachers are afraid to take the heat to preach a Biblical repentance.  Repentance is not a popular topic to preach on, but it is in the Bible and therefore, must be preached on.  Luke 24:46-47 says, "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."  God requires it as told in Acts 17:30, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:" Here we see it is a command.  If you want to be saved, then you must repent.  You cannot be saved until you repent.  You cannot have faith until you have repentance.  Repentance is always before faith.  Mark 1:15 is where Jesus said, "repent ye, and believe the gospel."  It wasn't, "believe and then repent."  You can't believe until you repent.  Thus, repentance is a requirement.  Repentance is not a matter of that I should, not a matter of that I could, nor even a matter that I would; it is a matter of whether or not I am going to do so.  If a person doesn't repent, he will not be saved.

False Repentance

Before we look at true repentance, it would wise to take a look at false repentance - what repentance is not.  There are common misconceptions of repentance and I'd like to take a look at the most popular ones.

1.) Repentance is not turning from sin or giving up your sinful life style to start a new one. 

This is perhaps the most taught in churches.  This is the definition modern dictionaries give.  The problem with this teaching is that it is an attempt of what man does in order to be saved, rather than what was already done.  Many preachers preach that you must turn from your sins in order to be saved.  Let me say this, there is a vast difference between repentance OF sins and repentance FROM sins.  Repentance OF sins is a realization OF your sin.  Repentance FROM sin is turning from sin or stop sinning.  Now, just what exactly do I mean by turning from sins?  What exactly do preachers mean by this?  Literally, they are saying we must forsake our sins or else God will not save us.  Turning from sins in order to the Word of God is keeping God's commandments and keeping the law of commission/omission.  An example of this would be found with the Ten Commandments.  The Bible says, "Thou shalt not steal."  Turning from sin would be obeying that commandment and not stealing.  Turning from sin is law, not grace.  But, the Bible makes it clear we are not saved by keeping the law.  Galatians 2:16 says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."  Three times in this verse alone does God say we are not saved by the works of the law. 

Still don't believe me that turning from sin is works?  Let us now look at Jonah 3:5-10.  Jonah 3:5-10 reads, "So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."  Scripture teaches that genuine repentance brings a change of life and a change of actions.  Acts 26:20 says, "But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance."  The word "meet" means "fit".  What Paul was saying here is that people need to turn to God for salvation and as a result of that, they need to do works to prove that the repentance was genuine.  Genuine repentance leads to turning from sin, but it is not turning from sin itself.  Here we have the story of Nineveh's salvation and the results that took place afterward.  In verse five, real repentance is shown - they believed God.  You cannot believe God until you repent.  You cannot believe the gospel until you repent.  Repentance is always before faith in Christ.  Nineveh put faith and trust in God and as a direct result, the king made a decree that the land would do right for God.  They turned from their sinful lifestyle after salvation.  In verse ten, God says that He saw their repentance.  Is that what it says?  No.  Let's read it again, "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way..." It doesn't say God saw their faith, it says God saw their works.  What was their works?  "That they turned from their evil way."  They turned from their wicked rebellion against the Lord.  Repentance is also demonstrated by God in this passage of Scripture.  The last part of verse ten says, "...God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."  Can God sin? No.  Therefore, He has no sin to turn from.  What Nineveh did was change their attitude about God.  What God did was change His attitude about Nineveh.  This is what the Scripture teaches.  Repentance is not turning from sin, even though it will result in that. 

Many people miss this important truth that repentance is NOT turning from sin.  Even if you were going to be logical, if turning from sin was required for us to be saved, since God hates all sin and the Bible says nothing defiled, not even a person that has lied will enter into the kingdom of God, it is clear that if we want to save ourselves we must become sinless.  But, this is impossible.  Preachers of sinless perfection only preach that doctrine to excuse their sin and not to repent of theirs and they confuse many others in doing so.  1 John 1:8-10 makes it clear that if we say we don't have sin, then we are calling God a liar and His Word is not in us.  That's pretty bold, but it is the Word of God.  You say, "but you have to turn from your sins."  The only way a person can save himself from his own sins is by turning from them all.  Ezekiel 18:21 says, "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die."  If you want to try and save yourself, this is it.  Notice the words though, "But if the wicked turn from ALL his sins..."  Does it say most sins?  No.  Does it say the big sins? No.  Does it say the sins that easily beset us? No.  It says, "all the sins that he hath committed."  Question: can you count exactly how many times you have committed a sin?  No, no one can - it is countless times.  But doesn't the Bible say to turn from all your sins?  Sure.  But the Bible also tells us that Jesus was a sinless man and never was wicked at all.  He became sin for us.  Now, but that's not all.  You not only need to turn fro the sins COMMITTED, you must also not OMIT anything God requires us to do.  This means pray without ceasing, studying the Word, going to church, tithing, etc.  How many times do we not do this?  Countless.  My point is that it is impossible to clean yourself up with a dirty rag which is who we are.  Jesus can make us without spot if we trust Him alone, not our ability to reform.  But again, if you want to save yourself the only way is to become sinless and never sin again.  Or, you can let Jesus save you (the only way you can be saved and have surety of it) because He was perfect and His works were not tainted by the sin we have.

2.) Repentance is not having much sorrow over sins or showing tears.

Do not misunderstand this statement that I had just made, it is okay and Biblical to have a contrite heart when one comes to the Lord for salvation.  The Bible says time and time again that the Lord delights in the contrite heart.  Psalm 34:18 reads, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."  And again in Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."  I once heard of a preacher who despised this very thing.  His argument is that salvation is supposed to be a joyous thing, not at time of mourning.  But, when we realized how wicked our sin was and that it is what put Jesus on the cross, it is natural to be contrite over the sinful state of ourselves.  Make no mistake about it, I do NOT condemn tears of a person, I endorse it completely. 

On the other hand, salvation is not about how many tears come down your face; it is about whether or not your full trust is in the Lord for salvation.  Many preachers have a habit of saying that if a person doesn't show tears, then they really were not repentant and only say this because of experience with what happened with them.  This is not true in the case of Matthew 21:28-29, "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."  We have a story of a son who refuses to do the work that his dad told him to do, but understood he was wrong, repented and went ahead and did it.  There is no sign of showing an emotional state of tears.  There is no indication that the son ever did shed tears; but the Bible does say here that he did repent.  Many preachers use 2 Corinthians 7:10 as their defense of this faulty definition of repentance, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."  Many preachers use this because the word 'salvation' is used here.  A good thing to note is that where the Bible uses the word "saved" it is not always referring to when a person gets born again.  Matthew 14 is a good example to use.  Matthew 14 is the chapter where we find Jesus and Peter both walk on water; Peter then takes his eyes away from Jesus and then begins to drown and in verse 30 he said to Jesus, "Lord, save me."  Now, was this Peter's salvation?  Surely it was his salvation from the water, but it has nothing to do with him being born again.  There is another example in 1 Timothy 2:15 and it says, "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."  This has absolutely nothing to do with being born again, this is referring to being physically saved from death.   As mightily as preachers use 2 Corinthians 7:10, it is not addressed to lost people at all.  The church of Corinth was a saved church, but immature as babes in Christ as taught in 1 Corinthians 3.  If you will take the time to read the whole chapter, you will find that Paul is not telling the church of Corinth to repent, but rejoicing because they had already repented.  What did they repent of?  They repented of ever accepting a fornicator in church as explained in 1 Corinthians 5.  Paul was rejoicing because of this, it has nothing to do with our regenerated state but what we do with people of the world.  D. L. Moody once said that a person cannot do a godly anything until he is first saved.  This is so true.  There is no such thing as a lost person having godly sorrow because there is nothing godly about them.  In God's eyes, everything we do before salvation is ungodly no matter how much we think it is godly.  But even so, this very pet verse they use to preach their faulty view of repentance condemns them.  Notice the italicized word that I italicized in 2 Corinthians 7:10, "worketh".  Godly sorrow worketh repentance.  Even in a saved person's life, real repentance is not godly sorrow in and of itself but it will result in repentance.  The amount of tears a lost person sheds when he comes to salvation is not a requirement, but a result of understanding how sinful they really are.  Each person is different and emotions are not the same for everyone.

The simple fact is that salvation is not an emotional experience, but a personal trust in the Lord for our salvation.  John 3:36 makes this clear - you trust Jesus Christ, then you have everlasting life; if you don't, then God's wrath abides on you.  I pray that none of us will ever fall to the notion of thinking that our tears will take us to Heaven when we die.  As the song Rock of Ages goes, "Could my tears forever flow; could my zeal no respite know.  These for sin could not atone, Thou must save and Thou alone."  The Bible does not say "without the shedding of tears, there is no remission"; it says, "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission."  The blood of Christ is the only liquid that will ever save a sinner, not his amount of tears. 

2.) Repentance is not making a change for the better.

There are some preachers today who believe and teach that repentance is a change and nothing else to it.  This is false repentance.  The important thing to remember is that God does the changing and the saving, my part is to simply do the believing and the receiving.  The issue is not whether God will change us or not, the issue is that we are not the ones who do it.  A popular Southern Baptist preacher named Paul Washer teaches this damnable heresy.  He once said in a sermon entitled, "Repent and Believe", "Now what is repentance? The word means to change. Let me ask you a question … Have you changed?"  This is works salvation.  Paul Washer is implying that we have to change before we can be saved.

Let me say this, a lost person cannot change himself.  I did not say that a lost person will not be willing; I did not say that he would not try to; I said that he cannot.  Isaiah 64:6 says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."  Notice the words, "we are all as an unclean thing" and "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags".  Our self-righteousness is sin in God's eyes but in man's eyes, it is good.  Regardless of what man thinks or says, let God be true and every man a liar.  Notice what Isaiah says our righteousness is as - filthy rags.  Let me ask you, reader, would you use a filthy rag to make your dirty dishes get clean?  No, that is preposterous.  Using a dirty rag on dirty dishes will only make the dishes more dirty.  Would you use a dirty rag on a dirty car? No.  This is the same way with our life.  Jeremiah 2:22 says, "For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD." This is God speaking here.  God says that religious soap will not wash us clean.  Only the blood of Christ has the power to make us white as snow.  Revelation 1:5 says, "...Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"  Only the blood can cleanse every spot.  What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  It is true and if repentance was a change on our part, then that would mean Jesus' blood is not enough or it is insufficient to save us from our sins.  Our trust in the Lord would be in vain.  The Bible says that if righteousness came by law, then Christ died in vain, or for nothing (Gal. 2:21).  The simple fact is that a lost person cannot change himself, God must do the changing.  Paul Washer and others must come to the truth that God does the real changing.  Whether it is evident in a believer's life or not is a different story.  Regardless, God does the changing not man because man, who is tainted by sinfulness, cannot change himself into the man who God wants to see.

Another thing to consider is what Jesus said in Matthew 9:12, "But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."  He said this in response to Pharisees who were wondering why Jesus was with sinners.  Jesus said, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."  The very idea that repentance is a change is like a hospital saying, "We only accept healthy people."  Healthy people don't need to go to the hospital, sick people do.  I'll tell you this, sick people need the Lord - they have the illness of sin.  They don't have the cure for that, but the Great Physician does.  Repentance is not a change of conduct at all.  A sinner does not change his clothes and make himself look clean before he meets the Lord, he comes as he is and leaves a totally different person because it is God that does the changing, not man himself.

The truth is, salvation is not of works.  It is not about us changing for the better.  This New Year's we will all make a resolution to make that half of the people in the world do not keep for a day, let alone a year.  Our resolutions for the better cannot save us.  Do you think anyone will be in Heaven that says they got there because they trusted in changing themselves?  No, only those whom God has changed from being unsaved to saved - from being dead to alive in Christ.  We do not do the changing, God does.

There are many other faulty views of repentance, but these are the most common ones being taught in churches across America.  It is sad, but it is the truth.  Some people are not going to like that I put this article up because it may upset some people, but the Word of God does that.  I have no intentions of hating anyone, but only the false doctrine they teach which comes from the devil himself.  Let us come to conclusion that there is only one type of repentance that is genuine, that is real, and that is not fake like the burgers you eat a MacDonald's.

True Repentance

Now that we know and are aware of faulty repentance that are in the world, we must come to conclusion that there is only ONE type of repentance in the Bible just as there is only ONE gospel that saves.  Galatians 1:9 gives us warning not to preach anything other than this gospel, "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."  The words "let him be accursed" means just how they sound and that means, "let him go to hell."  I did not say this, Paul wrote this and God inspired it.  Therefore, we would be wise to take heed to what this verse is telling us.  We have to be right on the gospel, and if we are to do that, we must be right on the doctrine of repentance.

So, what is repentance?  We know of it's importance, we know what is not; but what is it?  Real repentance is a change of mind that will lead to a change of action.  Of course, I do not believe this change of action has anything to do with what saves us but it will take place after you repent.  If you want, you can take the word "repent" and put "change your mind" in place of it because it means the exact same thing in the Word of God.  Here is an example of Matthew 21:28-29 which is what we looked at earlier:

"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."

We could say it like this, "He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he changed his mind, and went."  The true meaning of repentance fits perfect here.  It would not make sense to put "but afterward he turned from his sin, and went" or "but afterward he was sorry, and went."  There is no sign of that and it makes more sense with the "change of mind" because it is the real definition.  Another one is Mark 1:15:

"And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."

Jesus is speaking here and telling people how they can be saved.  It would make the same sense to say, "change your mind, and believe the gospel."  It would not make sense any other way.  Another example is Acts 20:21:

"Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul's main ministry was getting people to change their minds toward God and put faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ - the same thing Jesus taught in Mark 1:15.

You can do this with any passage in the New Testament.  Words do not mean today the same thing they meant 400 years ago, let alone 5000-6000 years ago when God started to write the Bible.  But, the Word of God doesn't need to fit our culture, our culture needs to get in line with the Word of God.  Another thing to note is that...

God Repents

As hard as it sounds, God repents the same way mankind repents.  You don't believe me?  Well, I guess that means it is Scripture time.  Here is a list of a few of the verses in the Old Testament on God repenting of something of some sort...

Genesis 6:6, "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."

Exodus 32:14, "And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people."

Judges 2:18, "And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them."

1 Samuel 15:35, "And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel."

1 Samuel 24:16, "And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite."

1 Chronicles 21:15, "And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite."

Psalm 106:45, "And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies."

Jeremiah 26:19, "Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls."

Amos 7:3, "The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD."

Amos 7:6, "The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD."

Jonah 3:10, "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."

Zechariah 8:14, "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not:"

From the verses above given, we can see clearly that repentance cannot be sorrow over sins because God has none to be sorry for, nor can it be turning from sins since He has none to turn from. What God had did in these verses is either change his mind or not change his mind in a situation.  God can change His mind.  Many say, "Well, this is God - He can do whatever He wants." Sure, but God gave us the same quality.  He gave us a mind to think right or to think wrong.  We can change our mind, and most assuredly, we must if we want to go to Heaven.  


Preachers often confuse repentance with other things like reformation, conversion, or penitence.  These things are good, but it is not the same thing as regeneration.  God saves us because He wants us to, not because we beg Him to.  God saves us because He knew we couldn't and wanted to provide us a way out of going to Hell.  God is a God of mercy and grace as well as justice and wrath.  The only way to be saved is to trust the Lord - plus nothing, minus nothing.  We need to come to conclusion that repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of action.  If we do not, we might as well consider ourselves accursed by God.  I pray that this article did help you out in understanding what Biblical repentance is.  Let us not contaminate this precious truth any longer.

In Christ,
Daniel Gladu

Saturday, December 4, 2010

King Saul's Salvation

This article will allow you to know whether King Saul was saved or not, or if he was saved and later lost his salvation.  Many people go back and look at King Saul's hideous, wicked life and automatically think he was lost.  This is what we would all think of Lot if it weren't for the New Testament.  But, Lot was saved but lived poorly for the Lord.  Throughout this note, you will find that King Saul's story is a little similar to Lot's.  I hope that you do take the time to read this thoroughly.  Before you read the next paragraph, I know that not everyone that reads this is going to agree with me here.  But, the important thing is that you agree with God concerning this matter, not me.  I only wish to share with you what the Word of God has to say and for you to understand whether King Saul was really saved or not.
I bring this up because it is debated that King Saul was either never saved or that he was saved and then later on he lost his salvation. But, we must first note that all men in the Old Testament were saved the same way that we are today. Acts 10:43 says, "To him (Jesus Christ) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Need we go any further? The verse not only says that Jesus Christ as preached by every Old Testament prophet in the Bible (To him give ALL the prophets witness...), but it also says that belief was the only requirement (...whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.) Therefore, the message and gospel of the Old Testament was salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Abraham even heard the gospel and got saved by the same gospel we get saved by today (Galatians 3:8). Thus, it is important to note that all men were saved wholly on believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. If they didn't do that, then they didn't get saved.

This all being said, 1 Samuel 10:2-6 says, "When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man."

Here we learn that Saul meets a group of prophets and they preach to him. We can safely assume that they preached Jesus Christ to them since this was the main theme of all the Old Testament (Acts 10:43). After Saul heard the gospel preached to him, Saul received the gospel and was born again. Saul in verse 6 was "turned into another man." In verse 9 it says that "God gave him a new heart," which is a clear reference to new birth. So here we learn Saul got saved.

Saul's Christian life experience after his new birth is given in the same chapter in 1 Samuel 10:7-12 where Samuel is instructing Saul to follow the leading of the Lord (which are instructions to the Christian life we have today), "And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?"

We are told in these verses that those who knew Saul before Saul was saved saw the evidence that Saul had been born again. His old friends were shocked and amazed that Saul had joined the prophets and began preaching with them, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" Clearly, his old friends had noticed a change in Saul's life and that was his salvation.

Now, I would like to say that there is a such thing as a backslider. Proverbs 14:14 says, "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself." As we look at the end of Saul's life, we can tell that he was very disobedient not only to those around him but also to the Lord. Because Saul was disobedient as a child of God, God had to discipline and finally take his life. This is what happens to the Christian - he is convicted by God, and may shun that conviction. He may indulge into sin, and then God must then take his life. But first, I would like to say that no believer can lose his salvation (John 6:37, 39) but when they fail to use their life for God, then they can lose rewards (2 John 8, 1 Cor. 3:15). God can also take their life as He did with Ananias and Sapphira.

In 1 Samuel 28, Saul goes on to speak with a witch of Endor to bring Samuel back to life just to answer a question concerning Saul's future. Mediums are not able to bring people back to life, but in this case God took over and allowed that to happen. The Bible tells us that Christians ought not have anything to do with mediums (Deut. 18:10-12; Lev. 20:6). Satan's can angels can impersonate the dead and we become his prey. In 1 Samuel 28:7 Samuel rose from the dead and the witch screamed because it never happened like this before.

But, why did Saul want Samuel back? What was the whole point of having Samuel come back from the dead? It was that Saul wanted to know what was going to happen with this war with the Philistines. Samuel gives the answer in verse 19, "Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines." Please understand this passage - it is telling us that Saul is told that he is going to lose the battle and that he and his sons are going to be killed.

He is also told that Samuel is going to be with him. This is very important to note because Samuel the prophet was obviously saved and therefore Saul was saved because he went to be with Samuel (I Samuel 28:19). There are those who teach that because Saul was a backslider at the end of his life, Saul lost his salvation. The fact that Saul did not lose his salvation is evidenced by the fact that he went to go see Samuel (1 Samuel 28:19).

King Saul is an example of a believer who did not live for the Lord after his salvation. On the other hand, he did not lose his salvation, that's impossible. God saves us with an "everlasting salvation" as taught in Isaiah 45:17 and God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

As Christians and children of God, we can lose our rewards and will have to stand before God at the judgment seat of Christ and the punishments put on us are going to be way worse than we can ever imagine. We should learn the lesson from Saul that we need to use our talents, gifts, or whatever we have for the Lord. Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Verse 1 says that this is our reasonable service; there is nothing unreasonable about serving the Lord and being involved with His work. It is very reasonable to do so, and we must do it if we want to be good Christians in God's eyes. God shouldn't have to vomit up lukewarm Christians who are living in pleasure rather than serving God. I pray we all learn the lesson from Saul and that we use our lives for the glory of God.

James 2:24

James 2:24, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."

Many Catholics, Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, and even sometimes Baptists take this verse out of context.  They are good at adding works to the gospel.  A lot of people are and sadly, that is all they are known for.  Proper discernment of the Scripture will tell us that the people who take this verse out of context are wrong and that is the purpose of this note.
First off all, who was this epistle written to? James 2:1 says, "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons." The first verse of this chapter says, "My brethren..." Almost every time the word "brethren" is used it is referring to saved people who are brothers in Christ. This is not the only time the word is used. It is also used in verse 14 where it says, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?" Notice the two words "my brethren". It is clear that this passage of Scripture is written to brethren who are already saved.
Second, the passage must be read entirely; not in part as most Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals, etc. do so ignorantly. By reading it in whole, you can interpret it correctly. Therefore, James 2:14-26 says, "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
Verse 14 is often misinterpreted or misunderstood. Think about the word "profit". It is used elsewhere in the Scripture by Paul. Titus 3:8 says, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." Notice the phrase Paul uses, "good and profitable unto men." It is important to note that works are profitable "unto men" when reading James 2. We must understand that to know the distinction between justification before God and justification before man. But, the word "profit" is not the only thing I want to look at. Perhaps the most misunderstood phrase in this verse alone is "can faith save him?" The question we need to ask now is "can faith save who?" Who is James referring to? By just this verse alone, we will be quick and ready to say that it is referring to the one who says he has faith. But, a good rule of thumb is that in order to understand a verse properly is that it can NEVER once contradict another verse of Scripture. Galatians 2:16 says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Three times in Galatians 2:16 alone God says that we are justified by faith. So, can faith save a person who puts their trust in God alone? Yes, it certainly can. So what does the context of the word "him" in James 2:14 refer to? It is obvious that it is referring to a different person. In order to know, we must read on. Verse 15 says in the beginning, "If a brother or sister..." This who "him" is. Verses 15-17 say, "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." Notice in verse 16 the words again, "what doth it profit?" What good does it do to know that a person is naked and is hungry and then tell them "God bless you: I hope and pray someone can give you clothes and food." This is an example of faith without works. And James says in verse 17 that faith without works is dead, being alone and that is to say, it is useless to the person in need. So, what James is saying is that you can have all the faith you want, but it avails to nothing to any other person; it's only good for one person, that's you. But, works are good for six billion people in this world, they are profitable unto men. This is where we see James 2:18 come to play.
James 2:18 is another often misunderstood, taken-out-of-context verse. James 2:18 says, "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." Notice again, that this is someone telling you something. It could be true, they do have faith but you won't know until you see it in action. James says, "You say to me that you have faith, but I have works." Then he says, "Show me how great your faith is without your works, and I will show you how much greater my faith is with my works." Faith is useless to others because you can't see someone's faith. Works are useful because you can see how faithful they really are. You are not going to know how faithful a person really is until his faith is active with works.
James 2:19 is another verse that is often used by Catholics who teach that belief is not enough to saved. Historical belief is not enough, but dynamic belief really is. The devils believe there is a God, know that there is a God and that is why they tremble at the fact there is a God. Passive faith is "I believe Jesus died." Dynamic faith is, "I believe Jesus died for me." Real faith produces works. If you know Jesus died for you and it was such a great sacrifice He did just for you, you are going to want to thank Him for that and that's going to happen by works not because you want to go to Heaven, but because you are going to Heaven.
James 2:20 says faith without works is dead. Dead means useless. A dead person can't do anything for he is dead. But, faith with works shows that a person is spiritually alive and well thankful for what was done for him on the cross. The verse doesn't say faith without works will make you go to Hell, it says that it is dead, it is useless.
James 2:21-24 uses the example of Abraham. James and Paul used Abraham as an example in justification. Paul used him in Romans 4. Romans 4:1-3 says, "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Genesis 15:6 is where Paul gets this from. It says that Abraham believed the Lord, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. James uses the example here to prove that Abraham was ALSO justified by works not by faith only. He uses the example of Abraham offering up Isaac. Abraham had been saved at Genesis 15:6. He did not have Isaac until Genesis 21. Isaac was not offered up as a sacrifice until Genesis 22. Obviously, there is at least ten years before this event occurred - thus, it stands to reason these are TWO SEPARATE EVENTS. Abraham was saved 14 years before he was circumcised. This further proves belief on the Lord is the only thing that it takes to be justified before GOD and God knows who truly has and who truly has not. But, I would like you to notice Romans 4:2, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God." Notice the words, "he hath whereof to glory; BUT NOT BEFORE GOD." James 2 says Abraham WAS justified by works, but again, this is NOT BEFORE GOD. Notice the word in James 2:22, "seest". It is clear from Scripture interpreting Scripture that Abraham's justification in Romans 4 is different from Abraham's justification in James 2. Romans 4 speaks of justification before GOD ALONE and that is ONLY by grounds of FAITH WITHOUT WORKS (Romans 4:5). James 2 speaks of justification before MAN ALONE and that is ONLY by grounds of FAITH PRODUCING WORKS (James 2:14-18). Abraham's justification before God and justification before men were different things, which is the same case with us (James 2:24).
James 2:25 uses the example of Rahab the Harlot. She was saved, but again, WE would not have known that without her works being evident. God knew she was saved before, but we wouldn't have without her works being able to be seen.
James 2:26 closes in on the analogy that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Some believers have a life just like the Dead Sea; they take in everything but produce NOTHING. It is evident that these "believers" may never be saved to begin with. But, again, that is what WE SAY, not what God says and God ALWAYS has the final word.
In conclusion, I'd like to say that passages must be read THOROUGHLY and in CONTEXT. James 2:24 alone would say that we are saved by works and faith but OTHER SCRIPTURES STATE OTHERWISE and so it is not possible that our interpretation of that is right. If we read fully what James had said, we would agree that he was speaking on the basis of man's justification before mankind, not the justification before God.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Debt's Been Paid by Daniel Gladu

This is something that the Lord had laid on my heart to write on tonight.  The first verse is a little part of my testimony about what the Lord truly had done in my life.  I said the verse John 15:5 because the last part of it says, "...for without me, ye can do nothing."  This is the truth.  We can't do anything without the Lord in our life.  Blessed be to God, my debt has been paid!...

My Debt's Been Paid

One night I was reading beside my bed
And all I could think of was John 15:5 in my head
That night I kneeled down and prayed,
"Thank you Lord, my debt's been paid"

When I think of the words "It is Finished" I know
The story is true, God loves me so
Oh, to think of the crimes that I had made
All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus, my debt's been paid"

Oh the souls that mock and scoff
They don't realize what a great cost
And they sit around thinking it is a game to play
Oh I wish they would realize the price Jesus did pay

When I think of the words "It is Finished" I know
The story is true, God loves me so
Oh, to think of the crimes that I had made
All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus, my debt's been paid"

The devil comes so many times
Reminding me of how great my crimes
But then I remember what Jesus did say,
"You believed on me, the debt's been paid"

When I think of the words "It is Finished" I know
The story is true, God loves me so
Oh, to think of the crimes that I had made
All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus, my debt's been paid"

Many religions will give another way
But all it does is lead astray
We must remember what Jesus said,
"The only way to the Father is through the price I paid"

When I think of the words "It is Finished" I know
The story is true, God loves me so
Oh, to think of the crimes that I had made
All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus, my debt's been paid"

So if you want to experience this joy
Understand that on the cross sin was destroyed
And realize that Jesus is the only way
For the penalty to be broken, and the price be paid

When I think of the words "It is Finished" I know
The story is true, God loves me so
Oh, to think of the crimes that I had made
All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus, my debt's been paid"

All I can say is, "Thank you, Jesus, my debt's been paid"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salvation - The Crime, The Criminal, The Penalty, The Payment, The Debt You Owe

Many people have a problem grasping what true salvation is.  This article will help you understand what true salvation is what it means to its fullest.  Throughout this piece of writing, I would like you to imagine a criminal before a judge.  The criminal has done a terrible crime and has broken the law.  Because of that, he must face charges and must pay a death penalty for his awful crime.  The judge won't let this go.  The criminal weeps with bitter tears, but the tears he sheds does not change what he had already done.  The criminal says to the judge with sincerety, "Please don't make me do this - I promise I will do better and not do it again." The judge says, "This doesn't erase the fact you have committed a crime that must be paid.  Someone must pay this penalty that you owe."  As soon as that is said, a man walks into the courtroom and says, "I will pay this man's penalty.  I will die in his place so that he can go free."  Because of the great price the innocent man paid, the criminal has a change life and instead of being a criminal he uses his life as the innocent man would want him to live - a life for him.  This is perhaps the best way to understand salvation in its fullest.  The first thing we must understand from this story is...

The Crime & The Criminal

This crime that was committed by the criminal is also known as "sin".  Sin is transgression of the law of God.  1 John 3:4 says, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." But, this law is not man's law.  This is more than a state law such as don't speed.  This is God's Law. God's Law is holy and we all are guilty of breaking God's Law.  Many people have a poor concept of what sin is in God's eyes.  In their eyes, they see it as things they would never do... what we call big sins such as murder or things like robbing a bank.  But, God is also looking at the small things we have done in life.  Sin is transgression of the Law of God and the Law is the first five books of the Old Testament.  At least, this is what we call the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Levitcus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) is the Law because this is the time period in which the law was given through Moses.  Since we know that sin is transgression of the law and know what and where the law is, we can use the Ten Commandments which is something a lot of people are familiar with.  Nothing can be simpler to use.  If you would like to read it on your own, the passage is Exodus 20:3-17.  But, let's take a look at these Ten Commandments and see if you are guilty of breaking at least one of them.

1st Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  A god back then was considered to be a false idol.  We have false idols today as well and it is not just a pile of gold you bow down to.  Think of the very show that labels itself as such, "American Idol".  Today, women dress like they want to be the center of attention and for guys to comment on how good they look.  This is considered a false idol because it is not the true God.  A god can be anything you can think of - it can be your television, your cell-phone, your computer, etc.  The devil is described as the god of this world.  But, there is only one God.  Men often makes things for his own pleasure and we might as well label them as a god because it detours away from the true God.  Many of us are guilty of this.  I myself am sometimes guilty of this very thing because even the smallest things can be considered gods in our life that we like more than the true God.

2nd Commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not bow down thyself [to any graven image]...  Notice that it uses the word "make" - it does not even say to use for your own glory or your own pleasure.  It goes as far as to simply use the word "make".  I may "make" my own cake, but I may not eat it because I may feel it might be too sweet.  Today many people "make" their own false gods and the Bible says not to.  I believe this is something we are all guilty of. God adds to the commandment for those who are reluctant and disobedient enough to break it and says not to bow down to the false image.  Bowing down to something is similar to making it a part of your daily routine - putting it in a place it ought not to be in.  This law has been broken by a lot more people than we think.

3rd Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain...  This is more than using Jesus as a cuss word or saying things like "Goddamnit" or "Goddamn".  By the way, God's last name is NOT "damn" or "damnit".  If you've done this, that'll make you guilty of that right there.  But, taking the Lord's name in vain means much more than using it as a cuss word... it means to take God and speak of God as if He didn't even exist.  Most people are guilty of doing this.  If that's you, consider yourself guilty.

4th Commandment: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy... This was a law given to people in the Old Testament and since then, Jesus died on the cross for us and is now our Sabbath.  Every day that God gives us is considered the sabbath, or the Lord's day simply because Jesus lives forevermore.  Instead of keeping every day holy as we should, we are doing our own things and take no regard for the Lord in our doings.  This is more than not going to church, it is using a day for your glory.  I believe many of us could say we are guilty of breaking this commandment.

5th Commandment: Honour thy father and mother... This is described as the first commandment with promise because it is the first commandment that if we keep it, we will live a long life.  However, it is saddening many people waste their life and cause it to come short by dishonoring their parents.  A good way to tell if you honor your parents is if you obey them.  This doesn't just apply to kids, it also applies to adults who were once kids.  But obeying parents is only the result of truly honoring them - honoring them means putting them above your priorities.  If you have ever dishonored your parents, consider yourself guilty.

6th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.  This is referring to murder, killing someone without a cause.  Many people are guilty of this just by the abortion they commit.  God despises the hands of them that shed innocent blood.  But, you know that murder is just the same thing as hatred?  1 John 3:15 says, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer..." We are able to dislike people, but not hate people.  Some people think they are themselves better than everyone else or they despise someone so much they want to see them die and go to hell.  This is the same thing as being a murderer.  Are you guilty of this? Have you ever hated someone and wanted to see them die? If so, you are guilty of being a murderer.

7th Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery.  The common definition of the word 'adultery' is fornification, i.e., sex before marriage.  However, adultery is bigger than that.  Matthew 5:28 says, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." This is Jesus' words.  Just by lusting after someone else you and the woman (or the other way around) are both equally guilty.  I believe more men are guilty of this than woman, but woman are also.  Lusting after someone else because of their looks is sin, and it is breaking the commandment of God.

8th Commandment: Thou shalt not steal. This is pretty easy to grasp and doesn't take much explaining.  If you've stolen something, no matter the value of it, you are guilty of this.

9th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.  This is more than gossiping.  Gossiping can be both true and false, but this is the same thing as lying to someone.  Even if you are not guilty of any of the other commandments, you are for sure guilty of this one.  We all are.  We've all told a lie before whether it is a white lie or a black lie... it is still sin.  We are all guilty of breaking this commandment.

10th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet... Coveting something else is envying what a person has.  Let's say a house looks really nice that is owned by someone else.  It's not a sin to think it is nice, but it is a sin to think that you should have it for yourself.  Coveting comes from being unthankful of what you have.  It is a sin, and many of us are guilty of it.

Judging by the above commandments, you might say, "But, I'm a pretty good person - I've only broken one of these." Ah, but what saith the Scripture?  James 2:10 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Even if we keep the majority of what the law says, we are going to break it in another area and be guilty of all.  There is an example of this in the Bible.  It's the story of the rich young ruler.  To simply sumarize, a rich young ruler asked the Lord, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus answers with the law and says for him to keep the commandments.  The rich young ruler asks, "Which ones?" Jesus says, "Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  The rich young ruler says to the Lord, "I have kept all of these from my youth up."  Jesus said that he lacked one thing.  Jesus than put him to the test and said, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."  The rich young ruler went off with tears because he had a lot of stuff.  You see, Jesus said, "If thou be perfect..." None of us are perfect.  We say that we are pretty good people like the rich young ruler thought, but pretty good does not mean perfect - it only means pretty good.  But, compared to God, we are not even close to good.  Romans 3:10 says, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Paul, the author of the letter to Romans, emphasizes that there is none good by saying, "no, not one.." This includes you and me.  There isn't anybody that is good in the eyes of God.  Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"  All of us are guilty of being sinners.  This is what we are... criminals.  Romans 3:19 says, "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."  Galatians 3:24 says, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." The law is a mirror of who we truly are - guilty sinners.  We are criminals because we have broken God's law.  Since God's law is such a precious thing, God cannot let us go unpunished and so we must realize that there is...

The Penalty

Since we have all committed such a great crime, there is a great penalty we all must face.  For every crime that is committed, there is a penalty that is to be paid.  But, God is not going to let us get out easy by giving Him money.  God doesn't want our money nor does He need our money.  So what is this penalty that we owe?  Well, the Bible tells us what this penalty is.  Romans 6:23a says, "For the wages of sin is death..."  Wages means earnings - it is what we deserve for what we do.  In a job, you get paid which is your due wages - what you earn.  Because of our crimes that we have committed, we deserve a penalty which is death.  Death is never thought of as a good thing.  But, death is the result of sin.  Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Adam was the very first man to walk this earth and also the very first man to sin.  In life, we have freedoms we can enjoy but they must be within boundaries.  Every freedom we have is measured by boundaries and if we cross them, we must face the consequences.  The consequence of sin is death.  James 1:15 says, "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

I would like to tell you, everyone is going to die whether we are saved or unsaved.  But, the penalty for those who are not saved is a second death.  Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Everyone must face a physical death, but not everyone has to go through the second death.  It has been said if you are born once, you die twice and if you are born twice, you die once.  So what is the second death? Revelation 20:14-15 says, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." There you have it.  The second death is eternal damnation in the lake of fire.  This is the penalty every sinner must pay in order to pay his own sin debt off.  This is the only way for us to do it.  But you say, "That's not fair.  What kind of loving God would send someone to hell?"  Let me answer the question with another question - what kind of loving police officer would send someone to jail? The answer is - a just one.  Our penalty is very fair and it is just because this is the penalty we deserve to pay.

Nevertheless, as much as God is just, He is also merciful and didn't create us so that we go to hell, the lake of fire.  God wanted us all to have the same equal opportunity at salvation.  This is where we learn about...

The Payment

Yes, we do not have to go to the lake of fire.  But, isn't that our penalty to pay? Isn't that the just thing to do? Surely it is, but God has offered a chance for us to escape the fires of hell. 

Before we understand what the payment is, the important thing to note is that YOU CANNOT PAY FOR THIS BY YOUR GOOD DEEDS OR WORKS.  Many people are religious and it is okay to be religious.  James 1:27 says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Religion is making yourself look good.  However, this will not help your salvation one bit.  This won't allow you to get to Heaven.  The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "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."  If salvation were to be obtained by our works or religious deeds, then we would be able to boast about how good we are.  But, salvation is not obtained by good works or reformation.  Romans 4:2-8 says, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."  Paul here gives an example of Abraham.  Abraham was a great man of God and had done many wonderful things, but these things did not justify him in the eyes of God one bit.  They may have made God look good, but that didn't effect his salvation.  Paul says that if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, i.e., room for boasting.  He would be able to tell people, "Look how good I am doing."  Works allow you to do that - they allow you to show off how good you are.  But, I will say that our self-righteous works may fool others, but they do not fool God.  Isaiah 64:6 says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."  Isaiah says that our own righteousness is as filthy rags.  Let me ask you, would you use a filthy rag to wash a car or to wash your dishes? No. That would only make them more dirty.  Well, this is the idea of most religions today.  They use their filthy works to make themselves clean.  They will tell you things like, "If you reform your life and live better you will be saved."  Since when? I'll tell you what, the thousand times you reform your life, the millions more times you are going to sin.  Reformation never saved anyone and will never save you.  Works never save anyone either.  If you wanted to buy something but knew that it was impossible to pay for, would you still work for it? No! That's absurd! Sadly, this is what many people do with their salvation.  But God says that salvation is free.  Isaiah 55:1-2 says, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."  Salvation is without price.  I'll say once more, salvation is not paid by your works.  Galatians 2:16 says, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."  Three times in this verse alone God says we are not justified by works, but three times else it says we are justified by faith.

Faith in what? The question should be rendered, faith in whom?  Well, John 3:16-18 gives us that answer, "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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  John 3:16 is a common verse that many people know today and that verse alone tells us who to put our faith in - God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  Why do we have to put faith in Him? What is so special about Jesus Christ?  Well, there are lots of things special about Him. And I would like to say that He is not just another man, He is God Incarnate.  Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross of Calvary just for us, and resurrected from the dead three days later.  This is the greatness of it all.  This is the good news of Jesus Christ - this is what we call the gospel.  1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"  This is the gospel by which we are saved.  This is the only gospel there is.  Many people preach a different gospel than this but that is man's wisdom of words, that is not the Word of God so it is not even a gospel. 

My friend, Jesus did this for you.  He died for you.  He died so that you could walk away free from the penalty of sin.  Jesus became a sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).  Jesus set us from the curse of sin - the penatly of sin (Gal. 3:13).  If we just put our faith simply in the payment he paid on the cross of Calvary we can be saved.  Faith is believing without seeing.  The way we know that Jesus did this is through the Word of God.  You say, "This is a book written by man."  Sure it is, but it was inspired by God and is inspired today.  Faith is defined by this acronym:


Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  People know the gospel, but don't believe it is real.  But, we can rest on the promise that it is real.  You have to have faith in it though - I can't have faith for you, that is up to you my friend. Romans 10:9-10,13 say, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." That word "shall" is a strong word and it means you will.  John 3:18 says that if we believe on Him we are not condemned and will never be again.  We won't have to worry about going to Hell again.  Salvation is not found in works, a prayer, a commitment, a ritual, etc. it is found in a Person - that Person is Jesus Christ.  In the story, we find that an innocent man who did not commit the crime took it upon himelf to die for the guilty man.  In reality, this man is Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind.  Jesus was born just for this purpose.  Matthew 1:21 says, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."  Jesus came to save sinners who have broken God's law - that's us, that's me, an that's you.  If you trust Christ, then you have the promise that you are going to Heaven when you die. 

Many people that are reading this article have already been saved for quite a while, but fail to remember about...

The Debt You Owe

Many believers have the notion that salvation is just a mere ticket it out of hell and all it is is mere fire insurance.  It's more than just fire insurance.  It is a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many turn the grace of God into filthiness by using and abusing that grace to live like the devil.  They use eternal security as a license to do whatever they want to do.  Some people accused the Apostle Paul of giving people a license to sin simply because he taught grace salvation, but he refuted that idea.  Romans 3:8 says, "And not rather, as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say, Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just." What Paul was accused of is what we would call easy-believism.  But, if we read throughout his letters he did not teach this.  1 Corithians 6:9-11 says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."  Paul taught that there was a change that was going to come out of a saved person's life - it isn't what we do, it is something God does.  Notice the words Paul used, "And such were some of you..."  My question for you, believer, is why did God save you?  Did God save you so you wouldn't go to Hell or did He save you so you can have a relationship with Him? It's sad that Paul had to beg believers to give their lives to Christ in Romans 12.  Romans 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Beseech means to beg or to plead with.  Why is it that God has to plead with us believers to live a devoted life to Him?  He is the One who gave us this life!! Why not return the favor and LIVE IT FOR HIM?  Notice in Romans 12:1 that Paul says that this is our "reasonable service".  There isn't anything unreasonable about serving the Lord.  He saved us so that we would live for Him!

Would to God that we believers understand God saved us to live right and be obedient to Him!  That is the only way to have a proper relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!  Jesus said time and time again that IF we love God, we WILL keep His commandments.  John 14:15 says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 15:14, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."

The truth of the matter is that many times we neglect God's command as believers to keep His commandments.  If you truly love what the Lord did for you on Calvary, you wouldn't take a second thought whether you should live for Him.  Jesus paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.  In return, we ought to live for Him.  That is the only thing we can do.  This isn't about getting more rewards in Heaven, it is about an attitude of a grattitude for the Lord of what He did for you! The debt we owe is a sacrificed life and Romans 12:1 says this is our reasonable service.  Nothing can be more reasonable!  Live your life for Him because He gave His life for you!! 


This article was intended for you to understand the simplicity of salvation and what happens at salvation.  If you have been helped by this article in any way, you can email me at ... If you need anymore help, please email me. 

In Christ,

Daniel Gladu

Galatians 2:20-21

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trick or Treat: Is Halloween a Good Holiday?


It's around the time of Halloween and there is a lot of debate between many believers (yes, people who are saved) with three arguments: 1) "There is nothing wrong with Halloween, it is a good time to get kids in church" 2) "While Halloween is evil, we can turn something ungodly into godly and yet, still have a good time celebrating it" 3) "Halloween is of the devil - straight and simple; no Christian ought to celebrate this wicked holiday."  These arguments amongst believers alike are going to be examined thoughout this article through the Word of God. 

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly of Halloween... Wait, There Is No Good Or Bad, It is All Ugly

It amazes me that you have people who call themselves citizens of Heaven and that they are saved and yet, think Halloween is an okay holiday to celebrate.  We will have 7/11 churches in America who promote their halloween events and encourage kids to dress up in their favorite Halloween costume and if it is the best, they will get a prize.  This month there was an invitation in the mail for my family to attend an event at a so-called church that had Baptist beliefs and the church is called "Fushion Church".  Just the name gives you shivers; but the invitation had a Frankenstein, Zombie, and Werewolf as a picture and it was an invitation to go to a Halloween event.  What kind of church is that?  It's the same type of church as a lot of professing Christians are today about Halloween.  But first - where did Halloween come from?  Did it come from Christians or did it come directly from Satan?  Is Halloween really that bad?  Here is some info from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"It long antedates Christianity. The two chief characteristics of ancient Halloween were the lighting of bonfires and the belief that this is the one night in the year during which ghosts and witches are most likely to wander about. History shows that the main celebrations of Halloween were purely Druidical"

Halloween is traced all the way back before Christianity and it is all about a night in which ghosts and witches walk about.  Halloween is satanic at best so why in the world do Christian parents feel it is okay to send their kids on trick-or-treating?  It is either because they are blind or willingly ignorant of the fact that Halloween is evil.  The truth of the matter is that Halloween is a holiday reserved for the dead.  But what does the Bible say about this?  Mark 12:26-27 says, "And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." God is not the God of the dead, He is only the God of the living.  Dead people are well... dead! Why in the world are people so foolish to reserve such a holiday? The Bible gives specific instruction not to regard such wickedness.  Leviticus 19:31 says, "REGARD NOT them that have familiar spirits, NEITHER SEEK AFTER wizards, to be DEFILED by them: I am the LORD your God."  This was way back in the Old Testament and there was still witchcraft garbage going on.  God commanded the Israelites NOT TO REGARD this wickedness.  We would be wise to heed to this command as well.  Levitus 20:6 gave a warning for doing so, "And THE SOUL THAT TURNETH AFTER such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people."  If Israelites were going to do this, God would have set his face against them.  Do you realize the greatness of celebrating such wicked holiday?  Harry Potter is an ungodly movie that teaches kids that magic is okay.  Yet, we see Christianity Today using it to get kids to know about God.  How in the world is THAT going to get kids understand the things of God?  At Halloween, kids dress up in their goblin, ghost, and wizard outfits.  The Bible gives us a firm command to REGARD IT NOT.  2 Chronicles 33:6 says, "And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and DEALT WITH a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, TO PROVOKE HIM TO ANGER."  Celebrating Halloween and getting involved with it provokes the Lord God to anger.  Many people think nothing about celebrating Halloween simply because they do not care.  I'm certain that some people are going to read this article and think, "This guy is a nut.  You aren't going to change my mind with a few verses."  If that is your attitude, your rebellion fits right in with the wicked celebration of Halloween.  1 Samuel 15:23 says, "For REBELLION is as the sin of WITCHCRAFT, and STUBBORNNESS is as INIQUITY AND IDOLATRY. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." People that go off and celebrate Halloween KNOWING what the Scriptures saith are being rebellious not against this article, but against what the Lord has to say.  You might say, "Well, this is the Old Testament and so it doesn't mean anything to me today." Have you forgotten that the OLD TESTAMENT WAS WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING?  Romans 15:4 says, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning..." But, okay, have it your way.  There are plenty of verses that prove that God has nothing to do with Halloween and neither should we.  Galatians 5:19-21 says, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Is that enough to get your attention?  1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, "Abstain from all appearance of evil."  Even if it appears to be evil, we ought to abstain from it.  But I promise you, Halloween is more than just an appearance of evil - IT IS EVIL. 

Maybe you think I'm being mean by telling you that Halloween is of the devil, but the truth is the truth and there is no middle ground in saying that Halloween is evil.  It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.  Psalm 97:10 says, "Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked."  Did you read that? "Ye that love the LORD, HATE EVIL..."  Knowing that Halloween is a wicked holiday, ought you be celebrating it?  The answer is no.  Jeremiah 10:2 says, "Thus saith the LORD, LEARN NOT THE WAY of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them." We're not even supposed to be learning the way of the heathen, let alone practice what they practice.

A Day The Lord Hath Made...

Rebellious people who read the point above would say, "I know that Halloween is an evil holiday, but can't we turn it around?"  That sounds great, but you really can't take something that is evil and make it good.  You can make it look good; but in and of itself, Halloween is still a wicked holiday and always has been and always will be.  Isaiah 5:20-23 says, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" Saying that Halloween can be a good thing is like saying Hitler could have been a good person.  Could have been, but wasn't.  The intentions for Halloween aren't even good.  Even the devil deceived himself as an angel of light - he looks good, but he is far from good.

Don't be in despair.  The important thing is that we as believers don't give the devil this day anymore than what he has hold onto it.  I'm sick and tired of Christians who say you aren't even allowed to use this day for the Lord because it is a pagan day.  Yes, it is a pagan holiday and I don't believe in trick-or-treating, but Halloween is a great time and day to pass out tracts and show people the evils of Halloween and a great time to use the Word of God against the wiles of the devil.  It's a great day to street preach and lead people to the Lord.  The Bible says in Psalm 118:24, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." The devil has already robbed October 31 enough and it's time we as Christians wake up and realize the devil didn't create October 31, he just stole it from God.  It is time to take it back and use it for the Lord's glory.  Romans 14:6 says, "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it..." By Christians acting as if it were hopeless to do anything on that day, we are giving the devil more room to do more damage.  Instead of doing this, we should be going out that day and getting people in church.  After all, Halloween this year is on the Lord's day as we call it or Sunday. 

I encourage each and every believer this year to not celebrate Halloween, but use the day for God's glory.  When kids go to your door at night... WAIT! You should be in church on Halloween night so it won't even be an issue.  But, if kids go to your door at a later time in the night, give them a tract to read instead of candy.  There was once a Missionary that came to my church and he gave his salvation testimony and said he got saved by a tract that was in his candy bucket he got from Halloween.  So, don't tell me you can't use this day against the devil! If it wasn't for that tract, this Missionary probably wouldn't even be a Missionary today.  People, wake up! This is the day the Lord hath made, it is a day the Lord doth deserve.

Halloween = Helloween

The latter of the three groups of believers believe rightly about Halloween and its wickedness.  I don't know about you, but I'm glad to say I'm in the last group of that three that can boldy say, "Halloween is of the devil."  This isn't being a bigot or being arrogant, it is proclaiming the truth.  No Christian ought to be celebrating this holiday.  Let me rephrase that - no Christian in their right mind is going to celebrate this holiday.  Halloween is not a holiday to be hallowed or respected.  Revelation 21:8 says, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." All sorcerers are going to have their part in the lake of fire if they do not get saved.  If we are not careful, we are following the enemy here, Satan.  Satan is a father and the lord of those who do witchcraft.

What really doesn't make sense is that people would much rather worship the devil who is weaker in power than in God who has unlimited power.  Why do we have satanists, sorcerers, witchcraft, wizards, etc. in this world? Simply because the devil is doing his job.  We as Christians would be wise to do our job and live a spotless, clean life in this wicked world.  This world is not our home and so we need not get comfortable here below. 


Paul warned us to "awake unto righteousness and sin not".  Why did he do this? "Because some have not the knowledge of God."  Celebrating halloween is not a good testimony of the true child of God.  It gets lost people to think you are just like them.  Maybe you are just like them and never have been saved and if you would like to be, please read "How to Go to Heaven" under September posts.  Maybe you are saved and guilty of celebrating Halloween and realize that God doesn't like it.  If you would like for me to pray for you, please email me at so that I can pray for you.  In closing, I'd like to say there is no "treat" to Halloween - it is all just a "trick" up the devil's sleeves.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dispensational Salvation: A Heresy Among Heresies

There is no doubt that there are lots of heresies taught that are not of the Bible, but the one I would like to look at today is dispensational salvation.  This is the teaching that in every dispensation, there were different ways you could be saved.  Those who teach dispensational salvation teach that people in the Old Testament were saved by works because Jesus hadn't died on the cross yet.  Some also teach that people in the Tribulation will be saved by works.  However, time and time again in the Word of God, we see clearly people have been and always will be saved by the wonderful grace of Jesus Christ and that is going to be the only way anyone will ever step foot into Heaven.  In Acts 10:43 the Bible says, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." It's amazing that I must bold in and italicize the word "all".  According to Acts 10:43, people in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament were saved by the Lord Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  Some do not know the meaning of the word "all" and so we will spend time looking at "all" of what the Old Testament and New Testament has to say.

Old Testament Salvation

Genesis is the very first book of the Bible and the very first book where we find that people began to call upon the name of the Lord.  Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  Calling upon God's name is simply trusting that God's work was good enough/will be good enough for us.  People did this in Genesis.  Genesis 4:26 says, "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD." Amazing! People were calling upon the name of the Lord.  That means people were trusting in God to save them.  Salvation was the same in Genesis as it is today and yet, hyper-dispensationalists would like to twist Scripture and say that Adam and Eve were saved by works because they had to eat of the tree of life to be saved.  First off, that was given to them; they only needed to eat the fruit.  Secondly, that isn't works salvation; if I told you that you could have a twenty dollar bill of mine only if you took it from my hands, would that be putting a condition on you having the money? No, that's common sense.  When God offers salvation, one simply needs to receive it to be saved.  God's not going to force them to take it.  The truth of the matter is that they were saved when God made coats of skin for them.  That is a picture of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who would take away our sins.  Genesis also speaks elsewhere where people called upon the name of the Lord to be saved.  Genesis 12:8 speaks of the time Abraham got saved, "And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD."  Once again, we find a situation where an Old Testament salvation was made when Abraham "called upon the name of the LORD." Maybe it is that hyper-dispensationalists have a hard time with what it means to call upon the name of the Lord.  Calling upon the name of the Lord is just the same thing as me calling a mechanic to fix my car.  I do this because I trust he will do a good job on it and will not make it any worse.  This is the same thing when calling upon the name of the Lord.  I trust that He will save my soul from the penalty of sin which is death in hell.  I would agree that it would have been less believable in the Old Testament that Christ would come to die on the cross, but it was still the same exact faith we have that the sacrifice ALREADY DID take place as what people had to have in what WOULD SOON take place for them. We look back to Christ's sacrifice, they had to look forward to it.  You say, "They didn't know about Christ." Once again, Acts 10:43 refutes that idea.  Every Old Testament prophet spoke of Jesus Christ.  Romans 10:17-18 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." Everyone on earth in the Old Testament heard the Word of God. You might say, "Calling upon God's name was different." How so? How was it different from the way we call upon the name of the Lord?  Galatians 3:8 speaks of Abraham's salvation once again, "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." Abraham heard the gospel of Christ and believed it and got saved.  He got saved the same way we get saved today.  Clearly, Genesis, as the very first book of the Bible, is filled with people who believed the gospel and got saved. 

Another good example of grace salvation taught in the Old Testament is found in Numbers 21 which is where Moses tells people to look at the snake and live.  Numbers 21:5-9 says, "And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."  The messsage of the cross is clearly taught here in the Old Testament.  The message was, "look and live".  This is the simplicity of salvation itself.  Isaiah 45:22 says, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." This is the message of Numbers 21 - "look and live".  There are several things we can note from this passage of Scripture.  Instead of God taking away the serpents, God provided a remedy in the form of a serpent.  It is the same way with us - instead of God taking away the penalty of sin, God has provided a remedy through the redemption of Jesus Christ.  If we look to Him, we will live.  Notice here that it was a brass serpent.  The "serpent" spoke of the curse that sin brought.  The "brass" represents the judgment of God falling on the One who would set us free from the curse and be made sin for us.  There was also a pole that represented the cross of Calvary.  Just as the serpent was lifted up on the pole, Christ was lifted up high on the cross.  John 12:32-33 says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die."  God told Moses to make a fiery serpent of brass, put it up on a pole, and send an invitation to all those who were bitten and about to die to look at the pole and live.  It's obvious that Moses preached the GOSPEL OF GRACE.  Hyper-dispensationalists fail to see God's grace being shown in this passage of Scripture.  That being said, I would like to list seven things that the Israelites WEREN'T told to do:

1. They were NOT told to make a serum to cure the venom they had inside of them.  Religion after religion would like to offer a serum to cure the sin we have inside of us by methods such as baptism, prayer, good works, church membership, keeping the law, etc.  While these things are good and of itself, it is not going to cure us.  Only the blood of Christ and the Work He did has the power and cure to heal us and save us.  Jesus Christ is the Great Physician; not my works, not my baptism, not my reformation, etc.  In this case, the children of Israel were only told to look at the brass serpent and live.  That is SALVATION BY GRACE. 

2. They were NOT told to help others while they weren't feeling well.  This is another method of salvation by works.  Religions would tell us to do works of charity for others and go the extra mile so that we can counteract the deadly virus of sin.  While doing these things are a command to the believer, they are not merits to salvation.  This is Mother Theresa garbage theology.  She would point others to good works as a cure and not faith alone.

3. They were NOT told to fight the serpents.  Some preachers would tell us that we need to get a rid of the devil in our life.  What good would that do if they were already bitten and about to die? It wouldn't do any good at all.  They weren't told to do that at all, only to look at the serpent and live.

4. They were NOT told to make an offering to the snake.  Moses or God did not ask for any payment in return for their healing.  This was a gift of God just as salvation is a gift of God.  Many preachers today contaminate the true gospel by teaching a salvation that has been turned into an exchange, reward, or purchase.  Salvation is neither of these, it is a GIFT of GOD paid for IN FULL (not in part) by the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Israelites healing was GIVEN AS A GIFT of God. 

5. They were NOT told to pray to the serpent.  Religions often tell us that we need to pray to God, plead with God, or beg to God in bitter tears for the mercy and grace of God so that He might save us.  His grace and mercy, however, are OFFERED to all those that believe on His name.  We don't need to beg God for something that He has already given.  Likewise, they didn't need to beg God for something that was already offered.

6. They were NOT told to look to Moses.  Some people here were looking to Moses and urging Moses to cry to God on their behalf.  God's respond was that He had taken there eyes off of Moses and commanded them to look at the serpent.  Many people today are looking to Moses, the lawgiver, as their hope of salvation.  They are trusting in their imperfect obedience as a tool for salvation - but the simple fact is, this tool is so dull it won't do anything for us going to Heaven. 

7. They were NOT told to look at their wounds.  Religion teaches that if we look and examine the wickedness of ourselves and promote some religion by making ourselves look better we can be saved.  Too many people are occupied in doing this.  Religion won't save! Only Christ can save! The Israelites were only told to look at the fiery serpent and then they would live!

People were given the same invitation in the Old Testament as people were in the New Testament and as people are today.  We are told simply to believe on Christ and we will be saved.  People in the Old Testament were told to simply believe on the Lord and they would be saved.  Religion and works never saved a single soul.  So, how do people come up with the strange doctrine like this? It is just the same way any false doctrine is made up... by perverting the Scripture and taking verses out of context.  For example, Ezekiel 18 is often used to teach that people were saved by turning from all there sins and keeping all of God's law.  As much as the saved person is commanded to do so, it was WRITTEN TO A SAVED NATION.  Israel was and is today God's chosen nation.  You say, "Don't you believe some people in Israel need the Lord?" YES, they need the Lord just as much as we do today.  This is why Romans 10 was written - so that people of Israel would be saved! However, God spoke to the nation as a whole in Ezekiel 18 and the living the Bible referred to in this chapter referred to PHYSICAL LIFE.  If they didn't get right, God would kill them.  But, time after time, God still gave mercy.  This is exactly WHY Paul told us to RIGHTLY divide the Word of Truth.  It's too bad that some people just go to the extreme and literally cut off verses as if they weren't revelant.  There are several verses in the OLD TESTAMENT ALONE that prove their works were as worthless as ours is today and they still had to deal with original sin (they couldn't possibly be perfect)...

Jeremiah 2:22: "For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD."
Isaiah 64:6: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Psalm 51:5: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Job 14:4: "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one."
Isaiah 53:6: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

These are plain verses that speak of people in the OLD TESTAMENT who had a struggle with sin.  They couldn't clean themselves, THEY TO needed the BLOOD OF THE ONE SPOTLESS LAMB to take away their sins. 

In Acts 15, we see a debate between some that believed they had to keep the law of God in order to be saved.  Here is the story...

"And certain men which came down from Judaea [to Antioch] taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. ... And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. ... And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. ... And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. ... Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church ... And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment." -Acts 15:1-2, 4-5, 7, 9-11, 22-24

It's clear from this New Testament passage that not even the Old Testament saints were able to keep the law for salvation.  Acts 15:10-11 says, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, EVEN AS THEY." This irrefutable verses that plainly say that people in the Old Testament were saved the same way as we are today - BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH.  You say, "They couldn't have - they didn't know what faith was."  Didn't know what faith was?  Here are some verses from the Old Testament ALONE that say otherwise:

Job 13:15: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him..."
Nahum 1:7: "The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him."
Proverbs 30:5: "Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him."
2 Samuel 22:31: "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him."
Psalm 34:22: "The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."
Psalm 37:40: "And the LORD them, because they trust in Him."

Clearly, faith in the Lord was found in the Old Testament.  Hebrews 11 has a whole list of people who lived by FAITH and who had FAITH in God that were in the Old Testament. 

Scripture upon Scripture dictates salvation was by grace through faith in the Old Testament just as it is today.

Tribulation Salvation

In order to understand salvation in the tribulation, one must first understand that people CAN be and WILL be saved during the tribulation.  The only people we are promised who WILL NOT have a chance at salvation are those who have heard the gospel before the tribulation but rejected Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 says, "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."  So, people can and will be saved in the Great Tribulation.

The question remains - how are people going to be saved during the Tribulation?  Revelation 7:14 gives us the answer, "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  The answer is simple - they were saved by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How in the world do people come up with a doctrine like this and say they will be saved differently in the tribulation? My best guess is that they believe those who have heard the gospel in the past and rejected it will be able to be saved but they have to work really hard just to be saved.  The problem is that people who have heard the gospel won't get a chance to be saved anymore.  Hyper-dispensationalists often use Matthew 24:13 to say that people in the tribulation have to persevere in the faith to be saved, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." However, that is failure to rightly divide the Word of Truth.  Not every "saved" in the Bible means "spiritually saved".  If I saved someone from dying, does that mean they will go to Heaven? No, it means I physically saved them. If a believer in the Tribulation doesn't endure, he is going to die and he is not going to remain until the end.  Is this a requirement for salvation? No. 


Dispensational Salvation is a false doctrine and there are many false prophets who teach this doctrine.  Salvation is the same in every dispensation.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  God forgave sins in the Old Testament just as He does today and just as He will in the Tribulation.  God does not change!  Why do people think that we are the special ones that are saved by grace?  Usually it is hyper-dispensationalists that believe this and are also antinomian believing the law of God was for only the Jew and it doesn't have anything to do with us.  They are "Paulines" who believe that Paul's writings are the only writings that apply to us.  Why in the world do we have the full Word of God today if only Paul's writings are applicable to us?  Paul himself said that the Old Testament was written aforetime for OUR LEARNING.  To teach that salvation is different in each dispensation is to wrongly divide the word of truth and contaminate the everlasting gospel the Bible teaches - the GOSPEL OF GRACE.