Born of the Spirit

Being in sin is walking in your flesh. The opposite of being in the flesh is being in the Holy Spirit. If you have been freed from sin , you’re free to walk in the Holy Spirit. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21) Leaving behind the Law and sin is called sanctification. Sanctification is becoming righteous and holy by the

Belief in Jesus

Talk to many Christians today about the gospel, and they would have you think that belief is the whole gospel. But we’ve already seen, there is a lot more to the gospel than that. In fact, the first time the gospel message was shared, belief wasn’t even mentioned! Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) But the emphasis on belief comes from the many other scriptures that do talk about the importance of belief: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24) Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sin

Why did the Apostles Baptize in the Name of Jesus?

  Jesus' Command to the Apostles Baptisms today are almost always done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I'm so used to it, I went years without giving it a second thought. And it makes sense. In the Great Commission, Jesus seems to give his Apostles instructions to do exactly that: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20) But then, if you keep reading, something strange happens. The book of the Acts of the Apostles records them going throughout the known world, making disciples, and baptizing them, just like Jesus said. But they don't baptize in the name of the Trinity; they baptize in the name of Jesus . In fact, the only place in all of scripture we find the trinitarian for

The Power of the Gospel

The gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is not a person or an event that you put your faith in. It is not a belief system. It is not passive . The gospel has power. It changes you. It gives you a whole new identity. Jesus went so far as to say that it’s a new birth: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’" We’ve seen that the water part of this birth has its foundation in John’s message of repentance for forgiveness . But that is a message of changed attitudes, and John, its preacher, was just getting people ready for Jesus. With Jesus came not just forgiveness for sin, but power to be free from it. There’s more to water than just forgiveness. Check it out: Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is th

Foundation of the Good News

There are certain times in the life of a Christian when one is expected to give his testimony: before baptism, at summer camp, applying to go on a mission trip, attending a new Bible study. This was a task I dreaded. My testimony was about as mundane as you could imagine. “I grew up in the church. I don’t remember a particular time I came to faith, I think it’s been more of a gradual process over my lifetime. I got baptized when I was about 13 because it seemed like it was time. I’m so happy Jesus saved me from my sin.” Nope, that’s not not going to make the pastor happy. He wants to hear the moment you came to faith, when you realized you had to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior for yourself. He wants to hear when you officially got born again. I would think, “Please, not that born again term. How did this conversation become so political?” Sometimes, I would pretend to be happy that I was fortunate enough to live a relatively holy life, enjoying salvation from a yo

Simplifying Gospel Terminology

As the 2020 Presidential elections quickly approach, the US political war is intensifying. Sometimes, I consider my wife lucky that she's not a US citizen and can't vote. But then again, she's got her own political hands full with UK politics bringing an election even faster as Brexit hangs in the balance. These political issues give everyone something to debate, complain about, and place hope in. While terminology like healthcare, taxes, economy, military, and morality take center stage for many people, these are small things compared to the political unrest that is going on in many other parts of the world. These issues are truly important. All of your worldly problems at some point probably come down to politics! Why can't the other side just stop being so selfish?! Well, I have good news... I have the solution! And not just your problems, but the problems of the whole world. Yes, I am literally talking about world peace. The solution I'm talking about is the

The Error of Faith Alone

At the cornerstone of modern Christian teaching is frequently the doctrine that salvation is by faith alone. However, many of the scriptures I gave in my last post assert that there are requirements for salvation beyond simply having faith, such as baptism, performing miracles, and righteousness. That’s flying dangerously close to what some would consider heretical -- preaching that salvation is obtained through works. The scriptures in support of salvation by faith and not by works seem to be plentiful. So is the there an error in the faith alone doctrine, or are all the scriptures I presented last time somehow wrong? Let's take a look at the faith alone argument in detail and see if we can get all this sorted out. Are we justified by faith alone? One of the classic Bible passages upholding the importance of faith is Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one
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