God, the Creator of all that exists (Gen 1:1; Rom 11:36), created a man in His own Image and Likeness (Gen 1:26) and gave that man a commandment (Gen 2:16-17). God also told the man that if he were to break that commandment he would be committing a crime that would earn him the death penalty (Gen 2:17). The man ended up breaking that commandment of God and sinned against God (Gen 3:12), and God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), cursed the man with the punishment of death (Gen 3:19). That man's name was Adam.
THE INHERITANCE OF DEATH
All of us are descendants of that first man, Adam (Gen 3:20) and we will all die one day because we have inherited the penalty of sin from our ancestor; as it is written:
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men..." -Romans 5:12
The penalty for sin is death (Rom 6:23), and make no mistake: every last one of us is going to die (Heb 9:27). Beyond this, after dying, Adam and his descendants were doomed to remain dead forever (1Cor 15:20-21), never to live again; or so they thought.
THE PROMISE OF RESURRECTION
But now God has given the promise of resurrection to all mankind (1Cor 15:21). Now there is a cure to this disease of death (1Cor 15:20). Mankind does not have to remain dead forever (1Cor 15:26). EVERYONE, even those who have been dead for ages, whether good or evil, will one day (very soon now) be resurrected; most of them (Matt 7:13) to everlasting punishment (Matt 25:46) and few of them (Matt 7:14) to eternal life (John 5:28-29).
How did mankind go from being condemned to everlasting death to being promised the FREE GIFT (Rom 5:18) of resurrection?
THE SINLESS MAN
A Man was born into this world a little over 2,000 years ago (Luke 3:1). A man born of God from a virgin girl (1Cor 15:47). Being born of God from a virgin was significant because it meant that He did not inherit the original curse of death from our earthly father Adam (1John 4:9,10,14; Gal 4:4; John 3:31,8:23), because Adam was not His father, God is (Luke 1:35). Furthermore, He never earned death for Himself by committing sin because He never sinned (1Pet 2:22; Heb 4:15). In fact, He always did those things that were pleasing in the sight of God (John 8:29).
Just as the ancient Prophets of God had foretold, this man, who is the Messiah (a Hebrew word meaning 'Anointed One') or Christ (from the Greek word "Christos," which also means 'Anointed One') had come to save His people from their sins (Matt 1:21) and to save all men from the curse of death (1Cor 15:21).
This Man healed the sick (Matt 12:15), gave sight to the blind (Matt 9:27-31), raised the dead (John 11:44), walked on water (Matt 14:25), created food to feed the hungry (Matt 14:19), and preached to us the truth of God (John 14:6). In fact, this Man, who was indeed the only begotten Son of God (Luke 1:35), was also God in the Flesh (John 1:1,14; Isa 9:6). That's right. God's Fullness inhabited the body of this Man (Col 2:9).
Though this Man neither inherited (Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27) nor earned death (1Pet 2:22; Heb 4:15), evil men put Him to death by flogging Him and then hanging Him on a cross (Acts 2:23). Thus He died (Rom 14:9) and was buried in a tomb (John 19:38-42).
This Man's Name is Jesus Christ. His Name is the Name above ALL Names (Eph 1:21; Acts 4:12), and He alone has conquered death (1Cor 15:25,26; Heb 2:14).
How has Jesus conquered death?
BECAUSE DEATH COULD NOT HOLD HIM . . .
Since Jesus Christ had neither inherited (Matt 1:23; Luke 1:27) nor earned death for Himself by committing sin (1Pet 2:22; Heb 4:15), Death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24) and He was RESURRECTED on the third day after His death. That's right, He came back to life. Now He can never die or even be hurt again (Heb 2:14). More than this, He has been given all power (John 10:27,28,29,30) and authority from God (Matt 28:18) and is seated upon God's Throne in Heaven (Acts 2:33) until His enemies are made His footstool (Heb 10:13).
The fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead proves that everything He said and did was from God (Acts 17:31). Many people throughout history have claimed to speak for God, such as Muhammad, Joseph Smith, and many others--men who were their own sole witnesses, performed no miracles, and who's decomposed bodies still lie in their graves to this day--but ONLY ONE MAN PROVED THAT HE WAS SENT FROM GOD BY RISING FROM THE DEAD TO LIVE FOREVERMORE: Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
PURCHASED BY HIS BLOOD
The outcome is this: Jesus Christ has purchased every human being back from the curse of death (Acts 20:28; 1Cor 6:20, 7:23; Eph 1:14), and now EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER LIVED AND DIED WILL BE RESURRECTED BACK TO LIFE (John 5:24-30) both the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15). Therefore He has saved EVERYONE from the curse of death; as it is written:
"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." -1 Timothy 4:10
"Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." -Romans 5:18
Immediately after their resurrection, however, Jesus Christ will personally judge each person according to their deeds (Rom 2:6; Rev 20:12,13) -according to what they've done in their life (Matt 25:31-46), whether good or bad (2Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12).
Those who have believed in God and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and who have obeyed His Word (1John 2:3,4) will be ushered into a new age of everlasting love, joy, and peace in union with God (Matt 25:46; John 5:28-29). Those who have done evil and have not believed in Jesus Christ (2Thess 2:10) or obeyed His Word will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire where they will burn in agony for all eternity (Matt 25:46; Mark 9:43,44,45,46,47,48; John 5:28-29), this is the second death (Rev 21:8).
But, before we continue, it is extremely important that you know some things about God that most preachers of our day have failed to tell you (2Tim 4:3,4).
GOD IS JUST
God is not like men (Psalm 50:21), He is just. Behold, God has spoken:
"There is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me." -Isaiah 45:21d
And indeed, as it is written:
"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet." -Nahum 1:3
The wicked will not be acquitted, their sins must be punished (Nahum 1:3). Imagine if a man who had robbed and beaten your mother was set free without any punishment because he told the judge he was "sorry." A judge who set criminals free just because the criminal said he was sorry would not only be unjust, but would soon become the laughing stock of criminals! His very courtroom would be mocked as a joke!
God is not unjust. On the contrary, God "loves justice" (Psalm 37:28,99:4) and "will not leave the guilty unpunished" (Nahum 1:3 NIV). As it is written and so the wicked should remember:
"God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day." -Psalm 7:11
ALL OF US ARE (OR WERE) ENEMIES OF GOD
Contrary to what some modern preachers may have told you, the Bible is clear that God "hates all workers of iniquity" (Psalm 5:5) and those "who love violence" (Psalm 11:5); He hates the proud, the dishonest, those who shed innocent blood, hearts that devise wicked plans, feet that run to do evil, false witnesses that tell lies, and people who cause strife between brothers (Prov 6:16,17,18,19).
You may have heard it said that "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner," but this is a false teaching. God doesn't just hate the sin, God hates and abhors the SINNER (Psalm 5:5,11:5; Rom 9:11,13; Lev 20:23,26:30; Psalm 78:59, 106:40, Prov 22:14; Hosea 9:15; Jer 12:8). Why do you think He is going to throw them into hellfire where they will burn for all eternity (Matt 25:46)?
When the Lord Jesus Christ returns He will order all those who did not submit to His rule and His commandments to be slain in front of Him, as He declared:
"Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." -Luke 19:27
As you may notice, the True, Biblical Jesus Christ that we preach here is not taught (nor believed in) in many modern churches (2Cor 11:4).
Truly, all of us were at one time ENEMIES of God (Rom 5:10) and God hated us (Psalm 5:5) because we were workers of iniquity, but God also LOVED us at the same time, so much so, that He gave His only begotten Son in order to save us; as it is written:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." -John 3:16
As I have already mentioned, "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:20) and "God is a just Judge" (Psalm 7:11) "and will not at all acquit the wicked" (Nahum 1:3). However, from ancient times, God was willing to accept a payment for the sins of those who were repentant and desired to atone for their sins.This substitutionary sacrifice was called a "burnt offering" (Gen 8:20) or "sacrifice" (Gen 31:54) in the Bible. A person who had sinned was able to sacrifice an animal's life to pay the penalty, or to take the punishment of his sin (Lev 16:29-34). The animal itself would actually "bear the guilt" (Lev 10:17) of the people and suffer the punishment of that guilt. Unfortunately, the blood of an animal, "which can never take away sins" (Heb 10:11), could not remove the original curse of death inherited from Adam (1Cor 15:21; John 1:29), could only atone for the past sins (Lev 16:24), and therefore had to be offered continually (Heb 10:11).
God taught mankind this principle of substitutionary atonement through the story of the Prophet Abraham when he was tested by God to offer his own son as a burnt offering to prove his fear of (Gen 22:12), and unfailing obedience to God (Gen 22:18). As it is written:
"Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” -Genesis 22:1-2
"Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”" -Genesis 22:9-12
Next, as the story continues, God specifically provides a male lamb (ram) to take the place of Abraham's son. In other words, the lamb was a substitute for Abraham's son. As it is written:
"Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son." -Genesis 22:13
After the lamb was offered, Abraham made a statement about the future he could not have known unless it was revealed to him by God when he said:
"And Abraham called the name of the place, 'The-Lord-Will-Provide'; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”" -Genesis 22:14
In other words, God would ultimately provide a sacrifice to take the place of all men in that same place (the mount of Golgotha, or Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, is one of the "mounts" in the "land of Moriah" (Gen 22:2) which is modern day Jerusalem, Israel.)
[Along with this prophecy, keep in mind that the Book of Genesis was translated from Hebrew into Greek for the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus from 285-246 BC. This translation is known as the Septuagint. We still have a copy of the Book of Genesis from the Septuagint dating to around 100 BC. This proves that Abraham's prophecy above was made BEFORE Jesus Christ was born.]
THE LAMB OF GOD
Let me make something very clear here: Jesus' blood did not simply atone for our sins like the blood of an animal, Jesus' blood TOOK AWAY OUR SINS. As John the Baptist had prophesied of Him:
"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" -John 1:29
Contrast that to the system of animal sacrifice, of which it is written that:
"Every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins." -Hebrews 10:11
JESUS TOOK AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD
The animal sacrifices atoned for the sins of men, but could never take them away (Heb 10:11). When Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God, offered Himself up as a sacrifice to God, however, He TOOK AWAY the sin of the world (John 1:29). As it is written:
"For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." -Hebrews 7:26-27
"Therefore, as through one man’s [Adam's] offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s [Jesus'] righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s [Adam's] disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s [Jesus'] obedience many will be made righteous." -Romans 5:18-19
"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." -1 John 2:2
THE "FREE GIFT" CAME TO ALL MEN (Rom 5:18)
Most modern Bible teachers have missed a major storyline of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: All men were destined to die and remain dead forever because of Adam's sin, but now Jesus' free gift of resurrection will be given to all men. As it is written, "there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15).
However, as I clearly taught earlier, immediately after the resurrection of the just and the unjust, Jesus Christ will judge each person according to their deeds (Rom 2:6; Rev 20:12,13) -according to what they've done in their life (Matt 25:31-46), weather good or bad (2Cor 5:10; Rev 20:12).
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." -John 3:16-18
Those who have believed in God and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and who have obeyed His Word (1John 2:3,4) will inherit the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matt 25:46; John 5:28-29). Those who have done evil and have not believed in Jesus Christ or obeyed His Word will be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire where they will burn in agony for all eternity (Matt 25:46; Mark 9:43,44,45,46,47,48; John 5:28-29; Rev 21:8).
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
So, what must one do to be saved from eternal hellfire? The Apostles' Paul and Silas were once asked this very question by the keeper of their prison, and they answered him:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." -Acts 16:31
This is what it takes to be saved: To BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 3:16-18, 36; Rom 5:1).
That's it? -Yes, but do you know what it means to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ"?
- Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ means that you believe on the REAL Jesus Christ of the Bible, not a fake "Jesus" that you invent in your own mind, or that someone else has invented (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-9).
- Believing "on" the Lord Jesus Christ means that you trust in Him. To trust Jesus Christ means that you believe EVERYTHING He says (Matt 4:4) and that you "receive the love of the truth" (2Thess 2:10). Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1; Heb 4:12-13, 11:3; Gal 3:8; Rev 19:13) and the Bible is the Word of God (1Thess 2:13; Acts 13:48; Heb 4:12-13, 11:3; 1John 2:14). Therefore, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ means that you believe and trust every Word of Scripture (Rom 4:3; John 5:46-47).
- Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ means that you will DO what he says (Luke 6:46; James 2:24). Doing what Jesus says means that you obey His commandments (John 14:15,21; 1John 2:3,4).
The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). But how does one get born again? -God does it to us. Just as you had no say or control over being born the first time, you have no say or control over being born again. However, if God does choose to save you and make you "born again," the evidence that you are born again will be overwhelming. For example, you will stop living in sin, as it is written:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." -1 Corinthians 6:9-11
"No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother." -1 John 3:6-10 ESV
Also, one who is born again will bear the fruit of the Spirit, as it is written:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." -Galatians 5:22 NIV 1984
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." -1 John 2:3
SALVATION IS BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
There is literally nothing you can do to earn salvation, as it is written:
"For He [God] says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." -Romans 9:15-16
No matter how much someone desires ("him who wills") to be saved, or how much someone strives ("him who runs") to be saved, they cannot be saved unless God grants them salvation ("but of God"); and just as you had no control over being born the first time, you have absolutely no control over being born again of the Spirit of God, as it is written:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." -Ephesians 2:8-9
So, what is the grace of God? -The grace of God in part, is the simple fact that God has chosen to grant you salvation for no reason other than His own Divine decision. As it is written:
"But our God is in Heaven; He does whatever He pleases." -Psalm 115:3
Now that you have been shown these things by God:
Believe: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). Believe every Word of God contained in the Holy Bible, and forsake your belief in anyone who teaches contrary to Scripture.
Repent: Go somewhere private and alone and cry out to God in prayer. Tell Him that you are sorry for your sin and that you desire to be saved. Call upon the Name of Jesus Christ to save you and to have mercy on you. Plead with God for your life and "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12)
Obey: Begin obeying the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ, for as it is written, "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1John 2:3-4). Read our full article on "The Commandments of Christ" now.
The early Christian converts were baptized immediately after they believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and repented of their sins, and you should too (Acts 2:38). If you were previously baptized, before actually believing and knowing all of these things, than your baptism was not authentic (Acts 8:36,37).
Then, do as the early Christians did when they converted:
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul..." -Acts 2:42-43a
- The Apostle's Doctrine has been recorded for us in the New Testament of the Bible. Learn it. Obey it.
- Then find a fellowship of Christians who do likewise and join them. If you cannot find one, form one, but do not keep company with people who claim to be Christians but live in sin (1Cor 5:11) or with Christians who do not keep to the traditions of the Bible (2Thess 3:6).
- Then break bread with other true Christians that you are in fellowship with (partake of Holy Communion) on a regular basis.
- Then pray often. Pray alone (Matt 6:6) and with your fellowship (Acts 1:14).
- Then you shall truly be walking in the fear of the Lord, which, contrary to worldly opinion, is actually a very good thing (Psalm 111:10).