Tag Archives: Salvation

Only God Can Remove Your Sin

I’m going to take a break from reviewing Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos to give you what I believe is a real-world application of apologetics – a real-world situation that has hit a little close to home with more than one person near and dear to me.

Up until the end of the 1930’s, alcoholism was considered to be a hopeless condition. The medical community realized that once the evils of alcohol had gripped a person to the point of compulsion, there was no hope. Such a person was doomed to be destroyed by alcohol with no chance of being healed. In 1939 a group calling itself Alcoholics Anonymous came out with a plan by which alcoholism could be removed from a person – a 12 step program for alcoholics to process and find their victory over this evil spirit of alcoholism. Allow me to group and abbreviate the 12 steps for the purposes of this posting.  

Step 1 is to come to the realization that you are powerless over alcohol, if left to your own resources.
Step 2 is to realize that turning to God, as you understand him, is the ONLY hope of healing from this disease.
Step 3, then, is to make the conscious decision to turn your life over to God and ask Him to take control of your will and your lives.
Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7 are to take moral inventory, admitting and turning over your wrongs to God and ask that these wrongs be removed from you.
Steps 8-12 are to ask God to help you make amends for harms done, and to continue this process on a daily basis.

That sounds a lot like the problem we all have with sin in our lives. We were all born with a sin nature that separates us from God, and no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, we cannot cross the chasm between us and God of our own resources. Our condition is hopeless without turning to God, the only One who can remove our sin nature. The steps to this victory over death are the same basic steps as those of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program.

Steps to Peace with God

  1. To realize that the chasm between us and God cannot be bridged of our own power.  
    • Romans 3:23 – ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
    • Isaiah 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
  2. To come to the realization that the only way out of death, our wages of sin, is to turn to Jesus Christ, who has paid the price of death for us.
    • 1 Timothy 2:5 – “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”
    • 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
  3. To make a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, to turn our lives over to Him in order to cross the chasm between us and God.
    • John 1:12 – “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
    • Romans 10:9 – “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  4. To pray the Sinner’s Prayer through which we recognize our own sinful nature, repent of that sinful nature, and then to ask God to forgive us of our sins, come into our hearts and take control of our lives.
  5. From that point on, we are admonished to allow the Holy Spirit to continue bringing our sins to our conscious minds, that we can repent of them, seek forgiveness, and ask God to help us make restitution for them. And we are further admonished to pick up our cross daily.

In the very real-world situation of alcoholism, we can see that this process works to give people victory over something that left them hopeless without turning to God. In just as real a situation, and far more consequential on an eternal scale, God has given us that same opportunity for victory over our sins, and eternal life over death.

Did Jesus Raise from the Dead and How Could a Good God Send Nice People to Hell?

These two questions are difficult to answer for different reasons. The first is impossible from a natural perspective, and the second seems to contradict God’s character. If you look at the two questions together, it begs yet another question: how could God bring His own Son back from death, but not the rest of us? I’ll return to this third question after our review of Bobby Conway’s One Minute Apologist videos examining the first two.

To discuss the question of whether Jesus really raised from the dead, Bobby turns to Dr. Gary Habermas, whose life ministry has revolved around research into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, stemming from his own doubts as a young man. He revolves his defense by taking on the hallucination theory, which simply states that those who claim to have seen Jesus alive after His death were simply hallucinating. He makes the point that there is no historical evidence of any hallucination among any of the the people to whom Jesus appeared. He further makes the point that hallucination is a personal event. The theory of hallucinations breaks down when you consider the numbers of people that Jesus appeared to in different settings and different groupings. In all of these encounters, everyone that met Him were convinced that He was real and that He was who He said He was, and the theory of hallucinations breaks down. On top of all of that, it is historically documented that the tomb was, in fact, empty. A Roman guard was established at the tomb to assure that no one could steal His body, to make a false resurrection claim. Jesus was dead; the Roman government and the Jewish hierarchy wanted to make sure that His message died with Him. And, yet, His tomb was empty. That fact throws the hallucination theory out the window. The death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most provably documented events in all of world history.

So, if God could bring His own Son back from death, how could He send nice people to hell? To discuss this question, Bobby turns back to Frank Turek. Frank begins by breaking down the question, stating that God does not send anyone to hell. But, He is too loving to take people’s free will away and make them accept His gift for eternal life in heaven. He makes the point that not everyone wants to spend eternity in heaven. Now, they may not fully understand the alternative of hell, but the idea of spending eternity with Jesus in heaven doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, especially those who have spent their entire lives running from Him.

What hell represents is that man is free and God is love. God will not make us love Him because that would violate everything that He is and everything that love is. But, we have to ask ourselves: why did God put His own Son through what He did? Why were the last instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples (present and future) before He ascended back into heaven that we should take His message to all the world (Matthew 28:18-20)? Why does God’s Word tell us that His will is that none should perish, but all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)? To wrap it up, God gave man the right to free will, which Adam and Eve spoiled by their own desires in the Garden of Eden, condemning us all to to a sinful, rebellious nature, for which God sentenced us to death. Then God put that sentence on Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, and has given us every opportunity to accept it so that we won’t go to hell of our own free will. And He did it all out of love.

Let’s go back to the third question that I postulated in the first paragraph: If God could resurrect His own Son from death, why not the rest of us? The simple answer is that God has given all of us the opportunity for resurrection – not immediate and bodily, as with the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ after His death. But, everything about His whole life, death and resurrection was exactly that: to give everyone an opportunity to be saved to eternal life. All you have to do is recognize your need for salvation, turn to God, and accept the death of Jesus Christ as the payment for your sins and His resurrection as your assurance of being raised to eternal life. It’ all right there for you to accept. Go to Steps to Peace with God for more information.

Toughest Questions Christians Face (continued)

The next tough question is one of the hardest questions to answer, one of the largest stumbling blocks keeping non-believers from accepting God’s love. In the next One Minute Apologist video in the series on the Tough Questions Christians Face, Brett Kunkle, apologist at Stand to Reason, takes on that question: Why Does God Allow Suffering and Evil? When asked if there are any reasons why a loving God would allow suffering, Brett answers that there certainly are, even if we do not know what those reasons are. God is God, and we are not. There is an infinite chasm between His wisdom and ours; we cannot expect to know everything He knows. In Deuteronomy 29:29, God tells us,“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…” God is a God of reason, and has a reason for everything He does. Sometimes we need to know what those reasons are, and sometimes we don’t – or may not understand if He told us. Parents, have you ever told your children, “I’m the mom (or dad), that’s why.” We take our tiny children to a doctor, who sticks a needle in their arm and causes pain. The child would not understand why that needle is important, and does not have the level of knowledge to know that the shot he/she is getting is to protect them from something we as adults know is out there, but they do not. As a parent, you have a morally sufficient reason – and a responsibility – to get your children the care (medical or otherwise) that they need, whether they understand that or not. We have to trust that the Creator of the universe knows what He is doing and is acting to in accordance to His plan.

But, God has not left us with no answers to this question. God tells us that we need perseverance, we need to learn to love deeply, and to care for others in need. How do we get that depth of character, of love and understanding to do that? God tells us in Romans 5:3-5, “…we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” God loves us, and wants what is best for us, and part of that is to help us learn to love and care for Him and for others, through Him.

The next video deals with the question of whether Jesus is the only way. The argument from the world is that there may be only one destination, but there are many paths – choose on and be sincere, that’s all it takes. But, can’t we be sincerely wrong? In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” In Acts 4:12, we read, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.” The question comes back to us as to why we have to be so narrow in our response. When we go to a doctor, we expect that doctor to diagnose and prescribe a treatment for our condition. We need that diagnosis and prescription to be narrow, to actually solve our medical problem, not just take a shotgun approach and hope something works. If our car in not running properly because of a fuel mixture problem, we don’t need to have our mechanic tear apart the transmission to find a fix.

Jesus said that He is the only way. That is either the biggest con-job in the history of the world, the biggest psychotic delusion in the history of the world, or it is true. It cannot be true and untrue. If it’s true, then what happens to those who do not accept – or have never had an opportunity to accept – Jesus as the only way? That is the question of the next video in this series, which we’ll cover in my next posting. In the meantime, you may want to look at Steps to Peace with God.

Protecting Children

I want to tell you a story from when I first became a daddy. Our son was perfect, and my wife and I were thrilled at such a gift! We loved him so much and vowed before God to love him, to protect him and to bring him up in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – as I believe all good Christian parents should do.

When he was old enough to start adventuring about on two feet, I set out to ‘baby proof’ the house. I put the little two-prong protectors in all of the outlets, I put the cabinet drawer and door locks in, I put the little corner protectors on all of the end tables so that he wouldn’t fall and get hurt by the sharp corners – all the things they tell you to do to ‘baby-proof’ a house with a new toddler. When I was done, I turned to my wife and said, “There, our son is safe in this house!” Does that sound familiar to any other daddies out there?

That very same day, I sat down in a rec-room chair and Joshua, still a little unsteady on his feet, toddled over to be picked up. As he approached, he tripped on my big foot and fell into the end table and blood went everywhere! He had split his eyebrow, not on the corner of the table, but on the edge. That was our second trip to the ER with him (the first is a story for another time).

I asked God why He allowed our son to fall and cut himself? The answer I got was that I had determined to make my son’s world safe of my own ability. Of course, the reality was that I could never fully protect him – it was foolish to think that I could.

Our children are never completely safe as long as they are in this world. But, it is incumbent upon us, as parents, to turn our children over to God’s loving protection. Certainly, we should do what is prudent as parents to keep our children safe – but realizing that of our own power, we can never protect our children the way He can. Our son still carries the scar of that moment in his eyebrow, a constant reminder to me to turn my burdens over to God, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22a). “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

The same is true of us as adults. We will never live in a completely safe world. But, if we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ and ask Him to be our Lord and Savior, then we will be His children. He will give us the keys to His Kingdom and give us the authority to bind Satan’s demons and loose God’s angels to protect us (Matthew 16:19). As believers, we will also be able to claim the principles of Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Will that protect us from all harm? No! But it will give us the assurance that no matter what we go through, it will be for His glory, and will ultimately be turned to good for us as well as for His Kingdom.

The first step is to recognize our sinful nature and recognize that we need to repent of that, and turn to Jesus Christ. If you have never done that, I urge you to go to PeaceWithGod.net and do it now. Become a child of God today and rely on His unlimited resources, instead your limited resources, to keep you safe from the wiles of the devil. If you would like to discuss that, contact me here RockysRamblings@gmail.com, I’d love to talk with you, pray with you, answer your questions, or help you settle into life as a new Child of God!