I have shared previously that I grew up going to a Methodist Church and then a Baptist Church (where I was born again) and then a Pentecostal/Charismatic Church, after I graduated from High School (and I still continue to go to a Pentecostal/Charismatic Church). I sensed the Holy Spirit in all of those churches and I believe the Lord had me in all of them at different times as part of my journey. Each one added another layer or degree of understanding, a greater depth of experience and growth in my relationship with God and I am thankful for all of them. However over the years, the more I have studied the word of God for myself, I have come to believe that some of the things I was taught was not accurate according to God’s word. Also, it seems that the culture of the world has crept into the church and many actually believe the world’s teachings instead of what God’s word says or they don’t even know what it says. I am going to share some of the things that people believe or that is commonly taught and then share what the scriptures say in regard to this.
You can go to heaven just by being a good person.
Romans 3:10-12 says There is none righteous, no not one. God is perfect and holy (Hebrews 12:14) and cannot have fellowship with sinners apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ. If any of us could make it to heaven based on our own merits, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross for our sins, to make a way for us to be reconciled to God. Jesus said “You must be born again.” (John 3:7).
You can get to heaven by keeping the 10 commandments.
Romans 3:20 says “No one will be made righteous in His sight by observing the law, rather through the law, we become conscious of sin. Galatians 3:23-25 says the law was our tutor, to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. In other words, none of us can perfectly keep the law. We are all are born with a sinful nature and consequently, we all sin. The law was instituted to let us know what God’s holy standards are and to make us realize that we cannot live up to them perfectly, therefore we needed a new covenant of grace, which involved Jesus Christ paying the price for our sins and crediting us with the righteousness of Christ (for all who truly accept Him) (II Corinthians 5:21).
If I pray the sinner’s prayer, I am free to live any way I please and I will still go to heaven when I die.
I John 3:2-10, Vs. 6 No one who abides in Him (who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him — deliberately, knowingly, and habitually) commits (practices sin. No one who (habitually sins has either seen or known Him, (The Amplified Bible).
I Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or 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.” (NKJ).
When we are “born again”, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in our hearts and although we still have a flesh and will be tempted to sin and sometimes will sin, we no longer do it willingly, on purpose, as a habit of our life. The Lord changes our hearts so that we no longer want to live a sinful lifestyle (Philippians 2:13), therefore if you are still living a sinful lifestyle after praying the sinner’s prayer, you probably were never really saved.
Once Saved, Always Saved, I cannot lose my salvation, no matter what I do.
Hebrews 10:26-29 Vs. 26 for if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Notice these verses speak of those who have received the knowledge of the truth and “were sanctified”. These are people who had come to a knowledge of the truth, accepted Christ as their savior and then chose to walk away. Jesus said that no one can take us out of his hand, but I believe the scripture is telling us that we can choose to walk away from Him. He has not taken away our free will. I Timothy 4:1-2 says 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.
I do not believe this is saying that a backslider cannot be restored, but that there is a point where a person can become so hardened in their heart that they no longer sense the conviction power of the Holy Spirit or have a desire for God and they become given over to a reprobate mind, (Romans 1:28).
All roads lead to heaven, whether it’s Buddha, Allah, etc.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. I Timothy 2:5 says: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus (NIV).
Jesus said He is the only way to the Father, but I have heard many stories of people who were in other religions having dreams where Jesus appeared to them and they ended up getting saved. God loves all people and He wants all people to be saved. (II Peter 3:9). Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all of your heart, (NIV).
In Matthew 24, as I talked about last time, deception is one of the “birth pangs” or signs that Jesus said would become more and more frequent as we get closer to the end of the age and the returning of Christ. Jesus said in verse 11 that many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
The word believe means commitment to, adherence to, faith in, trust in, reliance upon and to obey. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-21 that you will know them by their fruits. He also said in verse 21 that not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
I just want to encourage all of you to really study the word of God for yourself. There are a lot of good Bible teachers and preachers, but you must know what it says for yourself, so that you will not be deceived and be able to persevere through hard times. Also, if you have never accepted Christ as your savior or you need to rededicate your life to Him, I strongly encourage you to do so. God bless you all.
In Christ –Kelly Rowe