Why Was Christ Crucified?

apr06Continuing on with this month’s theme, I need to explain why Christ was crucified. Jesus himself explained why in John 3:16 (KJV). “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.”

From the beginning, God’s plan of salvation called for his son to be the substitute to take the punishment of those who would put their lives in his hands. He promised this way back in Genesis 3:15. The King James Version reads, “And I (God) will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, (Eve) and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This “seed” is none other than Jesus Christ. The “him” in that passage is the Devil.
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Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)foretold Christ’s atoning work.  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Furthermore, Jesus was no hapless victim, as some folks believe but a willing saviour who died and rose to save his followers. John 10:18 (KJV) reads, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Being human as well as divine, Jesus still had his qualms about being our spiritual whipping boy. John 12:27 (KJV) records him as saying, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour:’ but for this cause came I unto this hour.”

Jesus could have easily chickened out but he staid the course. John 18:37 (KJV) describes how he was resolute in his purpose. “Pilate therefore said unto him, ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.'”

Christ knew what his sacrifice would eventually accomplish. Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) explains, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

In addition to having all power and authority in heaven and earth, Christ is our go-between, advocating our case to his heavenly Father. As Hebrews 9:15 (KJV) explains, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

Additionally, Christ always had the long view in mind. 1 Corinthians 15:28 (KJV) shows this when Paul wrote, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
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What an awesome truth this is! From before creation, the Trinity agreed on this mighty plan to provide Christ a gift, meaning those who would believe in him, so he could lay us at the Father’s feet as a token of his love.

I hope to write much more on this mind-boggling rescue mission and gift of love in a book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? If people could have even a glimpse of how comprehensive the Lord’s plan is, it would astonish them and even cause them to surrender to Christ’s will.

Is Hell Really Forever?

mar21Now that I’ve established what and where hell is, does it really last forever? Some Christians argue that a kind and compassionate God could never send people to hell for the rest of eternity.

One scripture verse they use to bolster their claim is 1 Timothy 2:4 (KJV), which says of God,  “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” What these people fail to understand is that this is only God’s wish for humanity. Though he wants all people to be saved, he gave us a choice in the matter.

These proponents of hell being for a set time and not forever also twist what Christ said in John 3:16 (KJV) which reads, “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.” But they overlook what he said in the next three verses. People don’t want to come to the light because their deeds are evil.
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As the minister of the sick house church I once attended claimed, some people believe that the word “forever” doesn’t mean for the rest of eternity. Even a casual search in a concordance would show that all uses of “forever” mean exactly that. In fact, repetitions such as in Revelation 20:10 (KJV) reinforce the eternal period’s length. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

The truth is that nobody is good except God. As Paul wisely pointed out in Romans 3:10 (KJV), “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no,  not one:'” How then can anybody claim to be good on their own terms? The truth is that they can’t.

And if “forever” doesn’t mean forever but a period of time, what does that do to the biblical promises that say we’ll be with God forever? Proponents of hell’s limited time never seem to consider that aspect of their argument.
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Because of heresies such as this, I feel compelled to write my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? The most important aspect of our lives is where we will end up after death. I want nobody to end up in hell because nobody warned them about this important matter. Sadly, many people either reject God or think they can please him with their own righteousness.

What is the Common Salvation?

dec08Believe it or not, there are bogus Bible teachers who twist even blatantly obvious verses into pretzels of error. The lay minister at a cultic house church I once attended was one of those scripture twisters.

Perhaps the worst of his mangling’s of God’s holy Word was Jude verse three which reads, “My loved ones, while my thoughts were full of a letter which I was going to send you about our common salvation, it was necessary for me to send you one requesting you with all my heart to go on fighting strongly for the faith which has been given to the saints once and for ever.”

A plain reading of this verse indicates that Jude referred to the salvation which we, who have surrendered control of our lives to Christ, have in common. Almost the entire text of this epistle warns against false brethren who twist the precious truth which was passed down from the saints.
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So how could anybody warp the obvious concept of the “common salvation” to mean something else? The man running the house church claimed it indicated that everybody would be saved eventually. He figured that since hell was meant for the Devil and the fallen angels, God wouldn’t incarcerate any soul in it eternally. Additionally, he said that God was too merciful to condemn anybody to eternal agony forever.

So what does “common salvation” actually mean? John 3:16 is the most well-known verse from scripture. The Bible in Basic English renders it this way. “For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life.” The word “whoever” shows that some wouldn’t accept Christ’s magnanimous offer. Read the next few  verses and you’ll realize this fact.
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Instead of reading the Bible to find out what God has said to his created beings, people, like the one I knew, twist the meaning of scriptures to suit what they want to believe. Only by comparing the mysterious verses with plain ones can we understand the Bible fully.

Thanks to proper Bible scholars who understand the nuances of the ancient languages in which the verses were written, I now know what the Lord said and who he really is. This is why I want to write my book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Satan has filled this world with so much disinformation that I feel compelled to counter it with biblical truth.

WHAT IS GOD REALLY LIKE?

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Is God some sort of cosmic bully who demands to be loved or he’ll send people to eternal torment in hell? This is what most non-Christians believe. Having been both a Christian and an atheist, I understand the misunderstanding that many people have toward the creator of the universe. Thanks to wise Bible teachers, I now comprehend who God really is and why he created hell for those who insist in refusing his generous offer of salvation.

Contrary to what God-hating people claim, the Lord has made his presence plain through his creation. Romans 1:20-21 says, “For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing: Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark.”

But God didn’t leave us without help or hope. ? Jesus said in John 3:16-19   “For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to be judge of the world; he sent him so that the world might have salvation through him. The man who has faith in him does not come up to be judged; but he who has no faith in him has been judged even now, because he has no faith in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the test by which men are judged: the light has come into the world and men have more love for the dark than for the light, because their acts are evil.”

Right from the start, humans chose to rebel against their maker rather than obey him. History shows how people choose wickedness rather than obeying the Lord. Furthermore, children are an apt example of how humanity is born depraved. After all, parents never have to teach children how to be bad whereas obedience needs to be taught.

Additionally, people suppress the truth to keep their consciences blind. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:21-22, ” Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark. Seeming to be wise, they were in fact foolish,” This shows that everybody knows that there’s a creator but they dismiss the knowledge from their minds.

So we can see by this, and many other scripture verses, that God doesn’t want people to go to hell but he does respect our choices. If he didn’t, we all would be in eternal torment. C. S. Lewis said that believers say “Thy will be done,” to God whereas he says to unrepentant folks “Thy will be done.” In other words, people volunteer to go to hell.

I wrote about how I came to know God as a loving heavenly father in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about this inspiring testimony at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.