“I’m not going to ask you if you’re a Christian or if you’re saved. I just want to know one thing: can you explain to me how the Bible says that someone can go to heaven? What does somebody need to do to go to heaven? Can you explain that to me?”
If you can’t answer that question, if you can’t answer the question that Jesus asked His disciples in Mark 8:29, “But who do YOU say that I am?” You need to drop everything you’re worrying about and learn the answers to those two questions. Because your life depends on it.
This is an excellent presentation by Hal Lindsey of what it means to live by faith. Please watch:
Here’s Hal Lindsey’s website. I try to watch his program as it appears on TBN every Friday at 5 pm PST.
Here’s the sad reality: a lot of people think they’re “Christians” because they believe garbage that has absolutely nothing to do with what the Bible teaches. St. Paul wrote:
“But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” — 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, NLT
There is a “different Jesus”; many different Jesuses, in fact.
Jesus stands completely unique in all of human history. Because of the profound influence of Western Civilization upon the world, and because our very calender system revolves around the birth of the greatest and most influential person who ever lived, our very history literally revolves around Jesus. The greatest problem true Christianity faces is not that no one has heard of Jesus; rather, the crisis is that every single religion has tried to hijack Jesus to their religion or worldview. The Muslims have turned Jesus into a prophet of Islam; Buddhism has turned Jesus into an enlightened one like the Buddha who found true enlightenment but remained in our reality to help others. Hindus have turned Jesus into an incarnation or avatar of Vishnu. Secular humanists and liberals have amazingly turned Jesus into a modern-day Marxist who somehow wanted to give Caesar complete totalitarian power over the people via the vehicle of government economic redistributionism.
They’re all wrong. Jesus said about Himself:
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” — John 14:6
It is critical that we come to salvation by our personal decision to trust in Jesus to deliver us from our sins and from the hell we deserve if we are judged according to our own merit. And that is because Jesus said:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:45
Give His life?.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13
But why does Jesus talk about giving up His life as a ransom for many? Why does He talk about laying down His life for His friends?
Just before Jesus cited what is now the most famous Bible verse in the world, Jesus said:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” — John 3:14-16
Jesus was teaching what true salvation was. He compared Himself to the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness and taught that He also had to be lifted up in order for humanity to be saved. According to the Bible, the Jews during the Exodus turned against God, and God judged them with a plague of deadly serpents. But God also gave the people the opportunity to be saved:
“And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” — Numbers 21:9
Just as the bronze serpent hung on a pole, so Jesus would hang on the cross. And just as anyone who looked at the bronze serpent would live, so also anyone who looked at Jesus dying on the cross would live. Jesus taught that when He would be lifted up on the cross, anybody who looked upon Him and trusted that Jesus had sacrificed His life for theirs would be saved from the eternal death of hell. God is holy. There is no sin in Him at all. And all who come to Him must be morally perfect without having ever committed one sin throughout their entire life. And God gives us the opportunity to either trust in ourselves and our own righteousness for this coming judgment, or to trust in the righteousness of Jesus of Nazareth. Because Jesus died in our place. He took the blame for what we did. And all He requires is for us to make that personal decision to trust in His death in our place and believe that when He rose bodily from the dead, He demonstrated His resurrection power to transform us both now and at the resurrection. As Christ’s death in our place is activated by faith, God regards us with the righteousness of Jesus. If we were to stand at the pearly gates, Jesus would appear and say, “This one’s with Me.” And the gates would open.
That choice and the faith that makes that choice come to life in our hearts is such a simple way. But there are many who pervert that message for their own agendas.
Now consider the words of John 1:1-3, 14, speaking about Christ:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-3 makes it abundantantly clear that when Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), He meant that they are one in deity, in sharing the divine nature. There is a simple poem that goes:
He came to die on a cross of wood, yet made the hill on which it stood.
Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh, was the Creator of the world as described by Genesis 1:1. All things were created through HIM. And apart from Him NOTHING was created that has ever come into being. The Creator of man, who created man in His own image, did so knowing that He would one day assume that image of man so that He could show mankind what the Father was like and redeem humanity through His work as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). And that work was completed on the cross, such that everyone who looks at Him through faith could be saved. Because, as Jesus said, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Paul writes in Romans 5:12 that just as sin came into the world by one man (Adam), so also was the free gift of God offered by one Man, the Man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15).
In that act on the cross, God died for us. God took on a human nature so He could experience the full life of a man and die the full death of a man, to atone for the sin that every single member of the human race had committed. He took the blame for us; He died in our place when it should have been we who died for our sins. The Bible is abundantly clear: we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and not even ONE of us isn’t guilty (Romans 3:10); we have all fallen far short of the glory that God created us for as His image bearers; and we are therefore all guilty of death (Romans 6:23). How many of you can even say you’ve never violated your own conscience, let alone God’s perfect holiness? But God gave man an opportunity to live and not die (Romans 5:8) by providing His Son for us to stand in our place if we would let Him. Just as God gave the Jews in the Exodus a chance to live by providing them with the bronze serpent on the pole for Moses to lift up in the wilderness. And all you have to do is look upon Jesus, upon the Son of God, and believe that He did that for you. All you need to do is recognize that you are a sinner, deserving of death, but that God wants you to LIVE by putting your faith not in yourself, but in His beloved Son. And you will be saved.
You need to meet the Jesus of the Gospels and then meet the apostles He entrusted to carry that Gospel message to the rest of the world.
Salvation through Jesus is so simple that small children can give their little hearts to Jesus; it is so amazingly deep that the most brilliant minds in history – earth-transforming minds such as Sir Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal – have marvelled at the unfathomable mysteries of the Cross of Christ.
But what happens after we’re saved? How should we live? How should we act?
J. Vernon McGee said, “Now, you might have a better plan than God, but what you don’t have is your own universe.” The Cross is God’s way of addressing man in his most dire need in His state of bondage to sin and the spiritual and ultimately physical death that resulted from that sin. You may not like it; but it IS God’s way and God offers only ONE way to be saved.
Let me ask you a question: if you were God, is this how you would have dealt with a wicked human race that was capable of uniting only to shake its fist at you? It sure isn’t how I would have come if I were God. Rather than taking on a lowly human nature and being born as a helpless baby in a stable lying in a food trough for animals, I would have appeared as a giant ready to stomp on all who defied me. That’s man’s way. It isn’t God’s. Which is why I actually thank God I’m NOT God, because I myself need God’s love and mercy far more than I need His power and His wrath.
God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). You need to get that reality through your head every single day if you want to live a Christian life. You will find that God has a radically different way of dealing with the world than human beings have devised. Jesus described God’s ways to His disciples:
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Matthew 20:25-28
Jesus told us to love our enemies. He told us to bless those who curse us. He told us to do good to those who hate us. He told us to pray for those who spitefully use us (Matthew 5:43-48). How can you possibly live like that? How could anybody? By one thing and ONLY by one thing: by faith in Jesus Christ, who provided in His life and atoning death the ultimate example of what it means to live by faith.
This episode of Hal Lindsey is a great attempt to explain what living by true biblical Christian faith looks like. I pray that you will watch it. And then watch it again.
I also agree with Hal Lindsey that we are truly in the very last days before the Rapture of the Church and the coming Tribulation. In my own experience, we have reached that point as a toxic culture such that America has crossed its moral Rubicon. What I saw demonstrated in November, 2012 was that by the time America wakes up, it will be too late. We are already over $225 trillion in debt as of now and we just decided in our vote for Obama and Democrats that we are determined to do absolutely nothing but recklessly increase that spending (our debt is increasing at nearly $1 trillion every single MONTH now) until we implode in the mother of all great depressions. A complete global collapse is coming soon – and it will be out of this coming collapse that the Antichrist emerges.
The Bible tells us that greed and sexual immorality and self-gratification and every other sin that the world offers is an illusion. It will never permanently satisfy – and we are just left wanting more and more until that addiction destroys us. And given the fact that all of this is going to be taken away – first by economic collapse and later by death and judgment – we should live as if faith and only faith is real. Christians need to be seeking that faith right now because it is the only thing that is ultimately truly valuable.
Tags: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 5:12-15, Hal Lindsey, how to live by faith, Isaiah 55:8, John 14:6, John 15:13, John 1:1-3, John 3:14-16, John 3:16, learn to live by faith, live by faith, Mark 10:45, Numbers 21:9, Romans, Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, sin