• Tag Archives belief
  • Featured Image Christian, would you fail the “religious test”?

    I have attempted to stay away from political posts this year, unless such topics have a direct line to or from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    In the past week, there have been a few overtly political events that are rooted in the utter rejection of the truth of the gospel, and one of them involves a man who many Christians supported for president, Bernie Sanders, the so called hero of the common man.  But Sanders has come out squarely against both Jesus and Article 6 of the Constitution. Continue reading  Post ID 378



  • Featured Image Eternity in the echo chamber

    In the wake of the horrific Orlando murders, I am reminded of conversations about death throughout the years that my friends and I have had with various people – many of whom claim no particular allegiance to Christ or Christianity, and some of whom are avowed atheists.  These conversations are good and necessary – we should all be aware that our life is a vapor, here today, gone tomorrow.  Even atheists believe that they could die tomorrow, we all could.

    Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow.

    In these conversations that we have had, we have noticed a few things common in all of them:

    1. Almost everyone believes that there is something after death
    2. Almost everyone believes that they will be in a better place after we die
    3. Almost everyone believes that Omar Mateen is not in a better place

    And almost everyone believes that Omar Mateen is not in a better place for this reason – that he deserves to be punished for what he did. Continue reading  Post ID 327



  • Featured Image What must I believe to be saved? (Part 3 of 3)

    You’re still with me?  Great!  ‘Cuz this final post is a tad longish…and by “a tad”, I mean, “very”…  🙂

    We’ve talked a bit about how Christianity is indeed a religion.  Jesus didn’t give up heaven, live as a human, suffer, die, and rise from the dead simply so you could live however you want and ignore His commands.

    He died so His people would live, and now lives so they will never die!

    That should mean something.

    If you desire to follow Jesus but don’t want to obey His commands, there is something very wrong.  In fact, if you come across a Christian who’s message is simply “all you need to do is believe”, that person is telling you the truth for sure, but he’s only giving you the beginning of the story…

    Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV) (18) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    What did Jesus say?  His disciples are expected to make disciples by baptizing and teaching.  But teach what?  Is it simply things about Jesus? Jesus tells us that we are to teach His disciples obedience, and specifically, obedience to His commands.

    If you call yourself a Christian, but do not want to obey Jesus’ commands, something is very wrong.

    It’s not that obedience saves you, it’s that obedience is a natural outflow of a heart that beats for God.  If you love God, you should obey Him.  True belief produces change because true belief is the result of the Holy Spirit making you a new creation.

    But the obedience part of religion, and the fuller understanding that comes with growth is a topic of another post.  This is about the belief part of religion.  When we teach people about Jesus, what do we teach them?  When they believe, what do we expect them to believe? Continue reading  Post ID 93



  • Featured Image What must I believe to be saved? (Part 2 of 3)

    Last time, we saw that there are actually many questions we must answer about belief.  Which Jesus?  Do I believe?  Are there things I must believe? and so forth.  So, let me start off with a word of encouragement – when you listen to the voice of the shepherd, when He calls you from death to life, when He renews your mind and makes you a new creation, one who’s heart beats for God, one who’s thoughts are focused on things of the Spirit and life, you will be saved.  Period.

    And here’s the but…BUT…that new life actually, literally, changes you.  God meets you where you are, that’s true, but He doesn’t leave you there.  He moves you.  He guides you.  He teaches you.  He changes you.  He resets your worldview as He moves you from death to life.

    If you say you love Jesus, but remain unchanged, something and someone is horrifyingly wrong.

    And it’s not God. Continue reading  Post ID 91



  • Featured Image What must I believe to be saved? (Part 1 of 3)

    There is a popular idea going around…the idea that religion is bad and Jesus is good.  This idea spawns other ideas like “religion gets in the way of Jesus” or “Jesus hates religion”.  There is a sense in which I agree with these statements, but only if we define “religion” as “man made doctrines that substitute for Jesus.”  The bible certainly speaks out against that kind of religion in passages like Colossians 2:20–23 and James 1:26.

    However, the bible is pretty clear that in order to call yourself a Christian, you must believe certain things. The fuller context of James 1:26 is:

    James 1:19–27 (ESV) (19) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (20) for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (21) Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (23) For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. (24) For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. (25) But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (26) If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (27) Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

    If we are to call ourselves Christian, we must not only be hearers of the word, but doers of the word as well.  And the “doing” of the word is pure and undefiled religion.

    So, Christianity is both a relationship and a religion.  A relationship in that you must know Jesus, and a religion in that once you know Jesus, there are things He expects of you. Continue reading  Post ID 78