Straight From the Bible
Salvation by Grace Alone Through Faith in Christ
Obedience to God's laws contributes nothing to
our salvation; we do not merit salvation because of anything we do. We
are saved on the basis of our faith in Christ's death on the cross for
our sins (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Once we have received salvation and our hearts
are changed by God's love, obedience to the commandments is something that
comes quite naturally. We delight in doing God's will.
The Importance of Scripture in Our Lives
Christians accept the Bible as the basis for their
faith, teachings, and practices. Its author is God: "All scripture is inspired
by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for
training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Just as God inspired
the Bible writers, so He inspires readers today to understand the truths
of His Word. The holy Bible points the way to eternal life, also gives
us a correct understanding of its principles--how to live the abundant
Christian life and how we can serve others better in this present world.
And amazingly, to the honest seeker for truth and righteousness this fact:
"...and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John
8:32). Free from sin and its destructive habits--free in Jesus!
A Special Day of Rest and Gladness
The fourth commandment of the Bible sets aside
a day each week for spiritual rest (rejuvenation and fellowship with God
and man), the seventh day Sabbath (Genesis 2:2, 3; Exodus 20:8, 11). The
Sabbath of Scripture is a memorial of creation, and the fourth commandment
reaffirms the purpose of the Sabbath. So the seventh day of the week is
a 24-hour period that is different from all others because it is holy time
(no other day is holy time).
Christ's Soon Return to Planet Earth
The best thing going for this planet and its inhabitants
is the greatest planned rescue event of the ages--Jesus Christ is coming
for His people. Jesus promised in John 14:3 that He would come again to
set us free from all bondage. There is hardly a Christian anywhere who
does not hold with certainty to the belief that Jesus will return--and
not far hence, considering all the signs of His coming in today's world
(Matthew 24; Luke 21). Revelation 22:12 has this beautiful promise:
"See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone's
Peaceful Sleep in Death
The Bible teaches that the body and soul are essentially
a unit and that death is a state of unconsciousness. Jesus called death
a sleep (John 11:11). King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived on earth,
recorded this convincing statement about death in Ecclesiastes 9:5):
"...the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing;..."
The Bible teaches that only God has immortality (1 Timothy 6:15, 16). Human
beings can receive life only through Jesus (1 John 5:11, 12). God's people
receive immortality at the resurrection of the just, which occurs at Christ's
imminent return to earth.
The Greatest Sacrifice in the Universe
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they became slaves
to Satan and his evil powers. Human beings would be slaves forever had
Jesus not come to free us. Jesus made it possible for all of us to be forever
set free from Satan's power, by demonstrating in His entire life on earth
that human beings can obey God's laws. Jesus took our sins upon Himself
(Isaiah 53:5, 6), bore our guilt and then paid the ultimate sacrifice by
dying for us even though He was completely innocent. "The next day he [John
the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of
God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" (John 1:29).
Pride Led to Downfall
Of all places, heaven was invaded by evil! The
highest-ranking created being was Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12). He rebelled against
God, was jealous of His position as Ruler of the universe (Isaiah 14:13,
14; Ezekiel 28:14-17). War broke out in heaven and Satan and his sympathizers
(evil angels) were cast out (Revelation 12:7-9). Their presence on this
planet is very evident in all the heartbreak and evil that Satan and his
evil angels have introduced.
What God Did About Sin
God devised a plan to rescue mankind. After Satan
tempted Adam and Eve in paradise, God said to the enemy, "...I will put
enmity between you and the woman [God's people], and between your offspring
and hers;..." (Genesis 3:15). God meant that He would change the hearts
of those who would allow Him to work in them. That way they could once
again be in harmony with God! In Scripture this is called "the new birth"
(John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23). It is a miraculous transformation when we permit
Jesus full control of our lives (Romans 12:1, 2). We make the choice, but
that only by the grace of God.
What Is Jesus Doing Now?
Jesus died 2,000 years ago. What has He been doing
for us since then in heaven? (See Acts 1:11.) He said to His disciples
that He planned to prepare a place for them in heaven (John 14:1-3). Jesus
is now preparing a home for every follower, for those who have accepted
Him as Lord of their lives. Also, Jesus is presently before His Father
as Mediator (Advocate), applying the benefits of His death on the cross.
After His return to heaven, Jesus sent the third Person of the Godhead,
the Holy Spirit (the One who changes hearts and places within us a desire
for the spiritual). Also, heaven sends angels to be our guardians, who
many times lead us to those who are seeking God.
What Christ Made Available for Us!
It is impossible for humans to obey God's precepts
without divine guidance. Certainly our own good deeds don't get us very
far. We cannot earn God's favor (though many try so hard) by obedience.
The holy Bible says that no one will be declared righteous by observing
the law (Romans 3:20). How then are we saved? Ephesians 2:8, 9 says,
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own
doing, it is the gift of God--not because of works, lest any man should
boast." The fact is, the moment we (any of us) ask God to forgive us, and
believe that He does, He will. Obedience to God's laws is never the condition
of our salvation; it is always the result of our salvation. Those who love
Him, keep His commandments (John 14:15).
The Final End of This World's Sin and Suffering
There are those who believe that after Jesus returns
from heaven, the righteous will rule the wicked. However, the Bible is
very clear that good and evil will be separated at His coming (Matthew
25:32). Christ will accomplish this by taking His people to heaven. Satan's
followers will be destroyed (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The present era of
earth's history will end. Satan is bound (held captive) 1,000 years on
this desolate planet (Revelation 20:3).
God's Ultimate Plan for His People
At the conclusion of the 1,000 years, the unsaved
will be raised to life for final judgment (Revelation 20:5), and Satan
will be released (Revelation 20:7). At that time, the New Jerusalem, where
God's people live during the 1,000 years, will descend to this earth (Revelation
3:12; 21:1-3; Zechariah 14:4, 5). Satan, his evil angels, and all who have
rejected God will be totally destroyed (Revelation 20:14, 15; Malachi 4:1).
The universe will then be free of all evil forever. God will recreate our
world with the pristine beauty it had at the beginning with Adam and Eve
(Revelation, chapters 21 and 22).