In this world, we can rarely find genuine love and acceptance. People will proclaim their love; they will say that they care, but often we find that what people say is not lived out in their lives.
One of the primary reasons that I believe in and follow Jesus, is because of His loving relationship with me. I am one of those whom Jesus said: “blessed are those who believe without seeing.”
Faith by sight being true, I am also one who understands that God never asked anyone to believe in their heart, what their mind cannot understand. I have seen more evidence for the reality of Jesus than anything else in this world. I have written thousands of articles and published over 30 books—because there is such a great body of evidence. I want people to know that their is good reasons to believe that Jesus is real, He is God, and He came into the world so that we could know God.
Jesus has a unique relationship with those who follow Him. He is not like the gods or religions of man who are often distant, unknowable, or hard to comprehend. Jesus came to earth in the form of a man and permanently took the form of a human being, because He desperately wanted all of us to know Him.
Jesus Followed A Plan
In John’s Gospel, chapter 10, Jesus is at Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah). The Jews observe this Feast because it commemorates the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in 164 B.C. As the Jews were celebrating this Feast, they questioned Jesus about His true identity. In the minds of these men, Jesus had been evasive about telling them who He really was.
Many people don’t understand that when they read the story of Jesus in the four Gospels, that there is a script that Jesus is following. Before Jesus came to earth, before He created the universe, He had decided precisely when He would come to earth, and every event that He would do while here.
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. ~Galatians 4:4 (NLT)
The reason Jesus was following a predetermined course for His life was so that He could fulfill all of the Messianic prophecies that had been written about Him in the Old Testament. Jesus did not announce the arrival of the Messiah at Jerusalem until the precise time that had been determined, had arrived.
The Book of Daniel, chapter 9, gives us this time. As Daniel is praying and reading the text from the prophet Jeremiah. In chapter 25, he realizes that the 70 year captivity of the Jews into Babylon is nearly complete. God had warned the Jews that if they continued to fall away from Him and began to live like the pagan nations who surrounded them, He would take them out of their land and place them into Babylon for 70 years.
As Daniel realizes that this time is nearly complete, he starts to pray for his people and nation. As a result, the angel Gabriel comes to Daniel to tell him about one of the most profound prophecies in the Bible. “Seventy weeks are determined...,” Gabriel tells Daniel. A period of seventy weeks of years (70 X 7= 490 years) has been determined by God for the Jews and the nation of Israel. Within the first 483 of these years, the Jews would return to Israel from Babylon, rebuild the Temple, and the Messiah would come to Jerusalem. The last seven years are for the seven year Tribulation Period that is described in the Book of Revelation.
Gabriel told Daniel the precise day that Messiah would ride into Jerusalem, on the “Foal of a donkey,” as Zechariah 9:9 describes. Jesus instructed the disciples to go to go and get the foal of a donkey and bring it to Him, on Palm Sunday, 32 A.D. Jesus rode the young donkey into Jerusalem and fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy precisely.
Up until the Feast of Passover arrived in 32 A.D., Jesus could not allow Himself to be proclaimed as the Messiah. Many times His disciple had urged Jesus to go up to Jerusalem and tell the religious leaders who He was. Jesus refused and said, “My time has not yet come.” Jesus was waiting for this “day” that David had written about in Psalms 118:24-26. This is the one day in the history of the world when God had determined that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem and announce that God had kept His promise to send us a Savior.
This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! ~Psalms 118:24-26
If this subject is of some interest to you, I have written several books documenting all the Prophecies of the Messiah, and the specific day that Daniel predicted and Jesus fulfilled. See “The Prophecies of the Messiah,” and “These Things Were Written.”
The Pharisees Demand: “Tell Us Who You Are!”
At this point, the Jewish religious leaders at Jerusalem are tired of the suspense. They demand that Jesus tell them plainly whether or not He is the Messiah.
It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. ~John 10:22-26 (NLT)
In answer to whether Jesus is the Messiah, He asks these men to think about what they have seen Him do and the words He has spoken. Jesus referred to the miracles He performed as the proof that He is God and Messiah. According to various Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, when He arrives on earth, Messiah will cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and proclaim the time of God’s salvation has arrived.
John The Baptist Has Questions For Jesus
The prophet Malachi predicted that before the Messiah would come, a prophet would announce His arrival (Malachi 4:5-6). The New Testament records that John the Baptist was this man (Matthew 11:11-15).
When John was arrested by Herod and sentenced to death, John began to have doubts about whether Jesus really was the Messiah. He sent word to Jesus through one of John’s disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah whom the Prophets foretold.
Jesus’ response tells us a great deal about His identity:
And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” ~Matthew 11:2-5
Jesus was reminding John that the Messiah would have a ministry of healing to validate His identity. John should know that Jesus is the Messiah because He is performing miracles exactly as the Messiah was predicted to accomplish.
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. ~Isaiah 35:5-6
When we examine the narratives about Jesus we find that the miracles Matthew recorded that Jesus performed, were the same miracles that Isaiah 35:5-6 predicted for the Messiah.
Jesus proved that He is God and Messiah, by the miracles He performed, but told the leaders of Israel that they did not understand who He is, because they are “not His sheep.” Jesus used the illustration of sheep and a Shepherd to demonstrate the relationship that God has with those who love Him. Jesus is the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm who leads the sheep, feeds them on His word, protects them, and heals all their wounds. Ultimately, the Shepherd will lead His sheep to eternal pastures where they will never die and be loved by the Shepherd forever.
How To Tell The True Believer From The False
Here, Jesus reveals the loving relationship He has with those who follow Him and believe He is their Savior. The sheep, hear Jesus voice and understand His words. Those who are not Jesus’ sheep, cannot understand Him or His words.
Anyone can become one of the sheep who knows their Shepherd, by simply placing their trust in Him and by following Him for all of their life. This is a mystery to the rest of the world, because they do not understand how or when salvation really takes place.
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! ~Romans 11:33 (NLT)
Those who are not in a personal relationship with the Lord, cannot understand the things of God, they are foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 1). To those who sincerely seek Jesus with all of their heart, they discover who God is—that He exists—that He speaks to, and interacts personally with, everyone who love Him.
Everyone who trusts in Jesus has exercised their will to believe. This was known to God before He made the universe and for this reason, He can speak of everyone who believes in Christ as “chosen” by God. Just as we make our own choices based upon what we believe to be true and genuine, God also makes His choices based upon what He knows is true and genuine. God chose us for heaven because He knew that we would chose Jesus a our Savior.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. ~Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT)
People who do not care to know God, cannot understand these things, they are foreign and make no sense. It is by trusting in Jesus that we enter into a relationship with God and He begins to reveal these hidden mysteries of God to us.
The Father also determined that each one of us who love Jesus would be a gift to His Son, given to Him before the foundation of the world.
“For my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” ~John 10:29-30 (NLT)
In Jesus’ prayer to the Father, He asks that we who love Him, receive eternal life and are given the ability to understand who God is. Jesus prayed that we would be kept from destruction from the world, and brought to heaven on our last day.
For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. ~John 17:2-3 (NLT)
“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.” ~John 17:6-8 (NLT)
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.” ~John 17:9-10 (NLT)
“Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” ~John 17:11-12 (NLT)
“Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” ~John 17:24-26 (NLT)
These words of Jesus, to the Father on our behalf, tell us a great deal about the loving and personal relationship we have with God.
Divine Election And Human Responsibility
The Bible describes the responsibility that each human being has for their own salvation. God sent us a Savior and He commanded us to turn from our sins and receive Jesus’ death and resurrection as the solution for our sins. Those who obey God, are saved; those who do not, are lost. Salvation is our responsibility to receive, it was God’s responsibility to offer it.
On the other side of this issue, God knew who would obey and be saved. He knew this before He made the universe or the first human. Because of God’s foreknowledge, He can speak of those who are going to be saved as “chosen,” before they are saved. This is Divine Election. We are chosen by God because of what He knew about us before He made us.
Those who refuse to believe, God also knew that these persons would never be saved. For this reason, He speaks of the unsaved as known also before the foundation of the world. God did not determine who would be saved or lost, ahead of time. He simply knew who would exercise their own choice and be saved or lost.
It is interesting that even though God knew who would not choose salvation through Christ, He still came to earth and died for these persons also. God did this because He wanted every person to know that He loves them and wanted them to be saved—even though He also knew they never would. This shows us the depth of God’s love for the whole world. The Bible doe not teach a limited atonement—only for those who believe—but a death by the Messiah that is sufficient to pay for the sins of every person.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~John 3:16 (NKJV)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ~John 1:29 (NKJV)
Jesus is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. ~1 John 2:2
Those who choose to believe this are chosen by God for salvation; those who refuse to believe are not chosen. If you don’t like it that you are not chosen for eternal life, you can exercise your choice and choose to trust in Jesus for your salvation and then you will also be included in the family of people who God has chosen for eternal life.
The Security God Offers
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. ~John 10:14-15 (NLT)
The sheep, those who trust Jesus as their Savior, are promised eternal life. They have eternal life as their present possession, right now. First: since this is “eternal life,” it cannot be conditional upon the performance of those saved, l and still be eternal. Second, eternal life is a gift from God, not a result of our own good works. Since we are not saved by our good works, or lost by our bad works, we are saved only by God’s Grace.
And since Salvation is through God’s kindness, then it is not by good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. ~Romans 11:6
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. ~Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
God’s promise to save us, cannot be broken because it is based upon His grace, and not our worth or works.
It is Important to notice that Jesus is speaking of His sheep—the true believers—not pretend or counterfeit believers. People who are not true believers will eventually leave Jesus and go back into the world.
And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.” ~2 Peter 2:20-22 (NLT)
I have known many people who have said that they were once a believer in Jesus, but now can no longer believe—insinuating that they found out the truth and for this reason, can no longer believe in Jesus, or that God exists. This statement is a lie.
In reality, these persons have found out the truth—about themselves. They discovered that they never were born into the new life God offers, through His Spirit. They went through the motions of believing, but a true moment of salvation has never taken place. The way that these persons can be known as pretend believers is by what they do after they make a confession of salvation by Jesus.
People Who Are Truly Saved, Can Never Be Lost
Jesus Praying To the Father: “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word…During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except (Judas) the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.”~John 17:6-12 (NLT)
In Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John chapter 17, He describes those who believe in Him as always being His. Before Jesus created the universe or placed us on earth, He knew who would respond to Him in faith and believe. These person were “given to Jesus,” as a gift from the Father. Because of this, “not one can be lost.” The fact that we see some persons ceasing to follow or believe in Jesus, means that they never were His to begin with. Their failure was their own, not Jesus or His inability to prove Himself to them.
Anyone who leaves Jesus and goes back into sin and to live for this present world, was never saved in the first place. This is what Jesus is describing to the Pharisees. They could not understand who Jesus is or what God is doing, because they have hearts that choose not to believe.
False Confessions Of Christ
I have spoken to many atheists who have told me that they were once a Christian, but now do not believe. They describes all the religious works they did for God. They tell me that after reading the bible, they found that they could no longer believe it is true.
True salvation is much more than confessing a few words and then going to church and performing religious activities. Salvation is solely a work of God’s Spirit where He comes to live in a person. Unless a person has the Spirit of Christ living in them, they are not saved. Jesus described this process of Spiritual rebirth to Nicodemus in John chapter 3. See the references and explanation later in this article.
You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) ~Romans 8:9 (NLT)
God knew before He made the world—who these persons were who would sincerely surrender themselves to Christ. He also knew who would say the words and do the deeds, but their hearts were not right with God. It is these who sincerely are seeking God and earnestly desire that their sins be forgiven—that God would come to live in them—who are saved. Anyone can say the right words and go out and do all the religious activities that Christians do. This does not make them a true follower of Jesus. The test for whether or not salvation has really taken place, is if this person continues to follow Jesus.
The world sees people who once confessed Christ but later do not believe, and believes that they must have been educated or realized their error and this is why they stopped believing. God sees that these persons were just going through the motions but they never were actually saved.
Jesus described how this all works when He told the story of a man who confessed Jesus as Lord, but never was saved:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does (ποιέω poieō) the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ~Matthew 7:21-23
The Greek word used here in Jesus statement for does: “he who does the will of my Father,” is ποιέω poieō; A continual action of abiding with Jesus and obeying Him for life.
This person really thought they were a true believer but Jesus will tell them that He never “knew them.” There was no real relationship where Christ had come to make His home in the heart of this person and they were genuinely saved. The proof of this is understood by Jesus’ final words, “depart from me who practice lawlessness.”
The person who stops following Jesus, goes back into the world and lives for this world, was never saved. In the case of this man, on judgment day, he will say to Jesus that he did confess Him as Lord, therefore he should be allowed into heaven. Jesus said that He knew from before He made this man or the world, that He would never be saved. The evidence: He went back into the world and continued to practice lawlessness; the denial of Christ as Lord and Savior.
This is why Jesus, in John 17:6-12 above, speaks of those truly saved as “they were always yours,” and “not one was lost.”
Knowledge of Jesus Or The Bible Is Not Salvation
The Pharisees where the Bible Ph.D’s of that time. They knew the scriptures better than anyone else, yet they were not saved. Jesus scolded these men because they had great knowledge of what God had written, but never understood that all of the Bible is about Jesus:
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” ~John 5:39-40 (NLT)
Knowledge is not salvation unless that knowledge leads us to turn from our sins and depend upon the salvation of Jesus Christ as our only hope. If we think that going to church, giving a tithe, being a missionary, or going to seminary will confirm we are saved, we are wrong. A person can do all of these things and not be saved.
New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman has stated that he was an evangelical Christian before he went to college. He said that after he was taught the true facts of the Bible, he no longer believed that Jesus is who the Bible describes. Bart Ehrman is a prime example of the person that Jesus is describing as He is talking to the Pharisees. These men also had great Bible knowledge, but they were not saved.
One of the Pharisees who really wanted a genuine relationship with God, came to Jesus late one night. Jesus told Nicodemus that unless a person is born a second time by God’s Spirit, they are not saved. Unless we are born as a new creation through a sincere turn from our sins and surrender our life to Jesus as our Savior, we have not been Born Again. We cannot understand God, nor perceive who Jesus really is.
~John 3:1-21 (NLT)
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
Here we see a man who was “a religious leader,” yet he is not saved. This leader does have a heart to know the truth, and this sincerity has brought him to the right place.
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water (natural birth) and the Spirit (supernatural birth). Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”
Although Nicodemus is a distinguished Pharisee, an expert in the Bible, he does not understand that salvation and truly knowing God is not acquired by any earthly effort. A person receives the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life, as a work of God’s Spirit.
“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?
Here we see that it is possible for any person, regardless of their knowledge or intellect, to miss salvation—because of intellect. Not that we must stop seeking to understand, or that God can only be known by faith alone. The point of Jesus discussion with Nicodemus is that intellect and education are often barriers to knowing God.
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. ~1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (NLT)
In Paul’s letter to the Christians at Corinth, he told them that God has chose what the world considers foolish as the very way that He will save us. The cross of Jesus does not make any sense to many people. God chose this unconventional way to save us, precisely because of its absurdity. He did this to remove the human pride factor from salvation. We humans want to take credit for the things we do, this includes our salvation. One of the reasons that some people reject Jesus is because this kind of salvation is too easy. They imagine that they cannot possibly be saved unless they do something to be saved.
The problem with our efforts is that after we do our part, now God is giving us salvation because of what we have done, instead of a result of what He has done. God is very concerned about the element of human pride. It was pride that caused the fall of Lucifer; it was pride that caused the fall of Adam; it is pride that causes the word to miss God and be lost.
God will not have anyone claim that they were saved because of something they did. God saves us only because we believe what He said: “Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Nicodemus and the Pharisees, as all of the Jews in Israel at that time—even continuing to the present day—believe they are saved because they are the descendants of Abraham. Paul wrote to the Jews in the book of Romans that no one is saved because of what they do or who they are, we are all saved in the same way: by faith in Jesus death for our sins.
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. ~Romans 4:1-5 (NLT)
This was the barrier that kept Nicodemus from understanding salvation, and it continues today amongst the Jews. They believe that they have salvation because they are the descendants of Abraham, but they are wrong. God gave Abraham right standing and salvation, before He performed the good work of circumcision. The laws of Moses were not give until 430 years after God had already counted Abraham as righteous because of his faith (Galatians 3:17).
…Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. ~Romans 4:9-11 (NLT)
Salvation Is Not By Birth—God Has No Grandchildren
Like many who try to have a relationship with God based upon religious works or heritage, they fail. A majority of those who begin to follow Jesus and perform religious activities, do not have a new Spiritual relationship with Christ. After a time, they begin to fall away, because they were not truly Born Again in the first place.
Nicodemus knew something was special about Jesus. The Spirit of God was drawing him to Jesus. It was only necessary for Nicodemus to hear the truth from Jesus and place his trust in him, rather than salvation by being a descendant of Abraham.
You Are Not Saved Because Your Parents Were Saved
Paul wrote to the Galatians and clarified what he had written previously in the book of Romans, regarding salvation for the Jews. Before Moses gave the law, God had already declared Abraham righteous and saved—because he had trusted in the salvation that only God can provide for us. No one is saved because they keep laws, traditions, or are born into a Christian family. We are saved when we exercise our own personal faith and place all of our trust in Jesus alone.
In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” ~Galatians 3:6-11 (NLT)
Jesus finishes His lesson for Nicodemus by explaining how this grace that God offers the world, an unconditional offer of salvation, is available to anyone who believes.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” ~John 3:16-17
Many people have an emotional response to Jesus during a church service or a revival. It is not necessary to feel the emotion of salvation; it is essential to experience a sincere desire to end our relationship with sin and this world, and cling to Jesus tightly for the rest of our life.
Jesus said that the way in which we know we are sincerely saved, is if we stay with Him continuously and remain with Him for all of our life. If we decide to no longer believe in Jesus, it is not because God is not real or Jesus is not Lord or salvation is not true. If a person walks away from Jesus it is because their heart was not right in the first place and salvation has not taken place.
Our desire to remain with Jesus and not ever leave Him, is our evidence that faith has really happened. “Those who endure to the end, will be saved,” Jesus said.
Those who do leave Jesus and claim that it was because they could no longer believe, often talk about the things they did while they were “a believer.” The ones who are truly saved, do not boast about what they have done; they boast about what Christ has done in them and for them.
Those who depart Jesus and stop believing in the Bible, go back into sin, and prove that they never really trusted Christ to begin with. Jesus did not promise security to anyone but His true sheep; those who remain with Him for all of their life.
Jesus’ Loving Relationship With His Sheep
- He died for us
- He cares for us.
- He keeps us.
If you have discovered that salvation did not happen in your life as you once thought, you can change this right now. You can call out to Jesus and ask Him to make your salvation true. You can turn from your sins and earnestly seek the new birth that comes only by the Holy Spirit. Call on the name of Jesus out of a sincere heart. God will hear and He will move upon your heart powerfully.
“Dear Lord Jesus. I want to be saved. I want to be born again by Your Spirit and experience a true salvation. Only you, Jesus, can make this happen. I call on you now, Jesus, and ask You to take away my sins and come to live in my heart forever. Help me, Lord, to take time every day to read Your word, pray, and fellowship with other believers. Keep me forever and do not allow me to fall away. I ask these things in Your Name, Jesus. Amen!”
Jesus Answers The Question: Are You God And Messiah?
In answer to the Pharisees in their question of Jesus’ true identity, He tells them: “I and my Father are one.”
New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman said that Jesus was made God by His disciples, He did not claim to be God Himself. Jesus’ statement that He and the Father were one, did not mean that He and the Father are the same person. Jesus did not mean that He and the Father were simply of one in mind and purpose, although this is true. Jesus was clearly defining that He is of the same nature as the Father, both are God.
If you doubt that this was the intent of Jesus, notice what the response of the Pharisees was: They picked up stones to kill Him.
When Jesus asked them what good work they were stoning Him for, they said that they were not going to kill Him for any good work, but because He had claimed to be God.
The Father and I are one.” Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” ~John 10:30-33 (NLT)
In my book, “Why Jesus Is God,” the first chapter details how scholar Bart Ehrman claimed that the disciples made Jesus God, but He never claimed this for Himself. I document in the four Gospels how Jesus repeatedly confirmed that He is Jehovah-God, Creator of all that exists.
Jesus told the Pharisees to examine all the miracles He had performed, and compare them with The Prophecies of the Messiah. If they had, they would have understood that Jesus is both God and Messiah.
Everything Jesus Said And Did Was Predicted By The Prophecies Of The Old Testament
After Jesus was raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples to show them that He was alive. Jesus reminded these men that all of the things He had said and done while here on earth, were to fulfill all that had been written about Him in the Old Testament.
Then Jesus said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.
Jesus tells His disciples that the are eyewitnesses of all that He said and did. He took them through all the Prophecies of the Messiah from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms that concern Him. He said that all He had said and done, and all He suffered, was predicted in these prophecies.
Jesus told the disciples that He appointed them to record the events of His life, death, and resurrection that they had seen and heard. Jesus told His disciples that He would enable them to remember all of these things and they quickly began to write them and distribute their letters all over the world.
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” ~John 14:25-26
There is great internal evidence in the New Testament that all of the testimony about Jesus was written shortly after the events took place.
Salvation is available to every person today, and we know that these things are true because these men wrote them for us and believers around the world preserved these scriptures for us so that we have the things Jesus said and did, in a book called the New Testament.
Jesus has provided all of the things that every person needs to grow and prosper in their relationship with Him. It is up to us to do what we must to keep our relationship strong and growing.
Other Helpful Articles:
- How Does Criticism Of The New Testament Relate To Its Reliability?
- Biblical Inerrancy And The Errors Of Critics
- How God Created The Universe: Science And The Bible In Symmetry
- Evidence Of New Testament Reliability: Reliance Upon The Old Testament
Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, All Israel will be saved, Bart Ehrman, Following Jesus, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus Cross and Wisdom, Living For Jesus, Messianic Prophecies, New Testament Criticism, Not understanding salvation, Origin of the Universe, Predestination, Reliability of the Bible, Reliability of the New Testament, Religion vs. Relationship, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Importance of the Bible, The Miracles of Jesus, Those who stop believing