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 Are you a saint or a sinner?

 

 

 

Are you a saint or a sinner?

 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

1. All the major religions of the world teach basically the same things. What's so different about Christianity?  Christianity is the only religion that is based on a personal relationship with a Savior, right here and right now. Judaism adheres to the same God but teaches that the Savior is yet to come. It's the Second Coming to Christians, but whatever it's called, both are anticipating the same event. Other religions teach you how to behave in order to get to heaven.  Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ was born, died for us, and was resurrected from the dead. Christians get to go to heaven because of what He did, not because of what we do.

2. Are you saying that even though I'm a good person, I won't go to heaven?  That's right. According to the Bible, you can't ever be good enough to work your way into heaven. You have to quit trusting in your own abilities to get you into heaven and trust in Jesus Christ.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)

 

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

 

3. Well, I don't believe in the Bible. Why should I? It's old, it contradicts itself, and it's written by men, not God.  Yes, the Bible is old because mankind has always needed a user's manual to learn about God, himself, and others. Although it might seem outdated, the principles and concepts hold true, even today. All you have to do is ask Him to help you understand it and He will, no matter how long it takes for Him to get through to you, if you really want to know. As for it being written by men, it is made up of sixty-six separate books that, except for the Ten Commandments which were written by God Himself, were written by over forty men whose occupations ranged from cowherd to king. They lived in several countries across three continents and wrote in three different languages across a span of approximately 1,600 years. Their message, inspired by God, is consistent throughout the entire Bible - quite a feat all things considered that, in itself, is evidence of Him being in control of the work. If it seems contradictory, please examine the context. 

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. (Exodus 24:12)

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16)

4. Sometimes, I'm not so sure that God even exists, so why should I believe that Jesus is the Savior?  Look at the world around you. Could a human survive if anything was missing? Our bodies alone are miracles of creation as is the environment in which we live. God even gives us flowers and sunsets to soothe our souls. How could it all exist by mere chance with such coordination that it has taken all this time for the finest scientists and engineers to clone the tiny portion that they have? Consider also that the relatively tiny population of Jewish people has survived, even flourished, through the centuries even though mighty nations tried to exterminate them and have themselves been totally obliterated. How could the Jewish people survive all those years, their identity intact, under all the oppression they've experienced if there is no God to keep them? As for Jesus, no one else comes anywhere close to fulfilling even half of the sixty prophecies about the Savior with the 270 ramifications that Jesus did. Go ahead, figure the odds if you're up to it. In his book, "More Than A Carpenter," Josh McDowell cites a mathematical analysis in "Science Speaks" by Peter W. Stoner. The result of the analysis was that the probability of one person being able to fulfill even only eight of the sixty prophecies to be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. (That's seventeen zeroes.)

5. If He's so powerful, why is there so much pain and suffering? Why doesn't He put a stop to all of it?  Basically, it's because He gives us freedom, even the freedom to sin. Eventually, He will put a stop to all the pain and suffering for all those who don't go to hell. It's a whole lot better now and in the long run for everyone to submit to Him and His ways, but since people aren't perfect, we inflict pain upon ourselves and each other which results in short- and long-term mental, emotional, and physical suffering.

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17)

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 22:4)

6. Well, I believe that God is a kind and loving God who won't send anyone to hell. What do you say to that?  You're right in believing that He is a kind and loving God but He is also just. 

"The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgressions, and by no means clearing the guilty..."  (Numbers 14:18, emphasis added)

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."  (Revelation 20:15)

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."  (Revelation 21:8)

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, this left God with a problem. He is a loving God who wants a continuing relationship with us. However, He is also a holy God, unable to tolerate sin in His presence.  He solved this problem through Jesus Christ.

7. So, we're back to Jesus again?  Yes, Jesus was crucified on the cross for our sins. He took the punishment for all of us so we wouldn't have to. It's like we had a debt we couldn't pay and Jesus stepped in and paid it for us.

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole.  All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all."  (Isaiah 53:5-6 Amp.)

8. But, what about those who never heard of Him? Are you saying that they're all going to hell?  Since many people get hung up over peripheral issues even though they know that each person is responsible for oneself, may I ask if you're using the end result of others as an excuse to evade the issue of your own relationship with the Lord now? However, to satisfy your curiosity, God reveals Himself to them just as He did to Adam, Eve, Abraham, and others before He gave the Law to Moses. He holds everyone accountable for what they know just as He does you.

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:17-20)

"For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)" (Romans 2:12-15)

9. Well, then, I'm not so bad after all, am I?  While it may appear that God is lenient to those who follow their consciences, you also need to look at how He regards sin from another perspective. If you're mixing eggs in a bowl to make scrambled eggs and you break a rotten egg into the bowl, it ruins all the others and you have to throw them all out and start over. Therefore, if you have even one sinful thought, word, or deed in your entire life against yourself, others, or God, it ruins your ability to go to heaven and stand in the presence of the most holy God. After you die, however, that's it. Period. The End. Fini. The life you're living now is the only time you have to get right with God. There are no reincarnations, no do-overs until you make it to a so-called Nirvana. Besides, at this point, you are informed that there is one true God and that Jesus is the Christ making you accountable for what you do with that information.

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."  (James 2:10)

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement"  (Hebrews 9:27)

On the other hand, there are people who don't believe they're good enough to have a relationship with the Lord. They want to, but they think they have to clean up their act before they can pray to Him or go to church. It's as though they're cooking with three rotten eggs out of four. They don't understand that they don't have to wait, that He will clean them up, often working from the inside outwards, and they let this keep them from getting to know how wonderful God is.

"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable." (Luke 3:16-17 )

"For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29)

10. I don't know. I'd rather wait and see. After all, you can't be so sure because we won't really know until we die, will we?  Let's ask a couple of questions of you. How can you be so sure a light will come on when you flip the switch? How can you be so sure a chair will hold your weight when you sit on it? It's the same principle. You can be sure because many people before you did it and talked about the change it made in their lives. They didn't have to wait until they were dead to be able to see the difference accepting Jesus as their Savior made in their lives. That's why it's called a personal relationship.

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)

11. Oh, I'm not buying that. What about the religions that started before Christianity? Buddha, for example, taught many of the same things that Jesus did and those who follow Buddha have changed lives. Since Buddha came first, I'd bet that Jesus picked up concepts from his teachings because time showed that they worked. Why shouldn't I join an older religion?  You're absolutely right. You should go with the older belief system and that's another good reason to accept Jesus Christ. God spoke of the savior who would crush the devil way back when only Adam and Eve were around, before they started popping out the kids who became the forefathers of the rest of humanity. There's no religion that's older. Christianity isn't a relatively new religion when compared to others but is the realization that Jesus is the fulfillment of what God promised from the beginning.

"And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:14-15)

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3)

12. If that's true, why don't the Jews accept Jesus?   Some did right from the start of His ministry on earth, some did after His crucifixion and resurrection, some still do, and others will. Have you read the book, "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson? Those Jews who believed in Jesus from the beginning are like Sniff and Scurry. They saw the way things were and went quickly after God. Nowadays, they may be called Messianic or Christian Jews. The rest seem to be more like Haw, waiting until His second coming before they accept Him although the Bible says that's partly to give non-Jews, the Gentiles, a chance to join the family of God. The danger lies for anyone who is a Hem, refusing to see and accept the truth.

"And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Romans 11:23-26)

13. So, why do Christians try to be good?  The reasons vary with each individual. Some try to conform to God's will because they've learned that He knows what's best for us. Others are expressing their gratitude for what He has already done for us through Jesus Christ. Still others do it simply because it's the right thing to do.

14. What about the hypocrites in church? I'm not going to be one of them.  You're right, there are many churchgoers who say one thing and do the opposite. Nobody's perfect, not even Christians; we have to repent (quit and turn away) from doing wrong when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and receive God's forgiveness through Christ. We're His works in progress. However, you need to be aware that not all churchgoers have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and that not all churchgoers are hypocrites. Consider this: you are the only one who can make or break your relationship with God. If you knew there was $50 million cash in a large brown box waiting for you under a table surrounded by people you didn't care for, would you let your opinions about those people stop you from entering that room and reaching under the table for that box? Living with God for eternity is worth much, much more than any amount of money. It's priceless, so be strong. Don't let what other people do or say keep you away from the treasure.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:45-50)

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35)

15. Hmm...what must I do to be able to go to heaven?  It's simple. First, if you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, all you have to do is begin your side of your relationship with Him by opening the door to your heart and letting Him in.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) 

Here is a prayer you may say to God:

"Dear God, I'm sorry for my sins. Please forgive me and make me righteous in Your eyes. Thank You for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die on the cross so I can be with You forever. I invite Him into my heart right now as my Savior and to be Lord of my life. Amen."

Second, tell someone about the decision you made.

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)

16. That's it? What about all the other stuff other people have been telling me I have to do to be saved like being baptized? What about that?  That's it. Anything else might be part of your relationship with God for your benefit or to help you help others, but is not a requirement for you to get into heaven. Look, for example, at the thief crucified with Jesus. He believed and started his side of his relationship with God by acknowledging his sins and Jesus as Lord. Jesus assured him he'd be with Him even though he couldn't be baptized. It's the same for everyone; it's having the relationship that gets you into heaven.

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43) 

17. Okay, I prayed the prayer and told a friend who said I'm nuts, but I know in my heart I did the right thing. Now what?  Congratulations and welcome to the family of God! Please find a church that exalts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and believes that the Bible is the one infallible document inspired by God to guide us into righteousness. This is important because the fellowship will help you and attending a Bible-believing church is important because there are a lot of people who say things about God and the Bible which might not be anything close to the truth. 

Keep talking to God, our heavenly Father and let Him communicate back to you. The best way to get to know Him and His ways is through His word, the Holy Bible which is the manual that keeps us on His path. Please read it every day, even if you don't have time to read more than one verse. After all, one verse is better than nothing. A good place to start is in the book of John in the New Testament. 

If you don't have a Bible and need to buy one, there are several good versions in softcover, hardcover, and leather. The King James version is excellent if you don't have problems reading the older-style English (it's the main version used on this website) while the Amplified Bible is great because it expands the original text into modern English so the full meaning is readily apparent. Both it and the King James version are available either separately or together in a parallel volume for easy comparison of the two texts. Also, the New King James version is very nice because Old Testament scripture quoted in the New Testament is set in a different type so it's easy to see how much Old Testament scripture is in the New Testament. Other good versions include the New American Standard, the New Living Translation Bible, and the 21st Century King James version. There are also other parallel Bibles available containing different versions in one volume. 

If you don't like to read or find reading difficult, there are audio versions available on cassette, CD, and MP3 both dramatized with different voices for the different people or read entirely by one reader. Some are read plainly while others have occasional background music usually between the chapters and books. Please get whatever's best for you and start learning about the magnificent, one, true God. 

May the good Lord bless you and keep you forever.

18. Hey, wait up! You never explained the difference between a saint and a sinner.  The Biblical definition of "saint" in both the Old and New Testaments is a person who is dedicated to God and committed to following Him. All others are sinners. It's that simple. Although nobody's perfect and saints do sin, it is their relationship with God that sets them apart from everyone else.

"And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words." (Deuteronomy 33:1-3)

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God..." (Ephesians 4:11-13)

 

Which are you? Which do you want to be? Do you want to be blessed for being in a relationship with Him or cursed forever for turning away from the best relationship you'll ever have in your entire life?

 

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