The Gospel


By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. III:3

Those of mankind who are predestined unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto.
The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, III:5

Jonathan Edwards

The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husband, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The SBC -- The Unregenerate Denomination

“How are you doing?”

“Pretty well, under the circumstances.”
“What are the circumstances?”
“Well, I have a very effective arm. It moves with quite a bit of animation. But then I have my bad leg.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“I guess it’s paralyzed. At least it doesn’t do much except twitch once a week or so. But that’s nothing compared with the rest of me.”
“What’s the problem?
“From all appearances, the rest is dead. At least it stinks and bits of flesh are always falling off. I keep it well covered. About all that’s left beyond that is my mouth, which fortunately works just fine. How about you?”

Like the unfortunate person above, the Southern Baptist Convention has a name that it is alive, but is in fact, mostly dead (Rev. 3:1). Regardless of the wonderful advances in our commitment to the Bible, the recovery of our seminaries, etc., a closer look reveals a denomination that is more like a corpse than a fit athlete. In an unusual way, our understanding of this awful reality provides the most exciting prospects for the future—if we will act decisively.


Although the Southern Baptists claim 16,287,494 members, on average only 6,024,289 people (guests and non-member children included), a number equal to only 37% of the membership number, show up for their church’s primary worship meeting (usually Sunday morning). This is according to the Strategic Information and Planning department of the Sunday School Board (2004 statistics). If your church is anything like normal, and is not brand new, your statistics are probably similar. In other words, if you have 200 in attendance on Sunday morning, you likely have 500-600 or even more on your roll. Many churches have an even worse record.

Discerning who among us is regenerate is not an exact science, but a closer look at these numbers will at least alert us to the fact that most Southern Baptists must certainly be dead spiritually. That is so, unless, of course, you claim that there is no difference between a believer and a non-believer.

In the average church you can cut the 37% Sunday morning attendance by about two-thirds or more when counting those interested in a Sunday evening service, or other gatherings held in addition to the principal meeting of the church. In 1996, the last time the SBC kept these statistics, the number of Sunday evening attenders was equal to only 12.3% of the membership (in churches that had an evening meeting). One might ask what makes us claim that the rest are Christians, if they involve themselves with God’s people only on such a minimal, surface level? How are they any different from the people who attend the liberal church down the street—the “church” where the gospel is not even preached?

And remember that the numbers of those attending include many non-member children and guests, often making up a third of the congregation’s main meeting attendance. When all factors are considered, these figures suggest that nearly 90% of Southern Baptist church members appear to be little different from the “cultural Christians” who populate other mainline denominations.

To make matters worse, we tell a lot more people that they are true Christians (because they prayed a prayer sincerely) than we can convince to be baptized. Our largest pizza supper may bring in a hundred new “converts,” but we will likely get only a few of those on the roll. After that, the percentages that I have been mentioning kick in. In other words, if you compare all who we say have become Christians through our evangelistic efforts, to those who actually show signs of being regenerate, we should be red-faced. In the Assembly of God’s 1990s “Decade of Harvest,” out of the 3.5 million supposedly converted, they showed a net gain of only 5 new attenders for every 100 recorded professions. When one considers all of our supposed converts, including those who refuse to follow Christ in baptism and who never join our churches, our numbers are much the same. Doesn’t anybody see that there is a serious problem here?

Let me illustrate in rounded figures by looking at some of the churches where I have preached as a guest speaker. Each could be any Baptist church in any city. In one church, with 7,000 on the active roll, there were only 2000 in attendance on Sunday morning, and a mere 600-700 on Sunday evening. When you account for those attenders who are not members of this flagship church (i.e. guests and non-member children), you have about 1500 actual members coming in the morning and 500 or so in the evening. Where are the 5,500 members who are missing on Sunday mornings? Where are the 6,500 who are missing in the evening?

Another church had 2,100 on the roll, with 725 coming on Sunday morning. Remove guests and non-member children and the figure drops to 600 or less. Only about a third of that number came out on Sunday evening, representing less than 10% of the membership. Yet another church had 310 on the roll with only 100 who attended on Sunday morning. Only 30-35, or approximately 10%, came to the evening worship service.

These are all considered fine churches. All have an extremely competent level of leadership and vision. Some shut-ins and those who are sick, out of town, or in the military, certainly affect the figures a little. But those who are justifiably absent are not enough to alter the bleakness of the picture, especially when we remember that these numbers represent people who have been baptized and have publicly declared their allegiance to God and the Body of Christ. Even if you generously grant that the 37% are all true believers (an estimation that most pastors would say is way off the mark), one still has a church membership that is more dead than alive. If we are honest, we might have to ask ourselves, “Do Southern Baptists believe in a regenerate membership?”

Missing Christians are No Christians

What do these facts and figures, as general as they are, suggest?

First, they reveal that most of the people on our rolls give little evidence that they love the brethren—a clear sign of being unregenerate (1 Jn. 3:14). It is impossible to believe that anything like real familial affection exists in the hearts of people who do not come at all, or who only nominally check in on Sunday morning as a cultural exercise. Love is the greatest mark of a genuine believer (1 Jn.3:14-19). Attendance alone does not guarantee that anyone is an authentic believer, but “forsaking the assembling,” is a serious sign of the unregenerate heart. The phrase: “They went out from us, because they were never of us” (1 Jn. 2:19) may have doctrinal overtones, but it nonetheless represents many on our membership rolls.

Second, these numbers suggest that most of those who do not attend (or who only come when it is convenient), are more interested in themselves than God. To put it in Paul’s words, they are “fleshly-minded” and not “spiritually-minded” (Rom. 8: 5-9). The atmosphere that most pleases them is that of the world and not God. They can stand as much of God as makes them feel better about themselves, and they find a certain carnal security in “belonging” to a local church. But beyond that, they will politely resist getting involved. They use the church, but are not really a part of it. For some, the extent of what they can take is an Easter service now and then; for others it is an occasional sterile (and somewhat Pharisaical) trip to church on appropriate Sunday mornings as fits into their schedule. But their apathy towards regular and faithful church attendance betrays their true affections. The fact is, you do what you love to do.

Third, the numbers indicate that some people have joined other denominations and our churches have not kept up with their movements—a sign of inadequate pastoral oversight and the built-in deficiencies of the “inactive membership” concept. I’m quite certain Paul never dreamed of “inactive membership.” Embarrassingly, some left on the rolls are dead—physically! It goes without saying that a dead person is about as inactive as one could be! But others, though presumably alive physically, have disappeared without a trace. I believe it was our beloved Dr. Roy Fish of SWBTS who said, “Even the FBI could not find some of them.” Yet, if we want to claim them as members, we are responsible to keep up with them.
All of these people have “prayed the prayer” and “walked the aisle.” All have been told that they are Christians. But for most, old things have not really passed away, and new things have not come. Most are not new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In too many cases, obvious signs of an unregenerate heart can be found, such as bitterness, long-term adultery, fornication, greed, divisiveness, covetousness, etc. These are “professing believers” that the Bible says are deceived. “Do not be deceived” the Bible warns us concerning such people (see 1 Cor.6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; 6: 7-8; Eph. 5:5-6; Titus 1:16; 1 Jn. 3:4-10; etc.).

Jesus indicated that there is a good soil that is receptive to the gospel seed so as to produce a fruit-bearing plant, but that the “rocky ground” believer only appears to be saved. The latter shows immediate joy, but soon withers away (Mt. 13:6, 21). This temporary kind of faith (which is not saving faith, see 1 Cor.15:1-2) is rampant among Southern Baptists. In The Baptist Faith and Message we say we believe that saving faith is persistent to the end. We say we believe in the preservation and perseverance of the saints (once saved, always persevering). In other words, if a person’s faith does not persevere, then what he possessed was something other than saving faith.

In John 2:23-25 Jesus was the center-piece for what turned out to be a mass evangelism experience in which a large number of people “believed” in Him. Yet He did not entrust Himself to even one of them because “he knew their hearts.” Is it possible that we have taken in millions of such “unrepenting believers” whose hearts have not been changed? I say that we have. Our denomination, as much as we may love it, is on the main, unregenerate. Even if you double, triple, or quadruple my assessment of how many are true believers, we still have a gigantic problem. It is naive to believe otherwise.

There are those who would say that such people are “carnal Christians” and don’t deserve to be thought of as unregenerate. It is true that the Corinthian believers (about whom this phrase was used; see 1 Cor. 3:1-3) acted “like mere men” in their party spirit. Christians can commit any sin short of that which is unpardonable.

Undoubtedly, however, Paul did suspect that some of the Corinthians were unbelievers, for he later warns them about such a possibility in 2 Cor.12:20-13:5. A long-term and unrepentant state of carnality, is, after all, the very description of the unregenerate (Rom. 8:5-14, 1 Jn. 3:4-10, etc.). In calling some people “carnal” Paul did not mean to imply that he was accepting as Christian a lifestyle that he clearly describes elsewhere as unbelieving. He wrote, in the same letter: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived” (1 Cor. 6:9-11, etc.). Apparently there were some, even then, who were deceived into thinking that an unrighteous man or woman who professes faith in Christ could really be a Christian!

Is Follow-up the Problem?

A great mistake is made by blaming the problem on poor follow-up. In many churches there is every intention and effort given to follow-up, yet still the poor numbers persist. One church followed up “by the book,” seeking to disciple people who had been told they were new converts during the crusade of an internationally-known evangelist. The report of the pastor in charge was that none of them wanted to talk about how to grow as a Christian. He said, “In fact, they ran from us!” I have known some churches to go to extreme efforts to disciple new believers. We must do this. Yet, like the others, they generally have marginal success. They have learned to accept the fact that people who profess to have become Christians often have to be talked into going further, and that many, if not most, simply will not bother. Authentic new believers can always be followed up, however, because they have the Spirit by which they cry, “Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15). They have been given love for the brethren, and essential love for the beauty and authority of the Word of God. But you cannot follow-up on a spiritually dead person. Being dead, he has no interest in growth.

It was the preaching of regeneration, with an explanation of its discernible marks, that was the heart of the Great Awakening. J. C. Ryle, in writing of the eighteenth century revival preachers, said that they never for a moment believed that there was any true conversion if it was not accompanied by increasing personal holiness. Such content was the staple of the greatest of awakening preaching throughout the history of revival. Only such a powerful cannon blast of truth could rock the bed of those asleep in Zion.

Facing the Dilemma

What must be done? I suggest five responses:

1. We must preach and teach on the subject of the unregenerate church member. Every author in the New Testament writes of the nature of deception. Some books give major consideration to the subject. Jesus Himself spoke profusely about true and false conversion, giving significant attention to the fruit found in true believers (Jn. 10:26-27; Mt. 7:21-23; Mt. 25:1-13, etc.). If this sort of teaching creates doubt in people, you should not be alarmed, nor should you back away from it. Given the unregenerate state of so many professing Christians, their doubts may be fully warranted. In any case, as one friend told me, “Doubts never sent anyone to hell, but deception always does.” Most will work through their doubts, if they are regenerate and if we continue to preach the whole truth. Contrary to popular opinion, all doubts are not of the devil. Speak truthfully the whole counsel of God. You cannot “unsave” true believers.

It is true that there may be some who are overly scrupulous and overwhelmed by such examination. But most who will be affected are those who are too self-confident, having based their assurance on such shaky platforms as their response to an invitation, praying a perfectly worded “sinner’s prayer,” or getting baptized. If they are unregenerate, they may take offense and leave. But if they are truly regenerate, patient teaching and care will help them to overcome their doubts and gain biblical assurance. Such preaching may even result in true conversion for some who are deceived. And don’t forget that the overconfident ones are not the only ones at risk. Quiet, sensitive, insecure people can be deceived also.

2. We must address the issue of persistent sin among our members, including their sinful failure to attend the stated meetings of the church. This must be done by reestablishing the forgotten practice of church discipline. Each church should adopt guidelines that state just what will happen when a member falls into sin, including the sin of non-attendance or very nominal attendance. Such discipline for non-attendance is clearly found in the history of Baptists—but more importantly, in the Bible.

Everyone in the church, including new members, should be made familiar with the biblical steps of church discipline. Jesus said that a person who was lovingly, but firmly, disciplined by the church, and yet failed to repent, should be thought of as “a heathen and a tax collector” (see Mt. 18:15-17). Though David committed atrocious sins, he was a repenter at heart (see 2 Sam.12:13; Psalm 51). Every Christian is a life-long repenter and church discipline brings this out. (See “Restoring Those Who Fall,” in Our Church on Solid Ground: Documents That Preserve the Integrity and Unity of the Church,

Leaders must get into the homes of all our erring church members, seeking either to bring them to Christ, or to reluctantly release them to the world which they love more than Christ. Nowhere in the Bible are we taught to keep non-believers on the rolls. As a side benefit from church discipline for the SBC, remember that when we reduce our membership to what it actually is, we will be amazed at the statistical improvements in the ratio of members per baptism and members to attenders. Of course, statistics are not worth dying for, but obedience to God’s Word is.

We are never to aggressively pluck the supposed tares from the wheat as if we had absolute knowledge (Mt. 13:24-30; 36-43). We might be mistaken. However, loving church discipline is a careful process by which the obvious sinner in essence removes himself by his resistance to correction. The church is made up of repenting saints, not rebelling sinners (see 1 Cor. 5). The slight improvement in the disparity between membership and attendance in the last couple of years is likely due, in major part, to some churches beginning to practice church discipline—a matter of obedience that thankfully is regaining credence among us. Some have removed hundreds from their rolls in this process, and regained some also.

3. We should be more careful on the front end of church membership. In my estimation, the public altar call (a modern invention) often reaps people prematurely. Others will disagree or can perhaps make significant improvements on the traditional “invitation system.” We have used this method in our evangelism because of our genuine zeal to see the lost converted. But in our zeal, we have often overlooked the fact that many who do what our method calls for (i.e. respond to our invitation) may not be converted.

Though sacrosanct to Baptists, careful study should be done related to the historical use of the invitation system evangelistically. For eighteen hundred years the church did not use such a method. It was not until its principle originator, Charles Finney, a true pelagian in his theology, promoted his “new measures.” Earlier preachers were content to let true conviction play a greater part in conversion. They needed no props for the gospel—no persuasive techniques to prompt people to make a “decision.” Instead of relying on a method, their confidence was in the preached Word and the Holy Spirit. Baptist giant, C. H. Spurgeon, for instance, saw thousands converted without the use of an “altar call.” His message was his invitation. We should always offer a verbal invitation in our gospel preaching, meaning we must invite people to repent and believe. But there is no real benefit, while there is much potential harm, in our inviting them to the front of the church and then assuring them that their short walk or tearful response proves their conversion.

We don’t need better methods to get people down to the front. What we need is more biblical content and more unction in our preaching. You cannot beat sinners away from Christ when God is bringing them in (see Jn. 6:37, 44-45). When as many as 70-90% of “converts” are giving little, if any, evidence of being saved after their first weeks or months of emotional excitement, questions should be asked, both about our understanding of the gospel and about our methods. Forget the fact, if you must, that there is no clear biblical precedent for the altar call. Even considering the matter pragmatically ought to make us quit. Though prevalent in our churches for decades, it has not helped us. (See “Closing with Christ,”

The dangerous practice of receiving new members immediately after they walk the aisle must finally be abandoned. Also, more careful counsel should be taken with those entering in as members from other churches. And add to this a need for much deeper thinking concerning childhood conversion. An alarming percentage of childhood professions wash out later in the teen and college years. For unconverted yet baptized church kids, the more independence they are granted, the more they live out their true nature. (See “Childhood Conversion,”

4. We must stop giving immediate verbal assurance to people who make professions of faith or who respond to our invitations. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to give assurance. We are to give thebasis upon which assurance can be had, not the assurance itself. Study 1 John in this respect. What things were written so that they might know they have eternal life? (1 Jn. 5:13). Answer: The tests given in the book. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).

5. We must restore sound doctrine. Revival, I am finding as I study its history, is largely about the recovery of the true gospel. The three great doctrines which have so often shown up in true revival are: 1) God’s sovereignty in salvation, 2) justification by grace through faith alone, and 3) regeneration with discernible fruit. Revival is God showing up, but the blessing of the presence of God is directly affected by our beliefs. God most often comes in the context of these and other great doctrines, preached penetratingly and faithfully, and with the unction of the Holy Spirit.

As an illustration of our doctrinal reductionism, repentance is often forgotten completely in gospel presentations, or else it is minimized to mean nothing more than “admitting that you are a sinner.” Also, “Inviting Christ into your heart,” a phrase never found in the Bible (study the context of Jn.1:12 and Rev. 3:20, the verses used for this), has taken the place of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone. The doctrine of God’s judgment is rarely preached with any carefulness. And comprehensive studies of the meaning of the cross are seldom heard. Merely looking over the titles of the sermons which awakening preachers preached in the past would surprise most modern pastors.

Be Healthy or Be Ashamed

Which army would you rather have? Gideon’s first army or his last? No church, and no denomination, should call itself healthy unless more people attend than are on the roll. This is a standard kept by most of the world, and was kept by our great-grandparents in Baptist churches as well. We would be closer to the revival we desire if we would admit our failure, humbly hang our heads, and seek to rectify this awful hindrance to God’s blessing. When we boast of how big we are, we are bragging about our shame.

In the Philadelphia Baptist Association Minutes, our first association, our initial American statistical record shows that five times as many people attended the association’s churches as were on their rolls. Greg Wills in Democratic Religion in the South (Oxford University Press, 1997, p.14) reports that three times the number on the rolls attended Baptist churches, then located mostly along the eastern seaboard when surveyed in 1791 by John Ashlund. In 1835, the Christian Index of Georgia recorded that “not less than twice the number” of members were in attendance.

Today, in rough numbers, it takes 300 people on our rolls to have 100 attenders. In the 1790s, it took only 33. Or, to put it in larger figures, it now takes nearly 3000 people, supposedly won to Christ and baptized, to result in a church attendance of 1000. Then, it took only 333. Our potency has diminished to such an extent that we must “win” and “baptize” over 2,000 more people to get to the same 1000 to attend.

Apparently, being orthodox in terms of inerrancy and infallibility is not enough, though without these doctrines we have no foundation for true evangelism. A lot has to be done, and a lot undone. And, sadly, we have been actively transporting this mainly American problem overseas for many years.

To conclude, I suggest two remedial steps for the convention as a whole, in addition to what was suggested for the churches:

1. We might reverse some of our proclivity to continue as normal if we introduced our preachers more accurately in our evangelism meetings and convention settings. Try using this introduction: “Here is Brother ______, pastor of a church of 10,000 members, 6400 of whom do not bother to come on a given Sunday morning, and 8600 of whom do not come on Sunday evening. He is here to tell us about how to have a healthy, evangelistic church.”

It might be better to ask a man to speak who shepherd’s 100 members, all of whom attend with regularity and all of whom show signs of regeneration—a man who, in the last year, has baptized 5 people who stick—rather than a pastor of 10,000 members, 7000 of whom do not come—a man who has baptized 1000 in the past year, 700 of whom cannot be found. The smaller, but more consistent numbers of the first pastor reveal a far more effective ministry and thus a far better example for other churches. (Please understand that I don’t like this talk about “numbers,” but this is the main way we evaluate people and churches as Baptists. I am sure God is not really impressed with any of our statistics.)

2. We should establish a study group to explore our presently deplorable situation and to track its history. This group should also seek to re-examine the biblical mandate to have a regenerate church. Then this study group should report back with a strategy to help us out of the dilemma. They should be painfully honest. I am hopeful that individual churches will act without this prompting, but this would be an added stimulus to getting us to our fighting weight as a denomination. Some church leaders will not act without this sort of backing since independent action would be a departure from the status quo.

Our only alternative is to carry on in the old way—the way that produces 70-90% fallout. By continuing on as we are, we will gradually blur, and eventually obscure altogether, any distinction between the professing and the authentic Christian. In the end, we will look like every other mainline, liberal denomination. We are only one-third to one-tenth alive now. If we want to avoid complete deadness, we must take dramatic measures immediately. Like cotton candy, our apparent size does not add up to much.

Our forebears, especially those who died for the biblical concept of a regenerate church, would hardly recognize our compromised condition. It will admittedly take us down a notch or two, in the estimation of the rest of professing Christianity, when millions are removed from our rolls. But humility and a new reality might be the starting place for God’s greatest blessings on us yet!

The next time someone asks how your church and your denomination are doing, tell the truth. Tell them that we have a new confidence in the inerrant Bible. Tell them that we have seminaries that promote orthodoxy, and new evangelistic fervor among the true believers. Tell them we have a lot to be excited about. But also tell them that when considered as a whole, most Southern Baptists need raising from the dead.

(Jim Elliff is president of Christian Communicators Worldwide. by More articles by Jim may be found here.
Revised edition, Copyright © Jim Elliff 2005 Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc. 201 Main, Parkville, MO 64152 USA Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright Other uses require written permission. Write for additional materials.

The New Hampshire Confession of Faith -- 1833

This Confession was drawn up by the Rev. John Newton Brown, D. D., of New Hampshire about 1833, and was adopted by the New Hampshire Convention, and widely accepted by Baptists, especially in the Northern and Western States, as a clear and concise statement of their faith, in harmony with the doctrines of older confessions, but expressed in milder form. The text is taken from the Baptist Church Manual, published by the American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia.

Declaration of Faith

Of the Scriptures We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction (1); that it has God for its author, salvation for its end (2), and truth without any mixture of error for its matter (3); that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us (4); and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union (5), and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried (6).
1.  2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16; 3:21; John 10:35; Luke 16:29-31; Psa. 119:11; Rom. 3:1-2
2. 2 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Acts 11:14; Rom. 1:16; Mark 16:16; John 5:38-39
3. Prov. 30:5-6; John 17:17; Rev. 22:18-19; Rom. 3:4
4. Rom. 2:12; John 12:47-48; 1 Cor. 4:3-4; Luke 10:10-16; 12:47-48
5. Phil. 3:16; Eph. 4:3-6; Phil. 2:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:10; 1 Pet. 4:11
6. 1 John 4:1; Isa. 8:20; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:6; Jude 3:5; Eph. 6:17; Psa. 119:59-60; Phil. 1:9-11
Of the True God We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is JEHOVAH, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth (7); inexpressibly glorious in holiness (8), and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love (9); that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost (10); equal in every divine perfection (11), and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (12).
7. John 4:24; Psa. 147:5; 83:18; Heb. 3:4; Rom. 1:20; Jer. 10:10
8. Exod. 15:11; Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Rev. 4:6-8
9. Mark 12:30; Rev. 4:11; Matt. 10:37; Jer. 2:12-13
10. Matt. 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 1 John 5:7
11. John 10:30; 5:17; 14:23; 17:5, 10; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:10-11; Phil. 2:5-6
12. Eph. 2:18; 2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 1:4-5; comp. 2, 7
Of the Fall of Man We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker (13); but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state (14); in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners (15), not by constraint, but choice (16); being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin (17), without defense or excuse (18).
13. Gen. 1:27, 31; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 16:26; Gen. 2:16
14. Gen. 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12
15. Rom. 5:19; John 3:6; Psa. 51:5; Rom. 5:15-19; 8:7
16. Isa. 53:6; Gen. 6:12; Rom. 3:9-18
17. Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18, 32; 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 20:15
18. Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom. 1:20; 3:19; Gal. 3:22
Of the Way of Salvation We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace (19), through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God (20); who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin (21); honored the divine law by his personal obedience (22), and by his death made a full atonement for our sins (23); that having risen from the death, he is now enthroned in heaven (24); and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all- sufficient Saviour (25).
19. Eph. 2:5; Matt. 18:11; 1 John 4:10; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; Acts 15:11
20. John 3:16; 1:1-14; Heb. 4:14; 12:24
21. Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 2:9, 14; 2 Cor. 5:21
22. Isa. 42:21; Phil. 2:8; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 3:21
23. Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 20:28; Rom. 4:25; 3:21-26; 1 John 4:10; 2:2; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Heb. 9:13-15
24. Heb. 1:8, 3; 8:1; Col. 3:1-4
25. Heb. 7:25; Col. 2:9; Heb. 2:18; 7:26; Psa. 89:19; Psa. 14
Of Justification We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ (26) secures to such as believe in him is Justification (27); that Justification includes the pardon of sin (28), and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness (29); that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood (30); by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God (31); that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity (32).
26. John 1:16; Eph. 3:8
27. Acts 13:39; Isa. 3:11-12; Rom. 8:1
28. Rom. 5:9; Zech. 13:1; Matt. 9:6; Acts 10:43
29. Rom. 5:17; Titus 3:5-6; 1 Pet. 3:7; 1 John 2:25; Rom. 5:21
30. Rom. 4:4-5; 5:21; 6:28; Phil. 3:7-9
31. Rom. 5:19; 3:24-26; 4:23-25; 1 John 2:12
32. Rom. 5:1-3, 11; 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Matt. 6:33; 1 Tim. 4:8
Of the Freeness of Salvation We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel (33); that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith (34); and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel (35); which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation (36).
33. Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Luke 14:17
34. Rom. 16:26; Mark 1:15; Rom. 1:15-17
35. John 5:40; Matt. 23:37; Rom. 9:32; Prov. 1:24; Acts 13:46
36. John 3:19; Matt. 11:20; Luke 19:27; 2 Thess. 1:8
Of Grace in Regeneration We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again (37); that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind (38); that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth (39), so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel (40); and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life (41).
37. John 3:3, 6-7; 1 Cor. 1:14; Rev. 8:7-9; 21:27
38. 2 Cor. 5:17; Ezek. 36:26; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 2:28-29; 5:5; 1 John 4:7
39. John 3:8; 1:13; James 1:16-18; 1 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 2:13
40. 1 Pet. 1:22-25; 1 John 5:1; Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 3:9-11
41. Eph. 5:9; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:16-23; Eph. 3:14-21; Matt. 3:8-10; 7:20; 1 John 5:4, 18
Of Repentance and Faith We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God (42); whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ (43), we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy (44); at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour (45). 42. Mark 1:15; Acts 11:18; Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1
43. John 16:8; Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31
44. Luke 18:13; 15:18-21; James 4:7-10; 2 Cor. 7:11; Rom. 10:12-13; Psa. 51
45. Rom. 10:9-11; Acts 3:22-23: Heb. 4:14; Psa. 2:6; Heb. 1:8; 8:25; 2 Tim. 1:12
Of God's Purpose of Grace We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners (46); that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end (47); that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable (48); that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy (49); that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree (50); that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel (51); that it is the foundation of Christian assurance (52); and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence (53).
46. 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rom. 11:5-6; John 15:15; 1 John 4:19; Hos. 12:9
47. 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Acts 13:48; John 10:16; Matt. 20:16; Acts 15:14
48. Exod. 33:18-19; Matt. 20:15; Eph. 1:11; Rom. 9:23-24: Jer. 31:3; Rom. 11:28-29; James 1:17-18; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 11:32-36
49. 1 Cor. 4:7; 1:26-31; Rom. 3:27; 4:16; Col. 3:12; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 15:10; 1 Pet. 5:10; Acts 1:24; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9; Luke 18:7; John 15:16; Eph. 1:16; 1 Thess. 2:12
50. 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Cor. 9:22; Rom. 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; 2 Pet. 1:10
51. 1 Thess. 1:4-10
52. Rom. 8:28-30; Isa. 42:16; Rom. 11:29
53. 2 Pet. 1:10-11; Phil. 3:12; Heb. 6:11
Of Sanctification We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness (54); that it is a progressive work (55); that it is begun in regeneration (56); and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means--especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer (57). 
54. 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:23; 2 Cor. 7:1; 13:9; Eph. 1:4
55. Prov. 4:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; Heb. 6:1; 2 Pet. 1:5-8; Phil. 3:12-16
56. John 2:29; Rom. 8:5; John 3:6; Phil. 1:9-11; Eph. 1:13-14
57. Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 13:5; Luke 11:35; 9:23; Matt. 26:41; Eph. 6:18; 4:30
Of the Perseverance of Saints We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end (58); that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors (59); that a special Providence watches over their welfare (60); and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (61).
58. John 8:31; 1 John 2:27-28; 3:9; 5:18
59. 1 John 2:19; John 13:18; Matt. 13:20-21; John 6:66-69; Job 17:9
60. Rom. 8:28; Matt. 6:30-33; Jer. 32:40; Psa. 121:3; 91:11-12
61. Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13; Jude 24-25; Heb. 1:14; 2 Kings 6:16; Heb. 13:5; 1 John 4:4
Of the Harmony of the Law and the Gospel We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government (62); that it is holy, just, and good (63); and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin (64); to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church (65).  
62. Rom. 3:31; Matt. 5:17; Luke 16:17; Rom. 3:20; 4:15
63. Rom. 7:12, 7, 14, 22; Gal. 3:21; Psa. 119
64. Rom. 8:7-8; Josh. 24:19; Jer. 13:23; John 6:44; 5:44
65. Rom. 8:2, 4; 10:4; 1 Tim. 1:5; Heb. 8:10; Jude 20-21; Heb. 12:14; Matt. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 12:28
Of a Gospel Church We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (66), associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel (67); observing the ordinances of Christ (68); governed by his laws (69), and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word (70); that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons (71), whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. 
66. 1 Cor. 1:1-13; Matt. 18:17; Acts 5:11; 8:1; 11:31; 1 Cor. 4:17; 14:23; 3 John 9; 1 Tim. 3:5
67. Acts 2:41-42; 2 Cor. 8:5; Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 5:12-13
68. 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:17-20; 1 Cor. 11:23; Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:6; 2 Cor. 2:7; 1 Cor. 4:17
69. Matt. 28:20; John 14:15; 15:12; 1 John 4:21; John 14:21; 1 Thess. 4.2; 2 John 6; Gal. 6:2; all the Epistles
70. Eph. 4:7; 1 Cor. 14:12; Phil. 1:27; 1 Cor. 12:14
71. Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; 15:22; 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1
Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer (72), into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost (73); to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life (74); that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord's Supper (75), in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ (76); preceded always by solemn self- examination (77).
72. Acts 8:36-39; Matt. 3:5-6; John 3:22-23; 4:1-2; Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:12; 16:32-34; 18:8
73. Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:47-48; Gal. 3:27-28
74. Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:20-21; Acts 22:16
75. Acts 2:41-42; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts and Epistles
76. 1 Cor. 11:26; Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
77. 1 Cor. 11:28; 5:1, 8; 10:3-32; 11:17-32; John 6:26-71
Of the Christian Sabbath We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath (78); and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes (79), by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations (80); by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private (81) and public (82); and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God (83).
78. Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2
79. Exod. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Psa. 118:24
80. Isa. 58:13-14; 56:2-8
81. Psa. 119:15
82. Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Exod. 46:3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2, 3; Psa. 26:8; 87:3
83. Heb. 4:3-11
Of Civil Government We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society (84); and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed (85); except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ (86) who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth (87).
84. Rom. 13:1-7; Deut. 16:18; 1 Sam. 23:3; Exod. 18:23; Jer. 30:21
85. Matt. 22:21; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13; 1 Tim. 2:1-8
86. Acts 5:29; Matt. 10:28; Dan. 3:15-18; 6:7-10; Acts 4:18-20
87. Matt. 23:10; Rom. 14:4; Rev. 19:16; Psa. 72:11; Psa. 2; Rom. 14:9-13
Of the Righteous and the Wicked We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked (88); that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem (89); while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse (90); and this distinction holds among men both in and after death (91). 18. Of the World to Come We believe that the end of the world is approaching (92); that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven (93), and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution (94); that a solemn separation will then take place (95); that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy (96); and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness (97).
88. Mal. 3:18; Prov. 12:26; Isa. 5:20; Gen. 18:23; Jer. 15:19; Acts 10:34- 35; Rom. 6:16
89. Rom. 1:17; 7:6; 1 John 2:29; 3:7; Rom. 6:18, 22; 1 Cor. 11:32; Prov. 11:31; 1 Pet. 4:17-18
90. 1 John 5:19; Gal. 3:10; John 3:36; Isa. 57:21; Psa. 10:4; Isa 55:6-7
91. Prov. 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; Prov. 10:24; Luke 12:4-5; 9:23- 26; John 12:25-26; Eccl. 3:17; Matt. 7:13-14
92. 1 Pet. 4:7; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Heb. 1:10-12; Matt. 24:35; 1 John 2:17; Matt. 28:20; 13:39-40; 2 Pet. 3:3-13
93. Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7; Heb. 9:28; Acts 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-11
94. Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 15:12-59; Luke 14:14; Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; 6:40; 11:25-26; 2 Tim. 1:10; Acts 10:42
95. Matt. 13:49, 37-43; 24:30-31; 25:31-33
96. Matt. 25:35-41; Rev. 22:11; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Mark 9:43-48; 2 Pet. 2:9; Jude 7; Phil. 3:19; Rom. 6:32; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; John 4:36; 2 Cor. 4:18
97. Rom. 3:5-6; 2 Thess. 1:6-12; Heb. 6:1-2; 1 Cor. 4:5; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:2-16; Rev. 20:11-12; 1 John 2:28; 4:17
Of the World to Come We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, or principles of righteousness.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How To Become A Follower of Christ -- Founders Ministries

How does a person become a Christian? Plenty of opinions abound in answer to this question. Some say that living a moral life makes a person a Christian. Others declare that joining a church or being baptized makes a person a Christian. Still others call for a person to "make a decision" or "pray the prayer" or "ask Jesus into your heart." While opinions may be important, the one vital thing when speaking of becoming a Christian is what does God say about this in His Word?

God has given His Word - the Bible - to reveal Himself, His purpose for man, and the way to know Him personally. Everything a person needs to know about becoming a Christian can be found in God s Word. As God gives a person understanding of the gospel (the good news of how God, in Christ has provided salvation for man), then that person can come to the point of genuine faith in Jesus Christ and, consequently, become a Christian.


The first place to begin in understanding salvation (or becoming a Christian) is with God.

Who is God anyway?

What is Godlike?

What does God demand of me?

Unless a person has a basic understanding of God, then his understanding of the gospel will be faulty and unbalanced.

The Bible tells us that God is One, yet He reveals Himself to us in Three Persons. This is called the Trinity. Hear, 0 Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4). Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18; see also John 5:17-27 where Jesus, the Son, shows His equality with the Father and John 14:16-17 where Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit being another which means "another of the same kind," that is, totally equal with the Son and Father). God is not three Gods, but one God who has revealed Himself in three Persons who are equal in character, glory, and power: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), God the Holy Spirit.

1. God is Creator

As the Creator, everything that exists has been made by God. God Himself designed, initiated, and brought about the creation of the entire universe. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them (Genesis 1:1, 27). The Bible further clarifies that Jesus Christ as God not only made everything, but everything in creation was made for Him! For by Him all things were created, the heavens, and on earth, visible and invisible, whether or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).

2. God is Spirit

When Jesus was teaching a woman about God and how to worship Him, He made this statement: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). God is spirit describes God's essence, that is, Who He is. As spirit, God is far above man who is limited by hands, feet, and all the other aspects of humanity. As spirit, God cannot be worshipped by any form of idols (Exodus 20:4-6), nor can He be subject to decay, or loss, or corruption, or any other thing that afflicts man. God is the purest, simplest, most basic Being in the universe, that is why He said, You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).

3. God sees and knows all things

The word used to describe this is God's omniscience, that is, there are no surprises with God. This is what is called an attribute of God. He knows everything about a person, how he will live his life, what his innermost motives and thoughts are at any given time. This means that God sees everything in a person's life, the good as well as the evil. Nothing is hidden from Him. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13; see also Romans 11:33-36)

4. God is Holy

More than any word, the Bible uses the word holy to describe God. As One Who is holy, God is utterly pure, totally without any kind of blame or error, absolutely free from sin in every respect. Because He is holy, God is quite different from man who is described as a sinner. Holiness not only conveys what is missing from God, that is, sin, but also what is in God. Holiness is a positive characteristic describing the uniqueness of God. Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3). Holiness can be described as pure light with no mixture of darkness. And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5; see also I Timothy 6:16 and I Peter 1:16).

5. God is righteous and just

Everything God does is absolutely right and proper. He never makes an assumption or an unjust accusation toward man. His righteousness and justice has its roots in His holiness. Because God is holy, He therefore can only do that which is right. His actions toward mankind are just and righteous. He never carries out any act toward man that is not first rooted in His holy character. His perfection is seen in His acts of righteousness and justice. The Psalmist writes, God is a righteous judge.... and the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge (Psalms 7:11; 50:6). God's justice is described in Exodus 34:7, ...yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.... God's righteousness and justice demand that He deal with sin and disobedience. For God to overlook such unholy acts would be to negate His righteousness, which is impossible to do.

6. God is Judge

Because of Who God is and because of His character and attributes, He of necessity is the Judge of the universe. Everyone must stand before Him to give an account. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy... (James 4:12). God's judgment is sure, accurate, just, and severe. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20). Even those who have not attended church and been under the Bible's teaching have enough natural revelation about God to know that He is to be honored with obedience. Consequently, all men are under the severity of divine wrath because of the sinfulness of mankind.

7. God is love

After seeing God's righteousness, justice, and judgment, it might appear to be a contradiction to say that God is love. Yet the Bible is very clear that He is a God of absolute, pure love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (I John 4:7-10; see also John 3:16). God loves the individual, though not for what he can do for God (because man can do nothing for God Who Himself is wholly self-existent). Instead, God loves man because that is God's nature. It is impossible for Him not to love. Yet, His love never contradicts His justice. His love is active and selfless, giving to man out of the abundance of His grace even though man does not deserve anything that God gives.


1. If someone asks you, ‘Who is God?" how will you answer him?

2. Do the names the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit describe three Gods or one God? Can you think of some Scripture passages to back up your answer?

3. Name at least three attributes of God and show where these attributes are found in the Bible.

4. Explain what is meant by God being righteous and just. How does this affect mankind?

5. Give some examples of how God has shown His love to you. What is the ultimate expression of God's love to you?



Everyone has his own opinion about mankind, but what really matters most is what God has to say about mankind.

Many modem philosophies consider that man is basically good and wants to do the right thing if he has a chance. But his environment, society, peers, and family hinder him from acting right. This kind of view fails to consider what God has said about the nature of man. To understand why we need salvation, we must see what the Bible says about man and his sin.

1. Man was created in the image of God and expected to obey God completely

We have already noticed that God created everything in the world. The crowning point of creation came on the sixth day when God created man in His image. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). While God created many magnificent creatures, only one creature in all of His creation was made in God's image: man. Being created in God's image does not mean that physically we are like God. God is a spirit (John 4:24), so He is not limited by a physical body like humans. Instead, this means that man has been created with a spirit just as God is Spirit. God made man a moral creature with a conscience that recognizes right and wrong. As a moral creature, man was to be governed by the law of God. God's perfect righteousness is and always has been the standard for man's conduct. In the Garden of Eden, God gave our first parents one law— From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). The law was given so that man might completely follow God's righteousness and perfectly mirror God's holiness. Yet, Adam, the first man, who is representative of all humanity, chose to eat of the forbidden fruit and consequently, died spiritually and fell under the sentence of condemnation by violating God's law. Adam's breach of God's law was a direct assault upon the honor and glory of God. His sin infinitely offended God's holiness. Though Adam had walked in fellowship and communion with God in the Garden, that relationship ended --- His communion with God died. The gravity of Adam's sin can be seen in the fact that a relationship of perfect delight with God dramatically changed into one of eternal separation from God and the sentence of God's wrath. Adam's fall affected the entire human race as well, because we all descended from Adam. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12). This same sentence of death (both physical and spiritual death) fell upon all humanity. For the wages of sin is death. . .(Romans 6:23).

Did God's requirements and expectations for man change when Adam fell? Absolutely not! God still expected man to fully obey Him. But since the first man, every person in the human race born of man has failed to satisfy God's righteous demands of him which are expressed clearly in the Old Testament Law. Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them (Galatians 3:10). Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20).

God's moral law can be summed up in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). These divine commands affect our relationship to God and man. The first four commandments (Exodus 20:1-11) make it clear that God alone is to be our God and He is to be honored above everything. Yet man has bowed to gods of his own making: pleasure, sensuality, materialism, recreation, self-indulgence, etc. Because of man's violation of God's laws regarding man's relationship to God, the eternal judgment of God falls upon him.

The last six commandments govern man's relationship to his fellow man (Exodus 20:12-17). Jesus Christ clarified the intention of these commands to show that they refute not simply man's actions towards others, but even his thoughts and attitudes towards others (see Matthew 5:17-48). While a person may refrain from overt acts of dishonoring his parents, murdering, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting, in his mind he violates all of these commands. His overt and covert breaching of God's law brings him under the sentence of divine wrath. A holy, just God cannot fail to judge man's sin.

2. Man is dead in his spirit apart from Christ

Not only has man failed to fulfill what God demanded of him, because of his fallen nature, he is spiritually dead. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest (Ephesians 2:1-3). In this, God declares that because of our sin nature, man is totally dead in his spirit, lives his life naturally along the pattern of a world that is anti-God, finds himself under the dominion of Satan, and consequently, God's awful wrath looms before him. As a matter of fact, this puts man in a hopeless, helpless estate apart from God's mercy.

3. Man, by his nature and actions, is a sinner

This fact is plain in Scripture. As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one... .for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:10-12, 23). Think of the best person you have ever met. He or she is still a sinner. As sinners, mankind cannot claim to be righteous, because there is no righteousness in our natures. Man does not understand spiritual things or even seek after God (see also I Corinthians 2:14) unless God first seeks him. Man is incapable of doing anything on his own of making himself right with God. The sad assessment is that all of us have sinned and because of that we fall short of God's glory [a term which describes the radiance of God s nature].

4. A man dead in his sin cannot do anything to save himself

Because of man s fallen nature, he cannot lift himself up to God. He cannot save himself by being religious, or practicing the Golden Rule, or joining a church. He may give great effort at trying to keep the Ten Commandments, but if he offends just one of these in action or thought he is guilty of breaking the entire law of God (James 2:10). These kinds of things might improve a man's appearance before other men, but they cannot do anything to improve his standing with Almighty God. He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy....For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast....Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.... (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:20).

5. Apart from God's intervention of mercy and grace, man cannot be saved

This means that every man faces God's judgment for his sin without any ability or hope to save himself. This puts all humanity in the distressing situation of being destined for God's wrath. But the good news is that God has intervened in saving grace!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith... (Ephesians 2:4-8a). Note the two terms that express God's intervention: mercy and grace. Mercy implies God's disposition of kindness and compassion toward someone who is undeserving of such kindness. God's mercy has its roots in His character. This was demonstrated by God giving His Son in order that sinful men might be forgiven. Grace begins with God, not man. In grace, God actively initiates His saving work in the sinner, who is himself dead in his trespasses and sins. While mercy is God's disposition of kindness and compassion toward a sinner, grace is God's action to bring the sinner to life (i.e., regenerate him, see Ephesians 2:5; Titus 3:5), save him, declare him to be righteous, and to secure him for eternity.

Grace is the activity of God based upon the satisfying of God's justice through the death of Christ, now effectively applied to bring about the salvation of a sinner. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7). You see, it is not what a man does that can save him from his sin or God's judgment; instead, it is what God has done for him in Jesus Christ according to His mercy and grace.


1. What does it mean when the Bible says we are "created in the image of God?"

2. How does Adam s sin affect you? See if you can support your answer with Scripture.

3. Has man satisfied God s righteous demands of him by obeying the Law? Explain the consequence of your answer.

4. Some people believe that man can save himself. Tell some of the ways people try to save themselves and explain why none of these ways can justify a person before God.

5. Why is man dependent upon God s intervention for salvation?

6.Explain what is meant by the terms "mercy" and "grace."



The focal point of salvation is Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ no sinner can be saved. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). There are two primary truths which are vital for us to understand concerning Christ and His work of salvation: Who Jesus is and What Jesus has accomplished on our behalf (that is, the Person of Christ and the Work of Christ).

1. Who Jesus is (or the Person of Christ)

Throughout the centuries, people have had a variety of ideas about just who Jesus really is. Some consider him to be a prophet, others a great religious leader, still others a mystical being. But what does God s Word says about Jesus?

(1) Jesus Christ is God

When the Apostle John opened the Gospel which bears his name, he began by identifying Jesus as the One True God. He used a term --Word-- which was common in his day, to describe who Jesus is. By the identifying term the Word, John points to the One Who created everything that exists in the universe (see Genesis 1:1) and the One in Whom all mankind derives its life. 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 by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:1-5). If Jesus was a created being, and not infinite as is the case with God, then it would have been impossible for Him to create all things that have come into being, for He would be included in all things. The Creator cannot create Himself! This would be an impossibility!

In the book of Exodus, the Lord God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush on Mt. Horeb by a most unusual name. Moses asked God to tell him the Name he was to use when addressing the children of Israel on behalf of God. What shall I say to them? Moses asked. And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM", and He said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, "I AM has sent me to you" (Exodus 3:13-14). The name I AM refers to the eternality of God. He is the One Who has no beginning and no end. He is the eternally Present One. When Jesus was having a discussion with some of the Jewish religious leaders, He used the very same name to refer to Himself, which identified Him as being the Lord God of the Old Testament that revealed Himself to Moses on Mt. Horeb. Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am (John 8:58). The Jews understood exactly what Jesus was saying, that He is the same God that spoke to Moses at Mt. Horeb! Since they did not believe in Him being God, they tried to stone Him for using this special name for God.

When the Apostle Paul was writing to Titus on the Isle of Crete, he gave a marvelous description of the deity (Godhood) of Jesus Christ. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11-14). The phrase he uses, our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, states in clear terms that Jesus Christ is wholly and absolutely God.

One of the clearest passages relating to Christ's deity is found in Colossians 1:15-20. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. The word, image, means that Jesus is in reality Who He represents. That is, He is in reality the invisible God. As first born of all creation Jesus is preeminent over all creation and He is preexistent and unique as the Son. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created by Him and for Him. Again, the emphasis is placed upon Jesus creating everything, even things in the heavens and things we cannot see with our eyes. He not only created all things but all things were created for Him. This means that the ultimate purpose of everything in creation is the glory of Jesus Christ! For it was the Father s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him. All the totality of divine attributes and powers are found in Jesus Christ. And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself: having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Jesus, Who is wholly God, by the sacrificial act of His death on the cross has provided the means to put sinners in a right relationship with Himself as God (i.e., to reconcile).

(2) Jesus Christ became man

Notice that there is a difference in these two points of emphasis on the Person of Christ. Jesus Christ is God, that is His infinite nature. But this same God became man that He might reveal God to sinful humanity and ultimately, fulfill all righteousness and pay the debt of sin the sinner owes God. The passage quoted previously, John 1:1-5, describes the deity of Jesus by the ancient term Word. John explains God becoming a man in that same chapter, And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, fill of grace and truth (John 1:14).

The act of God becoming man is known as the Incarnation. When the angel spoke to Joseph about the fact that his bride-to-be, Mary, was with child by a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit, he explained that Jesus would be the One to save His people from their sins. The story goes on to explain that Jesus was to be called Immanuel, which translated means, God with us (see Matthew 1:18-25). That s the great news of the Incarnation, God has come to man to bring about his redemption! As Thomas Watson put it, "The Word was made flesh , that through the glass of his human nature we might look upon God."

Why did God come to man? Only God could fully satisfy His own righteous, just demands ---demands based upon His divine nature and character. Man had proven over and over that he could never measure up to God's Law. But since man is the one who has sinned, the demand of justice is that man himself would have to suffer for his sin. This is why Jesus became a man, so that He might fully obey God's Law as a Man and that He might suffer the judgment of God on our behalf as a Man. "...It was God who was offended, and it was God who satisfied. Thus Christ's person is in two natures" (Thomas Watson). Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren In all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17).

For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). All that God is, He is in Jesus Christ. The great God that mankind has offended with sin and rebellion came to dwell among us that He, out of His mercy and grace, might act redemptively on our behalf. Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Hebrews 2:14-15).

As man, Jesus Christ faced the limitations of humanity, yet He never sinned. He fulfilled every demand of the Law and all that pertains to righteousness. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15; see also Philippians 2:5-11). As the Sinless One, He became the perfect Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (see John 1:29, 36).

2. What Jesus has accomplished on our behalf (or the Work of Christ)

Most people have heard that Jesus died on the cross. Why did Jesus Christ have to die such a horrible death? What implications does that act of His death have for sinners?

The death of Jesus on the cross relates directly to God's holiness and man's sinfulness. Because God is holy and just, He cannot ignore sin, nor let the sinner go unpunished. Every act of sin by man personally affronts God. As a creature affected by Adam's fall, man must face the consequence of the Fall. God's character demands that He punish to the full degree every sinful person. To do anything less than this would mean that God was not being God.. .and that is impossible!

On the other hand, a sinful man does not have any hope of persuading God to not punish him for his sinfulness. That man cannot make himself right before God because nothing short of perfection pleases God (see Matthew 5:48). Even if he tries his very best, man cannot save himself from the wrath of God.

This is where God intervenes in His great love and mercy! God came to man (remember, this is the Incarnation) in order to give His own life to redeem man from the curse of sin and the certain wrath of God. Jesus Christ conquered sin and death on our behalf which was verified by His resurrection from the dead. Now, through the sacrificial act of Jesus Christ, Who is God Himself: sinful man can be declared righteous before Holy God! The power of His death and resurrection can actually be applied to the sinner to save him for all eternity.

Just what did Jesus accomplish through His death?

(1) Righteousness of God

Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the righteous requirements which God demands of us. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:21-23). Because all of us are sinners, we have no way in our own power to fully obey the Law of God. We cannot do anything to save ourselves. But what Jesus did on our behalf was absolutely righteous. He perfectly obeyed the Father so that His righteousness might be put on our account. He went to the cross, undeserving of the death He faced, and died a righteous death on our behalf. In other words, God did not change the rules in mid-stream concerning salvation. He did not cheapen His holiness or deny His justice by saving sinners. Instead, His Son totally fulfilled every demand of God's righteousness, so that our salvation through Christ meets every requirement of God's holy character and nature.

(2) Justification

The work of Jesus on the cross justifies the sinner who has faith in Him. Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24; see also Romans 3:25-28; 5:1-2)

The word justifies has both a negative and positive meaning. Negatively, it means that the sinner who put his faith in Christ has been declared not guilty by God. All of the charges against the sinner because of his sinfulness are certainly accurate. But Jesus Christ has borne the judgment of God against the sinner, so that now, because of what Christ has done on behalf of the sinner, God declares the sinner to be not guilty of his eternal crime.

But this word is also a positive one. God now declares the sinner to be righteous. How righteous is the new believer in Christ? Just a righteous as Jesus Christ! He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). The righteousness of God cannot be imitated or manipulated. It can only be given through Christ. Jesus bore our sinfulness in His own body on the cross and imputed (credited) to us His own righteousness. When that believer stands before God, he will stand justified, declared not guilty and having within him the righteousness of God through faith in Christ. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law (Roman 3:28).

(3) Redemption

Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Redemption pictures an ancient slave market, where the slave stands on the block to be sold once again into slavery. But something amazing and wonderful happens! Someone pays the price for the slave's freedom and sets him free! The utterly amazing thing is that the Redeemer pays for the slave by entering into slavery for him. That's what Jesus did for us at the cross. While we were enslaved to sin with no hope of ever being set free, Jesus Christ became our substitute. He paid the debt we owe because of our sin (Romans 6:23). At the cross He experienced all of the horridness of sin's wicked power and the wrath of God due that sin. Through His life He paid for our redemption that we might be free. Consequently, we were brought out of the slave market of sin, never to be held by its power again for we are set free in Christ. The believer never returns to that same old position of slavery to sin. For all eternity, be is free! If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:36).

(4) Propitiation

Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:24-26). Propitiation may seem to be a strange word, but is one of the most important truths in the Bible. Remember that God's righteousness has to be satisfied simply because He is God. To pardon a sinner without first satisfying His righteousness, would mean that God was contradicting His own nature, which is impossible. In order to forgive sinners, God satisfied His righteousness and justice through the death of His Son at the cross. That's what propitiation means---a satisfying of God's righteousness and justice, so that God might justly declare sinners to be righteous and forgiven through faith in His Son. In Jesus Christ's death an actual sacrifice to atone for man's sins occurred. Our sin was transferred to Christ at the cross and the full payment due because of our sin was met through His death. This means that God's holy wrath has been satisfied through the substitutionary death of His Son. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17; see also Hebrews 2:14-18 and I John 2:1-2). It is only because Jesus satisfied all of the demands of God's righteousness and justice on our behalf that we can enter into a relationship with the very God we have offended with our sinfulness.

(5) Adoption

When a sinner comes to Jesus Christ in faith, trusting in what Christ has done on his behalf to satisfy all of God's demands, then he is adopted into God's family. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of he world But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 4:3-7). Our adoption takes place, not because God did not have a son, for He does...the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, God adopts us because of our great need for Him. The price of adoption was the blood of His own beloved Son at the cross. As He adopts us, He gives us both His name (which earthly parents can do in adoption) and His nature (which an earthly parent cannot do; see 11 Peter 1:4).

Jesus Christ has accomplished for us what we could never accomplish nor ever deserve. Understanding who Jesus is and what He has done for us makes the truth of the gospel come alive in our hearts and minds.


1. Is Jesus Christ God Himself? If so, explain this through the use of Scripture.

2. Did God come to man? Explain how He did this and why He did this.

3. What does it mean to be justified? Explain how God justifies the sinner.

4. What does propitiation mean? Explain how this affects our salvation.?

5. Name the two specific things that God gives us in adoption. How does this affect you personally?



A person can hear the gospel, but if he never exercises saving faith he remains lost for eternity. While many people try to justify themselves before God on the basis of their religious activity or their good works, the Bible clearly tells us that the only way to come to God is through faith in Jesus Christ. Too often, faith is misunderstood.

1. There are four kinds of faith

First, there is a historical faith, which means that a person believes what the Bible says because they have been culturally conditioned to believe it. In communities where the Christian faith is strong or there is a strong sense of divine authority, a person who does not believe the Bible's message about Christ might become an outcast. This happens due to the strong social and cultural influences which often have roots in Christianity. The only problem is that this kind of faith cannot save. The demons of hell exercise this kind of faith...and they certainly are not saved! You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder (James 2:19).

Second, there is temporary faith, which lasts for a while, then fades away because it does not have any roots. Jesus describes this in the parable of the sower in which the Word of God is sown upon a heart with shallow soil. Just like a little seed which germinates in shallow soil, there springs up what appears to be life. But because of the shallow soil the life is only temporary and quickly withers. And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away (Matthew 13:20-2 1). Some people have a religious experience or even have great excitement about the Christian life, possibly even making a public profession of Christ. But if the Word of God does not take firm root in his life by its saving power, this kind of person quickly fades away when the demands of the Christian life confront him. This kind of faith cannot save.

Third, there is a miraculous faith, which describes those individuals who through some means or another are able to perform miraculous works and because of this they believe themselves to be saved. Judas Iscariot followed Jesus Christ for three years and was even involved in doing miraculous works. Yet he perished in hell! Pharaoh's magicians imitated the miracles of Moses for a time, yet they were by no means believers! Jesus warned against this kind of false faith in Matthew 7:21-23: Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you: Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. '

Finally, there is a true, justifying faith or saving faith, which is a gift of God given to us that we might believe the Person and Work of Christ on our behalf. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Let's clarify this wonderful gift of saving faith.

2. What faith is not

Sometimes it helps to see what something is not in order to see what it really is. Saving faith is not a mere acknowledgment of the historical facts of Jesus Christ. Most people will acknowledge. this, yet remain lost. Saving faith is not merely believing in God. Remember that the demons believe in God too! Saving faith is not simply an acknowledgment that Jesus is a Savior or that Jesus can save. Neither is saving faith simply faith in faith.. .nor faith in a decision. ..nor faith in a prayer. ..nor faith in a profession...nor faith in your own plan of salvation.

3. What justifying faith is

True faith is based upon the fact of what God has declared in His Word. The object of saving or justifying faith is Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished on behalf of sinners through the cross. It is when the sinner humbly approaches Jesus Christ in absolute trust in Him that the work of the cross is applied in saving power to the sinner's life. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law (Romans 3:27-28). It is not the works of the sinner that saves him. His works are powerless to bring about salvation. But when God gives him grace to believe in Jesus Christ and trust what Christ did on the cross for him, that person is transformed by the power of God.

How does justifying faith operate? There are three facets to this kind of true, saving faith. First, there is self-renunciation in which a person comes to the end of himself, recognizes his absolute sinfulness and hopelessness before God, and turns from his sin, then turns to God, Who alone can save him. Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19). This self-renunciation is evident by repentance, which involves a change of mind about life, so that the person turns away from his life of rebellion toward God and casts himself wholly upon the mercy of God to save him (see also Acts 2:38; Luke 13:3; Mark 1:15). The Apostle Paul described this work in his own life in Philippians 3:8-9. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.

Second, justifying faith involves a total reliance upon Jesus Christ and His work on the cross to save you. That's what faith or believing means, a total reliance or absolute trust in someone or something. in this case the Someone is Jesus Christ! When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas what he must do in order to be saved, they replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household (Acts 16:30-31; see also John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40; 6:47). This belief in Christ goes beyond a mere head knowledge of Jesus to a trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. Faith means "Forsaking All ,I Trust Him." The Apostle Paul never boasted about anything he did in order to be saved, because he realized that it was all of Christ and none of him. But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).

Third, Justifying faith involves appropriating or receiving Christ Himself as your Redeemer, Justifier, Savior, and Lord.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). When a person comes to Jesus Christ in absolute trust, he receives Christ into His life, and with Him, all that He has accomplished for sinners. Now that new believer knows Christ in a different fashion. No longer is He just an impersonal God in the heavens. But now he enters into a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ as his Lord. Jesus has redeemed him from the power of sin, so Jesus is now his Redeemer. Jesus has applied His blood and righteousness to his life and declared him to be righteous before God, so Jesus is now his Justifier. Jesus has saved him from the wrath of God, so now Jesus is his Savior. Jesus has laid claim to his life for eternity by His atoning death and mighty resurrection, so now Jesus is his Lord.


1. What are the four kinds of faith? Try to given an example of each one.

2. Give some examples of a false kind of faith that people substitute for saving faith.

3. What is true, justifying faith?

4.Why is self-renunciation an aspect of saving faith?

5. What are the three facets of faith? Can you give a Scripture reference for each one?

6. What happens to the sinner in terms of his new relationship to Christ when he trusts Christ?



As you have read through this booklet or perhaps studied it with a group, you have been confronted with the Bible's teaching on salvation. You have seen Who God is and how His character is evident in everything He says, or does, or demands. You have seen the problem of man's sinfulness and his hopelessness to save himself.

Because of man's sin, he stands condemned by the law and he faces a destiny with the wrath of Holy God. But the good news is that you have seen that God has come to man through Jesus Christ! In His coming to earth, Jesus had one primary mission, to bear our sins on the cross and face the wrath of God in our place. But it is only when we repent by renouncing our self and sin, trust in Christ alone, and receive Him as Savior and Lord that we can know His saving life. Trust Jesus Christ as your Prophet who has spoken His saving word to you. Trust Him as your Priest who has mediated before God in your behalf by His atoning death on the cross. Trust Him as your King who now reigns over you.

The Bible declares, He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (I John 5:12). Have you trusted Jesus Christ alone for your salvation? Do you have THE LIFE which only comes in knowing Christ through faith?

If this is not settled in your life, seek the Lord ,Who alone can save you. As a sinner who cannot save himself, cast yourself upon His mercy. Discover that He is full of mercy and grace. Admit to God your sinfulness and desperation for His forgiveness. Repent of your sins and turn to God. Trust Him to save you for eternity through the blood of Christ. Depend upon what God has declared in His Word and the witness of the Holy Spirit in your life as your assurance of being right before God.

If you have put your faith in Christ, now declare your faith publicly before men through baptism. Unite with a church which preaches and teaches God's Word. Daily seek the Lord through His Word, beginning with John's Gospel, then reading Romans, I John, and Galatians. Bring your thanks, praises, and needs before your Heavenly Father in prayer. Seek to tell others about Jesus Christ and His power to save. By God's grace, seek to walk daily in obedience to the Lord. Trust Him for strength and power to obey.

If you are already a true believer, then rejoice in the grace of God given to you in Christ! Use this booklet as a study tool for understanding in greater fashion the work of Christ on your behalf Seek to declare the good news of Jesus Christ with others. May the Lord give you power to bring glory to His great Name!

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Quotations from the Bible are from the New American Standard Bible.