The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Salvation

Witnessing Realities: Why Your Testimony Is Irrelevant

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Here’s a common stream of logic that is used by Christian leaders when they are discussing the subject of evangelism.

  • There are many people in the world who have never submitted to God, either out of ignorance or because they’re choosing to embrace an attitude of spiritual rebellion.
  • As an individual Christian, it’s your spiritual duty to try and persuade unbelievers to convert to your religion so that God’s Kingdom will grow. Witnessing—the verbal sharing of your faith with others—is a critical way that you do this.
  • There are many ways to approach witnessing. One of the most effective ways is to share your personal testimony.  In other words, you should tell others about why you became a Christian, and what God has done for you.  Since well-stated testimonies are the most convincing, take some time to work out what your testimony is.  Practice saying it until you’ve got a nice, polished story.  Then get out there and start pitching God to unbelievers and see how many new converts you can herd into His Kingdom.

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Rethinking Christian Rituals: Water Baptism

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THE ORIGIN OF BAPTISM

Read through the Old Testament and you won’t find a single mention of baptism.  The bizarre tradition of a grown man briefly dunking individuals into water first shows up in the New Testament with a guy who made such a career out of dunking people that he became known as John the Baptist.

Now John was an ethnic Jew and a devoted follower of Yahweh.  The religion he practiced was Judaism, and he lived in the land that had once belonged to the nation of Israel, back when she was a sovereign nation.  But Israel had lost her independence centuries ago, and in John’s lifetime, she was considered part of the territory of the Roman Empire.  Read more of this post

Salvation Q&A

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As a human, you were created by three non-human Beings, who we refer to as Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  These are not three personalities of a single Entity.  Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct Divine Beings.  They are actively involved in your life today, and when you die, They will control whether your experience of the next life is nice or awful.  Since these three Gods control the quality of your existence, it’s in your best interest to stay on Their good side.  So how do you do this?  Christians would say that you need to obtain eternal salvation.  But what exactly is eternal salvation?  It’s a very simple concept which Christians have turned into a royal mess.  The purpose of this post is to clear up some of the confusion. Read more of this post

Romans 10: Paul’s Racism, His Pride & His Beautiful Feet

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The apostle Paul was an ethnic Jew.  In his day, ethnic Jews—especially Jewish men—were taught from the cradle to believe that they were far superior to everyone else.  Jews referred to non-Jews as Gentiles, and being called a Gentile was not a complimentJews liked to refer to Gentiles as uncircumcised dogs which, in their cultural context, was like a white man calling a black man a nigger today.  It’s critical that you appreciate how deeply racist the Jews in Bible times were.  You need to understand that these folks had completely blown off Yahweh’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  Read more of this post

False Formulas for Salvation – Romans 10:9

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If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10:9)

Like John 3:16, Romans 10:9 is a favorite verse among Christians which they like to use as a quick summary for how to obtain salvation.  But like John 3:16, Romans 10:9 doesn’t come close to accurately summarizing God’s salvation requirements.  This isn’t because salvation is complicated—on the contrary, it’s a very simple matter of submitting to the real Gods as the Supreme Authorities that They are.  But this isn’t where Romans 10:9 takes us, because the apostle Paul wrote Romans, and the apostle Paul didn’t personally submit to any God as truly supreme. Read more of this post

False Formulas for Salvation – 1 John 1:9

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“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The same John who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation also wrote the three epistles known as 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John.  While 2 and 3 John don’t get out much, 1 John has several famous one liners in it, including this frequently quoted statement about salvation being obtained through the confession of sin.  But is this really accurate?  Is merely listing off our sins enough to grant us salvation and cause use to be blameless in the sight of God?  No, it’s really not.  In fact, salvation doesn’t have anything to do with God considering us to be “blameless.”  We just think it does because, like the New Testament apostles, we’re focusing on the wrong things (see Jesus vs. the NT Jews: What it Means to Please God). Read more of this post

False Formulas for Salvation – John 3:16

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

This is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible, and we often use it to summarize God’s requirements for salvation.  But is this really an accurate summary?  Not even close.  In fact, when you really stop to think about it, John 3:16 is a very lousy verse to use to try and help a non-believer end up on the right side of eternity.  Now let’s learn why. Read more of this post

Understanding Salvation: How We Find the Real Gods & The Irrelevance of Titles

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Here’s a scenario which baffles many Christians.  Suppose there’s a tribe deep in the Amazon jungle.  This tribe is so remote that they have no contact with the outside world.  All they know is each other and a couple of the small tribes around them.  None of us “civilized” folk even know that this tribe exists, so the Church has never attempted to send missionaries in to reach them.  With no access to the Bible or jungle savvy evangelists, how can our remote tribe of pagans ever get saved? In their tribe, they worship gods of nature—tree gods, monkey gods, and a sun god.  But they’ve never been told about the real Gods.  So how should we view these people?  Are they beyond all hope of salvation because they don’t have any Bible quoting Christians to tell them the Gospel message?  According to the arrogant apostle Paul, yes, these souls are as good as damned.  Paul liked to tell himself that Yahweh is simply too limited to work without the help of us humans. This is why Paul says:

But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in Him; and before they can believe in Him, they must hear about Him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent. (Rom. 10:14-15)

Wow, talk about pompous.  But now let’s set aside the massive ego of Paul and get back to truth. What do our Gods say about Their ability to introduce Themselves to people without our help?  They say that They are more than up to the task.  So you see, jungle natives really don’t need to be preached at by some title touting human before they can understand who the real Gods are.  They just need those Gods to speak up. Read more of this post

Salvation According to Paul: If You Sin, You’re Damned (Romans 7-8)

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As we start Romans 7, we are continuing in our study of Paul’s theology of sin and salvation.  Back in Romans 5, Paul laid out some absurd theories on where sin came from.  In Romans 6, Paul said that once we Christians get baptized, we are magically changed so that our basic nature is no longer depraved, and this makes it possible for us to now live sinless lives.  Not only is it possible for us to be perfect, but perfection is what Yahweh demands of us.  Read more of this post

Romans 6: Paul Baptizes Christians Into Despair

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The New Testament epistle of Romans was written by the apostle Paul to believers in Rome.  The audience he’s talking to is a mix of Jews and Gentiles, and he rotates which group he’s speaking to as he moves through this letter. Sometimes he speaks of general concepts which both Jews and Gentiles would grasp, but most of the time he speaks of concepts which only followers of Judaism would understand, such as all of his talk about sin coming through Adam that we dealt with in our study of Romans 5 (see Romans 5: Paul Leads Us Astray on Sin & the Character of Yahweh).  Realize that the whole Adam and Eve thing originated from the Torah.  It was a part of Judaism, and Judaism is just one of many religions that are being adhered to in the Roman Empire of Paul’s day.  Every religion has its own explanation of how the world came to be, and such creation accounts vary widely.  This means that a Gentile who comes to Christianity with no background in Judaism isn’t going to know the Jewish Scriptures, nor will he be familiar with the many quotations from those Scriptures that Paul peppers his letters with. So whenever you find Paul quoting Scripture or referring to Old Testament characters like Noah, Abraham, and Adam, realize that in his mind, he’s addressing folks who are familiar with Judaism.  And because Paul believes that his own ethnic group is far superior to all others (see Romans 11), often it is only ethnic Jews who he’s talking to, and we can tell that by how exclusive his language becomes.  Read more of this post