According to a post by abcnews (http://abcnews.go.com/US/Beliefs/story?id=1422658) 89% of people believe in heaven and 85% of those believers think they are going there. Now, I do not know about you, but I personally believe in heaven. However, doesn’t this number seem too high for what we see in the world? According to these stats, people who have committed sins that lead to death and have not repented, still believe they are going to heaven. Well, I was never a stickler for opinions, so let’s look at the Bible shall we!
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul asks the church to test themselves to see if they are in the faith, and they will realize that Jesus is in them, unless they fail that test. This is crazy because all of these people believed in Jesus Christ, they had a sincere belief. However, they were not living according to the faith that Paul truly preached. I must examine my heart daily and make sure it is not hard, otherwise I may be out of the faith without even realizing it.
2 Timothy 3:1-8, Paul starts out by warning Timothy that there will be people who live like this. However, he lays it out flat, that these people are not able to come to the knowledge of the truth. In V.8, it says they oppose the truth and as far as “the faith” is concerned, they are rejected! Even though these people may claim to be Christians (having a form of godliness), if they are living this lifestyle, Paul makes it very clear that they are rejected by faith. We know that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). He ends the idea off with stating how their folly is evident to everyone. No wander people think all Christians are hypocrites, in fact most of these “Christians” are.
The Greek word for “rejected” is “adokimos”, which is translated to: not standing the test, not approved, unfit for and so on. Paul uses this word earlier when he wrote to the church in Corinth. He states “No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:27). In this section of his book, he is re-iterating the need for self-control. Let’s be honest, every sin basically springs up from the lack of self control. You are impure because you cannot control yourself, you smoke, drink, party, curse, rage, lie, all because you lack self control. God knew this, that is why he says he is not a God of disorder, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33 ). Paul realized that, even though he preached the word, believed in Jesus and converted many, he could also be rejected by the faith that he professed if he did not deny himself and beat his body into submission.
Paul sent a message to Titus in the mid 60’s AD. This chapter (Titus 3:1-11) specifically talks about how the true Christians should act and why. Note: the recipients of this letter were already disciples of Jesus, it was more of a reminder of how we should live, thus it is profitable for a non-Christian as well. He starts out by giving the charge to live obediently and then goes into why. In V. 3, Paul reminds us of our sinful nature before becoming a disciple of Christ. In V.5, he says that we were saved because of his mercy. This is a “why” not a “how”, however he tells us how it was done right after. “Through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…”. Does this sound familiar? It should, in John 3:5, Jesus says that nobody can enter into the kingdom of heaven unless he is born again or water and Spirit. So, we know by Acts 2:38 that this is baptism. With this knowledge, it is impossible to be saved and not part of the kingdom of God according to the Bible.
The rebirth that is talked about here in V. 5 is the resurrection after baptism. The person who decided to become a true Christian has now made a pledge to God (1 Peter 3:21 ) and it saves you “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” as Peter puts it. When you come out of the water, it is a participation in the death, burial and resurrection or Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-4). When something is born, it is pure, spotless, and blameless. Therefore, a rebirth is the same! When you get baptized, you must do it with the knowledge that you are not a part of the kingdom yet and that when you do get baptized, your sins are forgiven and you are a true “born again” Christian. This term is thrown around so much nowadays that the majority of people have little idea of what it invokes.
According to the bible, even Paul was subject to being rejected by “the faith”. Notice how the Bible is always specific about how there is only one faith! Yet, people distort the Scripture. I would rather listen to the Bible and live a hard life, the way Jesus and Paul said it would be, than to accept a counterfeit gospel that makes me feel good with myself. The Bible goes above our feelings and traditions (Matthew 15:1-9), thus the Word of God must be the standard. In the end, every false gospel will be exposed and the real will be held in honor. Galatians 1:8 says “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”. So yes, that goes for any other gospel that an angel supposedly presented (yes I am talking to you Joseph Smith, and Muhammad).
My hope is that this post will help you understand the true process of becoming a Christian, and that your eyes will be open to all of the false religion out there. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me. I encourage you all to study the Bible asap! Love you all.