- The Bible was written by over 40 men, over a 1500-year period--from 1400 B.C. to A.D. 100.
- The Bible consists of two "testaments" or "covenants": the Old Testament (39 books), a covenant between God and Israel, and the New Testament (27 books), a covenant between God and all who have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- The Bible claims to be (and evidences being) the "word of God," written by prophets and apostles who were guided by the Holy Spirit. And, it claims to be the standard by which we will all be judged.
- The Bible tells us of God's love for us, as it explains where we came from, what our spiritual need is, and what God has graciously done to meet that need in Jesus Christ for those who turn their lives over to Him in faith. And the Bible says the stakes for us are high: everlasting punishment in hell or eternal life in Heaven
1) What does our sin do to our relationship with God?
"Your iniquities (sins) have made a separation between you and your God." Isaiah 59:2
2) "But what is sin?"
"Sin is lawlessness," 1 John 3:4. That is, sin is the violation of God's law.
3) "So how many sins does it take to make me a sinner?"
Just one: "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." James 2:10
4) "But doesn't that mean, then, that everyone has sinned?"
Yes, it does: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
5) "And what are the consequences of our sinning?"
a) "The wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23
b) And "death" means separation from God: "your iniquities (sins) have made a separation between you and your God." Isaiah 59:2
c) And this separation is forever, if our sins are never forgiven.
1) "So, can't I just counter-balance my sins with good works, and so, be righteous again?"
No: "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
2) "What does it mean to be saved by grace?"
"Grace" refers to God's unmerited, undeserved favor towards us sinners. We deserved punishment for our sins, but by grace, Jesus Christ took upon Himself our punishment--the penalty for our sins--as He died upon the cross. But, to be saved, we must lay claim to this grace--which is where our faith comes in.
3) We are "saved by grace through faith." That is, through faith, we reach out and take hold of the grace centered in Jesus' sacrifice for us. And this faith involves both trusting Christ's promises and obeying His commands to us.
1) Acts 2: 3,000 people are saved by grace through faith as they...hear the gospel and believe Jesus is Lord (verse 36), repent (turn away from the practice of their sins; 2:37, 38), and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (2:38). They are also promised to then receive the Holy Spirit to dwell within them--giving them divine help to avoid sin and practice righteousness (Ephesians 3:16-20)
2) Acts 8: An Ethopian eunuch is saved by grace through faith as he...hears the gospel about Jesus and believes it (8:26-35)...openly confesses his faith in Jesus as the Son of God (8:37)...and is baptized in water (8:36,38). He then expresses the relief, joy, and peace that being saved brings us: he "went on his way rejoicing!"
3) Acts 9, 22, 26. Saul of Tarsus is saved by grace through faith, after seeing the resurrected Jesus (in order to qualify him to become an apostle--the Apostle Paul), confessing his faith in Jesus, then being baptized ("Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (22:16).
4) Acts 18. Many citizens of Corinth, Greece are saved by grace through faith after they hear the gospel of Jesus Christ preached and explained: "and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized" (18:8).
Do you have any questions about these cases of people being saved? Or...questions about salvation, in general? If so, please email me (Don Partain) at firstname.lastname@example.org