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Tired of vague definitions and explanations, of what `Christianity' really is, I began digging into the Scriptures. Every time  I think I'm all done with a study, I get a newsletter or listen to a  commentary  of revered Christians and they bring down  what  I spent hours to put together. After much meticulous research,  we thought we would share what we found.

People  who love the Jesus Christ, who went to the cross  for  us and  paid the penalty for everyone's sins, cannot be expected  to save  us,  without us having a true understanding of what  "Just trusting Christ" really means and is that really all there is  to it.  Christians  are in great trouble today because most  of  the highly  respected leaders have moved into the ecumenical  arena, leaving  much confusion behind as to what happens now? Can we  be saved  in spite of the leadership and their new  movements?  Does `once  saved, always saved' apply? Do I need to worry  about  who I'm  listening to? Does just trusting Jesus really take  care  of all the problems we are facing today as Christians?

The wind about the tribulation at the doorstep has subsided and a new wind about renewal, restoration and revival through a combination of church and government, is blowing through the world. How do we protect ourselves from world events and keep ourselves faithful to Christ Jesus only, without strong Christian witnesses.

The break down of teaching pure Gospel has to have the effect of no rain and ending in little real harvest. While Christian entertainment is capitalizing, our attention span is getting shorter and shorter, disabling our need for the truth. In my case, the media confirms daily, that I need to take the Word very serious and study it out myself to get the meat.

Infants start out with pablum, not only that, mother in our day, put it in her mouth first to make sure it does not burn her baby, which can be compared to having a preacher think it through first, before he spells it out to us. As the baby grows, he or she begins to eat other foods and after a while they don't need assistance anymore. That is what is expected where the Bible is concerned.

Today the emphasis is on "Christians" imposing their values on others through government, to restore the world, in other words from the top down, when it should be from the bottom up, reaching for God to walk in front of us. The truth is not being taught anymore and neither are the essentials to growing strong in Christ according to the Gospel. The Bible is the last thing we pick up as a means of getting an understanding of what is going on. The answers to all problems are all there. To get godly skills for living is no different than any other skill we try to acquire. It is not automatic, but once we get a handle on it, it gets exciting and rewarding.

Addressing people who have not the vaguest idea of how to begin this process, I am going to start at the beginning because it gets pretty technical. The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Chaldee, and the New Testament in Greek since Gentiles were to be included in the Body of Christ. The English language has no words for many foreign words and Scriptures can easily be twisted because of this. Scholars have developed a cross reference system by numbering, in alphabetical order, the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) words and is called a `Concordance'. To trace meanings of Hebrew or Greek words used in particular Scriptures, Lexicons are used to show the detail of what a particular Scripture means from a Hebrew or Greek point of view, in other words, the authentic point of view. Take the word `man' for instance, there are at least nine Greek words that describe `man'. Going into these finer points has really helped me to understand what God is after in relation to us.

The prophet Hosea in the Old Testament wrote: "Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: `There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.'" (Hosea 4:1 NIV) Although that Scripture is from the Old Testament, it applies to us. The Gentiles are considered adopted or grafted into Israel by God, if they so choose to be. Gentiles are anyone who is not a Jew.

Thinking about `mega churches' that are coming into being today, I can't help but be reminded of this verse, when Jesus warned us in Matthew 7:14, `..few there be that find it (the truth).'

The understanding of words is basic to understanding the Bible. Take the word `Israel'. What does it mean? `Israel' is identified by the #3478 in Hebrew and #2474 in Greek. In Hebrew and Greek the word Israel comes from two words: #8280 (Sarah, the name of Abraham's wife):- to have power and #410 ('el) mighty, the Almighty, used of any deity:- God; he will rule as God; Jisrael is a symbolical name of Jacob and his posterity. The name `Israel' was given to Jacob by God and implies that they will eventually get control after they win the war of Armageddon under the leadership of Jesus Christ.

The Israelites, who are saved, will receive a new heart from God to help rule the world in righteousness for the remaining thousand year Millennium. Hosea goes on to warn the Israelites (which now includes Gentiles who are interested), "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children." (Hosea 4:6 NIV) The note on page 1099 (Hebrew and Greek Key Study Bible) regarding this Scripture states: God `is stating His case' against Israel. Their idolatry (idol worship) caused them to violate God's Law in its moral, social, and religious aspects.

This idol worship led to poverty and famine. However since the whole nation was guilty, the leaders as well as the people, no one was in the position blame anyone else. God summarized the problem as a lack of knowledge of God (Hosea 4:1-14). He valued a relationship with His people more than their offerings. It was not that God would not make Himself available to them, rather because they had rejected Him. God was aware that they could not fulfill their responsibility to love Him without diligent instruction.

To stress the importance of understanding, Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Moses states: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.

"When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant, then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

"Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah." (Deuteronomy 6:4-17 NIV) This is an example of how involved with Jesus Christ, God wants us become to be in Christ.

It is difficult for Gentiles to identify with Jews, but we better learn what it takes, if we want to become part of the future in Christ Jesus. He is the God who created this universe. God was brooding over His creation and he took a shine to Abraham, tested his faith, and swore to Abraham that He would preserve Abraham's descendants for eternal life with Himself.

Having a free will, the Jews rejected this offer of total forgiveness in Christ Jesus by not recognizing Him as their Savior or deliverer `the Son of God': part of the triune God: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. By continuing to wait for their Messiah, they disregarded the discontinuance of the Law and the new eternal Melchisedek priesthood that Jesus holds.

Regardless of what is taught in many churches, There is only one Melchisedek priest, and that is our LORD JESUS CHRIST. A Melchisedek priest has to have in his possession eteranl life and Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father who has bestowed eternal life to him. Jesus is the only one who is entitled to grant us eternal life in heaven.

In spite of the fact that the Aaronic priesthood is still being practiced by many, God has discontinued it. (see the book of Hebrews) In the Old Testament, the reason for all the Aaronic priests is that they kept dying and needed to be replaced.

After the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Jesus was crucified, the persecution of the Jews began. God challenged the Gentiles to participate and be freed from bondage of sin and death by receiving the offer Christ Jesus made for our sins on the cross.

Some may be offended by having to play second fiddle, but that is not really the case. God had all this planned from the beginning. He wants all mankind to have this option. He does not want to loose even one. This is the very reason salvation is a free gift to those who want to participate in eternal life ruled by God in righteousness (rightness).

Still, living in other parts of the world, it is going to be even more difficult for Gentiles to understand, than it was for Israelites. Not only that, the whole world is running against the belief, that there is such a God as described in the Bible. He can't be seen or felt with the physical senses. He told us to worship Him in the Spirit, not in a physical sense.

In the Old Testament, God was moving amongst the Israelites, protected by the Aaronic Priesthood and they were witnesses of His reality. Then when Jesus came, presenting Himself as their promised Messiah, they rejected Him because they expected a King, not their next door neighbor, a carpenter, one of them.

Just think what has happened since the concept of creation has been replaced with the teaching of evolution, as yet only a theory. God's present, greatest witness is beautiful
and practical: nature itself. So far scientists have only managed to make clones based in genetic materials. Creating life itself is still a mystery because of the vastness of cells and their many different modes. The number and makeup of minerals, plants, animals and the of human bodies is mind boggling. God created life for us in total splendor.

A good experiment is taking a flower sometime and pulling it apart and really examining it. Try to paint a flower sometime by matching the various shades of colors involved, I found it impossible. It is awesome what is involved. The fact that there is a designer, a God, is totally obvious. There is absolutely no possibility, that this universe is the result of billions of accidents from emanations resulting in amoebas. We should not waste a minute on such thoughts. Yet it is taught as the only theory of origin of life in schools and has changed our life styles, and has managed to set up the world for hell.

There is a new book out `To Hell And Back' by Dr. Maurice Rauling, MD, who documents Charles Darwin's conversion to Christ and his regret of ever having anything to do with this pagan lie: evolution. I can't guarantee whether this really happened.

Since the concept came through education, it is most difficult to replace it with the truth. If schools don't teach the truth, who does, is the question in a child's mind. We are taught to respect our educators and it is difficult to leave the world behind and see it for what it really is. All our peers belief it, it must be true. The trouble is, evolution is not the only trap. Many errors are coming from the pulpits in churches from people who don't love the truth the way they ought to.

Jesus Himself warned: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15 NIV) "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16 KJV) "Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." (Matthew 15:14 NIV) Does this sound like we are automatically safe?

Paul warned the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20:29: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." (Acts 20:29) Apply "once saved, always saved" to these Scriptures. It seems to me that Jesus was worried about our survival. Why?

`Few there be that find it,' has to be recogned with, as well as, Jesus's assurance, that no one will be able to pluck us out of His hand once we are in it, which is the basis for the doctrine of eternal security. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:28 NIV) When Jesus quoted this He was talking to unbelievers and doubters who had called Him names such as being a devil and being mad at the Feast of Dedication, a ceremony of the Jewish people of great importance. It was the dedication of the temple after it had been desecrated. He was reassuring his enemies that He and His flock are indestructible, that is His real flock, because they know what they have to do to survive.

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, "How long dost thou (will you) make us to doubt? If thou (you) be the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand. I and [my] Father are one." (John 10:22-30)

What is it that has to be established: what does being saved mean, when and how does it happen. Is coming forward in response to an altar call by Marilyn Hickey at Happy Church an indication, or is going under the power of Rodney Brown really a sign of being saved or are preachers bragging that they have saved millions on Trinity Broadcasting Network really certain that their listeners are: `once saved, always saved'? If it is that simple, why isn't every one saved? Why can't anyone tell me with certainty that they feel safe after years and years of attending churches and know they are going to meet Jesus in heaven?

What determines that we are one of His sheep and have the assurance of eternal security in Christ Jesus? There are some clues, in Hebrews (the New Testament) especially, of symptoms we should expect when we are one of His sheep. "[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.

"You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done (past tense) the will of God, you will (future tense) receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith (by being persuaded that the Bible is the Word of God and that it is true) believing. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." (Hebrews 10:31-39 NIV)

The last sentence implies destruction if we shrink back. In Christ, we are overcomers and there is no shrinking back, because He is virtually walking us through. Only overcomers will be permitted entry according to Revelation.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) Repentance is # 3341 in Greek: Metanoia means to have regret accompanied of a true change of heart toward God. Regret for the course pursued and
resulting in a wiser view of the past and future. It is a faculty of moral reflection in the mind and heart.

This repentance usually leads to baptism which identifies a faithful believer with Christ Jesus as having died with Him and resurrected as He has been. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he (Jesus Himself, not a church in His name) shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire: Whose fan [is] in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather his wheat (believers, His sheep) into the garner (stockpile); but He will burn up the chaff (unbelievers) with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John (the Baptist), to be baptized of him.

But John forbad him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of Thee (you), and comest Thou (you) to me?" And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:11-17)

In examining baptism (baptizo in Greek) the Lexical Aid has this to say: "to immerse, submerge for a religious purpose, baptize (John 1:25). Washing or ablution was frequently by immersion, hence the pass. or mid., baptizomai, to wash oneself, be washed, wash, that is, the hands (Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38, cf. Mark 7:3); to baptize or immerse in or wash with water in token of purification from sin and from spiritual pollution (Matt. 3:6, 11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). .. Baptism in those days was a public declaration that the Christian thus giving his testimony for Christ was willing to die for Christ following those who indeed became victims of persecution unto death.

Without the resurrection of Christ and the Christian hope being a reality, such a baptism even unto death would be mockery. "Therefore, the expression means to succeed into the place of those who are fallen martyrs in the cause of Christ. To baptize in its general signification means to be identified with [Christ], as the Israelites were identified with the work and purpose of Moses (1 Cor 10:2).

The baptism in or with the Holy Ghost means the work of Christ through the miraculous effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other believers at Pentecost (Acts 1:5). Believers are baptized or identified spiritually into the body of Christ, the Church, by one Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). Figuratively, it also means to be immersed or plunged into a flood or sea, as it were of grievous afflictions and sufferings (see Matt.20:22,23)."

We are not the apple of Satan's eye until we have seriously decided to become subject to God and ask for the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts. There are those who teach that baptism is not necessary based on the fact that the thief on the cross had not been baptized. Jesus said after He was resurrected: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)

Teachers of the doctrine of `unnecessary baptism' assume that the thief on the cross had not been baptized. The fact that the thief stuck up for Jesus Christ proves that he was a believer and he confirmed that he feared God in rebuking the other thief for tempting Jesus to jump off the cross which. He could have easily done. A person cannot identify Jesus as the Son of God without the help of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

"One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise (confirming repentance and remission of sins)." (Luke 23:39-43 NIV)

Even though teachers of the Gospel express that Mark 16:16 can be safely ignored, I have a problem accepting that and found plenty of evidence that confirmed it. The reason teachers want to drop baptism, is the possibility of it being `works' toward salvation or could be used as an unwarranted sense of security, that all is well as long as I am baptized. Something that is rarely brought up, baptisms are often a prerequisite for membership in some churches, which would not be a legitimate baptism.

If a person gets baptized before they receive the teachings of the Gospel, it is not a decision made with a contrite heart after accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. This also applies to infant baptism. No one can be a proxy for another person which is the case in infant baptism. A scriptural baptism can only occur after one has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by repentance and renouncing the past life. Baptism respresents laying down the previous life and resurrecting into the life of Christ, becoming part of the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:5 states: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." By agreeing to get baptized before joinging a church can be tragic when the church happens to be a cult unbeknowns to the person joining. In that case the commitment is to the organization instead and the believer tries to serve two masters somehow, resulting in major problems. The believer cannot really take advantage of the gift of righteousness, because he is neglecting the truth. He begins to live in a web of lies and becomes enslaved to it resulting in a hardened heart.

Looking at the following Scripture we do not need to be slaves to organizations because he set us free: "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." Speaking of those "who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you, also not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 3:18,20,21 NIV)

Baptism is an act of faith, when following the teachings of Christ. Knowing Scripture, we would not get into joining environments that could stifle our connection with Christ Jesus, because Jesus makes it clear that we should not serve other men, but Him alone. John 4:2 indicates that His disciples also baptized and Paul was baptized right after his conversion on the road to Damascus. This happened in our time (after Jesus had been here).

The Apostle Paul tells us the following: "About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' (Saul had been killing Christians thinking it was the correct thing to do, because of what he believed). `Who are you, Lord?' I asked. `I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' (this was after the resurrection and after he had ascended into the second time) he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

`What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. `Get up,' the Lord said, `and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.' My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me. `A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, `Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him. `Then he said: `The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.

"You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'" (Acts 22:6-16 NIV)

I can hear preachers say, it was a tradition. Let's go on and investigate some more. Thus Peter said unto them: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38) "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls."(Acts 2:41)

Taking original Greek language into consideration here is a note relating to Mark 16:15-17 `The Great Commission' from Jesus to His followers: "He said to them, `Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new [Greek #2537 : qualitatively speaking, in other words the quality of tongues will be improved] tongues."

Note Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible, page 1259 "The word "believeth" (KJV) is pisteusas (from pisteuo [4100]), an aorist participle referring to one who has believed at some time in the past. Also, baptistheis (907), translated "is baptized," is an aorist participle but in the passive voice. This form refers to an act of outward obedience, in this case, baptism. Therefore, the correct translation here should be stated, "He who believed and who was baptized shall be saved." However, the Lord adds, "...but he that believeth not shall be damned." It should be noted that this negative statement does not include a reference to baptism, making it clear that what saves a person is living faith in Jesus Christ.

This is made clear in Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith .." The word "saved" is translated from the Greek word sesosmenoi, which is a perfect passive participle. It means that this took place at some point in the past and is continuing on in the present, being accomplished by Jesus Christ Himself. If baptism were necessary for
salvation, Ephesians 2:8 and many other verses should have been translated "ye are saved through faith and baptism."

There are examples in the NT of people who were baptized for selfish reasons, rather than for the purpose of demonstrating their inner, saving faith in Christ. Baptism is a distinct act of obedience apart from salvation after a person is saved. This is clarified by the order in which the words "believe" and "baptize" occur in the text (cf. Matt 28:19 [note here that the word "teaching" precedes the mentioning of "baptism"]; Acts 2:38; 10:44-48)"

Another note relating to Hebrews 6:1-6 page 1516 that addresses the pros and cons of loosing salvation: "The goal of the Christian [and] is expressed fully by the Greek word teleioteta (5047) which is translated "perfection" (v.1). The idea being explained here is that the believer is to pursue a state of maturity, instead of going back to the initial rudiments of Christianity and basic Faith (v.2). The phrase "laying again a foundation" refers to the idea that if a Christian could loose his salvation, he needs to be regenerated again and again. In laying the groundwork for this passage, there needs to be a proper understanding of the controversial section consisting of verses four through six.

The key idea to consider is that the whole passage is hypothetical. For the sake of argument, one must accept the supposition that one can undergo the process of salvation, and then "fall away" (v.6), or lose his salvation. The explanation in the following verses is
designed to show the oddity of this idea (v.4). The nature of the impossibility is tied directly to the infinitive in verse six "to renew" (analainizein [340]).

In the Greek text, between this phrase there are five participles which must be explained thoroughly in order to properly understand the Holy Spirit's intent in this passage. The first of these participles, which appears in verse four, and is the Greek word `photistentas' (5461). This term is translated "those who were once enlightened." However, it should be rendered "having been enlightened," noting the usage of the passive voice. The latter meaning reveals that salvation process is initiated by God giving "light" to every man (John 1:9).

The next phrase to consider in this salvation process, also found in verse four, is "and have tasted of the heavenly gift." This too could be better expressed "having tasted" (the Greek word is `geusamenous' [1089]). In this case the middle voice is used to reveal that a person is responding to the light God has given. The focus changes to man's responsibility in initiating a reaction to his "enlightened state." In this verse, the person involved exercises his choice to "taste" of God's free gift of salvation. This fact is always clear in the salvation process: God offers the gift, but man must take the initiative to receive it (John 1:12; 3:16). The gift must be understood as nothing that a person earns, rather, it is God's free offer of salvation. This "gift" is specified as having a heavenly origin.

The third participle is genethentas (v.4, from ginomai [1096]) translated "were made." This also should be rendered in the passive voice as "having been made," indicating a result of man's receiving the gift of God. Connected with the phrase "partakers of the Holy Ghost," this participle expresses that by virtue of the receiving, one is made a partaker. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is involved in the process by coming to indwell the believer. The Holy Spirit not only works in the indwelling, but it is indicated that the divine revelation and conviction processes previous to salvation are based on the activity and energy of the Holy Spirit.

In examining the fourth Greek participle (found in verse five), geusamenous (cf. v. 4) one should consider that the same interpretation is intended by the middle voice in the phrase "having tasted." It appears in this form to reveal to mean his responsibility to God's word. The believer is not merely accountable to simply follow the "good word of God," he is also urged to understand God's future plan to exercise His "power" (v.5, dunameis [1411]) to benefit the believer as well. The word for "power" here refers to miracles which God will perform in believers, not of the impending judgment and destruction to come.

Now one must turn his attention back to the phrase in verse four, "it is impossible," and combine it with the Greek intinitive anahainizein (340), meaning "to renew again" (v.6). Applied to verse six, this word refers to a repentance which is qualitatively new and different. If a different form of repentance was needed, Christ would also have to die on the cross a second time. This, however, is inconsistent with the context of the rest of Hebrews (cf. Heb. 9:28; 10:11,12).

The teaching is clear: Christ died once for man's sin. If His death was insufficient, there would be no security for believers. This is precisely why the writer of Hebrews uses this illustration. .. The difficulty is this controversy is in determining when the actual decision
to follow Christ becomes true salvation. One is saved at the point of genuine acceptance of God's gift of "light," and then he is received by God (Eph 1:6). God ultimately judges men's hearts and knows those who are truly repentant. The decision for salvation is made ineffective when it is based on emotions and his own abilities (2Thess. 2:13)."

Another note regarding salvation is on page 1549 John 3:6-9: "In this passage, John examines the question of whether the person "born of God" can commit sin. In verse six, the Apostle writes, "Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not ..," and in verse eight, "He that committeth sin is of the devil .." Furthermore, in verse nine there is an emphatic declaration: "Whosoever is of God doth not commit sin .. and he cannot sin .." If it were possible for a Christian to sin, there would appear to be a contradiction in these portions of Scripture. In this instance, John says if it is not possible for those are really born again to sin, there must be very few genuine Christians.

Man still possesses a fallen, sin nature, as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit. Also, the doctrine of eternal security is evident in Scripture (John 1:12; 10:28; Rom 8:38,39). Though they may fall into sin, the believer's sonship is not affected, nor eternal salvation. These verses expose two erroneous doctrines: antinomianism and perfectionism. Antinomians (derived from the Greek word anti [473], "against", and nomos [3551]. "law") contend that the covenant of grace was not established based on conditions. The result is man cannot be held accountable to any moral law. It is only required of him that he believe, then he can live as he pleases. The perfectionists go as far as to say that the sin nature in man has been eradicated as though surgically removed as a cancer. John was warning believers against this form of thinking, that they not continue in sin, but abide in righteousness (vv.8,9).

Moreover, the apostle exposes these doctrines in the command, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). This is not the proper rendering of this verse. It should denote the mere action of a sin, not the idea of habitually sinning. John explains that even he was capable of committing sin, not in a habitual sense, but as one particular action. The phrase, used in verse nine, "does not commit sin" is in the present tense denoting continuous action. On the other hand, in chapter two, verse one, John uses the aorist sense, speaking of one point in the past when a sin was committed.

Furthermore, there are those who taught that mere intellectual knowledge was enough to make men acceptable to God, even though they lived impure lives (Perfectionism). Therefore, John reiterates in verse seven that only those who continued in righteousness (ho poion, [4160], a participle phrase meaning "the one habitually doing"), were considered righteous. They were not only making the righteousness and holy life of Christ the object of their trust, but also the pattern of their walk and practice."

John's idea of committing sin on a permanent basis is further explained in 3 John 1:11: ".. He that doeth good is of God: But he that doeth evil hath not seen God." There are two participial nouns in this verse, ho agathopoion (215), meaning "the one being a doer of good, a benevolent person," and ho kakopoion (2554), referring to "the one doing evil, a malicioous person." This is the same usage found in 1 John 3:7 " .. he that doeth righteousness is righteous .." John does not imply merely acting good will make one righteous. A man is an artisan who has acquired a skill and works at that trade as his
calling or occupation.

Hence, the correct translation of 1 John 3:8 should be, "The one who practices sin." The expression, "he cannot sin," (1 John 3:9) simply means the true believer cannot habitually, deliberately, easily and maliciously sin (e.g., Cain sinned out of hatred of goodness, 1 John 3:12). There is a distinct contrast drawn between divine and human natures of man. John speaks of the divine nature in this abstract way, however, he does not ignore the existence of the sinful nature in the believer, which exists as a mortal in a corrupt world. Consequently, John states in 1 John 1:8: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Peter warns us to be diligent in 2 Peter 3:14 KJV: "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our
beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (twist Scripture),
as [they do] also the other Scriptures (Old Testament), unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:14-18)

The word `diligent' points to the following characteristics in a born again believer: thorough, careful, rigorous, studious, zealous, persistent, persevering and meticulous among other things. The reason being that we must maintain steadfastness in growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. "That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:14-16)

"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth." (2 Peter 1:10-12)

False teachers are dangerous because they lead us to think that all is well, that we are getting fed the Word, when we are in reality being starved spiritually. "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:17-22)

Ryrie Study Bible notes on page 1702: Springs without water: The barrenness of the false teachers mocks the thirsty soul who sincerely wants to learn God's way from them. Mists driven by a storm, like the false teachers, seem to promise refreshment, but in reality do no good. Blackest darkness (NIV) (mists of darkness KJV) relates to eternal torment see Matt. 8:12.

When Jesus was pierced on the cross water and blood pored out of His side. "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." (John 19:34) Without this event there is no remission of sins and consequently no eternal life with Him. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22)

In Greek the word for blood is `Haima'. Life of the flesh in humans and animals is in the blood and `Haima' means life passing away in bloodshed (by force). Life given up in the ritual of sacrifice presented to God and applied to man through sprinkling, it represents the covenant (like a blood oath) which God commanded to us, see Hebrews 9:20: "Saying, This [is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you."

The promise of remission of sins is signed in blood through the death of Christ Jesus." `Haima' is related to `Haimatek chusia' derived from `ekchud' to pore out which includes the act of bringing the blood unto the altar (dedicated to God) in the case of Christ's blood it pored into the ground, the earth being the altar.

Water relates to purity. Clear water is unpolluted and comes from rain. Water covers 70% of the earth surface and is necessary for life. The Word of God is equated with rain from heaven. In Revelation 22:1 "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Note Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River

"And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him (John the Baptist) in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins." (Mark 1:5) In Greek the river of water `Potamos' refers to a current, drinkable running water, flood, river or stream. `Potamos' is derived from `pino' which means to imbibe, meaning to drink, take in, to learn, to absorb to bring plumpness, richness, oiliness (olives are equated with believers, oil is used in connection with the Holy Spirit). What this is all referring to is Scripture study. We cannot come to repentance until we know what God is looking for and that is located in the Scriptures, which represent the waters of baptism.

The world was recreated under water during the flood, while Noah and his family waited in the ark and so are we recreated when we study Scriptures. So when anyone states that baptism is not necessary they are omitting a most essential ingredient. How can we come to Christ Jesus, if we don't know who He is? The knowledge is probably in every home somewhere, even if it is on the shelf. Knowing what is in the Scriptures is a matter of eternity in heaven or hell.

Please be advised again: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there-at: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13,14) The broad way this Scripture refers to is the ecumenical church among other things, the gathering of all denominations into a new world church. It teaches that all roads lead to God There has to be a problem with that kind teaching, in considering these verses.

In summary, coming forward and mumbling the sinners prayers, is a beginning. What is not taught is the importance of taking in the Word daily through personal study. Without that, the renewal through the washing cannot take place. There is little chance of survival against the devil. He is in pursuit of Gentiles, as well as Jews, who enter the Body of Christ and become part of His royal priesthood and later His millennial Kingdom and eternal life in a new world.

Most prophets and disciples were meticulously prepared to insure their survival. "Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves," are not automatic characteristics. They are skills like any others. Serpents hide in grass, but are ready when they have an opportunity to have someone experience their message and doves represent the Holy Spirit, who is gentle, uplifting and supportive toward others.

Jesus said: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:29) We have the assurance that we can't lose if we stay on the straight and narrow, even if we make mistakes, we are going to make it. Just keep coming and work at understanding the offer Christ presented to us: eternal life with God, who is love.

If you have ever been in love, bring that state together with God, only magnified. It is totally irresistible once engaged in and will pull us through, if we do our homework. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans: "Do not boast over those branches {speaking of the Jews who lost their spot with God}. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root {Jesus Christ} supports you. You will say then, `Branches {the Jews} were broken off so that I {a Gentile} could be grafted in.' Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith {belief}.

"Do not be arrogant, but be afraid {in other words fear God}. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not {an action on their part} persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature {Gentile}, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree {Israel}, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!"

"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: `The deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob {Israel}. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.' As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs {Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, etc.}, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

"Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you.

"For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! `Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?' `Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?' For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen." (Romans 11:18-36 NIV)

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