What to believe, how to believe, and whom to believe?

   

"Mark 16:15 preach the gospel to every creature. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded: Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega .. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, .. they .. have right to the tree of life, and .. enter .. the city."

 

I am a retired pastor of the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.

Who is Jesus Christ, and How to believe in him?

John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." What is to believe in him?

If you prefer to hear the video clip also simultaneously, please click on this link: "Video: Believe in Him."

If we believe in him, we have eternal life

Our topic is to 'believe' for eternal life. Most preachers take John 3:16 as their primary text to teach the subject. So, let us also take John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." From this verse, what all we must do is to believe in him, and then we will not go to hell, but will have eternal life. Let us see, what the preachers preach. Dr. Billy Graham was a famous, eloquent, and brilliant, preacher, who had excellent knowledge in the scripture. His famous scripture verse was John 3:16. Dr. Billy Graham says that this verse is the gospel. He is an excellent speaker, who says contradictory things in one sentence, and receive applause from people. He says that God is terror, consuming fire, righteous judge, not respecter of persons; burn you and torture you in hell, and so on, and he completes the sentence by saying that he is love, and he loves you more than anything, and so he saves you from hell and take you to heaven. How the terror of God and his love go hand in hand to the same person? However, this is how he comes to "God so loved the world." He says that the begotten Son is the man Jesus. His explanation for "whosoever believeth in him" is, that since God so loved the world, we must believe that God loves us and so he will take us to heaven. So, believing that he will take us to heaven is "believing in him". Not only Dr. Billy Graham, but almost all preachers say the same thing.

Born again is pre-requisite to believe in him

Let us study 'believe in him' from the scripture. "John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews. That is, he was a head pastor or a bishop among Christians. He came to Jesus and told him that he believes that Jesus is a teacher from God, doing the miracles by God, God is with him, and so on. So, we see that Nicodemus believed in him. So, according to John 3:16, he must have eternal life. However, let us see what Jesus says. "3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jesus told him that he won't even see eternal life. What went wrong? From the next verse, Jesus taught him to be born of the spirit first, and then, believe in him. So, born again is a pre-requisite to 'believe in him'. It is not proper to pull verse 16, before we understand verses 1-12. But preachers pull any verse to make their point.

Believe in him by the guidance of holy Spirit

"John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." It is the description of the death of man Jesus on the cross; and to believe in him, to escape hell and to have eternal life. Every Christian believe, not only that Jesus died on the cross, but also that he died for their sins. So, they all should escape hell and have eternal life according to this verse. May be; but as we study scriptures, we must compare scripture with scripture, in order to verify our position. So, let us try this. "Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." There were two malefactors crucified with Jesus. One of them reviled at Jesus for not saving them and himself from the cross. The other told him, "don't you fear God", which indicates that this man fear of God. Then he turned to Jesus. He saw Jesus dying on a cross as a pathetic man, but called him Lord, and he saw this dying man as the coming king of the eternal kingdom. Look at the context and the scene; even his disciples ran away and was in the hiding; there was no hope at that time. But one dying man telling another dying man, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." This is what the bible says, "believe in him". This is not intellect, not theology, not religion, but it is the guidance of the holy spirit. The Lord Jesus accepted the plea and answered; "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." He 'believed in Jesus' and he went to paradise, which is heaven. If only, we could learn a lesson from this malefactor, how marvelous that could be.

When Jesus lived as a man, he was not God.

Let us see who this Jesus is. In verse 14, he is the 'Son of man' and in verse 16, he is the 'begotten Son'. 'Son of man' is human, man, but 'begotten Son' is Son of God and he is God. So, the same person is in two different status. Let us look at this position. Bible teachers say that the man Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. Where in the bible it says that he is 100% God? The bible does not say that, and it is the lie of the devil. God is Truth and he wants us to worship him in truth. Do we want to boast God with our lie? No. The man Jesus taught the word of God and did miracles with healings. Then he said; "John 14:10 ... the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 24 ... the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." So, all teachings that he did was by God the Father through him, that is, Jesus was the mouth piece of God the Father. When the Jews asked him about his healings and miracles, he replied; "John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."So, all of his miracles, healings, including the raising of the dead were done supernaturally by God the Father and the man Jesus was going through the motions. So, Jesus says that he was in front of it, but God was doing all miracles. He says that he could not do anything, when he lived as a man, and so, he was not God when he was living as a man.

Resurrected Jesus Christ is author of Salvation

"Acts 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." We see here that God the Father sent the resurrected Jesus back to the world to turn his people away from their sins and iniquities. " Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth... 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Jesus was given all powers, which is the Omnipower of God, and so he has come to the world as God. Hebrews 1:7-9 also says that the resurrected Jesus was anointed as God. "Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." So, he was made Lord and Christ. Psalm 2:7 and Acts 13:32-33, say that God has declared him as the begotten Son, after his resurrection. Now, the resurrected Jesus is God, Lord, Christ, and was declared as begotten Son. We must know the truth and we should not be blind. It is important to know what did he do when he was a man, and what he does when he is God. Let me ask one question; that is, did he save anybody when he was a man? No. The man Jesus did not save anybody, and he could not save anybody, because it was not given to him by God the Father. But he died on the cross for our sins. By his death, he became the author of salvation after he was resurrected, and then he will save those who obey him. So, the resurrected Jesus Christ, who is God, is the savior. "Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;" So, as a man he suffered, and as a result he became the author of eternal salvation and the savior, when he is resurrected. Let us verify this. "Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." But Jesus did not and could not do any of these when he was a man. Jesus died when he was a man, but he purified them and made them peculiar people when he became God with all power. "Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." He could not do it when he was a man, but he can do it now, since he is God. "1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins;" Only a Spirit can manifest, so he manifested means that the resurrected Jesus Christ, is God a Spirit, and manifest to take away our sins. He did not and could not take away our sins, while he was a man. Now, as God he is manifested to take away our sins and to forgives our past sins. As a man, he did not do it and he could not do it. Further, he does not exist as a man no more, and he is not a man for more than 2000 years, and why we Christians visualize him still as a man. "John 4:24 says, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." If you think that Jesus Christ is now God, he is a Spirit; look for him or expect him as a Spirit. If you look for him as a man, he is no more. Jesus Christ is God in the Spirit.

What is the take away?

"Believe in him;" what is it? Jesus lived as a man, preached the words of God the Father, died for the sins of the world, became the author of salvation, and came with all power as God in the Spirit. He told his disciples to teach his commandments to all so that we may obey him. As God, he will take away our sins and forgive our past sins. So, God the Lord Jesus Christ will save those who will obey his commandments. So, the bottom line is that if "we believe in God", we will obey his commandments and have eternal life.

God Bless You

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