This site uses JavaScript! For best viewing use a fourth generation browser with JavaScript enabled. The left menu is JavaScript...If it does not work with your browser, please press Refresh/Reload or use the site map at the bottom of each page.

This site uses Flash 5!
If you do not have Flash you may download
Flash 5 here.

 
topper


What Must I Do To Be Saved?

More Answers to Biblical Questions


Scriptural Replies to Common Questions



Perhaps it isn't surprising that disputes arise among Christians about the proper understanding of Scripture, since there are millions of believers. Typically, an open mind and honest, prayerful reading of the Bible can solve these issues. Let's study some of those questions in this article.




DOES THE BIBLE HAVE RACIAL FAVORITES?



So called "Identity" Christians
and other groups assert the Bible teaches that some races can be saved, while others can't reach heaven. Their arguments are a mixture of verses and alleged historical assertions. With race being such a hot topic these days, we could surely use some Godly wisdom on this subject!


Let's briefly see what Scripture teaches about God's view toward differing people and races.

In Revelation chapters 6 and 7, John described a vision of heaven, and the souls of the people there. John writes: "After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne of the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.'" (Rev. 9-10).

Here is a very clear answer to this question, since the Bible is telling us the souls of those saved in heaven will be from every nation, race, people and tongue.

We could also consider other Scriptural lessons that God shows no partiality towards any race. Paul said: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor freeman, there is neither male
nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28). Jesus spoke with and taught the Samaritans during His earthly ministry (see Jn. 4:4-42), a racial taboo that shocked many, since it conflicted with the prejudices of Jesus' times. In the Old Testament, God warns the Israelites: "You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt." (Ex. 22:20).

Acts 8 recounts the story of an Ethiopian eunuch, a black man, being baptized by a deacon of the church. Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk. 10:29-37) is the prototype lesson that teaches us to love all of our neighbors, regardless of race, color or language. Only Godly love will we heal divisions of nations, ethnic groups and races: that's the clear meaning of Scripture. Is this what you and your Bible group believe?


Acts 8:38-39. Stephen baptized an Ethopian.  Jesus was Jewish. See Mt. 28:19.


While Identity Christians are taught to quote Scriptures that seem to imply racial inferiors, these other Scriptures clearly show us a different picture. God is not confused! There can only be one truth on this issue. So we must not misunderstand the Scriptures, and allow ourselves to think that a God of Love has created superior and inferior races. Let's pray for a proper application of God's Word to heal racial wounds. Let's pray for peace and justice among all people!




INFANT BAPTISM?



Some churches practice infant baptism; others claim that only adults can legitimately be baptized. Who's right? Let's see!

First, notice that no Scripture verse actually says: 'baptize only adults,' or 'both adults and children can be baptized' (similarly, no Biblical command exists for baptism by immersion only, nor forbidding baptism by pouring water). But there are many verses that do resolve the infant baptism issue.

Consider Acts chapter 16, where Paul and Silas are talking with their jailer, who asks: "'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.' So they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house. He took them in that hour and bathed their wounds, then he and all his family were baptized at once." (Acts 16:30-33).

By saying 'family', the sacred writer is indicating that there were at least three people counting the jailer and his immediate kin. A 'household' can mean the jailer's servants and the servant's family as well. In those days of large families it was likely that young children before the age of reason or even infants and toddlers were among those baptized.



That isn't the only such New Testament verse. Consider First Corinthians 1:16, where Paul says "I baptized the household of Stephanas...", or Acts 16:15, referring to the baptism of Lydia: "After she and her whole household were baptized...". Lydia was "a dealer in purple cloth" (Acts 16:14), so she was well-to-do and would have had servants in her household, besides her family members. Such verses, reinforced by early Christian writing just after the New Testament era, all point to the ancient practice of infant baptism.

Still more Biblical evidence favors infant baptism. Consider Jesus' words: "Let the little children come unto me, and do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Lk. 18:16; cf. Mk. 10:14). Jesus taught: "Amen, Amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water (i.e.: baptism) and the Spirit." (Jn. 3:5) His Word makes Baptism necessary for salvation, so surely He doesn't want us to prevent the children from coming to Him!



Jesus calls all people of all ages - see Mt. 28:19, Jn. 3:5


In the Old Covenant, God ordered children eight days old to be circumcised (Gen. 17:10-14; cf. Acts 7:8), so why shouldn't New Covenant children be baptized into God's family? Jesus' commission to the Apostles (Mt. 28:19) was to make disciples of "...all nations...", which can also be translated as all 'peoples' or 'tribes.' Jesus
came into the world to save everyone, that means children too! (see
also Acts 2:38-39; Mk. 7:27; 9:37).




IS JESUS' CHURCH VISIBLE?



We know Jesus established an enduring church from Mt. 16:18. But some preachers claim the church Jesus started was a 'spiritual body of believers,' not a specific church or religious group; that the church is 'invisible.' Is that true?


Jesus gives Peter the keys-Mt. 16:18. His glorious Church symbolized in back.


Though Jesus predicted divisions (cf. Mt. 14:4-14), still our Savior desired unity among believers. Unity and visibility are linked by Christ. Note Jesus' prayer with the Apostles, "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me." (Jn. 17:20-21). Just as Jesus is one with the Father, His followers should be "one", as a visible sign to the world so that others may believe.


The ancient ampitheater in Ephesus - a N.T. Biblical site.


Teaching believers in Ephesus, Paul wrote: "I...urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received...striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body, one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call: one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:1-6) Paul continued to explain that there was a diversity of ministries and gifts that God gives to believers: "for the building up of the Body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God..." (Eph. 4:12-13). "Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members of one another." (Eph. 4:25). "Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient." (Eph. 5:6).

One of the common themes of Paul's epistles was warnings against divisions (e.g.: 1 Cor. 1:10,13; 11:18). There are over a dozen New Testament warnings against false teachers and prophets (e.g.: Mt. 24:11; Mk. 13:22; Gal. 2:4; 2 Pet. 2:1, 1 Jn. 4:1; Rev. 16:13). These are echoes of Jesus' call to unity, just as a body is one and doesn't fight among the various body parts ('members'). We shouldn't be interested in human opinions, no matter how sincere, but rather: "Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." (Eph. 5:10). The Lord's way is truth: "If you follow my teachings, you will truly be my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (Jn. 8:31-32).

This is contrasted with man's ways, the ways of self-interest and personal opinions, exemplified and Scripturally condemned, as in: "You shall not act as you have been here, everyone doing what seems right to themselves..." (Deut. 12:8) or "You shall not repeat a false report...Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for wrongdoing." (Ex. 23:1, 2).




THE CHURCH, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST



Ephesians 5:23-32 teaches that Jesus is wed to His Church, as a man should be devoted to his wife. There is only one bride for Jesus, His Church. The mystery symbolized in the loving bonds of the marriage union mirrors the loving call for unity Jesus wants among His believers.

Jesus wanted His Church to settle disputes (cf. Mt. 18:17). That requires visibility, since you must find the church to settle the dispute! Jesus wanted glory (see Jn. 20:17:22-23) for His Church. Glory is a visible quality, just as Jesus' glorification on the mountain-top was visible to the disciples: "Jesus took Peter, James and John...and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transformed before them: His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as light." (Mt. 17:1,2). Jesus told His disciples: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden (see the drawing above - the Church is 'the city set on a mountain'). Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under the bushel basket." (Mt. 5:14-15). Light, and the city on the mountain, are apt symbols for His Church, as Jesus said: "I am the Light of the world." (Jn. 8:12) and "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." (Jn. 14:6).

Jesus is as united to the Church, as a bride is supposed to be to a husband. Christ lights our way through the Church, guiding us: "...into all truth." (Jn. 16:13). As Paul put it: "...you should know how to act in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Tim. 3:15). Scriptural evidence that the Church is visible is overwhelming! We should heed the warnings against being deceived into following the opinions of those who teach differently. Jesus knew some believers would sincerely be misled: "I have other sheep who are not of this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd." (Jn. 10:16).

Are you a Bible-believer? Then work for Christian unity, starting by uniting yourself to the one Bride of Christ, the visible Church Jesus established to 'guide us into all truth.'




WHY DID JESUS ALLOW DIVISIONS?



Many are understandably disturbed by spiritual and religious divisions among His believers. Some want to think that 'just believing' is enough, that it should be 'simple' or almost effortless.

But consider this warning: "You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble." (Jas. 2:19:20; see also Mt. 7:21-23). Paul explained divisions this way: "I hear that...there are divisions among you, and...I believe it. There must be factions among you in order that those who are approved among you may be made known." (1 Cor. 11:18-19). Let's choose to be among the approved!

God in His infinite wisdom knew before He created that man would sin, that there'd be divisions among believers and all other things that have and will take place in this world. We learned earlier in this book that without the gift of free will, man would be little more than a robot; so in wisdom and love, our Creator allowed us to choose and learn from our mistakes. If we humble ourselves in love, and choose according to His Will, then the blessing and rewards in eternity will be unimaginably great! As Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done!"




click here for still more answers now.




bottom


| | | | | | | | | | SITE MAP | | | | | | | | | | TOP OF PAGE | | | | | | | | | |

The entire ABC's of Faith web site and its contents, as well as all original graphics, are copyrighted by L.A.K., FSC & BTNA Consulting. 1998 by BTNA Consulting, FSC & L.A.K. All Rights Reserved. Contact us for any requests! This page built on 6/14/98 A.D. Last updated on 04/21/06 A.D.


  ABCs of Faith Material Copyright © A.D. 05-01-2001 to 2006. ABCs of Faith. All Rights Reserved.
Web Site design and custom graphics by Bootstrap Web Design.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed for profit without consent.
Material may be used for personal or non-profit use, provided the following credit and policies are adhered to, as described on this link.