The Grace Of God For Salvation Is Available For All Men: A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Selective And Arbitrary Predestination Of Men Unto Salvation

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The question as to whether salvation is available for all men, or only for some predestined elect, is a cardinal focus of reformed theology. Those who believe in absolute predestination of the soul deny human freedom in salvation. According to proponents of predestination, only those chosen before the foundation of the world by divine election can and will be saved. All others, irrespective of their faith in God, cannot be saved, as they’re not part of the elect. So goes the doctrine of predestination. Is arbitrary predestination the basis of salvation? Can all men be saved? Is there a place for human freedom in salvation, or is salvation all of God, without any human contribution? This article will attempt to answer these questions through a careful examination of the Scriptures.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Apostle Paul makes us understand in the passage above that the saving grace of God is available to ALL MEN! The grace for salvation can be accessed by all! And why shouldn’t it be so? After all, Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people, and not just for those in the Church! He paid the price for the sins of all men, from every tribe and tongue and nation. He’s the saviour of the whole world! He’s the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world!

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.

John 1:29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father —Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

It shouldn’t be difficult to fathom why God would extend saving grace to all men, and why he would send a saviour for the entire race. The answer lies in the depth of God’s love for mankind. God loves all men and wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires for all men to be saved. All men are his creation, and he cares for all, both the good and the evil. He doesn’t want any man to perish. For this reason, he gives all men the grace and the space to repent, and doesn’t give up on anyone till their very last moment on earth! God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but rejoices when any wicked person repents and comes back to him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (ESV).

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

We see then that salvation is a free gift of God to all men. Whoever believes in the Son of God and confesses him as Lord and Saviour will be saved. Anyone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and appropriates it for himself will experience God’s salvation. There’s no exclusive group of people for whom salvation is predestined. There’s no particular group of people for whom salvation is foreclosed. God is no respecter of persons; anyone who fears God and draws near to him will be accepted by God. The promise of salvation is for “whosoever will“, “he that believes“, “all that believe“, etc. It is for all men and all women!

Romans 10:11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all that call on him.

Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Exponents of arbitrary predestination teach that God foreordained and elected some people to salvation before the foundation of the world, while sentencing others to eternal damnation, for no reason other than his good pleasure. Based on this teaching, no matter what anyone does, those predestined to salvation must be saved, and those foreordained to damnation must be damned! There is thus no room and no place for the exercise of free will. In essence, we’re all just puppets/automatons in the hands of God. Our actions have no consequences whatsoever, as the elect of God can do no wrong (because of unconditional love bestowed upon them), while those reserved for destruction can do no right, because of God’s perpetual displeasure with them. This teaching collapses everywhere in the face of Scripture, as it has no biblical foundation. First, salvation and redemption are available to all, and not just to a predestined few, as shown above. It flies in the face of countless Scriptures to say that God planned to save only a select few, when the Bible plainly teaches that God desires for all men to be saved, and that it’s not his will that any man should perish.

Second, predestination is not arbitrary; it’s based on God’s foreknowledge. Because God can see the end from the beginning, and because he knows all things, he is able to know before hand those who would believe the gospel and those who wouldn’t, even before they were born. Based on this foreknowledge, he calls those people he knew would choose him his own, while disowning those he knew would not accept his salvation. The elect according to the foreknowledge of God will hear and receive the word of God and be saved, thus confirming God’s foreknowledge of them! Predestination is thus not arbitrary, but is based on God’s foreknowledge of people before they come into existence. That’s what Scripture teaches!

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (ESV).

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (ESV).

Genesis 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Genesis 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.

The Acts 15:18 Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Why would the Scriptures ask men to choose between good and evil, and between life and death, if we do not have the freewill to make that choice? Will God be justified to judge us according to our works if we were divinely programmed to do those works like automatons? If human freedom is out of the question, and arbitrary predestination is the basis of salvation, then there should be no need for judging men at all, since all are just fulfilling the divine will. There should be no punishment for human actions, since all human actions are just manifestations of the divine will. Why do we need to preach the gospel to all creatures if those to be saved would be saved anyway, and those to be damned will be damned no matter what we do? If the outcomes of our lives are already predetermined and cast in stone, why do we work and toil and labour? Why don’t we just sit still and let God’s will be done?

Scripture teaches us that humans are free moral agents with the capacity to make moral choices. We’re also taught in Scripture that our actions and our choices do have consequences. We’re not some robots or automatons programmed to do God’s will without a mind of our own! We’re not puppets being manipulated by divinity. Man was created in God’s image and likeness, with the ability to choose between good and evil, else God’s command for man to shun evil and choose good would be meaningless! We can choose to follow God and be saved, or we can choose to turn our backs on him and be damned! We can choose to be on God’s side, or we can choose to be his adversary. And, whatever moral choices we make, God respects and honours them, and will justly judge us based on our actions at the end of it all. The only way God can be a fair and a just judge is if all men are placed on the same footing and given the same chance to serve and follow God. Anything other than that would make God unjust and unfair. But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jehovah is a God of justice. He’s the epitome of justice and fairness, as he gives everyone equal opportunities for salvation.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.

Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;

Deuteronomy 30:16 In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:17 But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

Deuteronomy 30:18 I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Isaiah 45:21 Tell you, and bring them near; yes, let them take counsel together: who has declared this from ancient time? who has told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence from the Scriptures that salvation is a free gift of God which is available to all men. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, even though some will reject it. All men are created free moral agents with the capacity to choose between good and evil. No one is arbitrarily predestined to salvation, as no one is also arbitrarily foreordained to eternal damnation. Our final destination is contingent on our choices here. If we choose life, we shall live eternally. If we reject life, we shall die. If we accept God’s salvation in Christ, we shall be saved; if we reject it, we shall be damned. Ultimately, we’re responsible for our actions and our final destination. Divine predestination and foreordination are based on divine foreknowledge of our actions. In predestination, God only affirms the choices he knew we would make, based on his foreknowledge. Predestination is just an affirmation of human freedom before it actually takes place, like being able to see and record tomorrow before it happens. The record does not impose on men what they must do; it only foresees and records before hand what men will do on their own, as free moral agents.

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Judas Betrayed Jesus And Went To Hell; Peter Denied Jesus And Was Forgiven And Restored: Is There Partiality With God?

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the American King James Version).

Not a few people have wondered about the contrasting fates of Judas and Peter, following their betrayal and denial of Jesus Christ respectively. For betraying Jesus to his enemies leading to his capture and death, Judas ended up in hell. For denying Jesus thrice (and swearing and cursing while doing so), Peter still found forgiveness, and was restored as an apostle and a pillar in the church of Christ. Is there unrighteousness with God in the way both apostles were treated after committing almost identical sins? After all, Jesus had taught that anyone who denied him before men would be denied before his Father and the holy angels. So, why did Peter who thrice denied Christ before men, and cursed while doing so, find mercy before God, while Judas ended up in hell? Is God partial? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer these questions.

The important point to understand in the issues of Judas’ and Peter’s betrayal and denial, respectively, is that neither of them committed the unpardonable sin. The only sin we’re told in the New Testament that’s unpardonable is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Both apostles sinned against the Lord, not against the Holy Spirit, and every sin against the Son of Man (the Lord Jesus) is pardonable. Therefore, both Judas’ and Peter’s sins were not unpardonable. So, if both Peter’s and Judas’ sins were not unpardonable, we must look at the response of both men after they sinned, to find out why one was forgiven and the other was not, after both men had committed almost identical sins against the Lord.

Matthew 12:31 Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven to men.

Matthew 12:32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Let’s start with Judas. After betraying the Lord and discovering that the Lord’s capture by the Jewish leaders had led to a trial which could result in Christ’s death, Judas felt sorry, repented, and returned the money he was given for betraying the Lord to his enemies. He experienced sorrow which led to repentance, which is a prerequisite for procuring divine pardon by any sinner. If sorrow leads to repentance that moves the repentant sinner to ask for God’s pardon and forgiveness, God will pardon and forgive the sin involved, as long as it’s not the unpardonable sin, which Judas’ sin wasn’t. That is the endproduct of godly sorrow—repentance that leads to forgiveness of sin and salvation. However, instead of asking for forgiveness, Judas’ sorrowful repentance led him to kill himself! He didn’t sorrow unto conversion, but to death! That’s the sorrow of this world and not godly sorrow! So, though Judas sorrowfully repented of his betrayal of Christ, he killed himself rather than seek for forgiveness, adding iniquity to iniquity. Thus, Judas died without obtaining remission for his sins. He died a sinner, and invariably went to hell. Judas could have been forgiven of his betrayal if he had asked for God’s forgiveness, as Jesus had already asked the Father to forgive all those who conspired to kill him. But to receive the forgiveness Christ prayed for, all involved must repent and ask for mercy, which Judas did not do. We see thousands of Jews who had supported and/or encouraged the killing of Jesus repenting and believing the gospel on the day of Pentecost and therafter, and being forgiven and saved. Judas sealed his doom by refusing to appropriate the forgiveness that was readily available for his sin, and killed himself instead.

Matthew 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:

Matthew 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

Matthew 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see you to that.

Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

2 Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same letter has made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.

Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

The Acts 2:22 You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the middle of you, as you yourselves also know:

The Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

The Acts 2:24 Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.

The Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

The Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Son Jesus; whom you delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

The Acts 3:14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted to you;

The Acts 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

The Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know: yes, the faith which is by him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

The Acts 3:17 And now, brothers, I know that through ignorance you did it, as did also your rulers.

The Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he has so fulfilled.

The Acts 3:19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Now, let’s turn to Peter. Immediately after denying Jesus, Peter regretted his actions, became sorrowful and wept bitterly. However, he didn’t go about killing himself. He repented and became converted. He accepted the forgiveness that was readily available for his sin and continued loving and following the Lord and hanging out with the rest of the apostles. The Lord saw and recognised this conversion in Peter and even foretold of it before Peter fell. Therefore, after his resurrection, Jesus sent Mary Magdalene to tell the rest of the apostles that he had risen, specifically including Peter among those to be informed, showing that Peter’s denial had been forgiven, with him having repented and received God’s pardon and mercy. When the risen Lord met Peter with the rest of the apostles fishing at the sea of Tiberias, he again confirmed Peter’s conversion, by asking Peter if he loved the Lord. Based on Peter’s confession of love for the Lord, he was commissioned afresh to take care of God’s sheep and to feed his flocks. From that moment onward, we see the rededicated Peter serving God so zealously and ending up as a martyr for the Lord. Thus, Peter’s reinstatement, after his denial of Jesus, was not based on favouritism or partiality on God’s part, but on Peter’s repentance and conversion. This pathway was also available for Judas, but was not utilised by him, with Judas choosing to kill himself instead of repenting and accepting God’s pardon for his transgression.

Luke 22:47 And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus to kiss him.

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said to him, Judas, betray you the Son of man with a kiss?

Luke 22:49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said to him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

Luke 22:50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

Luke 22:51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer you thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.

Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, and captains of the temple, the elders, which were come to him, Be you come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?

Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, you stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Luke 22:54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

Luke 22:55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

Luke 22:56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked on him, and said, This man was also with him.

Luke 22:57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.

Luke 22:58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, You are also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

Luke 22:59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.

Luke 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what you say. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crew.

Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.

Luke 22:62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.

Luke 22:33 And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.

Luke 22:34 And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

Mark 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.

Mark 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?

Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Mark 16:5 And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

Mark 16:6 And he said to them, Be not affrighted: You seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Mark 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there shall you see him, as he said to you.

John 21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.

John 21:2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

John 21:3 Simon Peter said to them, I go a fishing. They say to him, We also go with you. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

John 21:4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

John 21:5 Then Jesus said to them, Children, have you any meat? They answered him, No.

John 21:6 And he said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat to him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

John 21:8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

John 21:10 Jesus said to them, Bring of the fish which you have now caught.

John 21:11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

John 21:12 Jesus said to them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples dared ask him, Who are you? knowing that it was the Lord.

John 21:13 Jesus then comes, and takes bread, and gives them, and fish likewise.

John 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:16 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. He said to him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus said to him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:18 Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you gird yourself, and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not.

John 21:19 This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he said to him, Follow me.

Joseph, a type of Christ in the Old Testament, who himself was betrayed and sold by his brothers into what should have been his death, displayed the Spirit of Christ by readily forgiving his brothers, when he was in a position of power to punish them for what they did to him, when they asked for mercy. If Joseph could readily forgive his brothers who planned to kill him and conspired and sold him into slavery, is it too much for Christ to forgive Judas if he had asked for forgiveness, instead of killing himself? Is it too much to expect Christ, who taught us to love our enemies and to bless those who despitefully use and abuse us, to forgive a man who betrayed him, if that man had repented and sought for forgiveness? Nothing in Christ’s character and teaching suggests he wouldn’t have forgiven Judas and restored him as an apostle, if Judas had repented and asked for forgiveness for betraying the Lord.

Genesis 37:17 And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers, and found them in Dothan.

Genesis 37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him.

Genesis 37:19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer comes.

Genesis 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast has devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Genesis 37:21 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him.

Genesis 37:22 And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand on him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

Genesis 37:23 And it came to pass, when Joseph was come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him;

Genesis 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

Genesis 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spices and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

Genesis 37:26 And Judah said to his brothers, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?

Genesis 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be on him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brothers were content.

Genesis 37:28 Then there passed by Midianites merchants; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Genesis 50:15 And when Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did to him.

Genesis 50:16 And they sent a messenger to Joseph, saying, Your father did command before he died, saying,

Genesis 50:17 So shall you say to Joseph, Forgive, I pray you now, the trespass of your brothers, and their sin; for they did to you evil: and now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father. And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

Genesis 50:18 And his brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be your servants.

Genesis 50:19 And Joseph said to them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it to good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Genesis 50:21 Now therefore fear you not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.

Matthew 5:43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?

Matthew 5:47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Matthew 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Thus, it is evident from Scriptures that there’s no partiality or unrighteousness with God. God is no respecter of persons. He honours whoever honours and obeys his commandments, while despising whoever despises his words. Apart from blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is the unpardonable sin, there is pardon for every other sin. Though our sins may be as scarlet, they can be as white as snow, if we repent and forsake them, and accept God’s pardon in Christ Jesus. Judas refused to repent and accept God’s pardon for betraying Christ, and decided to kill himself instead, choosing to sorrow unto death thereby. He went to hell because he refused to appropriate for himself the pardon Christ offered on the cross to all those responsible for killing him. Peter, on the other hand, sorrowed in a godly manner, leading to his repentance, conversion and restoration. God was not partial in restoring Peter to his apostolic position, after denying Jesus. God simply responded, as he promised in his word, to every sinner who would repent, forsake his sins and accept his pardon. Whoever does that will be accepted by God and restored to fellowship and communion with him after sinning. That’s a universal law of God that applies equally to all men and can be activated by all sinners. There is no partiality with God when dealing with men’s sins. God has a similar requirement for all men when it comes to what men must do to find favour in his sight after they’ve sinned. God does not delight in the death of the wicked, but wishes that every wicked person would repent and be saved. It’s not his will that any man should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Therefore, it would be against God’s will to refuse to pardon any sinner who repents and forsakes his sins.

1 Samuel 2:30 Why the LORD God of Israel said, I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD said, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

The Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil;

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Isaiah 1:19 If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land:

Isaiah 1:20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 33:12 Therefore, you son of man, say to the children of your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turns from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sins.

Ezekiel 33:14 Again, when I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;

Ezekiel 33:15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Ezekiel 33:16 None of his sins that he has committed shall be mentioned to him: he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In conclusion, God did not display any partiality or favouritism in his dealings with Judas and Peter, after both apostles betrayed and denied Jesus Christ, respectively. Judas went to hell for betraying Jesus simply because he refused to repent and receive the pardon which was available for his sin. By choosing to kill himself instead of repenting and accepting God’s pardon, Judas died with his sins unremitted, and thus went to hell, where all people who die with unremitted sins go. Peter, on the other hand, repented after denying Jesus, and was converted and restored. The end of both apostles was thus determined by their response after sinning, and not by God. There is therefore no partiality with God when dealing with men’s sins.

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Will Everyone Be Saved Just Because Jesus Christ Died For The Sins Of The Whole World? A Refutal Of The Doctrine Of Universalism

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).

1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).

Jesus Christ has paid the price for the sins of the whole world. He died on Calvary to redeem every son and daughter of Adam. However, not every one will be saved from God’s wrath. Some people will end up in hell and the lake of fire, despite the fact that the ransom for their souls had been paid. Why will some people go to hell despite the fact that the penalty for their sins has been paid by some else? Shouldn’t salvation for everyone be automatic, since the price for all our sins has been paid? Is God justified to allow anyone to go to hell? We shall examine the Scriptures and other relevant legal documents, to find answers to these questions.

We’ve shown elaborately, from previous teachings on the blog, that salvation is a free gift of God to mankind, made possible through the atoning sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ. Anyone can access that gift of salvation by just believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin on Calvary, and accepting him as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes and confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be saved. There are thus two parts to salvation- the provision of the sacrifice needed to appease God, and the acceptance and presentation of that sacrifice back to God. God, even though he’s the offended party, took it upon himself to make a way for rebellious men to be reconciled back to him, by providing the atoning sacrifice for sinful mankind. Compelled by his great love for mankind, God offered his only begotten Son as the sin offering to make a way of escape for men. God did for all men what no man could do for himself or for the race, for no man was/is capable and worthy of offering himself as a propitiatory sacrifice for his sins and those of others. Now, having provided man the needed sacrifice, the least God expects from man is to accept the sacrifice. It is every man’s responsibility to appropriate that sacrifice for himself and present it to God as the ransom for his soul. Anyone who fails to do that is not only rejecting God’s provided sacrifice, he’s also trampling underfoot the blood of the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of Grace that made that atoning sacrifice possible. Such a person has only himself to blame for not accepting God’s provided way of escape from the curse of sin and death, because he failed to accept God’s free gift of grace!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John 8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

John 8:22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

John 8:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

While testing his obedience, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to him. Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac up to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Just as he was about to kill Isaac who was bound on the altar, God spoke from heaven and stopped Abraham from proceeding further, offering Abraham an alternative sacrifice (a ram) to present to him instead. Abraham had the choice to either accept God’s provided alternative, or go ahead with the killing of his son. He made the wise choice of using God’s alternative and sparing his son’s life. That’s exactly the same scenario sinful men have found themselves in. Because we’ve all sinned, we all deserve to die, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). And while we were staring death in the face, God came down and provided an alternative sacrifice in our stead, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in his loving bid to save us from death, asked us to use that sacrificial Lamb he has provided and present it to him instead, as the ransom for our souls. Anyone who fails to accept God’s Lamb, will only have himself to blame. His sins will remain unremitted, because he refused the provided ransom. He will justifiably die in his sins and cannot blame anyone but himself for his fate. Such a person rejected God’s mercy, and should be ready to face God’s wrath!

Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”

Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.

Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

Genesis 22:9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

Genesis 22:11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”

Genesis 22:12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

John 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

In th Old Testament, the sinner would approach the brazen altar with the sacrifice for his sins, lay his hands on the sacrifice and confess his sins over the animal, before the innocent substitute is killed. It’s a symbolic act of transferring guilt to the innocent animal and laying the penalty of one’s sins upon it. The transferred sins would make the animal guilty and worthy of death. This is a type of the process of redemption that was played out by Christ, the Lamb of God. We have to lay our hands on him, receive and accept him as our personal sacrifice, for his death to count for us. We must personally appropriate his death for ourselves, in order to benefit from the redemption therein. God has offered the free gift of salvation to all, but we must all individually receive it for ourselves for us to possess it. A gift may be offered by someone, but until it’s accepted and received, it’s not yet the property of the intended target. You must accept and receive a gift for it to become yours. Just as people can reject a gift and thus never enjoy it, one can reject God’s gift of salvation and end up not enjoying it! God wishes all mankind to be saved. He’s offered everyone that chance. But, not all will accept it, and not all will come under the shadow of his wings for protection, though he offers all the chance.

Leviticus 16:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died;

Leviticus 16:2 and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.

Leviticus 16:3 “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.

Leviticus 16:4 He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.

Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

Leviticus 16:7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

Leviticus 16:8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.

Leviticus 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.

Leviticus 16:10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

Leviticus 16:21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.

Leviticus 16:22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Luke 13:35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2 Peter 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

2 Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Before the destruction of the ante-diluvian world, God ordered Noah to build an ark to preserve the lives of as many as would enter it for safety. Noah obeyed God and built the ark to God’s specifications. Thereafter, Noah preached to people to get into the ark to avoid being destroyed by the impending flood. But, all (less his immediate family) scorned him and his message. Eventually, the flood came as prophesied, and the entire world, less those in the ark, was wiped out. People who died in the flood didn’t die because of their sins. They didn’t die because there was no way of escape. Those people died simply because they rejected God’s provided way of escape from the catastrophic flood. They spurned God’s salvation and died for their rebellion. Similarly, people will not go to hell because of their sins. People will not go to hell because there is no way of escape from hell. Rather, people who end up in hell will do so because they rejected God’s salvation!

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

1 Peter 3:19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Finally, let me leave us with a landmark legal case, culled from http://www.wikipedia.com, that shows a pardon can be rejected, and thus become ineffectual. United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 150 (1833), was a case in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death [1]. Due to his friends’ influence, Wilson was pardoned by President Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case [1]. The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him” [2]. Wilson was hanged [3].

And so will everyone burn in the lake of fire (the second death) who dies without accepting God’s pardon for sin as purchased by Jesus Christ on Calvary for the whole of humankind. This is why every one will not be saved (though all can be saved), even though there’s pardon for everyone’s sins. Only those who accept God’s pardon and have their sins remitted will be saved and enjoy everlasting life, while the rest who reject God’s mercy will experience his full wrath in the everlasting lake of fire. May we be wise to accept God’s mercy (while it’s not late) rather than face his judgment, for it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

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References:

  1. Bohm, Robert M., Death Quest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States, p25.
  2. ^http://press -pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents

3.^ “11 notable presidential pardons-CNN.com

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The issue of salvation of the soul and its preparedness for life after death has agitated every descendant of Adam since the fall of man. Instinctively, every man knows he’s on the wrong side of God, and like Adam, tries to hide from the divine presence. Sin is at the heart of man’s apprehension to meet God. God is holy and can’t behold iniquity, whereas every man is born in sin and is full of iniquity. Since Adam, every man, from philosophers to artisans, in confronting the sin problem, has sought to find a satisfactory answer to the question, “what must I do to be saved?”. The question can also be asked in another way: ” How do I prepare to meet God?”. Until we find a satisfactory answer to this all-important question, we’re not ready to live and, even less ready to die. This article seeks to answer this question that’s as old as mankind, from the Apostolic point of view.

The Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

The Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

The Acts 16:27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

The Acts 16:28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

The Acts 16:29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

The Acts 16:30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

The Acts 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

The Acts 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

The Acts 16:34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

The Philippian jailor was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to ask this life-defining question to the people who could give him the right answers. Having seen the miraculous manifestations of God’s power in the lives of the Apostles, the jailor believed them to be servants of the most high God who could show him the way of salvation. Overwhelmed by the presence of the supernatural in the ministry of Paul and Silas, their jailor fell at their feet and popped the all-important question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”. The answer he received was brief but life-transforming: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, for only Christ paid the ransom for men’s souls on the cross of Calvary. Only Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was found satisfactory by God as an atonement for men’s sins. Only the blood of Christ can blot away sins and reconcile fallen men back to God. To be saved, one must believe in Christ’s death as sufficient atonement for his sins, and must confess him as Lord and Saviour, repent and be water baptised. Whoever does that genuinely will be saved and become a child of God. It’s that simple! This simplicity of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus is corroborated throughout the New Testament.

Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)

Romans 10:7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

How simple God’s provided way of salvation is! How free it is to mankind, though it cost the life of God’s only begotten Son! It doesn’t require us performing tedious tasks or acts of penance (like the labours of Hercules) before we can be saved. It doesn’t require us getting a profound knowledge of theology before we can be made right with God! It doesn’t even require us to change our ways on our own before we become acceptable to God! For, how can we change our ways on our own without God’s help? If we could change our ways on our own before coming to God, then there would have been no need for Christ to die on Calvary in order to redeem us back to God. If we could have mended our ways on our own, we wouldn’t have needed a Saviour! We can’t work our way to salvation. If we needed to do any works of righteousness on our own to be saved, then salvation would not be a free gift. It would be a reward, an earned wage, in that case. But God has made it a free gift! It’s all a work of grace. It’s all dependent on the merits of the works of Christ on Calvary. From A to Z, salvation is of the Lord!

Isaiah 55:1 Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Isaiah 55:2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David (ESV)

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Romans 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Justification (being made right with God) is thus entirely by faith in Christ Jesus and obedience to his gospel. By placing our faith in his finished works on our behalf at Calvary and by repenting and being baptised in his name, God pardons our sins and imputes righteousness unto us. By accepting that Christ died for our sakes and obeying his command to be baptised in his name, God reckons we died with him too. And when he rose up again the third day, we rose up with him too. And right now, we’re seated with him in heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers. If someone has paid the price for our sins, why should God still hold us accountable, if we identify with our substitute and place faith in him? God will not be righteous if he holds us guilty still, after the ransom for our soul has been paid. But because Jehovah is the righteous judge, he accepts our righteous and perfect sacrifice, and so declares us not guilty. By believing in Christ, we become free from the guilt and penalty of sin! Hallelujah!

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 5:2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 5:11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Romans 5:16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

Romans 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Romans 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Romans 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;

John 20:31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

We cannot make peace with God any other way. Salvation can be found in no other way, for there’s no other name under heaven whereby we can be saved. There is no other person to reunite fallen mankind with God other than the only mediator there is between God and men. There is nothing else we can give to ransom our souls. Our silver and gold and the entire riches on earth cannot be given in exchange for our souls. The wages of sin is death, and only a fellow sinless man can act as kinsman redeemer on our behalf. And, in the entire human race from Adam to this moment, only one person has met that qualification of perfect sinlessness required to redeem man. Only the Lord Jesus Christ, immaculately conceived and virgin born, who lived a perfect and sinless life, was found worthy to pay the ransom for our souls by the sacrifice of himself. It’s no other person than God’s only begotten son himself, manifested in human flesh, that was found worthy to vicariously die for Adam’s race and redeem us thereby, having become kinsman to us through the incarnation. At once, we see both the justice and the mercy of God at play. Divine justice demanded that God punish sin severely, but his mercy triumphed over his judgment, by providing the sacrifice to atone for our sins himself. God loved us so much that he sacrificed his only begotten Son to pay the penalty of our rebellion against him! Oh, the length and breadth and height and depth of God’s love! What riches of mercy and grace God has shown to mankind in Christ Jesus! Glory to his name!

The Acts 4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

The Acts 4:6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

The Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

The Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

The Acts 4:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

The Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

The Acts 4:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’

The Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Mark 8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Mark 8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

Mark 8:37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Psalms 49:7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life,

Psalms 49:8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice,

Psalms 49:9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit.

Psalms 49:10 For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.

Psalms 49:11 Their graves are their homes forever, their dwelling places to all generations, though they called lands by their own names.

Psalms 49:12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.

Psalms 49:13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah (ESV).

To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ then means to believe and accept the fact the sinner’s salvation was procured by Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice of himself at Calvary. Having thus believed, the sinner must repent, confess his sins to God and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ, as evidence of his faith and submission, for the remission of his sins. He will then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, as God’s evidence of acceptance of his faith, the Holy Spirit being the seal of God and the earnest of our salvation. That’s how to be saved—when we have faith in Christ’s finished work at Calvary, repent, confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour, get baptised in water in his name and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Matthew 28:19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen (AKJV).

Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:16 He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen (AKJV).

The Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do?

The Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Acts 2:39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

The Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls (AKJV).

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory (AKJV).

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption (AKJV).

In conclusion, the most important question in life is that of the salvation of the soul. Until we have answered that question satisfactorily, we’re not ready to meet God. Thankfully and mercifully, God has provided a way of salvation for the soul, in the sacrificial death and resurrection of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. All we need to do to appropriate God’s salvation is to repent, believe and confess Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and get baptised in water in his name, for the remission of our sins. Then God will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is the seal of our salvation. That’s how we are made new creatures by God, and thus saved from the wrath to come. That’s how to escape from the second death in the lake of fire, which is the deserved punishment for all sinners. That’s what we all must do to be saved!

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Partaking Of The Lord’s Supper Unworthily Has Grave Consequences!

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The Lord’s supper or holy communion, was ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ as the means of remembering his death. The elements of the communion—the bread and the wine—represent the body and the blood of the Lord, which were broken and shed, respectively, for the remission of our sins. Each time we take part in the holy communion, we are reminded of Calvary, and the great exchange that took place there. And because we should always keep Calvary and the cross of Christ in view, we are commanded by the Lord to partake of the communion often, for as often we eat the bread and drink the wine of the communion, Calvary is brought near to us.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

As desirable as partaking in the holy communion is, it cannot be eaten anyhow, for eating the communion unworthily carries grave consequences. People can get weak (physically and spiritually), fall sick and even die prematurely, by partaking in the holy communion in an unworthy manner. How can people eat the bread and drink the wine of the Lord’s supper unworthily? How can people eat and drink damnation to themselves at the Lord’s table? We shall examine the Scripture to answer these questions.

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Paul taught that Christ is the antetype of the Jewish Passover lamb, and that as the Passover feast was eaten with unleavened bread, Christians are to partake of the holy communion with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Leaven signifies hypocrisy, sin and false doctrines. We are thus to purge ourselves of all known sins as we approach the Lord’s table. We are to examine ourselves carefully before we partake of the Lord’s supper, to acknowledge, confess and forsake all known sins, that we may be unleavened enough to partake of this holy feast. The Lord’s body is holy, which body we are. As we demonstrate our union with the Lord and commune with him in the sacred meal of the church, we must be sober and conscious of the fact that as the Lord is holy, so are we to be, for he demands that we be holy even as he is holy.

1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

The psalmist summarised this point succinctly in the twenty-fourth psalm, with regards to who can approach the Lord and who can ascend his holy hill. He answered his series of probing questions by outlining the qualities required of those who approach God intimately—clean hands, pure heart, lack of vanity and guile. Only such sanctified people are guaranteed to receive blessings from God, having approached God worthily. The Lord’s supper is the most intimate encounter with the Lord, as the apostle Paul described it as having communion with the Lord. Not approaching it with holy reverence provokes the wrath of God rather than his blessings.

Psalms 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Psalms 24:4 He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Psalms 24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

1 Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge you what I say.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

1 Corinthians 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils.

1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

1 Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy.

The warning is clear in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians—we should examine ourselves carefully before we partake in the holy communion. We cannot eat the bread and drink the wine of the communion with hidden, unconfessed sin in our lives. For, if we don’t judge ourselves, God will judge us! He listed the judgement of God that befalls those who partake of the Lord’s supper unworthily to include becoming weak (physically and spiritually), falling sick and dying prematurely! Approaching the communion table is thus not a thing to joke with! We can either receive blessings at the communion table or we can receive judgement and damnation, depending on whether we approach the Lord’s table worthily or not.

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

In conclusion, the Lord’s supper, as the sacred communal meal of the church, should be approached with holy fear and reverence, as partaking of it unworthily attracts divine punishment. The bread and the wine represent the body and blood Christ, which is holy. Therefore, to partake of that holy body of the Lord, which the elements of the Lord’s supper represent, we must come with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Every known sin in our lives must be confessed and forsaken as we approach the Lord’s table, for that’s how to partake of the communion in a worthy way that will attract God’s blessings. We must therefore properly examine ourselves before we come to the Lord’s table, so that we do not eat and drink damnation to ourselves.

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Are The Elements Of The Lord’s Supper The Literal Body And Blood Of Christ?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

The Lord’s supper is the sacred communion meal of the church. It’s during this holy feast that believers truly partake at the Lord’s table, uniting with Christ in a special way. The elements of the holy communion—the bread and the wine—are given various interpretations by different Christian denominations. Some believe the elements are actually the real body and blood of Christ, and partaking of them means literally eating Christ’s flesh and literally drinking his blood. Other groups of Christians believe the elements only represent the body and blood of Christ, and eating and drinking them is only symbolic, serving to remind us of the death of Christ as the ransom for our soul, and our faith in his death as the basis of our salvation and eternal life. What’s the position of Scripture on this matter? How are we to regard the elements of the holy communion? We shall turn to Scripture to answer these question.

The position of those who insist the elements of the holy communion are literally the flesh and blood of Christ derives from a literal understanding of Jesus’ teaching about himself being the bread of life. In that great discourse in John’s Gospel, the Lord taught that, as the bread of life which came down from heaven, except people ate of his flesh and drank of his blood, there would be no life in them. He taught that his flesh was meat indeed and his blood was drink indeed.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

John 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Taking the above verses of Scripture literally, one would come to the conclusion that, except we cannibalise the body and blood of Jesus Christ, we cannot have eternal life! We would have to believe that Christ was actually inviting people to kill and eat him in order to have eternal life! That would mean that, since nobody literally ate of Christ’s flesh and literally drank his blood when he died (at least his corpse was laid in a tomb and resurrected later, after his blood was poured out on Calvary), none of the disciples who followed Christ had eternal life, and none of us living now can ever have eternal life, simply because we don’t have access to the flesh and blood of Christ, to eat and to drink from!

However, we know from the testimony of Scripture that the disciples of Christ who believed in him to the end had eternal life. Also, people who did not live during Christ’s ministry, and so didn’t have access to his flesh and blood, have experienced and are still experiencing eternal life through him. Thus, Christ could not have meant the literal cannibalisation of his flesh and blood as the means of securing eternal life.

The reason why Christ couldn’t have offered his literal blood to people to drink is because Scripture forbids the eating of blood! God warns people against eating blood because life is in the blood, and anyone who drinks blood is to be cut off from among God’s people. Therefore, Jesus, who never broke any word of God, nor ever encouraged people to do so, couldn’t have been inviting people to violate such a clear-cut scriptural injunction!

Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Genesis 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, and on every fowl of the air, on all that moves on the earth, and on all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

Genesis 9:3 Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

Genesis 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

Genesis 9:5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Leviticus 17:10 And whatever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eats any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you on the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.

Leviticus 17:12 Therefore I said to the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojournes among you eat blood.

Leviticus 17:13 And whatever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunts and catches any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.

Leviticus 17:14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said to the children of Israel, You shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whoever eats it shall be cut off.

The Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay on you no greater burden than these necessary things;

The Acts 15:29 That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Fare you well.

The Lord must have spoken figuratively then, since his speech on that occasion cannot be applied literally. If a Scripture cannot be applied literally, then it must be taken figuratively. The key to understanding the true meaning of eating the Lord’s flesh and drinking his blood may be found in the 56th and 57th verses of the passage quoted above:

John 6:56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.

John 6:57 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me.

From these verses of Scripture, we come to understand that eating the flesh of Christ and drinking his blood simply means dwelling in him and he in us. And how do we dwell in Christ and how does Christ dwell in us? We do that by believing in him as Lord and Saviour and by living by his words. It is by getting connected to Christ by faith and abiding thus in him that we have eternal life. When we believe and place our faith in Christ’s sacrificial and substitutionary death at Calvary, repent accordingly and get baptised in his name, our sins are remitted, and we are then qualified to receive of his Spirit which connects us to him and enables us to abide in him. By that Spirit, we are baptised into Christ’s body. And it is by his Spirit dwelling in us that we know we are his, for if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he doesn’t belong to Christ. That’s what the apostles taught.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.

John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love.

John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

1 John 5:12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1 John 3:24 And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he stays in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.

Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Let’s now examine the elements of the Lord’s supper, and how the Lord intended for us to view them. We shall revisit the occasion of the inaugural Lord’s Supper to see the Lord’s presentation of the elements.

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it;

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

In the passage above is found the origin of the Lord’s supper. It was instituted the night the Lord was betrayed, while he was having the Passover meal with his disciples. Referring to the cup of wine, he said ‘this is my blood’, and regarding the bread, he said ‘this is my body’. If we take those expressions literally, then his blood was shed during the Lord’s supper and his body was broken before he was killed on Calvary! But, we know his blood was not shed, neither was his body broken, until the next day when he was crucified! And, his body and blood were still intact when his disciples ate the bread and drank the cup of wine of the communion! So, by common sense, it’s obvious the Lord wasn’t speaking literally when he spoke of the bread and wine of the communion being his body and his blood. It’s obvious the Lord was speaking metaphorically, using the broken bread and wine to represent his own body and blood which would be sacrificed the next day at Calvary for the remission of the sins of fallen humanity. That then is how the Lord intended for the elements of the communion to be viewed—as symbols representing his body and blood, and not as his literal body and blood. The Lord wants us to remember his death on the cross each time we partake of the communion. It doesn’t mean Christ is killed every time we break the bread of the communion and drink the wine, for that is what it would mean if the bread and wine are to be taken literally as his body and blood. As we behold the bread and wine, we’re to cast out minds back to Calvary and behold the Passover Lamb crucified for us, and his blood shed for the remission of our sins. And as we eat of the bread and drink of the wine, we are to be reminded that it’s only in our union with Christ that we have life eternal, and therefore reminded to abide in him eternally, if we are to continue to have his life in us. The communion is to remind us of the cross of Christ where his body was broken for us and his blood was shed for our sins. We must keep the cross of Christ always before us, and be reminded daily of its redeeming power. That’s what the communion is to help us remember.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

The error of the papists—that they eat the literal body of Christ and drink his literal blood each time they participate in the communion—is gross then, for not only do they confess to killing Christ afresh each time they sit at the Lord’s table, they also admit to unending cannibalism! Therefore, the doctrine of transubstantiation—whereby the priest claims power to transform the elements of the communion into the literal body and blood of Christ—is nothing but heretical delusion on their part, and incredible folly on the part of those who accept such balderdash. How can people be so gullible as to believe anyone has the power to command Christ to descend from heaven and enter into the bread and wine each time the communion is offered? If this is not blasphemous heresy, then what is?

In conclusion, the elements of the Lord’s supper—the bread and the wine—represent the body and blood of Christ, broken and shed respectively, for the remission of sin. They represent what happened on the cross of Calvary, as the Lord willingly gave his life as a ransom for the redemption of sinful humanity. The literal body of Christ is in heaven right now, seated at the right hand of God in glory, where he continues to intercede for us with his blood. When therefore we partake of the Lord’s supper, we are simply reminding ourselves of the Lord’s death (and subsequent resurrection) as the basis of our salvation and eternal life. As we eat the bread and drink the wine, we acknowledge the great exchange that took place at Calvary. The bread is not the literal body of Christ, neither is the wine his literal blood, for they cannot be, as Christ died only once to redeem us, and cannot therefore suffer death each time we partake of the Lord’s supper, as the heretical doctrine of transubstantiation would have us believe. Those blasphemous magicians who think they can turn bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ, so that they can literally eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to have eternal life, are not only greatly deluded, but are also inherently cannibalistic! Those who wish to crucify the Son of God afresh, as many times as they eat bread and drink wine, are enemies of the cross of Christ! The work of Christ on the cross of Calvary 2000 years ago was sufficient ransom for men’s sins, and nothing can be added to it. The communion simply looks back to that completed and finished work as the basis of the believer’s salvation and eternal life. It’s just a symbol and a reminder of that all-sufficient sacrifice and nothing more! The Lord’s supper is a memorial of Calvary, and not a daily literal reenactment of Calvary!

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Hebrews 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others;

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.

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An Exposition Of The Lord’s Supper From The Apostolic Point Of View

1 Corinthians 11:17 Now in this that I declare to you I praise you not, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse.

1 Corinthians 11:18 For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

1 Corinthians 11:22 What? have you not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

The Apostle Paul, to whom the Lord committed the gospel to the Gentiles, discovered some errors in the way the church in Corinth was taking the Lord’s supper. He used the passages above to express his displeasure and dismay at the way the sacred communal meal of the Church was being desecrated, before setting out to correct the wrong observance of the Lord’s supper in that church.

A lot of errors exist among the various denominations and believers today, as to the observance of the Lord’s supper. I want to use this medium to set things straight, by using the Apostolic writings to expose the erroneous practices with regards to the observance of the Lord’s Supper. I will also present the Apostolic view on this important ordinance of the Church. This exposition will focus on the origin and significance of the Lord’s supper, the elements of the supper, qualification for participation at the Lord’s table, as well as the timing and frequency of observance of the Lord’s supper.

The Lord’s supper was instituted by our Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, while he was celebrating the Passover with his disciples. It was during that night that he took bread, broke it and gave his disciples as a symbol of his body that was to be soon broken for them. He asked them to do it in remembrance of him. He also took the cup of wine on the table and gave them to drink, as a symbol of his blood that would soon be shed for them, for the remission of sins. He also enjoined them to do it in remembrance of him.

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

The Apostle Paul taught that any time believers correctly observed the Lord’s supper, they were proclaiming and remembering the Lord’s death. So, anytime we partake of the Lord’s supper, we are commemorating the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s the Lord’s supper that we are instructed to observe in remembrance of the Lord, in commemoration of his death, not Easter!

We’re enjoined to remind ourselves of his sacrificial and substitutionary death and subsequent ressurection always, not just on a particular day in a year. In fact, believers are told to partake of the Lord’s supper often, in remembrance of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

So, the Lord’s supper was instituted on the night our Lord was betrayed, and symbolises his sacrificial death for us that gave us life.

John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

John 6:54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

John 6:56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.

John 6:57 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me.

John 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live for ever.

The bread represents his flesh which was broken for us. The wine represents his blood which was shed for us. Taken together, they signify the appropriation of his death on our behalf, and faith in his sacrificial and substitutionary death, which was a ransom for our soul. If you believe in that and place your faith in him, and him alone, you move from death to life!

Now, let’s look at the elements of the Lord’s supper, the bread and the wine. Let’s start with the examination of the bread. I’ve seen people and churches use all kinds of stuff as bread for the Lord’s supper, ranging from leavened bread, cakes and biscuits, to all kinds of pastries. Surely, people can’t just choose whatever they like as bread for the Lord’s supper? Surely, there should be a scriptural standard for the bread to be eaten at the Lord’s table? Thank God there is!

Recall that the Lord’s supper was instituted while our Lord was having the Jewish Passover feast with his apostles. During the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread that followed for the next seven days, the Jews had an injunction not to eat leavened bread or even keep leaven in their houses. Anyone who did that was to be cut off from his people!

Exodus 12:6 And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exodus 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

So, no Jew eats leavened bread during the Passover or the following seven days feast of unleavened bread. There is a reason for that. Do you know what leaven (or yeast as it’s commonly called) signifies? Leaven signifies hypocrisy and sin! Leaven or yeast makes bread or dough to rise when there’s really nothing inside it. It makes bread or dough to get puffed up! That’s pride! Leaven or yeast symbolises pride and hypocrisy.

Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Leaven or yeast also typifies malice and wickedness, or sin generally.

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Like we mentioned earlier, the bread of the communion meal represents the body of Christ. There is no sin in Christ. Four times, both Herod and Pilate, after examining Jesus, admitted they couldn’t find any fault in Him. Jesus still remains the only man who was born sinless, lived sinless and died sinless!

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.

John 8:46 Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The Passover lamb was to be without blemish, and was to be observed for four days to ensure that it was free of any defect or blemish, as we saw in Exodus 12. The Passover lamb was a type of Christ, and of course there was no sin in Christ, as we’ve shown from Scripture. And the Passover lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread, as we showed earlier from Scripture. That’s why the bread of the communion meal, which represents the body of Christ, must be unleavened, for leaven represents sin!

I Corinthians 5: 8 says we keep the Passover (which was a type of the Lord’s supper) with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth! The elements of the Lord’s supper are symbolic, and represent deep spiritual truths and principles! So, the bread for the Lord’s supper is unleavened bread (bread without yeast)! Don’t corrupt and distort the body of Christ by representing it with leavened bread! There is no sin in Christ! It’s an abomination to use any thing other than unleavened bread as bread for the Lord’s supper! Using bread or any substance containing leaven or yeast distorts scripture and misrepresents Christ’s body as being sinful! God forbid!!

Let’s move to the wine. That’s where a lot of people are going to have the shock of their lives! We see churches and individuals using all kinds of things for the wine of the Lord’s supper, from colored carbonated drinks, to fruit juices. Let us examine the Apostolic writings to find out what the Apostles of the Lord taught about the wine to be used at the Lord’s table.

1 Corinthians 11:20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

Ladies and gentlemen, some people in the Corinthian Church were getting drunk on the wine used for the Lord’s Supper, because they were gulping it excessively and selfishly, not waiting for others! Fruit juices would not get anyone drunk, however much you take it!

The wine for the Lord’s supper, as initially instituted,was the fruit of the vine, the product of the vineyard.

Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it;

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

The fruit of the vine, as the Jews knew it, was something that had the potential to intoxicate, being alcoholic.

Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.

Genesis 9:21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

Let me zero in to the heart of the matter. The wine for the Lord’s supper is not coca cola, it’s not ribena and it’s not any non-alcoholic wine! It is the fruit of the vine which is potentially intoxicating if taken in large quantities. The wine for the Lord’s supper is alcoholic red wine, which is what the fruit of the vine is!

Somebody may want to crucify me and say, ” You mean we’re to take alcohol at the Lord’s table? But, didn’t the Bible say a Christian shouldn’t drink alcohol?” I’m not going into the argument for or against alcohol today, but just know that, except for people who took the Nazirite vow in the Old Testament, no where does the Bible condemn alcohol. What the Bible condemns is drunkenness! Do you know that, under the Mosaic Law, people were to use their yearly tithes to purchase wine and strong drink, and drink same in the presence of the Lord in the holy place in Jerusalem?

Deuteronomy 14:22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year.

Deuteronomy 14:23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of your corn, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herds and of your flocks; that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

Deuteronomy 14:24 And if the way be too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from you, which the LORD your God shall choose to set his name there, when the LORD your God has blessed you:

Deuteronomy 14:25 Then shall you turn it into money, and bind up the money in your hand, and shall go to the place which the LORD your God shall choose:

Deuteronomy 14:26 And you shall bestow that money for whatever your soul lusts after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household,

Deuteronomy 14:27 And the Levite that is within your gates; you shall not forsake him; for he has no part nor inheritance with you.

The wine is symbolic. It represents the blood of Christ which is shed for the remission of sin. The blood of Christ has power to deliver and transform and free people from sin. The alcohol in the blood of grapes or the fruit of the vine which is used for the Lord’s supper represents that power to transform.

Now, I’m not advocating for drunkenness, or even for anyone to go and start taking wine or alcohol. It’s a matter of conscience, both ours and those of other not-so-convinced believers, and is dealt with in relevant portions of scripture, which I’ll be willing to discuss with anyone who’s interested. But, don’t let’s try to be holier than God, or force scripture to speak what it does not say.

So, the wine represents the blood of Christ. And there’s power in that blood. The people in Corinth as we saw in 1 Corinthians 11 were taking the wine during the Lord’s supper in a disorderly way, some were gulping it and getting drunk (you don’t get drunk non-alcoholic wine). Paul rebuked them for their disorderliness, and instructed them to wait for one another, and take the supper in an orderly and reverential manner. People just need to take a little sip of the wine during the Lord’s supper, because it’s just a symbolic meal. The wine represents the power in the blood of Christ to transform and make one a new creature!

Having dealt with the elements of the Lord’s supper, let’s look at the qualifications for participation at the Lord’s table. Who qualifies to partake in the Lord’s supper? As usual, we shall turn to scripture for our answer.

At its inception, only the disciples of Christ took the bread and the wine at the first Lord’s supper.

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it.

The Lord’s supper is only for believers in Christ. It is a fellowship meal that signifies communion with the Lord. You cannot commune with Christ unless you’re already his and part of his body.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 10:18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Even with Israel under the Old Covenant, no uncircumcised person was allowed to partake of the Passover, a type of the Lord’s supper. A foreigner could only take the Passover if he had been converted to the Jewish faith and had been circumcised.

Exodus 12:43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

Exodus 12:44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.

Exodus 12:45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.

And so brethren, unbelievers who have not been circumcised in heart by the circumcision made without hands (by the Holy Spirit) are to be excluded from the Lord’s table. An unbeliever who eats the Lord’s supper eats and drinks damnation to himself or herself! Keep unbelievers away from the Lord’s table!

Also, even believers need to examine themselves carefully and ensure they’re not living in unconfessed sin, before taking the Lord’s supper! We must be free from any known sin whenever we partake of the Lord’s supper, if we are to receive the blessings at the Lord’s table and not curses!

1 Corinthians 11:27 Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

What does the scripture mean by “not discerning the Lord’s body”? If you don’t recognize and understand that you’re actually having a communion with the Lord, and therefore approach the Lord’s table without due reverence, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body. If you don’t understand the significance of that broken bread, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body. If you don’t understand that you’re now a part of the body, and you come with the leaven of sin in your heart to partake of the unleavened bread, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body. If you don’t recognize that it’s one bread (body), even though broken into many pieces (members) and therefore fail to appreciate the unity of the body of Christ, you’re not discerning the Lord’s body.

Those who come to the Lord’s table must come with clean hands and sanctified hearts. The Lord’s supper is a sacred fellowship meal with the Lord, and must be approached in the most reverent way possible. Eaten the right way and with the right approach, the blessings of a Lord’s supper are incalculable! If people could become weak and sickly and even die from eating the Lord’s supper unworthily, like we saw in 1 Corinthians 11, imagine what would happen if people ate it worthily! Taking the Lord’s supper worthily will bring such strength and healing and life and power to the body of Christ and all the members! It will make every participant so vibrant and so charged to take on the devil and the world, and manifest the power of God for all to see!

Now, let’s talk about the correct time to partake of the Lord’s supper. Here again, I’m going to shock a lot of people. You are forewarned! Is there a specific time of the day or night we should eat the Lord’s supper? Or can it be taken at just about any time? Answering these questions should not have been any problem if people have regard and respect for the scripture and follow apostolic teachings! The question we should rather ask is, when should supper be taken? If we can answer that question, then we should know when the Lord’s supper ought be taken! Remember what the meal is called: The Lord’s supper! It’s not the Lord’s breakfast or the Lord’s Lunch! It’s the Lord’s supper! I hope we really catch this profound revelation!

Let’s go back to the Apostolic writings to settle what should never have become an issue, if we had been following the rules of everyday language. Remember when the Passover was eaten? At night! Remember when the Lord’s supper was instituted? At night! The night when Jesus was betrayed. And if we remember that the Passover was a type of the Lord’s supper, there wouldn’t be any problem at all appreciating why it must be taken at night or in the evening, and not in the morning or afternoon, as most people erroneously do!

1 Corinthians 11:20 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

1 Corinthians 11:21 For in eating every one takes before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

Luke 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

Luke 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.

Luke 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

Luke 24:34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.

Luke 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

The Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

The Acts 20:8 And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

The Acts 20:9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

The Acts 20:10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.

The Acts 20:11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

It is instructive to note that the Lord’s supper, like all other suppers, was eaten only in the evening or at night, by the apostles and early church believers. It is not only contrary to common sense to eat supper in the morning or afternoon, it is absolutely unscriptural and a blatant violation of scriptural and spiritual principles which the Lord’s supper represents, to partake of the Lord’s supper during the day. It is completely unapostolic to do so. It amounts to desecrating the most sacred ordinance of the Church.

Finally, how often should the Lord’s supper be eaten? How frequently should believers come to the Lord’s table for the breaking of bread? There is no clear cut instruction as to how often we may eat of the Lord’s supper. We are only told that each time we partake of the Lord’s supper, we remember the Lord and proclaim his death.

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

So, how often should we partake of the Lord’s supper? As often as we can do it! As often as we want to remember the Lord! You can eat the Lord’s supper daily, weekly, monthly, etc, as often as you choose! In the early church in the book of Acts, they were breaking bread daily, from house to house.

The Acts 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.

In conclusion, the Lord’s supper is one of the most sacred ordinances of the Church. However, it has been greatly corrupted in its practice, thereby robbing the Church of the great benefits of this sacred meal. Because the majority of the Church have been partaking of the meal unworthily, a lot of believers have been weak, sick, and have been dying prematurely. Only a return to the Apostolic pattern of coming to the Lord’s table will restore the Church back to power and glory.

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How Are Christians Commanded To Commemorate The Death Of The Lord Jesus Christ?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

As a matter of tradition, most Christians commemorate the death of the Lord Jesus every Good Friday, the day he was believed to have been crucified (was the Lord actually killed on a Friday?). On this day every year (the exact date is determined by the orthodox church calendar), the crucifixion is remembered. Some people get so touched by the events of the crucifixion that they actually forgo eating meat on the day it’s commemorated (the change in diet is not totally vegetarian though, as fish can be freely eaten on that day). So, the crucifixion is a significant event in the Christian calendar (and it should be, as without it, there would have been no redemption for mankind). How are we to remember the Lord’s death biblically? How did the Lord himself command us to commemorate his death? We shall look at the Apostolic writings to answer these questions.

The New Testament writers devoted more time to the death of Christ than to his birth. The reason is not far-fetched. Without Christ’s death and resurrection, there would have been no salvation for lost humanity, for it was through his vicarious death for mankind that the price for our sin was paid. So, while his death couldn’t have been possible without the incarnation and his birth, the Lord’s death directly provided the ransom for the sin of mankind, and so is constantly mentioned in the New Testament.

But, how did the Lord and his apostles instruct us to commemorate the Lord’s death? How are we commanded to remember Christ’s death? Well, the first thing we’ll realise on reading the New Testament is that, the concept of Lent and Good Friday, as a period of mourning to commemorate Jesus’ death, was unknown to the New Testament writers! Easter cannot be found in the New Testament, because it wasn’t the way the apostles commemorated the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lent, Good Friday and Easter were church traditions that were introduced hundreds of years after the end of the apostolic period. So, these festivals are actually extra-biblical! What then was the apostolic way of remembering the Lord’s death? Jesus actually gave his followers definite instructions on how to remember his death, even before he died! Let’s hear his own words on this issue:

Luke 22:14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.

Luke 22:15 And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

Luke 22:16 For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:

Luke 22:18 For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

The Lord Jesus instructed his apostles to remember his death through the celebration of the Lord’s supper. Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper to serve as a memorial of his death, and he expects his disciples to regularly keep his death in view by partaking in the holy communion. The apostle Paul stressed the fact that as often as we take part in the Lord’s supper, we are showing forth the Lord’s death till he returns.

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.

At the inception of the church, the early Christians broke bread regularly (almost daily), as they tried to obey the Lord’s commandment to remember his death often. So, we see that remembering the Lord’s death in the early church was not just a yearly routine, but a daily reality. It was not celebrated through the observance of Lent or Good Friday, but through regular participation in the Lord’s supper. That’s how any church that seeks to follow the apostolic doctrine ought to commemorate the Lord’s death. Gathering at the Lord’s table is the way to remember the Lord’s death, and it is to be done often and regularly, as the cross of Christ which it represents should be kept in view always. We are to remember the Lord’s death always, for that is the focus of the gospel.

The Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.

The Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The Acts 2:43 And fear came on every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

The Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

The Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

The Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

The Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

In conclusion, though church tradition chooses to commemorate the death of Christ yearly during the Lenten season and on Good Friday, the original apostles and the early church remembered the Lord’s death through the Lord’s supper. It was in partaking in the communion meal that Christ commanded his disciples to remember his death. Hence, the early Christians took the communion frequently, almost daily at the church’s inception, to commemorate the Lord’s death. Paul taught that as often as we partake of the Lord’s supper, we do show the Lord’s death till he returns. It’s therefore in the Lord’s supper that we are to remember the Lord’s death, not in the yearly celebrations of Lent, Good Friday or Easter, which are extra-biblical traditions of men! We should not make the word of God void by our traditions, for that would amount to worshiping God in vain!

Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?

Mark 7:6 He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Mark 7:7 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do.

Mark 7:9 And he said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.

Mark 7:10 For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever curses father or mother, let him die the death:

Mark 7:11 But you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatever you might be profited by me; he shall be free.

Mark 7:12 And you suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered: and many such like things do you.

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Did Jesus Christ Die On A Friday?

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the American King James Version).

Christians the world over commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, the day he was believed to have been crucified (according to church tradition), just as it’s universally accepted he resurrected on Easter Sunday. Following church tradition then, Christ couldn’t have been in the grave for up to two full days, since the Lord died around 3:00 PM, and was buried before 6:00 PM on the same day. If Jesus was buried on Friday evening, and resurrected very early on Sunday (most likely on Saturday night, for his grave to be discovered empty early on Sunday morning), then his stay in the grave would amount to just a little over 24 hours—he would have stayed in the grave, under this scenario, just for one day and two nights at most.

Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ emphatically told his disciples he would be buried in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, the same length of time Jonah, who typified his burial and resurrection, was in the belly of the whale. Jesus equally told the Pharisees that if they destroyed the temple of his body, he’d raise it up in three days, further confirming the fact that he would spend three days in the grave before resurrecting. The apostles of the Lord, who were eye-witnesses of his death and resurrection, also testified that he rose from the dead after three days. But there are some contradictions between what Jesus and his apostles taught about the length of time he stayed in the grave, and what church tradition believes and practices on this subject. Since Jesus and his apostles, rather than church tradition, are to be believed on this issue, how then did the church get the day of Jesus’ death wrong, since he couldn’t have died on a Friday, if he truly spent three days and three nights in the grave, and had already risen very early on Sunday morning? We shall examine the Scriptures to answer this question, as well as to find the correct day of the week on which the Lord was crucified.

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you.

Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

John 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days?

John 2:21 But he spoke of the temple of his body.

John 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this to them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Matthew 17:22 And while they stayed in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:

Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Luke 24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.

Luke 24:3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

Luke 24:5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said to them, Why seek you the living among the dead?

Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee,

Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24:8 And they remembered his words,

Luke 24:9 And returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand;

1 Corinthians 15:2 By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Let’s start by reviewing the Jewish division of time in the Scriptures, as this is very important in understanding how days and nights were measured in biblical times. For the Jews in the Old Testament, the day was divided into 12 hours (from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM), and the night too was broken down into 12 hours (from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM), composed of four equal watches of three hours each. The Jewish day started from 6:00 AM and ended by 6:00 PM, while the night started by 6:00 PM and ended by 6:00 AM. Thus, the first hour of the day was 7:00 AM, while the 12th hour of the day was 6:00 PM. The 11th hour workers we read in Jesus’ parable were thus recruited around 5:00 PM, and worked for only one hour (the ancient Jews stopped all work by 6:00 PM—no one worked while it was night). Another thing to note also is that, the Jews in the Old Testament calculated each day from evening to evening. Thus, Friday started from 6:00 PM on Thursday and ended by 6:00 PM on Friday. Saturday, the regular weekly Sabbath day, traditionally started by 6:00 PM on Friday and ended by 6:00 PM on Saturday. So, for Christ to spend three days and three nights in the grave, to arise during the night of Saturday, means he must have died by Wednesday. That way, he would have spent three nights in the grave—Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night—, and he would have equally spent three days in the grave—thursday day, Friday day and Saturday day. He would then have risen by Saturday night (anytime from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM), so that by very early in the morning on Sunday (remember the day started by 6am), the grave was already empty, because he had already risen! That’s the only way the Lord could have spent three days and three nights in the grave before his resurrection, like he told his disciples, and like his disciples bore witness. His dying on Friday, as the church traditionally believes, would have made this impossible!

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world.

John 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.

Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

Matthew 20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

Matthew 20:4 And said to them; Go you also into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

Matthew 20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

Matthew 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why stand you here all the day idle?

Matthew 20:7 They say to him, Because no man has hired us. He said to them, Go you also into the vineyard; and whatever is right, that shall you receive.

Matthew 20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last to the first.

Matthew 20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

Matthew 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

Matthew 20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the manager of the house,

Matthew 20:12 Saying, These last have worked but one hour, and you have made them equal to us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

Matthew 20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do you no wrong: did not you agree with me for a penny?

Matthew 20:14 Take that your is, and go your way: I will give to this last, even as to you.

Matthew 20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Is your eye evil, because I am good?

Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

So, if Jesus died on a Wednesday and not on a Friday, how did the church miss it and get mixed up with Good Friday? How could such an obvious fact have eluded Bible scholars and theologians over the centuries? The answer is simple—rather than walking back from the definitely known resurrection day to the unknown crucifixion day, scholars had relied on the relationship of the sabbath day to the crucifixion to determine the day of its occurrence. Instead of accepting the Lord’s words literally about the number of days he would be in the grave, and walking three days back from the day of the resurrection to set the day of the Lord’s death, people decided to work presumptuously with a scripture that put the next day after his death as a sabbath day, presuming every sabbath day to be Saturday. Based on this assumption of every sabbath day being a Saturday, and since the crucifixion occured before a high sabbath, the day Jesus died was thus erroneously fixed on a Friday. Meanwhile, little thought was given to the fact that from Friday evening to Saturday night could never amount to three days and three nights!

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Mark 15:35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elias.

Mark 15:36 And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.

Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

Mark 15:41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him;) and many other women which came up with him to Jerusalem.

Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Mark 15:44 And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling to him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

Mark 15:45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone to the door of the sepulcher.

Mark 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst.

John 19:29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it on hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) sought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

John 19:32 Then came the soldiers, and broke the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs:

John 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water.

John 19:35 And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knows that he said true, that you might believe.

John 19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

John 19:37 And again another scripture said, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, sought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

John 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

John 19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid.

John 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulcher was near at hand.

The error in setting the day of the crucifixion of Christ arose from the assumption that every Sabbath day was a Saturday! Of course, we know that the normal weekly Sabbath day in the Old Testament was Saturday, the seventh day, the day consecrated in the law for rest from secular work and for the worship of God. However, what is easily missed when reading the Old Testament is that, apart from the weekly Sabbath which was observed invariably on Saturdays, there were other days of the week on which fixed festivals of the Jews randomly fell, and that the beginning of those festivals were to be declared special or high sabbaths, and were to be observed as days of rest, the same way as the regular weekly Sabbaths. For instance, the Passover was to be celebrated on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nissan or Habib, the first month of the Jewish calendar, which traditionally falls between March and April in our Roman calendar. This date can fall on any day of the week, depending on the year in which it occurs. Whatever the day of the week the 14th day of Nissan fell on, it was to be declared a special sabbath and to be observed as a day of rest as the regular Saturday Sabbath, the same way the 25th of December can fall on any day of the week, and whatever day it falls upon is to be declared a public holiday. This special or high sabbath is not just for the Passover feast, but for all other sacred feasts of the Jews that had fixed dates. The first and last days of such feasts were usually observed as special or high sabbaths.

Leviticus 23:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.

Leviticus 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s passover.

Leviticus 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

Leviticus 23:7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:9 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:10 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest:

Leviticus 23:11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

Leviticus 23:12 And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD for a sweet smell: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

Leviticus 23:14 And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering to your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:15 And you shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

Leviticus 23:16 Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:17 You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the first fruits to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering to the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet smell to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings.

Leviticus 23:20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.

Leviticus 23:21 And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation to you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

Leviticus 23:22 And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reap, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them to the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:24 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Leviticus 23:25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.

Leviticus 23:30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.

Leviticus 23:31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Leviticus 23:32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.

Leviticus 23:33 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Leviticus 23:34 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:36 Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein.

Leviticus 23:37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing on his day:

Leviticus 23:38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

Leviticus 23:40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

Leviticus 23:41 And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

Leviticus 23:42 You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:

Leviticus 23:43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:44 And Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.

Thus, not every sabbath in the celebration of a Jewish festival was necessarily a Saturday. The beginning and last days of every Jewish festival, irrespective of the day of the week it fell on, was a sabbath, not just the regular weekly sabbath that falls on Saturday. Sabbath is not synonymous with Saturday. Sabbath simply means ‘rest‘. Any day a rest was declared for the Jews to celebrate a religious festival was called a sabbath, whatever the day of the week it fell on. Such sabbaths that fell on days other than Saturday were called special sabbaths or high sabbaths. The high sabbath in the Gospel that followed the day our Lord was crucified was therefore not the regular weekly sabbath that was observed on Saturday! It was a special or high sabbath, to mark the beginning of the feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread. Therefore, to assume the high sabbath following the crucifixion was Saturday, and then conclude the crucifixion took place on Friday, the day that normally preceded a regular sabbath, was a gross error! It was this wrong assumption that led to the adoption of Friday as the day of the crucifixion, which makes it impossible for Christ to be in the grave for three days and three nights and still resurrect on Saturday night (between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM)! The wise thing to do, in determining the day of the crucifixion, would have been to walk back three days and three nights from Saturday night, which would give us Wednesday as the day of the Lord’s death. It’s only by dying on Wednesday by 3:00 PM, and getting buried before 6:00 PM on that day, that the Lord could spend three days (Thursday day, Friday day and Saturday day) and three nights (Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night) in the grave and rise up Saturday night (6:00 PM to 6:00 AM), for the tomb to be empty very early on Sunday morning! To fix the crucifixion on any other day would distort Scripture and present a glaring contradiction between what was prophesied and what happened. It’s no wonder then that critics of the Bible had latched onto the church’s erroneous interpretation of the crucifixion day to poke holes in the infallibility of Scripture and its divine origin. If we can’t convince sceptics and critics that Christ actually stayed for three days and three nights in the grave like he said, how can we convince them of the literal fulfilment of other things the Lord prophesied about? That’s why it’s important to get the day of the Lord’s crucifixion right, because the Scriptures cannot be broken! There are no contradictions in the Bible if rightly divided, for Scripture does not fight Scripture, though scholars may fight one another in their interpretations of Scripture.

In conclusion, the day traditionally accepted as the day of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus poses a lot of problems with respect to the number of days the Lord spent in the grave before his resurrection. If we follow the tradition of Good Friday as the day of the crucifixion, and if we agree with the Scripture that Christ had already risen early on Sunday morning, then it would mean he spent less than two full days in the grave, contradicting myriads of Scriptures, including Jesus’ own prophecies about his death, as well as eye-witness accounts of the apostles concerning his death and resurrection. Friday was erroneously assumed to be the day of the crucifixion because the day after it was a sabbath day, and it was assumed every sabbath day was a Saturday. However, what was not taken into consideration in arriving at that conclusion was that the beginning of the feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread was to be declared as a special sabbath called a high sabbath, whatever the day it fell on. Thus, not all sabbaths in the Bible fell on Saturdays, as the first and last days of most holy feasts in Israel were to be declared mandatory sabbath days of rest, whatever the days they fell on. Thus, the high sabbath that followed the crucifixion was not the regular weekly sabbath of the seventh day (Saturday), but occurred on a Thursday. The crucifixion therefore took place a day before this high sabbath (on Wednesday). Thus, Jesus died around 3:00 PM on Wednesday, and was buried before 6:00 PM on that day. He thus was able to spend three days and three nights in the grave, and rose up Saturday night, as the grave was already empty very early on Sunday morning. Therefore, we should be talking of Good Wednesday, not Good Friday! This knowledge may seem irrelevant to some people, but it goes a long way to prove there’s no discrepancy in the Bible and no contradictions in the Scriptures, once they are rightly divided. Critics who have used such apparent contradictions to attack the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible would thus be disarmed, on learning that truly, the Lord spent three days and three nights in the grave before resurrecting, as prophesied and as foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Truly, the Word of God must be accomplished exactly as spoken, for the Word of God cannot fail. Blessed be the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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The Cross Of Christ Is The Heart And Soul Of Christianity

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the New King James Version).

The central message of Christianity and of the gospel is the cross of Jesus Christ. Christianity rises and falls on it. It was the crux of the Apostles’ message, and the one thing they fought and died for. Jesus Christ and him crucified was the only message Paul was determined to transmit to the people he ministered to. Our justification, sanctification and glorification are all tied to this message and how we relate to it. The greatest and most damnable heresies the Apostles combated and contended against had to do with perversions of the message of the cross or its outright repudiation. Because it’s a matter of life and death and has eternal consequences with respect to the soul’s destiny, we need to understand the message of the cross clearly. Only by having a clear revelation of the cross of Christ will we be able to appreciate the sacrifice made for us at Calvary. This article intends to scripturally review the message of the cross and rally Christians back to it.

1 Corinthians 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

1 Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;

1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The preaching of the cross is the gospel message, the good news of salvation from sin and death, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the message that salvation can only be found in one place and in one person- the cross of Jesus Christ! This is the central message of the Bible. All the prophets of old pointed to it, and all the Apostles pointed back to it, as the fulfilment of God’s promise to mankind to provide a way of escape from the curse of sin and death. Christ’s life gave us a wonderful example of God’s love, holy living and righteousness. He was the perfect and sinless man, full of grace and truth. However, without his death on the cross, his life would not have been of eternal benefit to us. Without his propitiatory and substitutionary death on our behalf on the cross of Calvary, no person would have been saved, and all of Adam’s race would have ended up in hell and the lake of fire!

It was not the gracious words of Christ that purchased our salvation. It was not his inspiring and motivational speeches that ransomed our souls from death. His life and and his teachings would have made us live long and good and prosperous lives, for he was a great teacher and a great motivator and inspirer. His healing power definitely cured diseases, cast out demons and raised the dead, even though they still died again, after a full lifespan. However, without his death on the cross, we all would have died and gone to hell, in spite of the good lives his inspiring words would have enabled us to live. So, we see that his death was more important to us than his life. His death and resurrection are the basis of eternal life and Christianity.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,

1 Corinthians 15:2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

Right from the book of Genesis, we see the pattern of salvation clearly laid out. When Adam and Eve sinned, God shed an innocent lamb’s blood to cover their sins temporarily, while clothing them with the skin. All throughout the Old Testament, sacrificial animals were offered in place of sinful man as atonement for sin. God thus made it abundantly clear that without the shedding of blood, there can’t be any remission for sin. The penalty for sin is death, as God forewarned Adam and Eve, and every soul ever since has deserved to die, for we were all born sinners. Yet, the mercy of God has always triumphed over his judgement, providing a way of escape for sinful man, through the death of innocent substitutes. All these animal substitutes pointed to the perfect Sacrifice God would provide as a remission of sin- his only begotten Son. Those sinless and unblemished animals foreshadowed the perfect Lamb of God who would come to take away the sin of the world by the sacrifice of himself. Christ was the embodiment and fulfilment of all the sacrifices for sin in the Old Testament. Only his voluntary, substitutionary and propitiatory death could satisfy God’s righteous demands and secure mankind’s salvation.

Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

Hebrews 9:20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”

Hebrews 9:21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Hebrews 9:23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

Hebrews 9:25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—

Hebrews 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’

John 1:31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

John 1:32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.

John 1:33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

John 1:34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.

John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,

1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

1 Peter 1:20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

Matthew 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.

Matthew 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.

Matthew 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—

Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Salvation is therefore based on what happened on the cross of Christ at Calvary, and the resurrection that followed three days after. Without Calvary, there would have been no resurrection, and without the resurrection, we all would have been doomed to an eternity in hell! The sacrifice of Calvary justifies and sanctifies us, and is the basis of our glorification. Without the cross, we’re nothing but hell-bound, Satan-enslaved, sin-loving damned souls. It’s the great exchange that took place at Calvary that made the difference between dead men and living souls. On Calvary, the sinless and perfect Lamb of God, the righteous and holy one, took upon himself our sins and gave us his righteousness instead. He died in our stead, so we could have life and have it abundantly. It wasn’t motivational speaking that freed and loosed us from the bondage of sin and made us accepted before God. It wasn’t humanistic psychology that rehabilitated and cured us of the addiction to sin. You may wash and make over a pig and bedeck it with jewelries, but until the nature of a pig is taken out of it, it will remain a pig, though polished and refined. It will go back to wallowing in the mire with time. Only the cross of Christ could reach down to our very soul and transform us into new creatures, by the power of his blood and Spirit. Philosophers may consider it foolishness to think sinful man can be made righteous by just believing and placing faith in the death and resurrection of another. But, that’s the wisdom of God. He chose the foolishness of the message of the cross to save those that believe! Hallelujah!

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

John 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 12:23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.

John 12:24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

John 12:25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

John 12:26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

John 12:27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

John 12:28 Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

John 12:29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

John 12:30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

John 12:33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

2 Corinthians 5:19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

Revelation 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Salvation is not about what we can do on our own to please God, for the best of our righteousness is but filthy rags before him. It’s not how much we can pray, fast, give alms or try to avoid sin. Salvation is a free gift of grace. It’s not by any works we’ve done or we can ever do. The message of salvation starts and ends with the cross of Christ. Salvation is of the Lord! He paid the price for our redemption on Calvary, without a single contribution from any man. He single-handedly ransomed our souls from death and hell on the cross. All we’re required to do is just believe what he’s already done for us, accept him as our Lord and saviour and live eternally! But, will proud man, used to working hard before earning his wages, accept such a humbling free gift? Can those of us used to boasting about our abilities and about what we can do, humbly accept the fact that it’s not about what we can do but what God has already done for us through Christ Jesus? No wonder the idea of the cross was a stumbling block to the Jews who were used to the works of the law for justification, and foolishness to the Greeks used to philosophical jangling as a way of numbing the desires of the thirsty soul. But to everyone who believes, both Jews and Greeks, the cross is the power of God unto salvation. God indeed chose salvation through the cross to humble men and remove boasting far from us. The fact that we contributed nothing to our redemption reduces our pride to zero. The fact that we have no bragging rights in salvation humbles us and shuts up all mouths before God. And when our mouths finally open, only praise and worship to the one who sits upon the throne, and to Lamb, should proceed from hearts full of praise and gratitude.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 64:7 And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.

Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

Romans 4:5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Romans 4:6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)

Romans 10:7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Revelation 5:7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Revelation 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,

Revelation 5:12 saying with a loud voice:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Revelation 5:14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

The message of the cross does not glorify any man but the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished works at Calvary. Every blessing and favour we will ever get from God comes through the cross of Jesus Christ. Our glory lies in the cross, as our justification and sanctification are dependent on it. The cross crucifies and mortifies flesh, and releases upon us the Holy Spirit with his fruits and gifts. The message of the cross is unattractive to vain-glorious and self-seeking men, as it cuts off the ground from under our pride. It also reminds us of the need to carry our own crosses daily and follow the Master, as we carry on his life and sacrifice for others. The cross is an enemy to the flesh, as well as being its deathbed. Hence, carnal men hate the cross, despise it and persecute it fiercely. However, the redeemed of the Lord glory in the cross, for it’s the symbol of their salvation and glory.

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Luke 9:24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

Luke 9:25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Any message that glories man or his abilities to motivate or improve himself outside of the cross of Christ is anti-Christ and satanic. Any message in the church that does not place the cross of Christ at front and center of Christianity can only be from the enemies of Christ. Any blessing that doesn’t come through the cross of Christ is devilish, for every good and perfect gift of God comes from above and reaches us through the cross of Jesus Christ. Anyone therefore who’s ashamed of the cross of Christ has neither experienced its total saving power, nor the blessings that come through it. The cross of Christ brings God and man together, and totally undoes all the effects of the fall and the curse of sin and death. Therefore, we should only glory in the cross of Christ by which the world is crucified to us and we to the world. We’re nothing outside of the cross of Christ!

Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

Colossians 1:22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—

Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

Philippians 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

In conclusion, the message of the cross is the only authentic gospel message, which provides for man’s total redemption and reconciliation with God. Unfortunately, this message has been replaced in many Christian circles by humanistic psychology, motivational speaking and self-reformation programmes, as the methods of human improvement and acceptable behaviour. Only the blood of Christ can loose and free the soul of man from the bondage of sin and make us accepted in God’s sight. Only the blood of Christ can justify, sanctify and glorify the sinner (and we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory!). Any attempt at self-reformation through the works of the flesh will only produce self-righteousness, which is considered as filthy as menstrual rags before God. To be saved, sanctified and glorified, we must embrace the cross of Christ and carry it daily! It’s in the cross of Christ that we’ll ever become all that God wants us to be.

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