Continued from FAQ Page...
If we are to arrive at an accurate translation of this verse or any other passage of Scripture, we must study the various passages in light of the original language that God inspired the human authors to use (2Tim. 3: 16). The primary language of the New Testament that God chose to use was Greek. Any and all other versions of New Testament Scripture are only, at best, good translations of the Word that God inspired. Some translations are clearly better than others, and most versions have gone through a series of editing. The ambiguous nature and limitations of the English language presented the translators with an especially hard task to accurately translate the original transcripts into English.
The English word "believe(s)" appearing in John 3: 16, 18 NASB is a translation of the Greek word p-i-s-t-e-u-o. P-i-s-t-e-u-o means to place one's full trust and confidence in something or someone. Partial belief is partial disbelief. Disbelief is the ONE and ONLY sin, that was not (by divine design) atoned for by the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ (1John 2: 2),. Accordingly, the sin of disbelief is the ONLY sin that condemns those who choose to commit it to an eternity separated from God. This exception to the atoning Work was NOT a deficiency in the Work of our Lord, but via divine design, making the whole issue of salvation a matter of either believing or disbelieving in a presentation of the true Gospel Message (John 3: 18).
Before one can put his full trust and confidence in anyone or anything, he needs to establish a clear understanding of the issues at hand. When it comes to salvation, the issues are so clear that even a child who has reached the age of moral accountability can understand it. Simply put, fallen Man never was and never will be capable of doing ANYTHING to save Himself. Salvation is secured by believing in what God has done for us to make it available to all who believe John 3: 16. The clear cut result in choosing to either believe or disbelieve in the Gospel Message is found in John 3: 18.
One can choose to become "religious" at any time, but one can only be born again in response to the call from God!
Being given the ability (1Cor. 2: 14/John 6: 44) to understand a presentation of the Gospel is in itself a gift from God.
"No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him...(John 6:44 NASB)."
".. a natural (spiritually dead) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2: 14NASB italics mine."
Spiritually dead human beings, a status in which we as members of a fallen race are ALL born into, not only have no interest in God and/or the things of God, we are by nature actually hostile (Romans 7: 8) towards God and the things of God. This hostility can be seen an unbeliever is approached with the Gospel, or a fellow believer is approached an edifying principle of post salvation doctrine whom God has not prepared to receive it.
In His timing, God removes the "hostile Romans 8: 7" nature with its spiritual "ear plugs" so that the spiritually dead soul can take in the Gospel and make an informed decision. God makes the Gospel Message understandable, but does NOT make the soul choose one way or the other. We do NOT choose when the opportunity to be saved will be made available to us. We can only be saved in response to the call of God that He arranges. No one knows when he/she has received his/her last opportunity, but every time one says "No!" to God, His voice becomes harder and harder to hear.
There are death-bed or death-scenario conversions (Luke 23: 42), but there is NO guarantee that any one of us will be afforded such an opportunity. Tens of thousands of souls depart this Earth every day, many of whom their deaths came as a complete surprise to them and to those who knew them.
There is no such thing as putting it (salvation) off for a later time. Once presented with the Gospel, or with the opportunity to hear the Gospel, the soul then and there has chosen to either be presented with it, believe it and be saved, or chooses not to do so and remains spiritually dead. Every soul that chooses to leave this world spiritually dead will spend all of eternity is what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15) with NO Biblical hope for release.
God did for fallen Man what Man could never have done for himself. God the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) atoned (paid for) the sin debt of mankind on the cross (1John 2: 2). His atoning Work becomes personally applicable to each and every soul who chooses to BELIEVE in the true Gospel Message when it is presented to him/her. This can take place at ANY time and in ANY place or circumstances that God the Holy Spirit chooses to use.
Man, in the name (authority) of "religion", has engineered many false means to either obtain or retain salvation. Virtually ever religion (including some areas of "Christian religion") teach that salvation, at least in part, is obtained and/or retained via one's participation in the established rituals of his "chosen" religion, coupled with the production of some form of good works and/or behavior. I placed quotation marks around the phrase "Christian religion" because it is an oxymoron. Christianity and religion do NOT mix, as "religion: consists of all the false ideas of who God is and/or how one is to establish a relationship with Him, both now and for all of eternity. I placed quotation marks around the word "chosen" because in more cases than not, the choice of one's religion was made for him/her by his/her parents long before the child ever reaches the age to exercise his/her own free will
The child will sooner or later choose to continue along the same path, or not. Going against the grain of a "religion" that one's parents chose for their offspring can be one of the most challenging requirements for discipleship that an advancing soul in the spiritual realm can encounter. Second only to the call to set aside our own agenda in order to follow the plan that God has in mind for each one of us (Luke 14: 26).
"If anyone comes to (follow) Me, and does not hate (love less) his own father and mother and wife (husband) and children and brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life (physical life/plans/desires), he (she) cannot be My disciple (student and applier of the Word of God) - Luke 14: 26 NASB italics mine." Note that He did not say one could not be saved; but that one cannot be His disciple. ALL born again believers are forever saved, but only a minority ever enter into or remain in the post salvation life of discipleship. SELF centered believers are quite content just to know that they are saved, whereas Christi-centered disciples are never satisfied with being anything short of becoming more and more conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans (8: 29). One of the indicators of having reached spiritual maturity is that one has NO other desire than to learn and carry out the plan that God has in mind for him/her.
Certainly, relatively good behavior and good deeds will dominate the lifestyle of an advancing disciple. Discipleship, however, is a post (after) salvation activity that does not even begin until one is first born again (John 3: 5, 7, having ALREADY settled the issue of one's salvation once and for all.
There are atheists and non-Christians who choose to live in accordance with generally accepted principles of morality for a variety of reasons such as fear of punishment, the desire to get something for themselves, or for health and safety issues. There are only a few genuine atheists who live in denial or rejectionof the God-given sense of there being an eternity (Eccl. 3: 11). Most people entertain and engage in one form of "religion" or another, but unless one is born again (John 3: 5, 7), he/she is spiritually dead and headed for Hell (John 14: 6).
Moral behavior and divine deeds consistent with being conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8: 29) will be a gradual process in the life of an advancing disciple, but there will NEVER come a time (this side of Heaven) when the believer will not be in the need to confess (1John 1: 9) and/or forsake (John 8: 11) the post salvation sin(s) we commit on a moment to moment daily basis. One of the best descriptions of what a "Christian" is that a Christian is (not was) a sinner saved by the grace of God. The purpose for post salvation confession and forsaking of sin is to maintain fellowship (2 Cor. 13: 14) with God and be in a position to execute the true post salvation spiritual life. No one is any more or any less "saved" than he/sje became on the day he/she was born again.
Souls are saved from the impending wrath of God (Rev. 20: 15) awaiting ALL unbelievers, and become the recipients of a regenerated spirit (Titus 3: 5) and eternal life (John 3: 16) by believing in the Person (who He is) and the Work (His atoning Work of the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing more and nothing less. If only the Christian Community at large could understand the difference between what it takes to be "saved" and what it takes to execute the true post salvation spiritual life, many of the false doctrines, products,and practices of man-made religion would be exposed for what they really are.
Once saved, we THEN have the opportunity to grow in God's grace and knowledge (1Pet. 3: 18); apply what we learn (James 1: 22) with the (John 15: 5) power of God; and glorify God throughout the course of our post salvation spiritual life. Success and/or failure in the post salvation spiritual life has its own price, blessings, and consequences, but has got NOTHING to do with retaining the salvation that one has ALREADY received.
The devil is well-pleased when he sees the significance of faith in the Gospel Message being diminished and polluted by the practices and the products of "religion". The devil is well-pleased knowing full well what the end result of placing one' trust in such alternatives, practices, and products will be.
It is of the utmost importance to have an understanding of what God meant when He inspired the human authors of Scripture to use the word p-i-s-t-e-u-o. The devil knows this. That s why the devil invests so much time and energy in promoting all the false alternatives and needless additives of Man-made religion. One must not only be a hearer of the truth (Gospel), one must choose to make personal application of it (James 1: 22) if he is to receive the salvation that believing in the TRUE Gospel Message generates.
Presenting or being presented with the Gospel Message is serious business. Disbelief in the Gospel Message assures one of an eternity in what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15), just as much as believing in the Gospel Message assures one of an eternity with God in Heaven.
Partial obedience is partial disobedience. "Kind of" believing in the Gospel in the spiritual realm is like "kind of" coming to a complete stop at a stop sign while driving a car. Anything short of coming to a full stop is disobedience. Anything short of placing one's full trust and confidence in the Gospel Message falls short of what the TRUE Gospel requires, as well.
Evidence that one has in fact placed his full trust and confidence in the Gospel, is when one rejects all false means of salvation and he sees the futile and even blasphemous nature of entertaining the products and practices of religion whose mere presence suggest that faith in what Christ accomplished was/is not enough to either become and/or remain saved.
Any perceived need to engage in any of the products or practices of man-made religion in addition to faith in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ is an indication that one has not reached the point of having FULL trust and confidence is the Work that Christ has finished (John 19: 30) on the cross, or in God's promise to see the believer through (Romans 14: 4).
The ONLY thing that the devil can do to a soul that has been saved, is to try to obstruct the path to the John 8: 32 type of "confidence" that come from genuine post (after) salvation discipleship. Discipleship is the DAILY study and application of the Word of God, beginning with one's own edification with the long term objective of evangelizing and/or edifying others.
Failing to identify and/or pursue the true post salvation spiritual life has its own consequences (Heb. 12: 6/1 Cor. 3: 12-15), but the devil can do NOTHING to take away a believer's salvation (1Cor. 3: 15). The devil's primary strategy to raise doubt is to promote the false need to take in the additives and alternatives of RELIGION. A "religious" life and the post salvation "spiritual" life can appear to be similar, but are not at all one in the same and will produce VERY different results.
P-i-s-t-e-u-o calls for one's complete trust and confidence. As long as one perceives the need to do (or have done) ANYTHING else other than to BELIEVE in a presentation of the Gospel in order to be forever saved, such a soul will fall short of having the p-i-s-t-e-u-o (FULL confidence and trust) being spoken of in John 3: 16, 18.
Souls were being saved (Acts 2) and God was being worshiped as He desires to be worshiped (John 4: 23) for centuries before the holy buildings, physical altars, and/or the "religious" priesthood established by Church Age "religion" came upon the scene.
Although there were some who fueled the fires of the reformation for political reasons, the initial objective of the true reformers of the Protestant Reformation was to purge the Christian Community of all the products and practices of "religion" that had found a home in the Christian Community. Such a quest would have required the existing powers to acknowledge the errors of their way, but like the Pharisees of old, that was not going to happen.
Granted, much more faith (knowledge and application of it) than what is required for salvation will be necessary in order to entertain post (after) salvation discipleship. Many "believers" go for years and even decades before truly pursuing the post salvation spiritual life. Some never do! The ones who don't pursue or remain in it are still saved, but will experience Heaven WITHOUT reward (1 Cor. 3: 15).
In the natural realm, a woman either is or is not pregnant. Likewise, in the spiritual realm, every soul either is saved and headed for Heaven, or is unsaved headed for an eternity in what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15). Every soul here on Earth RIGHT NOW is on one of two roads. There is no third choice. Following the crowd is usually not the wisest choice, as (Matt. 7: 13, 14) teach that the majority is usually wrong when it comes to spiritual issues. As the old saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many (the majority) are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few (the minority) are those who find it (Matt. 7: 13, 14 NASB italics mine)."
Ask a "religious" person if he/she is Heaven bound or headed for some form of positive afterlife experience with the deity associated with his/her religious beliefs, and they will likely respond with an, "I hope so!", response.
All "religious" persons hope they are on the road to what they perceive to be Heaven with God or the afterlife with the false (Psalms 96) deity of their own choosing, whereas "spiritual" persons know they are saved and know where they are going.
Upon leaving this world is NOT the time to be " meeting your Maker!" It is the unbeliever who will "meet his Maker" at the judgment of the unbelievers (Rev. 20: 13, 15) The born again believer already "met" his Maker the day he/she was born again while here on Earth. The advancing disciple "walked" with Lord (2 Cor. 13: 14) all the days of his (post salvation spiritual) life, looking forward to dwelling in the house of the Lord forever (Psalms 23). The advancing disciple comes face to face with his Maker when he/departs this world (2Cor. 5: 8).
For the advancing disciple, it will be a new phase of an intimate relationship that was initiated and developed here on Earth. Note the contrast between the "Well, done (Matt. 25: 23 NASB)" praise that an advancing disciple can anticipate, and the, " I never knew you (Matt.22: 23 NASB)" response that awaits so many that thought they had been pleasing the Lord ()!
The advancing disciple will not only respond with a, "I know so!", answer, but will be prepared to offer an explanation for what may appear to others to be arrogant self confidence (1 Pet. 3: 15 NASB)."
The reason that the spiritual (vs. the "religious") man is so confident is that he knows that the integrity of his salvation is NOT based or contingent on ANYTHING that he has done (outside of "believing - John 3: 18), is doing now, or ever will do at some point in the future. Nor is salvation dependent on what anyone else (parent/clergy) may have done, not done, or will do in our behalf while we are here on Earth, or after we have departed and leave our bodies and matters of this world behind.
NO departed unbeliever can be prayed into Heaven, or out of Hell. The destination of every soul is SELF-determined via his faith or disbelief that he/she possessed HERE during his/her time on Earth. No amount of good deeds, religious rituals, or time served in the Torments of Hades or anywhere else can atone for the sin of disbelief.
At the same time, God cannot require ANY further payment for a sin debt that has been stamped "PAID IN FULL" by the very blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1John 2: 2).
The spiritual man's unshakable confidence, often misinterpreted as arrogance, is based on his faith (p-i-s-t-e-u-o) in what God has done (John 3: 16/1 John 2: 2/Titus 3: 5/Eph. 4: 30/ etc.), is doing (John 14: 26/2Cor. 13: 14, etc.), and will do in the future (1Thess. 4: 16-17, Romans 14: 4 etc.. The born again believer's confidence is based on what God has done, is doing, and will do, and NOT on ANY human or "religious" activity by self or others. There are NO other means of salvation (deliverance from the impending wrath of God and the securing of eternal life needed to live in Heaven) other than placing one's faith (trust/confidence) in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14: 6).
When people say that they aren't the most "religious" person, the advancing disciple will seize the opportunity and point out that God is not interested in "religion" or the "religious" life. God is interested in spirituality and the spiritual life.
The "binding" spoken of in (Matt. 18: 18) refers to the response that each soul chooses to make to Gospel Message that the Church was commissioned (Matt. 28: 19, 2) to proclaim. The intangible "confessionals that God designed is open 24-7 and does NOT involve ANY human clergy.
If obtaining or retaining salvation required ANYTHING more than BELIEVING (p-i-s-t-e-u-o) in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, then we would ALL have much to be concerned about, for ALL have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23). James 2: 10 places all of us in the SAME stinking, sinking ship of sin, and in an equal need of the Savior. Once rescued, the believers can (and should) toss out the one and only life preserver (the Gospel Message), but it is up to the "drowning" recipient to grasp it to be saved.
The devil is well aware that he can do nothing to reverse the Titus 3:5 regeneration of a saved soul, but he can raise much doubt and fear in the post salvation life of a weak (unedified) believer who chooses NOT to grow in God's grace and knowledge (2Pet. 3: 18). An edified soul structure (Matt. 7: 25-27) is required to experience the John 8:30 type of confidence and freedom. It's one thing to be forever saved (as all born again believers are), but it is something else to think, talk, and live accordingly.
A spiritual combatant filled with fear and doubt will be easy pickings on the post salvation spiritual battlefield. He/she will remain saved, even if he/she believers otherwise, but will not likely progress very far along the path of the TRUE post salvation spiritual life.
Rejecting the doctrine of eternal security is what opens the door for the religious "alternatives" and "additives" that have been primarily promoted in the name of religion. God desires that we continue to grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3: 18) and to develop the type of John 8:32 confidence that sets us free from the bondage of man-made religion. The advancing disciple does not see his freedom as a license to sin, but a license to serve.
If the Doctrine of Eternal Security, that teaches that salvation can not be lost, were not true, could not God then say that a believer could have too much faith (confidence/trust) in what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross? That not the God that I have come to know, nor is it the Gospel that I have heard.
One's post salvation sin, never the less, is not something to be ignored. While the, "just getting into Heaven is good enough" mindset certainly sets the course for the path of least resistance during one's post salvation spiritual life, it will NEVER be "good enough" for an advancing disciple as he/she is conformed to the likeness of Christ (Romans 8: 29). If making God and the things of God is not the NUMBER ONE priority of each and every day we rise, it is time for a 2 Cor. 13:5 examination to determine why this is not so.
The issue of post salvation sin will be something that we will struggle with until the day we leave this planet. Paul spoke of his own ongoing (and what would be our) struggle with sin in his letter to the believers in Rome (Romans 7) nearly thirty years AFTER he was saved and towards the end of his earthly mission.
Alleged additional requirements to either be or remain saved has plagued the "true" Church since the very beginning (Gal. 3: 1), and is destined to only get worse (1Tim. 4: 1). Scripture is replete with prophetic warnings of the emerging of false prophets (spokesmen for God) that would and have infiltrated the Christian Community at large. Without knowledge of what THE truth is, the human soul that is inherently hostile (Romans 8: 7) and incapable of understanding God and/or the things of God is like a sitting duck in the realm of spiritual combat (Eph. 6).
There were those who desired to cash in on the quest of the Protestant Reformers to promote their own political agenda, but the true Reformers only sought to bring the existing Christian Community of their day back to its Biblical roots. It was NOT their desire to start a "new" Church, but to bring the existing one back in line with the design and functions as God ordained it to be.
Such reformation would have called for the existing "religious" powers to concede the errors of their ways, not to mention giving up its assumed role in global politics and means to garner its financial assets. The TRUE intangible Church that God designed has always been and will continue to exist (Matt16: 18 ) WITHIN what is generally perceived to be the Christian Community until its mission, outlined in Matt. 28: 19, 20, is fulfilled (Matt. 24: 14). At that time, and in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15: 52), the members of the intangible church that God designed who are on the Earth will be raptured (1Thess. 4: 16-17) away. The "raptured" Church members will be united (in some cases reunited) with the members of the Church who were born again, departed, and went home to be with the Lord over the course of the Church Age that began in 30-33 AD.
Without a doubt. if the Rapture were to take place during a worship service in our day and age, there would many (Matt. 7: 13) left behind sitting in the pews and/or standing behind the pulpits who were religious persons, but who had never been born again (John 3: 5, 7).
There are many end time and future prophecies still to be fulfilled, but NOT before the Church (that God designed) is Raptured away and returns with Christ at the Second Advent. If the Rapture were to take place today, would you be among those taken up (1 Thess. 4: 17), or would you be among those left behind? If you died today and the Rapture takes place at some point in the future, would you be among those who return with the Lord (1 Thess. 4: 16) or would you be among the unbelievers in the Torments of Hades awaiting the final judgment and the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15)?
While the popular, but false, alternatives and additives manufactured and promoted by religion have been and will continue to be held in high esteem by Man, they are "detestable" in the eyes of God (Luke 16: 15). Such things are an insult and cast an ungodly shadow of doubt over such things as the completeness of the atoning Work (1John 2:2) that the Lord Jesus Christ finished (John 19: 30) on the cross; the regenerating (Titus 3:5) and sealing Work of God the Holy Spirit (not clergy) performed at the moment of salvation; and the promise of God to see us through (Rom. 14: 4), assuring believers of their arrival and place in Heaven.
Nearly 300 years of Church history had passed BEFORE there were cathedrals, physical altars, officiating priests, baptismal apparatus, confessionals, and MANY of the accompanying "religious" practices that have been engineered (by Man) and accepted within the Christian Community. Some (not all) of these things WERE (past tense) a part of the worship that God desired during the Old Testament dispensation, but were NEVER to be a part of the type of worship that God desires (John 4: 24) to take place during the dispensation of the Church Age in which we are living.
One's "religious" life begins at whatever point he/she is exposed to the teaching and practices of religion, usually determined by the parent(s) and in line with family and/or cultural tradition. The lake of fire will be filled with all kinds of "religious" souls, if in the course of their religiosity they were never "born again - John 3: 5, 7". Among this group will be many who "attended" a "Christian" Church of one variety or another, but were never born again, becoming a member of the Church that God designed. This was what the Lord Jesus Christ taught Nicodemus (and us), a VERY "religious" Pharisee. Nicodemus was a leader (John 3: 1), a TEACHER (John 3: 10)and an eforcer of The Law (Old Testament). Nicodemus recognized Jesus as having come from God, evidenced by the signs (miracles) that were performed. Yet, he (Nicodemus) did not understand what the "born again" meant, or its significance. Sound familiar?
The devil works long and hard promoting false gospels and religious alternatives and practices in place of the true Gospel Message and accurate post salvation doctrine has to say. "Religious", but spiritually dead, souls are the devil's easiest targets, as they are naturally predisposed to reject the Gospel while be receptive to all the religious alternatives that Man has engineered and the devil promotes. Such souls have already been conditioned by family and culture to place their trust in the religious products and practices that most they have been raised on as a matter of family or cultural tradition. Such things appeal to the fallen (hostile - Romans 8: 7) nature in Man, and provide what a-p-p-e-a-r-s to be the means of salvation.
Here we see that one must not only BELIEVE, but make sure that whatever it is that we have chosen to place our trust and confidence in has come from God and not from Man!
"For all the gods of the peoples are idols (Psalms 96:5 NASB)."
Non-Christians can (and many do) believe just as strongly in their concepts of who God is and what one must in order to receive divine benefits here on earth and for all of eternity. Such beliefs, as strong as they may be, will not establish either an earthly or eternal relationship with the ONE true God revealed in the Bible (John 14: 6).
"I (Jesus Christ is speaking) am the way, and the truth, and the life; NO ONE comes to the Father, but through (faith in) Me (John 14: 6 NASB italics mine).
Detractors of the exclusiveness of John 14: 6 that this is being too "narrow-minded", but the narrow principle is confirmed in such passages as Matt. 7: 14. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to (eternal) life, and few (the minority) are those who find it (Matt. 7: 14 NASB italics mine).
Being "born again" simply means to receive a regenerated spirit that automatically takes place when one chooses to believe in the Person (who He is) and the Work (that He accomplished on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One's spiritual (as opposed to religious) life BEGINS with the regeneration (Titus 3: 5) of one's DEAD human spirit with which we all come into this world. This regeneration is the Work of God the Holy Spirit that automatically takes place IF and when one chooses to believe (place his full trust and confidence) in a presentation of the Gospel Message. There are many fasle "gospels" out there, and many more products and practices of "religion" that are erroneously promoted as "necessary" in order to obtain salvation or to retain the eternal life spoken of in the well-known John 3: 16 verse of Scripture.
John 3: 16, 18 make it clear that salvation (deliverance from the impending wrath of God and assurance of eternal life) is either secured or forfeited as a result of one choosing to either believe or to disbelieve in a presentation of the true Gospel Message.
In John 3: 16, 18, "believing" means to put one's full trust and confidence in the PERSON (Who He is) and the atoning WORK that He accomplished on OUR behalf while ON the cross. The shedding of His blood during the hours of spiritual death (separation between He (in His humanity) and God the Father) while physically alive ON the cross provided the means for our personal salvation.
In John 19: 30, PRIOR to the physical death of His humanity, He announced that "it" (the atoning work) had been(past tense) completely accomplished, not that it was about to be accomplished when He physically died. The humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ did not physically die on the cross until AFTETR His (atoning) work had been finished (John 19: 30), providing the means of salvation for all who would believe. When the time came, it was not His executioners who took His life. The death of His humanity (physical body) did not take place until AFTER the atoning work had been finished (John 19: 30). It was the hours of spiritual death (separated from God) that atoned for the world's sin while He was physically alive on the cross. We know that He was physically alive when the Work was finished, as it was He who announced it just prior to giving up the spirit into His Father's hand.He gave up the spirit (John 19: 30)
The physical death of HIs humanity was certainly a part of the plan of God. It was what set the stage for His resurrection. The resurrection was proof that God the Father had accepted our Lord's atoning Work on the cross (1 Cor. 15: 17/Romans 4: 25), and to provide Man with tangible evidence (Acts 17: 21) of the resurrection before His final ascension (Acts 1).
Again, it was His spiritual death (separation from God the Father) in OUR place while physically alive on the cross that atoned for the world's sin. If God the Father had not accepted the atoning Work on the cross in FULL payment of the world's sin debt, then ALL of US would be lost in our sin and destined to endure spiritual death (separation from God) in the lake of fire with all the unbelievers (1 Cor. 15: 17/Rev. 20: 15).
"...if Christ had not been raised, your (our ) faith is worthless; you (we) are still in your (our) sins (1 Cor. 15: 17 NASB italics mine).
Sceptics ask how a death of any kind that took place some 2,000 years ago can atone for the sins of us today. The answer is that God in His omniscience, knew/knows of every sin that every soul had and/ or would choose to commit in the course of his own life span here on Earth. Every sin of every human soul that had been committed or would be committed throughout all of the past, present, and future sins of the generations of Man were imputed onto the suffering and atoning humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ while ON the cross. The next time you think you have gotten away with some sin, it would be worth remembering whose blood atoned for it!
Accordingly, the ONE and ONLY sin that cause ANY soul to find him/herself in the Torments of Hades upon departing this world and eventually in what the Bible calls the lake of fire is the sin of disbelief (John 3: 18/Rev. 20: 13, 15). God cannot be true to His own Word if He were to require any future payment for a sin debt that has been stamped "PAID IN FULL" by the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This does not mean that this is a license to sin, as there are still consequences that one can encounter (Heb. 12: 6) that have got nothing to do with losing salvation.
The post (after) salvation confession of sin referenced in 1John 1: 9 is NOT for the purpose of being "re-saved" or for retaining the salvation that a believer has already secured. The post salvation confession of post salvation sin is for the purpose of restoring the intimate FELLOWSHIP (2 Cor. 14: 13) with God that IS compromised when one engages in and/or lives with post salvation sin that has not been confessed (1John 1: 9) and/or forsaken (John 8: 11). Being out of fellowship with God is not conducive to producing (John 15: 5) the divine good (1Cor. 3: 12-15) of the TRUE post salvation spiritual life. Not being in a position to produce divine good, symbolized as silver, gold, and precious stones in the 1 Cor.3: 12-15 passage, is no big deal to a believer who is under the influence of the fallen nature, but it is like being a fish out of water for an advancing disciple. Bringing glory to God is the primary reason that we remain on this Earth, once the issue of our salvation has been forever settled.
Being raised from the dead and appearing (Acts 1: 3) prior to ascending to Heaven (Acts 1: 9) was to give evidence (Acts 17: 31/that God the Father accepted His work on the cross for the FULL payment of world's sin debt (1John 2: 2). Rather or not you choose, as an individual soul, to receive the benefits of His atoning Work is a choice that ONLY you can make for yourself. The fact that all of our sin (except for the sin of disbelief-John 3: 18) has already been atoned for is why believers have the assurance of forgiveness (as far as salvation is concerned) and a home awaiting him/her in Heaven.
Again, having addressed the issue of salvation is NOT a license to sin, as there are still other consequences for post salvation sin (Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 15) that have nothing to do with the loss of salvation.
The Lord Jesus Christ has both a divine and a (sinless) human nature. This is what made Him the unique Being as of the First Advent within the Trinity and among Man. He was (is) not half God and half Man, He was (is) BOTH God and Man in one Being, a status that makes Him unique.
The Lord Jesus Christ certainly exercised the power of His deity in the production of the miracles that He used to affirm His deity, but when we learn that much of what He did here on Earth was not accomplished via His deity , but through His humanity, we can have a new-found appreciation for all that He did to provide for our salvation. Part of our Lord's mission here on Earth was to maintain the integrity of of His sinless humanity, which was why He was so intensely tempted by the devil (Matt. 4/Luke: 4). In His divine nature He could neither tempt or be tempted (James 1: 13), but in His Humanity He was tempted in every way that is common to Man, but without choosing to sin (Heb. 4: 15).
The d-e-i-t-y (divine nature) of the unique Being that believers now acknowledge as the Lord Jesus Christ, did NOT come into existence at the First Advent (Christmas). As in the case of the deity of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, God the Son in His deity has always existed, exists now, and will forever exist as one of three Persons that make up the Trinity. As of the First Advent (Christmas) the pre-incarnate God the Son, chose to take on the sinless form of humanity that Adam had prior to the Fall in order to become the ONE and ONLY "sacrificial Lamb- John 1: 29) in order to atone (pay for) the sins of Man. In order to take on the form of humanity that was VOID of the sin nature that is otherwise passed down through the male partner (Psalms 51: 5) at conception, the conception of His humanity (body) called for the intervention of God (Luke 1: 35).
Note that after the birth of our Lord's humanity, Mary conceived (with the participation of Joseph) at least four more sons and two daughters (Matt. 13: 55, 56), all of whom, like Mary and Joseph (Luke 1: 47/Romans 3: 23 ) before them, received a sin nature that had been passed down to their own humanities via their biological f-a-t-h-e-r-s (1Cor. 15: 22) when their bodies were conceived by their mothers (Psalms 51: 5).
The uniqueness of our Lord coming into this world was not the manner of His birth, but the manner of His conception (Luke 1: 35). However, as in the case of ALL genuine miraculous activity, it was/is GOD and not the human being(s) involved who produce the miracle (Acts 14: 15).
Our Lord loved His human mother as much as any man loved his own. One of His last deeds while nailed to the cross was to provide for the care of his mother after His departure (John 19: 26, 27). Never-the-less, religion has elevated the status and spiritual capacity of Mary way beyond what Scripture has to say. But that is another subject for another day.
This "unique Being" is what is meant by the PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ, and what HE did on the cross is His "WORK". Placing one's full trust and confidence in this PERSON and WORK of the Lord Jesus Christ is what results in the salvation of any given soul. NOTHING more, and NOTHING less.
In His deity (divine nature) He has always existed as a Member of the Trinity. The Trinity is a theological term that refers to the triune godhead consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (John 1: 1-3). Reference to a multiple-person godhead can be found as earlier as the Book of Genesis, indicated by the usage of the capitalized pronouns "Us" and "Our" in Gen. 1: 26 NASB.
The "beginning" spoken of in John 1: 1 and Genesis 1: 1 was NOT the starting point of the existence of either God or eternity, as neither God nor eternity had a beginning, but always existed. Human beings are "time" oriented, with everything having a starting point. This is what impedes Man from understanding any thing that never had a beginning. The "beginning" being spoken of in John 1: 1 and Genesis 1: 1 was the starting point in a series of events that would eventually have significance to the human race that was to be later created in the timing and for the purpose that God decreed.
Being the SELF centered beings that we are, it is hard for us to think of there having been a time when Man did not exist. Man was created by God in the midst of an ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm that began with a revolt that was led by the devil and involved a host of fallen angels. Once created, the souls of Man would live forever, either in or out of fellowship with God, in one location or another. Although there was clearly a time when Man did not exist, once created every soul has an everlasting nature that never dies, but lives on in of two categories.
When God the Son took on the form of humanity that Adam had first experienced, He (Jesus) did NOT cease to be God the Son, but chose only to make use of His divine nature when called for in the plan of God during His time here on Earth (Phil. 2: 5-7).
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He (has always) existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with a God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross (Phil. 2: 5-8 NASB italics mine)."
It is worth repeating, as there are MANY false doctrines and schools of thought that diminish the PERSON of God the Son to be no more than a good man who spoke for God, but was not God in the flesh, and or equal to God to Father, as He claimed (John 10: 30/Luke 22: 70) to be. A diminished perception of the PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ is inconsistent with wht is a critical part of the true Gospel Message.
When the Lord Jesus Christ cried out, "My, God, my God, why has Thou forsaken Me..", He was NOT asking God (the Father) to answer or to explain ANYTHING, as the Lord Jesus Christ had come to Earth for this very purpose. He was quoting the 22nd Psalm that was written some 1,000 years prior. The same Psalm, along with other psalms (e.g. Psalms 34: 20) and other prophets, such as Isaiah, foretold many of the d-e-t-a-i-l-s of the events leading up to and that would take place during the crucifixion.
For example, the "day" and "night" of Psalms 22: 2 refers to the 3 hrs. (9 am to Noon- Mark 15:25) of daylight, followed by the 3 hrs. of darkness (Noon to 3 pm-Matt. 27: 45) of the total six hours He spent nailed to the cross. It was at the start of the dark hours that the Lord began to cite the 22nd Psalm (Matt. 27: 46), confirming that His period of spiritual death (separation in fellowship from the Father) in OUR place was in progress.
Psalms 22: 6 refers to how the "religious" Jews of His day would perceive Him. The fulfillment of a Psalms 22: 7, 8 speak were recorded in Matt. 27: 41-43. Psalms 22: 11-15 speak of mental and physical agony He endured on the cross. Psalms 22: 16 prophesied of the manner of execution (crucifixion), having His hands and feet nailed to a cross, long before this type of execution became common place, as it did under Roman occupation. Death by crucifixion was so cruel that Roman citizens were exempt from it, having the option of being be-headed in what was deemed to be an act of mercy.
Psalms 22: 17 refers to the exposure of His ribs, likely exposed from the torn flesh over the rib cage that He likely received when He was scourged, or could refer to increasing pressure and pain of the bone structures that the body was subjected to during crucifixion. Psalms 22: 18 refers to the casting of lots (rolling the dice) to determine which one of the execution squad of soldiers would receive His clothing which was customary in that time (Matt. 27: 35). To hasten death, the legs of those crucified were broken (John 19: 32, but the legs of the Lord Jesus Christ were not (john 19: 33, once again fulfilling prophecy (John 19: 36, 37).
When takng into consideration there was about 1,000 years that passed between the time that the details of the suffering of the Lord was foretold to the time that it was fulfilled on the cross, such prophetic accuracy of the details are one of the stongest examples of Biblical prophecy being fulfilled to the letter by persons who, for the most part, had no clue what was taking place in the spiritual realm all around them. The same scenario is taking place among us as the world is setting the stage for End Time events to take place.
It is in the environment of the cross that we see the overt indicators of what was taking place in the unseen spiritual realm. Many of those involved had no clue or were in denial as to what was actually taking place. The Orthodox Jews thought they were getting rid of a blasphemer (Matt. 26: 65)whose political attention was inviting Roman military action if the matter wasn't quickly resolved (John 11: 48). Pilate sought to be a crowd pleaser and to keep the lid on a volatile situation. Although our Lord had told His closest disciples all that would take place (Matt. 20: 19, 20), they seemed to be bewildered as the events unfolded. Public opinion that hailed Him as their Messiah only days previously, were calling for His crucifixion now, deeming Him a fraud when He failed to be politically-liberating leader they were expecting. The Lord Jesus Christ, who knew what was really taking place responded by asking for God's forgiveness for those who did not know what they were doing (Luke 23: 34).
Now that we have adequately addressed the PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ, let's move on to the WORK, as salvation is received by those who believe in both the PERSON and WORK of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the Fall of Man took place, the devil must have thought that He had defeated God's plan of glory. Man, apart from God, had fallen and there nothing that Man could do to make himself "right" with God.
Man, in the name (authority) of "religion" has been trying to do so ever since with horrid results. The first recorded murder in human history was over jealously brought out when God rejected the religious offering of one brother over another's (Gen. 4: 3-8). The devil has used "religion" as his primary weapon to distort much of what God has established in and for the spiritual realm.
Developing the discernment to distinguish what is "religious" from what is "spiritual" is a MAJOR part of successful discipleship, especially in the day and age in which we are living (1 Tim. 4: 1). The Pharisee could quote the existing Scripture of that day from cover to cover, but could not see God when He was literally standing right in front of them.
The spiritually dead (separated from God) status that Adam and Eve received at The Fall would from that point on be passed down to the humanity (bodies) ALL the generations of Man at conception (Psalms 51: 5), rendering each one of us spiritually dead when our humanity becomes a part of our total being at birth when God places the soul that HE creates into the body (Gen. 2: 7) that our parents reproduced. Scripture (John 3: 6) clearly teach that it is our bodies are reproduced by our biological parents, but it is God who creates our soul (in His everlasting likeness - Gen. 1: 26, 27 ), and places it (us) in the body of His choosing.
Except for the last generation of Church Age believers who are or will be on the Earth at the time of the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 17), our earthly bodies have an appointed time to experience physical death, but our souls (created in the likeness of God - Gen. 1: 26) will live on forever. The WORK of the Lord Jesus Christ was for the purpose establishing the means through which we could be saved from the impending wrath of God and be the recipients of eternal life. Our Lord's physical death on the cross did not eliminate the appointment that we have with physical death, but His spiritual death (separation from God the Father ) in OUR place "saved" ALL who believe from othwerwise experiencing spiritual death in the lake of fire.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My Word (The Gospel Message) and believes Him who sent Me, HAS eternal life and does NOT come in to judgment, but has (already) passed out of (spiritual) death into (spiritual) life (John 5: 24 NASB italics mine)."
The "eternal life" spoken of in John 3:16 NASB is NOT something that believers receive upon departing this world, but is a continuation of something that the believer received the day he/she was born again HERE on Earth. What changes at the moment of spiritual death is the immediate location and bodily form.
This principle is not always taught within "religious" circles, as it is not "good for business." The selling and/or promoting of "religious" products and services as necessary in order to obtain or retain salvation is what keeps them in business.
An edified believer knows he has already received eternal life. What the advancing disciple wants from the Church is the teaching of the Word of God in keeping with the internal mission that the Church that God designed was given. The external mission of the Church that God designed is for the preaching of the Gospel to unbelievers outside of the Christian Community. The internal mission given to the Church that God designed is for the purpose of edifying (Matt. 28: 19, 20) those who have already received eternal life. The alternative mission(s) that the churches that Man has designed has many alternative agendas that has nothing to do with salvation or the edification of its members.
Preaching post salvation doctrine to a soul that has not first been born again is like trying to teach calculus to a kindergarten class. The information being presented may be completely accurate, but is of no interest and beyond the capacity of the target group to comprehend (Rom. 8: 7). At the same time, preaching the Gospel Message to those who have already been born again will not advance them in the spiritual realm.
Although the messages offered by an evangelist and a pastor teacher will often overlap, the primary target group of an evangelist is souls that are spiritualloy dead, OUTSIDE of the Christian Community. The primary target group of the pastor teacher is the souls who have ALREADY been born again (John 3: 5, 7), and are spiritually alive. For an unbeliever to have no great interest in God and/or the things of God is quite "natural" (Romans 8: 7), but should not be the case for one who claims to have been born again. Lack of appetite in the natural realm is an indication that something has gone wrong. The same principles applies in the spiritual realm.
It is the WORK of God the Holy Spirit that causes the spiritual change (Titus 3: 5) in the spiritually-dead status of an unbeliever and the growth (2 Pet. 3: 18 ) in the spiritual lives of those who are presented with the messages (1Cor. 3: 7). The Members of Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit had/have distinct functions in providing and executing God's plan of salvation. The "rule of thumb" is that God the Father plans, God the Son executues, and God the Holy Spirit sustains.
The first step in God's plan of salvation was to provide the means of reconciliation between fallen Man and God. Fallen Man could (can) do NOTHING apart from God to save himself, no matter how many "good deeds' are performed or how many "religious" rituals Man engineers or entertains. Salvation, therefore, is NOT the result of what Man can do for God, but by placing one's trust and confidence in what God has done, is doing, and will do for Man!
According to Scripture ( Psalms 51: 5) we come into this world spiritually dead, separated from God. If, via the choices we make, one departs this world in the same spiritually dead status, he will find himself in the Torments of Hades with nothing to look forward to other than Judgment Day for the UNbeliever which will result in being tossed into what the Bible calls the Lake of Fire for all of Eternity (Rev. 20: 13, 15 NASB)."
We are ALL spiritually dead until the regeneration of our dead spirit (Titus 3: 5) takes place, IF and when we choose to believe in a presentation of the Gospel Message. The regeneration of our DEAD spirit is ONE of several things that takes place at the moment of salavation HERE ON EARTH when we choose to believe in a presentation of the true Gospel Message.
Simultaneous to the regeneration of our dead spirit, is the sealing (baptism - marking for identification) of the then SAVED soul) as a child of God (Eph.4: 30), and the receiving of the promised "eternal life (John 3: 16)." All of this involves the Work of God, and not the work of Man in ANY capacity, religious or otherwise. The mechanics is relatively easy to explain, but there is a key spiritual issue that needs to be understood. Before God could offer His plan of salvation to ANYONE, His justice had to be satisfied. Divine justice requires that ALL sin be accounted for, and paid for, one way or another.
The sin of disbelief will be addressed at the Rev. 20: 13, 15 Judgment Day that has been arranged for ALL the unbelieving souls of the entire human race. Souls of unbelievers are presently suffering (Luke 16: 24) in the Torments Section of Hades, from which they will be called up to the Court of Heaven when Judgment Day for all UNbelievers takes place in the future:
"And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. Any if anyone's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15 NASB)"
Note that althrough the unbelievers were allowed to present all their (good) "deeds", the bottom line and judgment was based on rather or not their names were found in the book of life, which is NOT true of ANY unbeliever. The sin of disbelief will be addressed by the souls of unbelievers spending ALL of eternity in the lake of fire. The lake of fire is NOT a place of extermination, but one of NEVER ending separation from God.
The fire of the lake of fire is not to be confused with the fire of earth. Fire on earth dies out when the source of its fuel is consumed. The fire of the lake of has the ability to cause suffering (Luke 16: 24), but does not consume its source (the souls of unbelievers). This "fire" NEVER ends and the souls within it never die, and will never have any means of release.
There is an "Evaluation Day" for believers (11Cor. 3: 12-15), but this is NOT for the purpose of derermining who gets in or stays in Heaven. At the event, the "deeds" of the believer is at issue. Each believer's deeds will be evaluated, determining what "good" deeds were accomplished by human power (and receive NO reward) and what "good" deeds were accomplished with divine (John 15: 5) power, and rewarded accordingly. The believer's "bad" deeds (sin) are not mentioned. For the believer, his/her sins (as far as salvation is concerned) were all addressed on the day he/she was born again, here on Earth (John 3: 18).
While here on Earth, there is divine discipline (for the purpose of correction) for post (after) salvation sin. Divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) can range in anything from having to live with a guilty conscience, up to an including physical death (Acts 5).
In the Court of Heaven, the believer will give an account (2Cor. 5: 10/Romans 14: 12) of what he/she did (or didn't do) in throughout the course of his post (after) salvation spiritual life and either receive or forfeit rewards. His deeds are evaluated, but the believer is not "judged". His salvation remains secure (1Cor. 3: 15).
The gates of Heaven were opened to the departed souls of believers for one reason, and for one reason only. With the exception of the sin of disbelief, the sin debt of the entire human race (1John 2: 2) had been atoned (paid) for by the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ while ON the cross. Those who choose to BELIEVE in the Work performed by the PERSON of the Lord Jesus Christ will find an open door upon arriving in Heaven when life here on Earth is over. The exception (the sin of disbelief) was (by divine design) not atoned for, and therefore remains to be the ONE and ONLY sin that will cause ANY soul to find himself in the Torments of Hades and eventually in the lake of fire. God cannot require ANY further payment for a debt that He has already stamped PAID IN FULL by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
During the dispensation of the Old Testament, the hand was placed on the sacrificial lamb, transferring the sin of the person onto the lamb. This was symbolic of the hand of God that was to be placed on the Lamb of God (the Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ) while on the cross. The blood of the sacrificial lamb spilled out onto the altar. This was symbolic on the blood of the Lamb of God (the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ) would be spilled on His "altar of sacrifice", the cross. The sacrificial lamb had to be without physical defect. The Lamb of God has to be without spiritual defect (sin). The Old Testament required the services of a qualified Levitical "priest". The Work on the cross required the services of a new form of "priest", the Lord Jesus Christ.
The function of a priest during the Church Age, as opposed to the function of the Levitical priesthood during the dispensation of the Old Testament, is to represent God before Man, and himself before God. Unlike the Old Testament Levitical priests, it is NOT the function of a Church Age priest to make sacrifices on a physical altar, nor is to assume functions that God never assigned to ANY man. Such practices are the products are among the practices and products of Man-made religion that Man has disobediently (Prov. 30: 6) added to what God has established (Prov. 30: 6) Direct access to the Throne of Grace (without a human intercessor-) is one of the privileges of every born again believer.
The priesthood of the Church Age consists of one high priest (the Lord Jesus Christ-Heb. 4: 14) and EVERY born again believer of the Church Age (1Pet. 2: 9). The primary function of the pastor-teacher standing behind the pulpit in the Church that God designed is to "make disciples- Matt. 28: 19)" out of souls who have been born again and desire to advance in the true post salvation spiritual life. A disciple is a student and applier of the Word of God, beginning with oneself with the long term objective of evangelizing and edifying others.
In the name of religion, Man has assigned many functions to the priesthood that it (religion) has established to accommodate the products and practices of its own invention, or to promote a distorted version of what can be Biblically substantiated.
This point is germane to the subject at hand, if it is from a "religious" priest is one's primary source of spiritual edification. One cannot "believe" (place full trust and confidence) is something or someone that he/she does not fully understand. or that is not being fully explained to him/her.
Here, in the USA, many of us are concerned about the impact that the quality and the quantity of the foods we eat will have on the physical body that is destined to become dust (Gen. 3: 19) at the appointed time (Heb. 9: 27), but have little concern about the quantity and the quality of the "food" we feed ours souls that ARE going to live forever, in one environment or another.
The Apostle Paul's teachings were held up to the light of existing Scripture at the time (Acts 17: 11), and so should the teaching and guidance of ANY person in ANY capacity behind a pulpit claiming to speak for God! In the time and (Church) Age in which we are living, we have the advantage of having access to the complete Canon of Scripture, but is does little more than collect dust in the homes of many who claim to Christians.
Once (IF) a religious person can spiritually mature enough to see the products and practices of "religion" for what they really are, only then is he/she ready for the spiritual combat that will come upon every soul that chooses to entertain the TRUE post salvation spiritual life of discipleship.
Many, including many who claim to be Christians of one variety or another, base their hope for life after death in Heaven on the more pleasant attributes of God. Such souls will take the position that a God of "love" and "mercy" would not send a soul to Hell for all of eternity. "Religion" offers (usually for a price) its services to intercede for souls who have departed whose destiny was in question. Such things find a home in the heart of a religious person or in the mnd of one who is under the influence of human viewpoint, but Scripture holds NO SUCH HOPE for ANYONE who chooses to leave this world in the capacity of an unbeliever (Rev. 20: 15).
If our salvation was based on the LOVE and MERCY of God or eventually being earned or otherwise paid for, then there would have been no need for Son of God to take on human form and accomplish the Work on the cross. It was the JUSTICE of God that had to be satisfied, in order for God to reconciled with fallen Man. Divine justice demands that ALL sin must be accounted for and paid for in full. NO exceptions. The believer's pardon is based on the fact that our sin(s) were atoned for on the cross.
While ON the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ did for Man what Man could have NEVER done for himself, no matter how "good" or how "religious" he managed to become. Relatively good behavior and deeds will become a part of the lifestyle of a born again believer (IF) he/she chooses to entertain the TRUE post salvation spiritual life, but such things are not the means to either obtain or retain salvation.
The sin debt of the entire human race, consisted of every sin that everysoul that had been born or would be born throughout the course of human history. In His omniscience (all knowledge of past, present, and future events) God knew of every sin that every soul would commit during the course of their life individual spans here on Earth. God took the sin debt and placed it on the sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, while He (the Lord Jesus Christ) was experiencing the spiritual death (separation from God) while shedding His sacrificial blood on the cross. If He had not that we, collectively and individually, would have otherwise experienced spiritual death (separation from God) for all of eternity in what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15 NASB). This fate (for the ONE sin of disbelief) still awaits ALL who choose to disbelieve in a presentation of the TRUE Gospel Message.
In conclusion, to BELIEVE (in the sense referred to in John 3: 16, 18) means to place one's full trust and confidence in the PERSON (who He is) and in the WORK (what He did on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ. NOTHING more and NOTHING less.