Resurrection of Jesus Christ

If the greeting card displays, candy and marketing of most stores would reflect the hearts of most people, we would have to agree that the resurrection of Christ is not considered very important. Easter bunnies and eggs have won “hands down” over Christ, the cross, and the empty tomb.

The significance of Resurrection Sunday is often overlooked or distorted by churches in America. All too often, Easter Sunday is more of a once a year religious ritual, a celebration of the beginning of Spring, a glorified egg hunt and pictures with a bunny with a little Jesus sprinkled on top than it is an observance and celebration of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The significance in the event of the resurrection is intertwined with the significance of the person who was raised. It was not a mere mortal that rose from the dead on that morning, it was the Son of God.

For anyone to have been raised from the dead would have been significant; for the Son of God to have been raised is all the more significant. We therefore cannot take the resurrection of our Lord seriously enough, the problem is most people take it very lightly.

The death of Christ was the death of one who was sinless, on behalf of those who were sinners. Yes, Jesus paid for our sins in the sense that He took our sins upon Himself and died with them. He took our place and made a legal payment according to the Law. Payments are made to legal debts. We incur a legal debt to God when we sin because sin is breaking the Law of God.

1 John 3:4(HCSB)4 Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.

Note that it is the LAW that we break, laws like the 10 Commandments. Laws have punishments. Laws are legal requirements and boundaries. Therefore, we sin by breaking God’s law when we lie, cheat,steal, have pride,idols,etc. When we sin, we become subject to a legal debt to God, and we deserve to be punished.
John 1:14(HCSB)The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. But Jesus, who was God in flesh took our sins upon Himself and bore them in His body on the cross 1 Peter 2:24(HCSB)He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.

Over the years there have been some who have sought to show that the death of Christ was less noble than it is. A few have thought that it was our Lord’s own foolishness that brought about His death. After all, they might say, He made ridiculous claims to be God Himself, and He persistently offended the religious leaders by publicly attacking and ridiculing them. No wonder He died, some would say, because this “man” did not have the sense to recognize his own humanity or the diplomacy to pacify the power structure of that day.

Most men would not dare to go so far, but would rather look upon the death of Christ as a great tragedy. It was not our Lord’s foolishness, but the “fickle hand of fate” or the “evil plots of a few threatened men” which brought about the premature death of Jesus, before He could establish His ideal kingdom on earth.

The death of Christ was unique, however, because it was a part of God’s eternal plan that Christ would die as an innocent sacrificial lamb, as a substitute payment for the sins of men.

Never before had anyone been raised from the grave in such a way as to be completely transformed and beyond the icy fingers of death. Our Lord’s resurrection was the first genuine resurrection in the history of man.

If there was no resurrection, Christianity is a hoax, and we are wasting our time. Both Christians and atheists agree that the resurrection is the central issue to Christianity. That’s because if the resurrection isn’t true then we’re still in our sins, and following Christ is meaningless! Both believers and non-believers agree that if Jesus rose from the dead then we have an intellectually feasible argument that the claims of Christianity are true. If he didn’t, then all of Christianity crumbles and falls. 1 Corinthians 15:17(HCSB)17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

God created earth and man perfect. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s commands, He had to punish them.People say How can a loving God send people to Hell, I say how can a righteous God let sinners into heaven? A judge who pardons law-breakers isn’t a righteous judge. Likewise, overlooking sin would make the holy God unjust. Death is God’s just consequence for sin. Romans 6:23(HCSB)23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Even good works cannot make up for wrongs against the holy God. Compared to His goodness, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6(HCSB). Ever since Adam’s sin, every human has been guilty of disobeying God’s righteous laws. Romans 3:23(HCSB)“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Sin is not just big things like murder, adultery or blasphemy, but also includes love of money, hatred of enemies, and deceit of tongue and pride. Because of sin, everyone has deserved death and the eternal separation from God in hell.

Although God banished Adam and Eve from the garden, He didn’t leave them without hope of heaven. He promised He would send a sacrifice to take the punishment they deserved. Until then, men would sacrifice innocent lambs, showing their repentance from sin and faith in the future Sacrifice from God who would bear their penalty. God reaffirmed His promise of the Sacrifice with men such as Abraham and Moses. This is where the beauty of God’s perfect plan comes together: God Himself provided the only sacrifice (Jesus) who could atone for the sins of His people. God’s perfect Son fulfilled God’s perfect requirement of God’s perfect law. It is perfectly brilliant in its simplicity.

2 Corinthians 5:21(HCSB)21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Remember, our holy God cannot let sin go unpunished. To bear our own sins would be to suffer God’s judgment in the flames of hell. Praise God, He kept His promise to send and sacrifice the perfect Lamb to bear the sins of those who trust in Him. Jesus had to die because He is the only one who can pay the penalty for our sins.

The resurrection of Jesus is important for several reasons. First, it witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not a God worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the hideousness that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting that is death and the victory that is the grave’s
1 Corinthians 15:54-55(HCSB)When this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.

Second, the resurrection of Jesus is a testimony to the resurrection of human beings, which is a basic belief of the Christian faith. Unlike all other religions, Christianity alone possesses a founder who transcends death and who promises that His followers will do the same. All other religions were founded by men and prophets whose end was the grave. As Christians, we take comfort in the fact that our God came to Earth as a man, died for our sins, and was resurrected on the third day. The grave could not hold Him. He lives, and He sits today at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

In 1 Corinthians 15:13-20(HCSB)13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Paul explains in detail the importance of the resurrection of Christ. Some in Corinth did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and in this chapter Paul gives six disastrous consequences if there were no resurrection: 1) preaching Christ would be senseless (v. 14); 2) faith in Christ would be useless (v. 14); 3) all the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars (v. 15); 4) no one would be redeemed from sin (v. 17); 5) all former believers would have perished (v.18); and 6) Christians would be the most pitiable people on the earth (v. 19). But Christ indeed has risen from the dead and “has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20), assuring that we will follow Him in resurrection.

The inspired Word of God guarantees the believer’s resurrection at the coming of Jesus Christ for His Body (the Church) at the Second Coming. Such hope and assurance results in a great song of triumph as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55(HCSB) “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

How do these concluding verses relate to the importance of the resurrection? Paul answers, “…you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (v. 58). He reminds us that because we know we will be resurrected to new life, we can suffer persecution and danger for Christ’s sake (vv. 29-31), just as He did. We can follow the example of the thousands of martyrs through history who gladly traded their earthly lives for everlasting life via the resurrection.

The resurrection is the triumphant and glorious victory for every believer. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose the third day according to the Scripture. And, He is coming again! The dead in Christ will be raised up, and those who remain and are alive at His coming will be changed and receive new, glorified bodies 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18(HCSB)13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ important to salvation? It demonstrated that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It proves that God has the power to raise us from the dead. It guarantees that those who believe in Christ will not remain dead, but will be resurrected unto eternal life. That is our blessed hope!
So, we can say that Jesus paid for our sins. All who trust in Christ by faith will be saved from God the Father’s righteous judgment. All we need to do is trust in what Christ has done on the cross and be justified (made legally righteous before God) by faith alone in Christ alone. Romans 5:1-2(HCSB)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

We couldn’t do anything to be worthy enough to receive grace. Ephesians 2:4-5(HCSB)4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!
A dead person cannot save himself, if a dead body is floating in the bayou and you throw him a life raft he can not grab it to save himself.
Ephesian 2:8-9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
We had absolutely nothing to do with our physical birth what makes us think we have something to do with our spiritual one?

Romans 5:6-10(HCSB)6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! 

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Easter or Resurrection Sunday?

The origins of Easter are rooted in European traditions. The name Easter comes from a pagan figure called Eastre (or Eostre) who was celebrated as the goddess of spring by the Saxons of Northern Europe. A festival called Eastre was held during the spring equinox by these people to honor her. The goddess Eastre’s earthly symbol was the rabbit, which was also known as a symbol of fertility. Originally, there were some very pagan (and sometimes utterly evil) practices that went along with the celebration. Today, Easter is almost a completely commercialized holiday, with all the focus on Easter eggs and the Easter bunny being remnants of the goddess worship.

In the Christian faith, Easter has come to mean the celebration of the resurrection of Christ three days after His crucifixion. It is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year because of the significance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the events upon which Christianity is based. Easter Sunday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week and followed by a 50-day Easter season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost.

Because of the commercialization and pagan origins of Easter, many churches prefer to refer to it as “Resurrection Sunday.” The rationale is the more we focus on Christ and the less we focus on the pagan holiday, the better. As previously mentioned, the resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity. Paul says that without this, our faith is futile 1 Corinthians 15:17(HCSB)17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. What more wonderful reason could we have to celebrate! What is important is the true reason behind our celebration, which is that Christ was resurrected from the dead, making it possible for us to have eternal life
Romans 6:4(HCSB)Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life!

Does the following sound familiar?—Spring is in the air! Flowers and bunnies decorate the home. Father helps the children paint beautiful designs on eggs dyed in various colors. These eggs, which will later be hidden and searched for, are placed into lovely, seasonal baskets. The wonderful aroma of the hot cross buns mother is baking in the oven waft through the house. Forty days of abstaining from special foods will finally end the next day. The whole family picks out their Sunday best to wear to the next morning’s sunrise worship service to celebrate the savior’s resurrection and the renewal of life. Everyone looks forward to a succulent ham with all the trimmings. It will be a thrilling day. After all, it is one of the most important religious holidays of the year.

Easter, right? No! This is a description of an ancient Babylonian family—2,000 years before Christ—honoring the resurrection of their god, Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother/wife, Ishtar (after whom the festival was named). As Ishtar was actually pronounced “Easter” in most Semitic dialects, it could be said that the event portrayed here is, in a sense, Easter. Of course, the occasion could easily have been a Phrygian family honoring Attis and Cybele, or perhaps a Phoenician family worshipping Adonis and Astarte. Also fitting the description well would be a heretic Israelite family honoring the Canaanite Baal and Ashtoreth. Or this depiction could just as easily represent any number of other immoral, pagan fertility celebrations of death and resurrection—including the modern Easter celebration as it has come to us through the Anglo-Saxon fertility rites of the goddess Eostre or Ostara. These are all the same festivals, separated only by time and culture.

Astarte (Easter)-worship was always associated with the worship of Baal or sun worship. Astarte was Baal’s wife. Notice that another name for Astarte was Ashtaroth. The following quote makes this point clear: “What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven…Now, the Assyrian goddess, or Astarte, is identified with Semiramis by Athenagoras (Legatio, vol. ii. p. 179), and by Lucian (De Dea Syria, vol iii. p. 382)…Now, no name could more exactly picture forth the character of Semiramis, as queen of Babylon, than the name of ‘Asht-tart,’ for that just means ‘The woman that made towers’…Ashturit, then…is obviously the same as the Hebrew ‘Ashtoreth’” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, pp. 103, 307-308).

Notice this conclusive quote from Microsoft Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia: “Ishtar was the Great Mother, the goddess of fertility and the QUEEN OF HEAVEN.” So, in actuality, Ashtaroth (Ishtar) was Nimrod’s harlotrous, mother/wife widow, Semiramis, as many other ancient historians attest! Easter is now established as none other than the Ashtaroth of the Bible! We can now examine the scriptures that show how God views the worship of this pagan goddess—by any name!

God Calls Easter Evil

Now that we know that Easter is the goddess Ashtaroth, we need to look into the Bible and see what God thinks of her. Look at this verse:” Judges 2:11-13 The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals 12 and abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them. They infuriated the Lord, 13 for they abandoned Him and worshiped Baal and the Ashtoreths.[Easter]

The context shows that God allowed His people to be taken from their land into captivity as a result of this sin! It continues, explaining how God delivered His people over and over again through a series of judges. After each deliverance, Israel returned to the same false gods, which in turn brought another captivity, via conquest by the nations around them. They never seemed to learn, as Judges 2:19(HCSB) makes clear: 19 Whenever the judge died, the Israelites would act even more corruptly than their fathers, going after other gods to worship and bow down to them. They did not turn from their evil practices or their obstinate ways. In Judges 10:6(HCSB)Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned Yahweh and did not worship Him., Israel repeats this pattern of stubbornness. And God, just as stubbornly, still calls it evil.

Baal and Ashtaroth worship reappeared during Samuel’s time. Samuel told Israel, “…put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only…Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only1 Samuel 7:3-4(HCSB)Samuel told them, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the Lord, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites removed the Baals and the Ashtoreths and only worshiped the Lord.

Later, in
1 Samuel 12:10-11(HCSB)10 Then they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned, for we abandoned the Lord and worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths. Now deliver us from the power of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 So the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel. He rescued you from the power of the enemies around you, and you lived securely., Samuel publicly recounted Israel’s history to them. He reminded them that they continually returned to obeying God, only to fall backwards into idolatry again and again!

The most widely-practiced customs on Easter Sunday relate to the symbol of the rabbit (‘Easter bunny’) and the egg.  As outlined previously, the rabbit was a symbol associated with Eostre, representing the beginning of Springtime. Likewise, the egg has come to represent Spring, fertility and renewal.  In Germanic mythology, it is said that Ostara healed a wounded bird she found in the woods by changing it into a hare. Still partially a bird, the hare showed its gratitude to the goddess by laying eggs as gifts.

The Encyclopedia Britannica clearly explains the pagan traditions associated with the egg: “The egg as a symbol of fertility and of renewed life goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Persians, who had also the custom of colouring and eating eggs during their spring festival.” In ancient Egypt, an egg symbolised the sun, while for the Babylonians, the egg represents the hatching of the Venus Ishtar, who fell from heaven to the Euphrates.

Pagan Elements of Modern Easter Celebrations:

As you might be able to tell, the name Easter was likely derived from Eostre, the name of the Anglo-Saxon lunar goddess, as was as the name for the female hormone estrogen. Eostres feast day was held on the first full moon following the vernal equinox  a similar calculation as is used for Easter among Western Christians. On this date the goddess Eostre is believed by her followers to mate with the solar god, conceiving a child who would be born 9 months later on Yule, the winter solstice which falls on December 21st.Two of Eostres most important symbols were the hare (both because of its fertility and because ancient people saw a hare in the full moon) and the egg, which symbolized the growing possibility of new life. Each of these symbols continues to play an important role in modern celebrations of Easter. Curiously, they are also symbols which Christianity has not fully incorporated into its own mythology. Other symbols from other holidays have been given new Christian meanings, but attempts to do the same here have failed.American Christians continue to generally celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, but public references to Easter almost never include any religious elements. Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Easter in decidedly non-Christian ways: with chocolate and other forms of Easter candy, Easter eggs, Easter egg hunts, the Easter bunny, and so forth. Most cultural references to Easter include these elements, most of which are pagan in origin and all of which have become commercialized.Because these aspects of Easter are shared by both Christians and non-Christians, they constitute the common cultural recognition of Easter  the specifically religious celebrations of Christians belong to them alone and are not part of the wider culture. The shift of religious elements away from the general culture and into Christians churches has been occurring over many decades and isnt quite complete.

10 Virgins and a Wedding Feast

As we take a good look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins we will take away a few truths before we get into the wedding feast itself.
Matthew 25:1-13(HCSB) “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were sensible. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take olive oil with them. 4 But the sensible ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps. 5 Since the groom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 “In the middle of the night there was a shout: ‘Here’s the groom! Come out to meet him.’7 “Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 But the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’9 “The sensible ones answered, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.’10 “When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived. Then those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.11 “Later the rest of the virgins also came and said, ‘Master, master, open up for us!’12 “But he replied, ‘I assure you: I do not know you!’13 “Therefore be alert, because you don’t know either the day or the hour.

The bridegroom is Jesus Christ, and this parable describes His return. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament represent Jesus the Messiah as the bridegroom. The Church is described in Scripture as the bride Ephesians 5:25-32(HCSB)25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body.31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. for the Messiah.

In those days when a man wanted to marry a young woman, he approached her father to ask for her hand in marriage. A brief negotiation followed where the price he was required to pay as compensation for the family’s loss of their daughter was determined. It was called the bride price. If acceptable, and if the daughter agreed to become the man’s wife, they were officially betrothed and he went away to build a home for them next to his father’s house. This could take some time, and the couple rarely met again until the father of the groom pronounced the newly built home fit for habitation. Only then was the date set, and the man given permission by his father to go collect his bride for the wedding.

During this time the young woman was to keep herself pure, watch and wait. She and her bridesmaids were to maintain a constant state of preparedness, since the wedding date would not be known to her until the bridegroom actually appeared. For his part, the groom would usually try to show up unexpectedly to surprise her, carrying her off suddenly “like a thief in the night” when no one would see them. When the bridesmaids discovered the bride had been “snatched away” there would be a great torch-lit procession, announcing to the whole town that the wedding banquet was about to begin.Everyone in the procession was expected to carry his or her own torch. Those without a torch would be assumed to be party crashers or even bandits. The torch was either a lamp with a small oil tank and wick or a stick with a rag soaked in oil on the end of it which would require occasional re-soaking to maintain the flame. This was typically a seven day celebration during which the bride and groom were hidden away in their private rooms while the whole town made merry. The father of the groom picked up the tab for the festivities.

The meaning of the parable is that Christ will return at an unknown hour and that His people must be ready. Being ready means preparing for whatever contingency arises in our lives and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times while we eagerly await His coming. As seen in the fact that all the virgins were sleeping when the call came indicates that it doesn’t matter what we are doing when Christ returns. We may be working, eating, sleeping, or pursuing leisure activities. Whatever it is, we must be doing it in such a way that we don’t have to “make things right” (get more oil) when He comes.

This explains where Jesus says He is going to prepare a place for us. He is the Bridegroom and we “the Church” are His bride. We are Betrothed to Jesus. We are to remain pure while He prepares the place for us.

John 14:1-6(HCSB)“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.” 5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me

The five virgins who have the extra oil represent the truly born again who are looking with eagerness to the coming of Christ. They have saving faith and have determined that, whatever occurs, be it lengthy time or adverse circumstances, when Jesus returns, they will be looking with eagerness. The five virgins without the oil represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without true love for Christ. They are more concerned about the party than about longing to see the bridegroom. Their hope is that their association with true believers (“give us some of your oil” of verse 8) will bring them into the kingdom at the end. This, of course, is never the case. One person’s faith in Jesus cannot save another. The “Lord, lord” and “I do not know you” of verses 11 and 12 fit very well with Jesus’ condemnation of the false believers of Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

May we not be found “going away to make the purchase” (v. 10) when Christ returns. Take the time now to fill your lamp with oil and take extra along. Keep waiting and watching with joy and anticipation.

Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 22:1-14(HCSB) Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent out his slaves to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come. 4 Again, he sent out other slaves, and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: Look, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’5 “But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the others seized his slaves, treated them outrageously and killed them. 7 The king was enraged, so he sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city.8 “Then he told his slaves, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’ 10 So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding banquet was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless.13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

The King prepares a great feast for the wedding banquet. He has invited certain people to come.

In verses 3- 5 they ignored the messenger,Notice that it is not because the invited guests could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come. Everyone had an excuse. How tragic, and how typical of human nature, to be offered the blessings of God and to refuse them because of the draw of dull, boring , worldly things!
a. This speaks of people who just outright refuse the gospel.
b. one went his own way, other religions, his own version of Christianity,etc
c. one to his farm, meaning he was satisfying his flesh by spending his time with the things that sustain his flesh.
d. one to his business, he served his money.

In verse 6 they insulted and killed the messengers
a. those are the ones who do all in their power to shut the mouths of the prophets and the preaching of the gospels. Governments, Atheists,Some scientist,people in outright rebellion to the kingdom,etc

Verse 8 stated they were not worthy of honor. You just was not randomly picked to go to the king’s banquets. You had to have been known to the king for him to invite you. And those people took the kings request so lackadaisical, like it didn’t mean anything to them.

So the king opened the invitation to everyone that would accept it.

Verses 1-8 speak of the nation of Israel, they were God’s chosen people yet they ignored the request to come to the Kingdom through Jesus. So God opens up the invitation to everyone Jew and Gentile. There were only two types of people in the bible Jews and Gentiles. To be a Jew you either:
a. Had to be a descendant of Abraham knowing and can recite your lineage back to him.
b. Be converted by proselyte. Proselyting was the ceremony in converting to Judaism. Judaism is a religion of Works not Faith. One does not have to have faith in God,they just have to follow the laws of the Torah and the feast days and all the other laws the Pharisees put on you.

Verse 9 they bring in everyone they could find good and bad alike. The banquet hall was filled.

Verse 11 when the king came in he noticed that one man was not wearing the wedding garments.

The matter of the wedding garment is instructive. It would be a gross insult to the king to refuse to wear the garment provided to the guests. The man who was caught wearing his old clothing learned what an offense it was as he was removed from the celebration. This was Jesus’ way of teaching the inadequacy of self-righteousness. From the very beginning, God has provided a “covering” for our sin. To insist on covering ourselves is to be clothed in “menstrual rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame, but they found their fig leaves to be barely sufficient. God took away their handmade clothes and replaced them with skins of (sacrificed) animals (Genesis 3:7, 21). God takes away our self righteousness and clothes us with the blood of Jesus. We trust in God’s righteousness, not our own.

In those times people didn’t have a huge amount of clothes and wardrobes. Mostly because they were simple people houses were small and you had just the bare necessities then. When a wedding was planned the father of the groom was responsible for the banquet or now a days the reception. He would hire a seamstress to fit a person to a garment to enter into the banquet. He would fit the garments to the people as they were entering the banquet.  But this one man snuck pass and was in the banquet without the proper garments.

One of the first things the king saw when he entered was this man did not have the proper garments.

See many of us want to reap the benefits of the wedding feast without actually changing into the proper garments to enter in. Jesus is the garment to enter into the wedding feast.

What gets me is none of the other guest of hosts paid any attention to the man. That tells me he wasn’t all that different from the others but when the king entered He noticed.

A lot of us can fake it. Make it look like we have the garment, we can talk christianese, fake the fruits, look like we have it all together, BUT when the king enters he can tell.

He asked the man and the man did not even answer. The king then ordered him to be bound then thrown into the outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Many are called but few are chosen.In other words, many people hear the call of God, but only a few heed it.

Sad reality is salvation is open to everyone but not everyone will make it to heaven, some will be too tired, too busy, just don’t care. Others will not want to do what it takes and take off their worldy wear and put on their wedding garments, they don’t want to Put on Christ, They don’t want to change.

They would rather walk the line and try to sneak in. With that you can fool the other guest but when Jesus comes He will see that you are not wearing the proper garments and you will be bound and thrown into Hell.

Just as the king provided wedding garments for his guests, God provides salvation for mankind. Our wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ, and unless we have it, we will miss the wedding feast. When the religions of the world are stripped down to their basic beliefs, we either find man working his way toward God, or we find the cross of Christ. The cross is the only way to salvation.God sent His Son into the world, and the very people who should have celebrated His coming rejected Him, bringing judgment upon themselves. As a result, the kingdom of heaven was opened up to anyone who will set aside his own righteousness and by faith accept the righteousness God provides in Christ. Those who reject the gift of salvation and hold on to their own “good” works will spend eternity in hell.

Being ready for Christ’s return ultimately involves one major thing which manifests itself in several areas of our lives. If we would be ready for Christ’s return, we must be born again through saving faith in Jesus Christ…His death, burial and literal resurrection from the dead (John 3:16; Romans 10:9 ; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-10). Saving faith in Jesus Christ will manifest itself in every aspect of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will begin to show.(love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.) A desire for greater holiness and less sin will be apparent. And a consistent looking for His coming will mark our lives. One of the best passages on what saving grace and faith look like in a believer’s life is Titus 2:11-14(HCSB)11 For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.

Calvinism vs Arminianism & Reformed Theology

Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609.

John Calvin, the famous theologian and pastor of Geneva, died in 1564. Along with Martin Luther in Germany, he was the most influential force of the Protestant Reformation. His commentaries and Institutes of the Christian Religion are still exerting tremendous influence on the Christian church worldwide.

The churches which have inherited the teachings of Calvin are usually called Reformed as opposed to the Lutheran or Anglican/Episcopalian branches of the Reformation. While not all Baptist churches hold to a Reformed theology, there is a significant Baptist tradition which flowed out of that stream and still cherishes the central doctrines inherited from the Reformed branch of the Reformation.

The controversy between Arminianism and Calvinism arose in Holland in the early 1600s. The founder of the Arminian party was Jacob Arminius (1560–1609). He studied in Geneva under Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza, and became a professor of theology at the University of Leyden in 1603.

Gradually Arminius came to reject certain Calvinist teachings. The controversy spread all over Holland, where the Reformed Church was the overwhelming majority. The Arminians drew up their creed in Five Articles, and laid them before the state authorities of Holland in 1610 under the name Remonstrance, signed by forty-six ministers.

The official Calvinistic response came from the Synod of Dort which was held November 13, 1618, to May 9, 1619, to consider the Five Articles. There were eighty-four members and eighteen secular commissioners. The Synod wrote what has come to be known as the Canons of Dort. These are still part of the church confession of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church. They state the Five Points of Calvinism in response to the Five Articles of the Arminian Remonstrants.

So the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinists as a summary of their teaching. They emerged as a response to the Arminians who chose these five points to disagree with.

It is more important to give a positive biblical position on the five points than to know the exact form of the original controversy. These five points are still at the heart of biblical theology. They are not unimportant. Where we stand on these things deeply affects our view of God, man, salvation, the atonement, regeneration, assurance, worship, and missions.

Somewhere along the way (nobody knows for sure when or how), the five points came to be summarized in English under the acronym TULIP.

T – Total depravity

U – Unconditional election

L – Limited atonement

I – Irresistible grace

P – Perseverance of the saint

It starts with man in need of salvation (Total depravity) and then gives, in the order of their occurrence, the steps God takes to save his people. He elects (Unconditional election), then he sends Jesus to atone for the sins of the elect (Limited atonement), then he irresistibly draws his people to faith (Irresistible grace), and finally works to cause them to persevere to the end (Perseverance of the saints).

People grasp these points more easily if we go in the order in which we ourselves often experience them when we become Christians.

1We experience first our depravity and need of salvation.

2Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith.

3Then we trust the sufficiency of the atoning death of Christ for our sins.

4Then we discover that behind the work of God to atone for our sins and bring us to faith was the unconditional election of God.

5And finally we rest in his electing grace to give us the strength and will to persevere to the end in faith.

I. TOTAL DEPRAVITY

A. Arminian Position: Man is spiritually sick. Fallen man was seriously affected by the fall but he still has the ability to choose spiritual good. He determines his eternal destiny by either accepting or rejecting God’s mercies.

B. Reformed Position: Man is spiritually dead. Because of the fall, man has become spiritually dead, blind and deaf to the things of God and is therefore unable of himself to choose spiritual good and determine his own destiny. Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not — indeed he cannot — choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ — it takes  regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation— it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.Our sinful corruption is so deep and so strong as to make us slaves of sin and morally unable to overcome our own rebellion and blindness. This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total. We are utterly dependent on God’s grace to overcome our rebellion, give us eyes to see, and effectively draw us to the Savior.

C. Scriptural Support for the Reformed Position
As a result of Adam’s fall, the entire human race is affected; all humanity is dead in trespasses and sins. Man is unable to save himself (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9;
Romans 3:10-18(HCSB)10 as it is written:There is no one righteous, not even one.11 There is no one who understands;there is no one who seeks God.12 All have turned away;all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good,not even one.13 Their throat is an open grave;they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips.14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,17 and the path of peace they have not known.18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

1. The fall has resulted in spiritual death to all men.

Genesis 2:16-17(HCSB)16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

Romans 5:12(HCSB) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Ephesians 2:1-3(HCSB)And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

Colossians 2:13(HCSB)13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses

Mark 7:21-23(HCSB)21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Jeremiah 17:3(HCSB)The heart is more deceitful than anything else,

and incurable—who can understand it?

II. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

A. Arminian Position: God’s election is based on man’s foreseen faith. Before the foundation of the world, God chose certain individuals for salvation based on His foreseeing that they would, of their own free will, choose Christ.

B. Reformed Position: God’s election is unconditional. God’s choice of certain individuals for salvation was not based on any foreseen response of obedience on their part, but was based solely in His good and sovereign will. Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate a response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.
Romans 8:29-30(HCSB)29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified;

Ephesians 1:4-6(HCSB)For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.[a] In love[b] He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.
 God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before fore the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. God’s election is an unconditional act of free grace that was given through his Son Jesus before the world began. By this act, God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in Jesus.

If all of us are so depraved that we cannot come to God without being born again by the irresistible grace of God, and if this particular grace is purchased by Christ on the cross, then it is clear that the salvation of any of us is owing to God’s election. He chose those to whom he would show such irresistible grace, and for whom he would purchase it. God has an elect people whom He has chosen to grant salvation.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-5(HCSB)4 knowing your election, brothers loved by God. 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we were among you for your benefit,

Election refers to God’s choosing whom to save. It is unconditional in that there is no condition man must meet before God chooses to save him. Man is dead in trespasses and sins. So there is no condition he can meet before God chooses to save him from his deadness.

III. LIMITED ATONEMENT
A. Arminian Position: Christ’s death was designed to make salvation possible for all people. Christ’s death made salvation possible for everyone, but it did not actually secure or guarantee the salvation of anyone. Fallen man determines whether or not Christ’s work will be effective by his faith.
B. Reformed Position: Christ’s death was designed to actually secure the salvation of all of God’s chosen people. Christ’s death secured and actually accomplished the salvation of all of God’s chosen people. God has determined that all for whom Christ sacrificed Himself will be saved. Because God determined that certain ones should be saved as a result of God’s unconditional election, He determined that Christ should die for the elect alone. All whom God has elected and for whom Christ died will be saved (Matthew 1:21(HCSB)21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”;
John 17:9(HCSB)I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours.;
Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation. The atonement of Christ is sufficient for all humans and effective for those who trust him. It is not limited in its worth or sufficiency to save all who believe. But the full, saving effectiveness of the atonement that Jesus accomplished is limited to those for whom that saving effect was prepared. The availability of the total sufficiency of the atonement is for all people. Whosoever will — whoever believes — will be covered by the blood of Christ. And there is a divine design in the death of Christ to accomplish the promises of the new covenant for the chosen bride of Christ. Thus Christ died for all people, but not for all in the same way.

IV. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

A. Arminian Position: The Holy Spirit cannot regenerate fallen man until he believes. The Holy Spirit does all He can to bring every fallen man to salvation, but until fallen man responds in faith, of his own free will, the Spirit cannot give life. Faith preceded and makes possible the New Birth. Faith gives Life.

B. Reformed Position: The Holy Spirit regenerates every one of God’s chosen people, enabling them to believe. The Holy Spirit graciously regenerates every one of God’s chosen people, creating within them a new heart and enabling them to freely and willingly believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. The New Birth precedes and makes possible Saving Faith. Life gives Faith.Those whom God elected He draws to Himself through irresistible grace. God makes man willing to come to Him. When God calls, man responds John 6:37(HCSB)37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. there can be no salvation without the reality of irresistible grace. If we are dead in our sins, and unable to submit to God because of our rebellious nature, then we will never believe in Christ unless God overcomes our rebellion.

Someone may say, “Yes, the Holy Spirit must draw us to God, but we can use our freedom to resist or accept that drawing.” But that is not what the Bible teaches. Except for the continual exertion of saving grace, we will always use our freedom to resist God. That is what it means to be “unable to submit to God.” “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God”
Romans 8:7–8(HCSB)7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God, it is because God has given that person a new, humble nature. If a person remains too hard-hearted and proud to submit to God, it is because that person has not been given such a willing spirit. But to see this most persuasively, we should look at the Scriptures.

Unless the Father Draws

In John 6:44, Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” This drawing is the sovereign work of grace without which none of us will be saved from our rebellion against God.
John 6:65(HCSB)65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”

How God works to change our will without coercion against our will is further explained in 2 Corinthians 4:4–6(HCSB)4 In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. 6 For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Fallen man, left in his dead state, is totally unable to repent, to believe the gospel, or to come to Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14(HCSB)14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.

John 6:44(HCSB)44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

V. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

A. Arminian Position: All who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation.Sinners can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, by falling into a state of serious sin, etc.

B. Reformed Position: All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in Faith by the Power of Almighty God and therefore continue to persevere in faith.The precise ones God has elected and drawn to Himself through the Holy Spirit will persevere in faith. None whom God has elected will be lost; they are eternally secure
John 10:27-29(HCSB)27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.;
Romans 8:29-30(HCSB)For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.
All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. We believe that all who are justified will win the fight of faith. They will persevere in faith and will not surrender finally to the enemy of their souls. This perseverance is the promise of the new covenant, obtained by the blood of Christ, and worked in us by God himself, yet not so as to diminish, but only to empower and encourage, our vigilance; so that we may say in the end, I have fought the good fight, but it was not I, but the grace of God which was with me 2 Timothy 4:7(HCSB)7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
1 Corinthians 15:10(HCSB)10 But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me.

The people of God will persevere to the end and not be lost. The foreknown are predestined, the predestined are called, the called are justified, and the justified are glorified Romans 8:30(HCSB)30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. No one is lost from this group. To belong to this people is to be eternally secure.

According to Calvinism:Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy  Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.REAFFIRMED by the Synod of DortThis system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dort in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into “five points” (in answer to the five points submitted by the Arminians) and has ever since been known as “the five points of Calvinism.”

Now the Five points trying to refute Calvinism by the Arminians

Free Will or Human Ability

Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.

Conditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man’s will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner’s choice of Christ, not God’s choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

Universal Redemption or General Atonement

Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone’s sins. Christ’s redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.

The Holy Spirit Can Be Effectually Resisted

The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit’s call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man’s contribution) precedes and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man’s free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ’s saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God’s grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted by man.

Falling From Grace

Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith. etc. All Arminian, have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ — that once a sinner is regenerated. he can never be lost.

According to Arminianism:Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man(who must respond)—man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.REJECTED by the Synod of DortThis was the system of thought contained in the “Remonstrance” (though the “five points” were not originally arranged in this order). It was submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610 for adoption but was rejected by the Synod of Dort in 1619 on the ground that it was unscriptural.

Grace is the only way to Salvation

We are separated from God. Sin caused man’s separation from God, however God Loves us so much, that He provides the Way back into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. His steadfast loving kindness leads us to repentance, His grace, and mercy, forgives us of all our sins, even though none of us deserves it. No one can earn forgiveness, and reconciliation to God, it is a free gift, to those who believe, and accept it by Faith.

The original sin of Adam and Eve brought devastation to all mankind and separation from God. All men and women are born with the same sin nature in their spirit. We all have impure spirits and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Isaiah 59:2(HCSB) But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.
Romans 5:8(HCSB) 8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

BUT GOD: in spite of our ignorance and rebellion, He is RICH in mercy, and His GREAT love! Think about this… When we were at our worst God reached down and saved us from His wrath!! He loved us so much that HE made a way for us.

We were “adopted” into the family. First adoption is “from Him”—from God. “In love he predestined us for adoption.”Ephesians 1:4-5(HCSB)4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,

So adoption was part of a God’s plan. It was his idea, his purpose. It was not an afterthought. He didn’t discover one day that against his plan and foreknowledge humans had sinned and orphaned themselves in the world, and then come up with the idea of adopting them into his family. No, Paul says, he predestined adoption. He planned it. The misguided but popular concept that all people are children of God and can truthfully call Him “Abba Father” is simply not true. Just as children do not choose to be adopted or choose who will adopt them, neither do Christians choose to become children of God. Instead, God chooses them. He predestines them “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”, having been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world”
Why did Christ have to die for us? Because Scripture declares all men to be sinful. Greek – Hamartia means not hitting the target; to miss the mark. The Bible declares  Romans 3:23(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, our sin separates us from God who is perfect holiness (righteousness and justice) and God must therefore judge sinful man. Sin entered in through the fall of Adam,Romans 5:12(HCSB)Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.
The doctrine of total depravity is an acknowledgement that the Bible teaches as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3:6) every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. In other words, sin affects all areas of our being including who we are and what we do. It penetrates to the very core of our being so that everything is tainted by sin and “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). It acknowledges that the Bible teaches that we sin because we are sinners by nature.
Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering; to save from consequences of sin.
What are we saved from? In the doctrine of salvation, we are saved from God’s wrath, that is, from God’s judgment of sin Romans 5:9(HCSB)9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 

Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death

Romans 6:23(NLT) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Doctrine of Grace teaches that we are totally unable to save ourselves, to help in our salvation, to do anything to merit all or any part of our salvation, or to keep our salvation. We are saved totally as an act of God’s will, and we do not deserve it in any way. This is the most important first principle in understanding Grace–no one in the entire human race deserves any consideration from God, we are all rebels and sinners, and we all deserve Hell. Except for His own redemption plan, God could rightfully have sent the entire human race to eternal punishment long ago! The description Paul gives of believers before salvation fits the entire human race if they are without Christ:

Ephesians 2:1-3 (HCSB)1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.

In spite of us deserving wrath, however, God has exercised His Grace toward us in Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (HCSB) 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

What is the meaning of Grace? We were dead spiritually; we were fit for nothing but wrath; we were rebels and in bondage to sin and Satan. We were “dead” we were slaves to sin. A dead man cannot make himself alive. If there’s a body floating in the bayou, you can throw a life ring to him, but he can’t grab it! Therefore, Only God can make us alive to grab the life ring! Everyone is a slave in the spiritual sense. We are either slaves to sin, which is our natural state, or we are slaves to Christ.
Romans 6:6-8(HCSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him,
But then God who is rich in His mercy decided to adopt us and therefore we were freed from being a slave. Galatians 4:6-7(NLT) 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

In the midst of that condition, God saved us.He reached down and called us out of Darkness into marvelous light when we still in our bondage and death! He breath life into us! A dead man can not do that!
1Peter 2:9(HCSB) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,a holy nation, a people for His possession,so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Jesus makes it clear that NO ONE can come to Him unless the Father draws Him to Jesus!

John 6:44(HCSB) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. and God blessed us with the greatest possible gift–eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

John 6:37-40(HCSB)37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.

What is more, we can add nothing to Grace. Before we were saved, we had nothing to contribute to the process And we add nothing to it.

You might ask, “If this is all a work of God, where do I fit in the process?” The answer is you must believe, you must exercise faith in Christ for salvation, you must submit to the call. Romans 10:9-10(NLT)9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 

This exercise is not a work, however, because is involves no ability on our part and no effort on our part. That is the hard thing to understand about faith–it is not an action, it is a surrender, a throwing up of the hands and saying, “I can do nothing in myself.”

Our Father has devised a plan and made a way for us to stand righteous before Him. He has sent His own Son as a Sacrifice on our behalf, and those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life, and shall be seen as righteous in God’s sight.

This is Justification, to stand before God with all accounts paid, and clothed in the righteousness of His only Son, Jesus Christ. To be able know that you have Romans 5:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.–there is no more war between you and the Almighty.
Galatians 5:24 (ESV)“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”. Where we once pursued selfish pleasures, we now pursue, with equal passion, that which pleases God.

And being obedient to the word and the Spirit that we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are considered righteous and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross. Salvation is 100 percent a work of God–we are unable, because of our bondage to sin and rebellion, to do anything meriting God’s favor. God reaches down to save people–He conceived the plan, He sent His Son to accomplish the plan–He does 100% of the work.
Galatians 3:26(NLT) 26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Therefore your adoption is not based on your fitness, your worth, or your character. It is rooted in God’s eternal purpose and grace. And that means that your adoption is not fragile or flimsy or uncertain. God will not adopt and then find out that you are not worthy and unadopt you. He knows we are unworthy. And he chose us and predestined us for adoption. This is firm and sure and unshakable. He reached down when we were at our worst to make us sons and daughters.

Before the foundation of the world God saw that we would be sinners and planned the death of his Son so that our sins could be forgiven and God’s wrath removed. Through that we were adopted.

The Grace of God is so simple, and so profound that most of the greatest minds don’t fully understand it. It stands in opposition to the ideas that most of us have about earning our way in the world, about people getting what they deserve, about “fairness,” and about the independence of human beings. The meaning of Grace is one of the most hated teachings in the world because it so totally undermines and removes all traces of human pride.

When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24-25 (HCSB) Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(HSCB) My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  But can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand.

John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? Every sin that man can commit against God and man, even the most heinous was dealt with at the cross. If this is so, then what sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” or “unadopt” that which He has already paid for?

Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Also, those who are truly born again are new persons (2 Corinthians 5:17(HCSB)17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. In other words, real Christians are really changed. Real Christians war against their sin, real Christians have recognized they have sinned against God and have trusted in Christ to deliver them from their sins. If there is no war against sin, then there is no evidence of regeneration. Therefore, anyone who would say that once he is saved he can go out and sin all he wants is actually implying he is not regenerated.

Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.”

The message of Grace is God Saves Sinners. It is His Plan, it was His Son who died and rose again, it is His Spirit who enlivens the preaching and witness of believers to awaken sinners to their need of salvation and lead them to faith in Christ.

So, to be saved by grace means that the judgment due to us because of our sin against God, will not be upon us; that is forgiveness. But in addition, we get what we do not deserve–being in the presence of God for all eternity. His Mercy fell upon us that while we were deep in sin His love was deeper, God demonstrates his love that while we were separated, Christ died for us. God demonstrates his love through one man, Jesus’ obedience we’re bought back in blood.

The only way to be saved by grace is by putting your trust in what Jesus did on the cross. He never sinned, and He bore our sin in His body. He paid the price. He satisfied the penalty of the law by dying on the cross, Because our righteous deeds are filthy rags before God, then we have nothing that is pure to offer God. Therefore, the only thing left for us to do is to trust what Christ has done on the cross by faith. That is why the Bible tells us that we are made right before God by faith. Therefore, to be saved by grace means to be safe from the righteous judgment of God by the unmerited favor found only in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Jesus + Nothing = Salvation. Period!