Questions & Answers
Why is Jesus the Only Way to Eternal Life?
Why is Jesus the Only Way to Eternal Life?
The Short answer: Jesus is the only way to eternal life because He alone possesses eternal life (1 John 1:2). If you have Jesus, you have eternal life (1 John 5:12a). If you do not have Jesus, you do not have eternal life (1 John 5:12b).
Discussion: The word "salvation" means a few different things in the Bible but it is most commonly understood to mean eternal life or an unending life in the presence of God. Only through Jesus Christ can you be "saved" (Acts 4:12; John 14:6) because the definition of eternal life is Jesus Christ living in you, joined as one to you in your born again heart (1 John 5:11).
When Jesus came to this earth, He defeated sin on His Cross and He conquered death by His resurrection. Everyone's sins were forgiven and forgotten on the Cross of Christ; forgiveness is God's gift of grace to all people (2 Corinthians 5:19; Mark 3:28; Romans 6:10; 1 John 2:2). But salvation is more than forgiveness. Salvation is having God's righteous and eternal life dwelling in the "born again" heart of those who trust Jesus as Savior. Unbelievers do not yet have God's life living in them and, therefore, do not yet possess eternal life (1 John 5:12b).
What are the Differences Between Law and Grace?
The Short Answer: The Old Covenant law was self-empowered living based on human effort and compliance. New Covenant grace is God-empowered living made possible through the indwelling life of Jesus Christ.
Discussion: The Old Covenant Law functioned only in the realm of human ability; it put the responsibility on the person to live righteously. Until Christ came, no one was ever able to live up to the standards of the Law. New Covenant Grace functions in the realm of the spirit. Jesus Christ is the One who lives righteously in you and does good works through you.
In grace, God initiates and provides everything necessary for your salvation; and, He initiates and provides everything necessary for you to live as a functioning member of the Body of Christ. Your "responsibilities" are to believe and receive what Jesus Christ has already done (John 6:29). Believing and receiving are the same thing as living by faith or walking in the Spirit. It is Christ in you (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27) and you in Christ (John 14:20).
Why Did God End the Law?
The Short Answer: God ended the Old Covenant Law because Jesus Christ completely fulfilled the Law by His righteous life. The Law dealt with fleshly behavior. It was given only to Israel as a temporary measure until Christ came. God replaced the Law with New Covenant grace; it was a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22) that was based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Now, God's Spirit literally inhabits the hearts of those who believe in Jesus Christ, where He writes His laws (His righteousness) upon their hearts (Hebrews 8:10).
Discussion: The Old Covenant Law was a temporary measure given only to Israel until Christ came (Galatians 3:19b). Notice that the verse says that the Law was "added ... until the seed (Jesus) would come ..." (Galatians 3:16). It was instituted because of Israel's sin (Galatians 3:19a) and had three basic functions:  it brought knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20b),  it caused the transgression to increase (Romans 5:20a) and  it pointed the Jews to new life in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24).
God's righteousness lives in the hearts of His people (Jeremiah 31:33). Believers now have a righteous inner nature and can live a life pleasing to God by the power of Christ in them. This is the reason that righteous living and good works come only through faith (Galatians 2:20), not human effort and determination.
For these many centuries, religion has taught a mixture of law and grace; it is ingrained in our culture. But law and grace cannot mix because they are opposites (Galatians 3:12). Living under law, any law or any set of rules, is based on human works; this cannot result in righteousness (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 5:4). The law was made for the flesh. If you try to achieve your righteousness through the law, you must live 100% in compliance with the law (James 2:10); you will fail. If you believe in Jesus Christ, God will give you a new heart and come to live in you bringing His own righteous and eternal life. Following Christ in faith is the way to live righteously (Galatians 3:11).
Are Believers Righteous?
The Short Answer: Yes, believers are fully and forever righteous in their new born again hearts because Jesus Christ lives in them, joined as one to them (Romans 8:10b). But, believers are still dead because of sin in their mortal bodies (Romans 8:10a).
Discussion: You are made righteous in your inner spirit when you are "born again." Upon faith in Christ as Savior, God completely removes your old sinful inner nature and replaces it with a brand new, clean heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Because you are now, for the first time ever, a "clean vessel," God has a place within you where He can live. The Spirit of Jesus Christ comes to live in you bringing His righteous and eternal life (2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 5:11). You become a completely new person in your inner spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ is righteous, therefore you are righteous because He is joined as one with you in your new heart with a bond that can never be broken (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:17). You can now experience living a righteous life as you follow in faith the life that Jesus Christ is living in you as He does His good works through you (Galatians 2:20).
For the present time, your salvation is only within your inner, born again heart; that is, only your inner spirit has been born again and saved thus far. Your outer mortal body has not yet been redeemed and is still dead because of sin (Romans 8:10a). This is the reason that you can still sin in your mortal flesh when you try to live by your own strength instead of following Christ in faith. In the future, God will give you a new righteous body but doesn't happen until Christ returns (Romans 8:23). Since you cannot sin in your born again heart (1 John 3:9), you will live righteously as you follow Christ in faith. You will only live a self-righteous life if you try to live by your own strength, following rules and law instead of Christ.
Are Believers Eternally Secure?
The Short Answer: Yes, because Jesus Christ is eternal life and He is joined inseparably to your born again heart (1 John 5:11). Since Jesus alone possesses Eternal Life (1 John 1:2), you possess His eternal life since He lives in you (1 John 5:12a).
Discussion: Those who deny eternal security do not understand what the Bible teaches about salvation. They view things from a sin perspective instead of a righteousness perspective. They have believed the error of blending law with grace, something that has its roots all the way back to the time of the Apostles.
Salvation is traditionally taught as the forgiveness of sins; so, as the thinking goes, frequent or particularly bad sins might put you in jeopardy. In reality, the Bible teaches that the issue of sins was fully and forever resolved 2,000 years ago. All sins of all people (both believers and unbelievers) were forgiven and forgotten on the Cross of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19, Hebrews 2:9b; 9:26b; 8:12).
Salvation is, instead, having God living in your born again heart. Believers who try to live under law (or any set of rules) are in bondage to sin; most are caught up in a daily ritual of confessing sins, hoping that God will forgive them and restore them back to "fellowship" with Him. This never ends, and it keeps the focus on sin.
Living by faith is living by the power of Christ in you. This is the only way you believer can live righteously. When you try to live righteously by your own human power, it is self-righteousness. The solution is to walk in faith by following the life that Jesus Christ is living in you and through you. There is no need to dwell on mistakes and sins since the Cross of Christ completely resolved the issue of sins. The focus is always on Christ and His righteousness in you.
It is important to understand that you can never sin in your born again heart because Jesus in you can never sin (1 John 3:9); this is the reason you focus on righteousness instead of sin. The problem is your "earth suit," as one writer gives the name to your outer, mortal flesh. Your physical body and your human mind are still dead because of sin even though your inner spirit is fully righteous (Romans 8:10a). Living by faith is God's ordained way to live and overcome the problems of your not-yet-redeemed flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Why Can Believers Still Sin?
The Short Answer: As a believer, you can still sin in your outer mortal body because it has not yet been redeemed and made righteous like your inner born again heart (Romans 8:10).
Discussion: If believers are literally righteous, why can they still sin? The Bible teaches that all believers are righteous children of God who live in mortal bodies that have not yet been redeemed and are still dead because of sin (Romans 8:10). Believers are spiritual perfection living in imperfect "houses" (2 Corinthians 5:2,4). This is the reason you can still sin, but it is also the reason you live by faith.
Whereas you are in a perfectly righteous union with Christ in your born again spirit, you are not able to live righteously by your own outward human strength and determination. Yet, you can live righteously by following in faith the inner life of Jesus Christ as He lives His righteous life in you and does His good works through you. You are His hands, feet, and mouth in the world today (Galatians 2:20).
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?
The Short Answer: You must be baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ Jesus to be saved. Water baptism is a symbol of your death, burial and resurrection with Christ unto new life in Him.
Discussion: This is a controversial issue that has persisted for centuries due to ignorance of the Scriptures. You are baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ when you are saved; this happens to every believer without exception. The moment the Holy Spirit comes to live in your new, born again heart is the exact moment that you are baptized into Christ and the exact moment you are "saved." (Remember, your sins were already forgiven and forgotten on the Cross of Christ.)
The baptism that saves you is in the spiritual realm; this is very important to recognize. Physical baptism is a picture, or symbol, of the spiritual baptism that has already saved you. There are too many who teach that physical baptism saves you; this is a false teaching.
New believers should be baptized; it teaches them that they have died with Christ, been buried with Christ, and have been raised with Christ unto new life in the spirit. For those who are physically unable, or otherwise cannot be baptized, someone reading and teaching them Romans 6:3-14 (Romans 6:3,4,5,6,7-8,9-10,11-12,13,14) will serve the same purpose. (When the Bible speaks of water baptism, it is referring to immersion in water since this pictures being buried with Christ; sprinkling does not teach this truth adequately.) So, it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that saves you; immersion baptism pictures this eternity changing event.
What is the Difference Between "Soul" and "Spirit"?
The Short Answer: Your inner "spirit" is the real you and, as a believer, the part of you that has already been redeemed and made righteous. Your physical body and mortal mind make up your "mortal flesh" or your "outer man" (2 Corinthians 4:16); your mortal flesh has not yet been redeemed. Your "soul" is the immaterial expression of your mortal mind and body consisting of thoughts, feelings and personality.
Discussion: People often use the words "soul" and "spirit" interchangeably but they are not at all the same; a lot of misunderstanding has been the result. It is quite popular to try to create a parallel between God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with a person’s body, soul and spirit. The Bible offers no support for this notion; it has only added to the confusion.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, your inner, born again spirit is the real, genuine "you" while your physical body is your temporary "house" (2 Corinthians 5:2,4). One writer calls your body your "earth suit"; you need your earth suit while in this world although it is the source of any of the problems you might experience.  Bill Gilham, "Lifetime Guarantee"
Your spirit has already been redeemed; it is fully righteous (Romans 8:10b) because Jesus Christ is joined as one to you in your born again heart (1 Corinthians 6:17). Since Jesus cannot sin, you cannot sin in your spirit either (1 John 3:9). Your human body, on the other hand, has not yet been redeemed; it is still dead because of sin (Romans 8:10a). Your body awaits a future redemption (Romans 8:23b).
Since your mortal soul, with your human thoughts, emotions and personality, is not perfectly righteous all the time, it cannot be part of your already redeemed and sinless born again spirit. Your soul, therefore, must be part of your not-yet-redeemed mortal flesh. Your soul and body are one entity, not two separate entities. Simply put, your soul is the immaterial expression of your mortal mind.
The magnificent brain and body that God has given you is the source of your personality, your human thoughts and your emotions. When your body dies, so will your imperfect mortal thoughts and emotions. When that happens, you will fully experience the richness of life with the Lord in your spirit without the hindrance of a body that, on this earth, often makes you "groan" (2 Corinthians 5:2,4).
What is Repentance?
The Short Answer: New Testament repentance is turning from unbelief to faith in Jesus Christ. Discussion: Repentance is changing one's mind in the sense of turning away from one thing and turning toward another. For the Jews under the Old Covenant law, repentance clearly meant turning from their sins and turning back to God. This is because the Jews were responsible for keeping the Law by their own human works. Under the Law, the sins of the people were "covered" but not taken away (Hebrews 10:4).
With the Old Covenant Law now being replaced by New Covenant grace, repentance is associated with only one single sin, the sin of unbelief. Unbelief is the one sin that is not forgiven because rejecting Christ is rejecting His eternal life. All other sins were fully and forever "put away" by the Cross of Christ (Hebrews 9:26b; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Mark 3:28) and, therefore, are not an issue in repentance today.
Unbelief, or rejecting Christ as Savior, was not and could not be forgiven on the Cross. Thus, it is the only sin from which one must repent. This is because rejecting Christ is rejecting the eternal life that He brings when He comes to live in your born again heart. If you do not have Christ's eternal life, you are not saved. So, in this sense, this one sin is unforgivable.
Therefore, in New Covenant grace, "repentance" means turning away from unbelief and turning to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior (Mark 1:15; John 6:29; Acts 19:4; 1 John 3:23). This is the work of the Holy Spirit as He convinces those who are not yet saved that Jesus is the Savior of the world (John 16:8,9).
Note: Repentance in popular teaching is the idea that we turn from our sins in order to be forgiven. Not only is this performance based, or "works" salvation, it is impossible. You have no capacity to turn from sin until after you are saved, after God gives you a new nature, and after Jesus Christ comes to live in your born again heart.
Should Christians Confess Their Sins?
The Short Answer: No, never; you would be denying the Cross of Christ. Your sins were forever forgiven and forgotten by God on the Cross of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:12; 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 9:26b). Stop focusing on sins and start focusing on the righteous living that comes by faith in Jesus Christ who lives in your born again heart.
Discussion: Confessing sins is such a highly ingrained ritual that most Christians are resistant to hearing what the Bible actually teaches about this practice - absolutely nothing. There is no passage in the Bible that tells you to confess your sins to God. We are to own up to the times we hurt or offend another person (James 5:16) but the matter of forgiveness from God was finished on the Cross of Christ. (The explanation for 1 John 1:9 is below.)
When you confess your sins, this is what you are inadvertently saying to God, "Father, even though you put away sin by the Cross of Your Son (Hebrews 9:26b) once for all time (Hebrews 10:12) and for all people (2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:20), I feel compelled to dwell on my sins and I want assurances that you still accept me.” If you think this way, you need to understand the Gospel the way the Bible teaches it.
The root of this false teaching is the unbiblical blending of Old Covenant law and New Covenant grace. The Law, given only to Israel, purposely kept them focused on their transgressions against God (Romans 3:20b); the Law even caused sins to increase (Romans 5:20). Their sins were only "covered" by the ritual sacrifices and holy days; they were not done away with. Thus, it was normal for the Jews under the Law to confess their sins (Matthew 3:6).But the Cross of Christ defeated sin. No longer is the focus on sin because sin has been "put away" forever (Hebrews 9:26b). New Covenant grace is intended to focus you on Jesus Christ and the righteous living that comes from the power of Christ in you. You experience this through the life of faith. Faith is not your own self-effort, but rather following what Christ in you is doing through you (Galatians 2:20).
There is only one verse that can be used to teach you to confess your sins and it is used incorrectly; it is an example of teaching something completely out of context. The letter of 1 John was written to the Jews, and in the first chapter explaining the lies that were being spread among the community of believers. These lies were a set of beliefs called Gnosticism that denied the existence of sin.
In response, the Apostle John first makes a clear presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:1,2,3,4,5). In 1 John 1:3, the “fellowship” that the John is speaking of is being a member of the Body of Christ in the family of God. It is not a “family fellowship” that you can continually go in and out of.
Following that, John presents three examples of how these lies were being played out (1 John 1:6,8,10). John responds to these lies in verses 7 and 9 (1 John 1:7,9). These false teachers were saying that they had no sin because, in their beliefs, sin did not exist, only ignorance.
So what about 1 John 1:9? (Again, this letter and this verse were not written to you.) In verse 8, these people were denying that they needed a Savior because they had "no sin" (1 John 1:8). They were saying that they did not need to be forgiven or cleansed. So, addressing this lie in (1 John 1:9), John said that if they acknowledged their sin and their need for a Savior to cleanse them, then God would be "faithful and righteous" to forgive their sins and "cleanse (them) from all unrighteousness." John is not speaking to people who have already acknowledged their need to be forgiven and cleansed; he is speaking to these unbelievers.
The second part of verse 9 is critical but it is almost always overlooked in any teaching about confessing sins: verse 9b "... cleanse us from all unrighteousness." All believers have been completely cleansed in their born again hearts and made fully and forever righteous; this is because Jesus lives in us. Believers can never sin in their inner spirits because Jesus, joined as one to them, can never sin (1 John 3:9). This is why believers are never, ever out of fellowship with God (Romans 8:1). This is why confessing sins is a false teaching.
Is There Really an Unforgivable Sin?
The Short Answer: Yes, it is unbelief in Jesus Christ as Savior because rejecting Christ is also rejecting the eternal life that is found only in Him. Discussion: The Bible declares that the sins of all people were forgiven for all time on the Cross of Jesus Christ (Mark 3:28; Hebrews 9:26b; Hebrews 7:27b; Colossians 1:20). Beyond forgiveness, there is new life.
When you trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, God removes your old sinful nature and replaces it with a brand new, clean nature, or "heart" (Ezekiel 36:26; Romans 6:6). Now clean and without sin, Jesus comes to live in you, and He joins His life to your new life. You now have eternal life because this life is in Christ Jesus (1 John 5:11,12a,13).
If you reject Christ, you do not have Him living in you and, therefore, you do not have His eternal life in you (1 John 5:12b). Your unbelief is rejecting Christ's eternal life. This is the reason unbelief is a sin that can never be forgiven.