Dedicated to Robert Sakulov, who believed to the end, sought and found the most important thing…
...To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him
When the race is complete,
Still my lips shall repeat—
Yet not I but through Christ in me…
SIMPLY ABOUT FAITH IN GOD
In Christianity, there are many different denominations: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant (Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, charismatic, etc…). It is very easy to get confused. I’m not here to tell you that such and such a confession is correct, and the other is not. I believe that when a person sincerely seeks God, then God will lead him to where he should be.
Basically, the difference between all confessions from each other is the type of church building, its decoration inside, in some human rules, traditions, customs, in the style of worship and preaching.
But the essence of the teaching of all Christians is the same:
1. God is triune. There is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but all three are one.
2. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is God and Man in one person. Christ was crucified on the cross, taking all the sins of mankind onto Himself. Then He was resurrected, granting eternal life in Heaven to every person who believed Him and accepted His salvation from sins. This is good, joyful news for all people.
If some teaching does not accept these truths, then it is not Christian.
1. What does the trinity of God mean?
It is difficult for our minds to comprehend how God can be one, but in three different personalities.
Someone makes a comparison with the sun. There is the sun, there is its light and there is its heat. All three of these components are the sun. That is, all three are one, and one does not exist without the other.
But what does the Bible say about it? If we open Genesis chapter 1, then we can read:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:1–3)
From these verses we see that at the creation of the world three were present: God Himself, His word, which He spoke and with which He created everything, and the Spirit of God, representing the power of God’s word. All three are one!
Now let’s look at the Gospel of John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made… The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word that John speaks of is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is God, who was at the creation of the world and through whom everything was created! Therefore, our God and Creator is the Triune God!
Jesus says in the following verses that He and the Father are one:
Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. (John 14:11)
I and the Father are one! (John 10:30)
Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.
In another Scripture, you can see that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also one, because Jesus says that He will send the Holy Spirit, and immediately adds that He will not leave us as orphans and will come to us:
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16–18)
Any doctrine, that does not recognize Christ as God or the trinity of God is not Christian.
2. Why do people need God?
By creating man with all His love in His own image and likeness, God gave him freedom of choice, the only one of all living beings on earth to be given it. God wanted to communicate with man, to teach him everything, as the Father teaches his children. Therefore, man was the greatest creation of God.
But Adam and Eve made the wrong choice and sinned. Since then, all people (and we are all descendants of Adam and Eve) are born into this world infected with the same disease called sin. It is like a sleeping virus in the body. Sooner or later, it wakes up in everyone, and the person sins. Some sin more, some sin less, some with visible sins, some with invisible.
But it is written:
There is no one righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10)
The worst thing in this is that throughout the ages man has been unable to heal himself from this disease, and in fact, in the end it leads to death. And not only the death of the human body, but also of the soul. Considering that our life is just a moment in eternity, the eternal separation from God and the torment of hell is a terrible prospect.
Sin has put a wall between man and God, breaking their fellowship. And although God was looking for Adam, Adam hid from God. Because God is light, and sinfulness is darkness, sin forces a person to hide so that no one knows about what he has done.
God is righteous and holy and cannot be in the presence of sin. Therefore, man suffered his just punishment and consequences, the first of which was the loss of God’s presence, and as a result, the loss of communication with Him face to face (that is, the loss of paradise). And the second consequence is death.
Only God Himself can save a person from eternal death and return him to his home in Heaven. This is why everyone needs God and His salvation today.
3. How can we be saved from sin and death?
The Lord God gave His chosen people, the Israelites, ten commandments in the Old Testament through Moses (Deuteronomy 5:1–21), which a person had to keep in order to live. That is, a person was justified and saved by observing the entire Law.
The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us, that will be our righteousness. (Deuteronomy 6:24–25)
Keep My decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 18:5)
But if a person still sinned, then in order to be justified, he had to sacrifice living lamb or other animal according to the law. For without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness. Therefore, animals died endlessly for the sins of people.
But, unfortunately, this did not change the nature of people. They offered sacrifices for sin and went on to sin again, then again bring another sacrifice for their cleansing and again go on living a sinful life.
In essence, the Law was given to open people’s eyes to their sins and prepare the way that leads to Christ.
So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. (Galatians 3:24)
Without the Law, people would not know that what they are doing is sin.
The only one able to solve this problem is God Himself, who, in spite of everything, continues to love His creation.
God’s law reveals us our
problem, God’s grace
solves it. Our diagnosis is sin,
our healing is Christ!
After Adam and Eve sinned, God had a plan to save mankind because He loves us as a father loves his children. In any case, for many centuries of the Old Testament, God the Father promised through the prophets that the Savior would come and people were waiting. But no one knew exactly when this would happen, just as now no one knows when the Lord will return to earth as promised for the second time!
But one day the day came, or rather the night, on which Christmas took place when the promised Savior was born as the baby Christ.
Most people did not understand this because the Savior was expected as the King in all glory and God came as baby Jesus. Only a few in those days were given to know that Christ the Savior was born!
This Savior was the Son of God, who having left all His glory in Heaven, descended to earth as a man, so that one day on the cross He would take all the sins of mankind onto Himself and overcome death. By His victory, Jesus Christ gave people who believed in Him the gift of God — the way of deliverance from sin and eternal life with Him.
This is very important for all people because God fulfilled His promise which Нe spoke through many prophets of the Old Testament. We see the prophecies in the following verses that Jesus Christ fulfilled on the day of His death:
But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth;
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation protested?
For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:5–12)
Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day! And now every person who, having repented of his sins, calls the risen Christ the Savior into his life and into his heart will be saved. Sin and death will no longer have power over him. God’s love has given people this great grace! This means that now, a person is saved not by fulfilling the Law, but by faith in the Son of God Jesus Christ!
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved! (Acts 4:12)
At the moment when Christ died, the curtain separating the Holy place from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom in the Jerusalem temple. The Holy of Holies was the place where God met the high priest. Only the high priest had the right to go there to pray in God’s presence on behalf of the people’s sin once a year. If he dared to enter the Holy of Holies unclean, with sin in his heart, he would die there on the spot. Then he would have to be pulled out with the help of a rope, which was always tied to the high priest’s leg before he entered the Holy of Holies.
But Christ, taking the sins of mankind onto Himself, destroyed the wall that separated man from God, and the veil was torn by God’s hand from top to bottom. Since then, people have the opportunity to come to the Lord anywhere and address the living God directly.
Therefore, hold on to Christ! Because Jesus said:
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
A man can rise to Heaven
without wealth, knowledge,
fame or friends, but he will
never get there without Christ!
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
A human can be saved while he still is alive here on earth because to accept salvation from Christ is a personal decision of each person. Nobody else can make this decision for him. Therefore, if a person dies without accepting the Lord Jesus in his heart, then, unfortunately, there will be no help for him. Nowhere in the Bible are there examples of Christ’s apostles or disciples praying for the salvation of the dead. Only the living can be saved.
4. The true meaning of Easter
Have you ever wondered what the true meaning of Easter is? Why is it celebrated all over the world?
On Easter, people paint eggs, eat chocolate rabbits, bake cakes, etc. But is that the point? Of course not. The point is quite different.
When God was leading His people out of Egypt by Moses, the stubborn Pharaoh would not let them go. God brought many plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians to get him to release the people, but to no avail — until the tenth plague. In this plague, the angel of death was sent all over Egypt to destroy all the firstborn, both people and cattle. But to protect the first-borns of the Jewish people, God commanded them to take a young lamb without blemish or imperfection and sacrifice it, then to anoint the doorposts and crossbars of the doors of their houses with its blood. This was a sign for the Angel of Death that no one should be touched in these houses. Seeing the sign, He walked by. (Exodus 12:1–51)
The Son of God was crucified on the cross many years later, becoming God’s Lamb for all people, in order to bring them out of the slavery of sin, just as God once brought the Israelite people out of the slavery of Egypt through Moses. Today His holy blood is applied to the doorposts of the hearts of those who have accepted Christ and believed Him. It is the blood of God’s Son, that will protect those saved by Him from future wrath, when God comes to judge the earth. This is a sign, that these people belong to Christ, because He has already paid for them on the cross.
5. How should you call Christ into your heart?
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)
Christ knocks at the heart of every person in order to save him even today. But He respects your freedom and will never enter your home (your heart) until you yourself invite Him to enter. That is why it is so important to call Him out loud, to proclaim Him as Your Lord and Savior!
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:10)
Why should God live inside a person? Isn’t it enough, just to believe in Him, that He is somewhere around? It is written:
…And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
Open the door of your heart to the Lord Jesus. This is very easy to do. Make a decision to give your life to God and pray sincerely the prayer of repentance aloud:
Dear Jesus Christ, I have long wandered in this life without You and now, more than ever, I realize, that I am a sinful person. Please forgive me for all my sins. Cleanse me. Thank you for Your love for me, that You died on the cross for me, although I did not deserve it at all. I ask you to come into my life, my heart is open to You. You are my Savior and God. I want to follow You and know You intimately as my Friend. Help me to change, so that Your light would shine in me. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Regardless of whether you feel something or not, you can be sure that the Lord Jesus Christ has come to you!
6. Believing in God and being saved
The two statements, “The believer that God exists” and “the believer who is saved in God,” do not mean the same thing.
There are people, who believe that God exists, but they live a sinful life. In other words, there is no God in their life, and they do not know Him. Such people will not go to Heaven.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder. (James 2:19)
Simply believing that God exists will not save people. After all, the demons also believe that God exists.
Imagine that all the people were sick with an incurable disease at one city. They were trying to do everything, but nothing helped them. Once they heard about a miraculous medicine — a living spring from a rock, the water of which can heal from any disease.
Some people did not believe this, saying, “Only fools can believe that some kind of water can heal them.” Others believed that the water from the spring could have healing power but did not go to the spring for various reasons. Both of them did not take the medicine, and in the end, they died of their illness.
But there were others who believed in the power of the spring, and went for the coveted water and drank it. Only they were saved and healed.
Those who believe in God, but are not living by their faith and do not have Christ in their own heart, are like those who believed in the saving medicine for their illness, but never took it. Don’t be like them!
This is why it is important not only to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ, but also to accept Jesus in your heart. After all, only the one in whom the Lord Christ lives is saved in Him. Be saved in Christ!
But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)
7. What does it mean to be born again?
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:3–5)
Being born again is being born a new person from the Spirit of God. This happens when, having heard God’s call from the cross (through hearing or reading God’s Word, or through the touch of God’s love in his life, or through some events, etc.), a person responds to it with faith in his heart, accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as the only source of his salvation.
Until the age of 17, I was not just an unbeliever, but also a deeply convinced atheist. I did not want to know anything about God. Moreover, I was not afraid to boldly assert this to other people.
I was a serious child beyond her years and had gone through a lot of suffering and rejection in life. For this reason, I sensitively recognized in people the falsity and hypocrisy behind the seeming smiles.
But despite this, I still continued to believe in goodness, in love, in honesty and continued to look for them in this world. God did not seem to have any answers to my search, but quite the opposite. I considered Him the guilty one in all evil in the world and I wanted nothing to do with Him.
That was until one day something unusual happened. I went to a church meeting for the first time in my life. I only went so that my classmate, who had invited me there several times already, would leave me alone and stop bothering me. I couldn’t even really explain to myself why I agreed to go with her.
We were met by a girl at the door who, smiling broadly at me, simply said, “Hello. We are very glad to see you.” Something inside me turned over at the same instant, as if someone had touched something in me that I had been hiding from everyone for so long. Tears involuntarily came to my eyes, and I could hardly hold them back. Stunned by the unexpected sensations, I realized that I had just felt sincere acceptance for myself for the first time in my life, without any falseness or insincere smile.
I could not fully explain what had really happened; but definitely, I had not experienced anything like this before in my life. I never felt the same way again, coming to church later, but today I know that on that very first day the Lord Himself met me at the entrance to the church in the person of that unknown girl.
God called me for many years, but I stubbornly walked in the opposite direction from Him. And yet on that day, He touched me, and having heard His call, I turned 180 degrees and went to meet Him. This was the beginning of my birth from above.
The next step was to let God into my life. To do this, I sincerely prayed a prayer of repentance (similar to the one in chapter 5) and invited the Lord Jesus Christ to come into my life, opening the door of my heart wide open for Him.
This step meant that another lost person was found and returned back to His Creator. At such times, all the angels in Heaven rejoice because, as the Bible says:
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:7)
And what’s more, being born again and accepting Christ into our lives, we become children of God, children of the Heavenly King:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
What should the children of God do next?
Get to know God, our Heavenly Father, by communicating with Him, just as you would talk to a dear friend. And also turn away from sin! Although the believer in Christ is saved through grace, this does not mean that he can continue to sin.
In fact, having been born from above, a person is born into a new creation in Christ. Such a person will no longer want to live a sinful life.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)
8. Water Baptism
The person who believes, is baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ after being born again. Water baptism does not save by itself, but it is an important figurative action by which a person consciously and voluntarily confirms to God his decision to live in good conscience.
Immersion in the water symbolizes the death of an old sinful person who until then lived according to fleshly desires. The exit from the depths to the surface of the water symbolizes the resurrection of Christ and the birth of a new person, now living according to the Spirit. This action is a testimony before God and people to live a pure and holy life now, turning away from sin.
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