What Must I Do To Be Saved?Written by Stephen Kingery
One of most important questions which needs to be answered today is title of this article: "What Must I Do To Be Saved?" The answer to this question is important for those professing to be Christians and sinners alike. Why? Because answer is given in Bible and it is specific. The main thrust of our ministry is admonition of those professing to follow Christ to be "Doers of Word," or as NIV renders it "Do not merely listen to word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22) Allow me to paraphrase this another way: "Do not listen to what men teach, and let them deceive you. Do what word says."
Some men would have you believe that all that you must do to be saved is to "call upon name of Lord." They even give you a sample "sinner's prayer" to pray, and having prayed that prayer they declare, "praise God, you are now saved!" But is this what Bible teaches? The scripture which is used to prove this teaching is Romans 10:13, where Paul says, "For whoever calls upon name of Lord shall be saved."
I once heard a very wise preacher say, "If you ever put an interpretation on a scripture that makes another scripture appear to be wrong, then you have wrong interpretation." Let's examine Romans 10:13 to see what Paul is really teaching. First of all you need to know to whom Paul was teaching in book of Romans. To properly interpret scripture, you must know to whom message was given. In Romans, Paul is teaching Christians in church at Rome which had former Jews as well as Gentiles. Therefore, book of Romans is a treatise of some things which should be considered by both Jew and Gentile.
Chapter ten teaches that Israel rejected Christ, but this did not mean that Jews could not accept Christ. In verse twelve Paul writes, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him." In other words, both Jew and Greek (Gentile) can call upon Lord for salvation. If either a Jew or a Gentile seeks salvation through Christ based upon New Testament teachings, they shall receive salvation. Then Paul reaffirms what he said in verse twelve by stating in verse thirteen, "For whoever calls upon name of Lord shall be saved." In other words, it doesn't make any difference if you are a Jew or a Gentile, if you call upon Lord for salvation, you shall receive salvation.
Now please note that Paul was not teaching on subject of HOW you receive salvation, but WHO is eligible to receive salvation.
There are many other "plans" for salvation which have been developed by men. Some say you have to have that "special feeling", others say you have to "pray through," and still others will put some other form of man-made qualification on receiving salvation. No person here on earth will ever produce a plan of salvation equal to, or that will take place of, that plan which Christ gave us. The New Testament gives us plan of salvation which was given to Apostles by Christ, and was practiced by them throughout their ministries.
So what is plan of salvation? The plan of salvation consists of five steps, all of which are necessary for person to receive salvation and gain eventual reward of eternal life with Jesus Christ. Those five steps are: Belief, Repentance, Confession, Baptism, and Faithful Living.
Belief, or faith is first step in receiving salvation. Paul, in his epistle to Romans says as much, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed." (Romans 10:14a) How do we develop this faith or belief in Christ? Paul continues above passage by saying, "And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14b) And, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by word of God." (Romans 10:17) So we see that we come to a realization that God does truly exist, and that He is able to do that which He has promised, by hearing word of God. Of course this usually happens by listening to a preacher, Sunday School teacher, Bible study, or some other means of learning what God tells us in His word.
This should go without saying, but I shall say it anyway, faith (or belief) is absolutely necessary if we are to receive salvation. How can we have dealings with One who is unseen, and whose chief rewards lie beyond this present life, unless we believe that God exists and will bring eternal life. We see this explicitly spelled out in Bible, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)
We also read in Bible that our faith must be in Jesus Christ, "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is Christ, Son of Living God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31)
Faith was also preached by Apostles, "So they said, 'Believe on Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.'" (Acts 16:31) Jesus Himself emphasized faith when He said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)
The result of faith that Jesus is Christ, Son of God is repentance. Not just saying, "I'm sorry for sins I've committed," but a deep feeling of remorse in knowledge that we have not been pleasing to God. In same way that faith is not merely intellectual agreement that God does exist, repentance is not merely acknowledging that we have sinned and saying, "I'm sorry."
Let's compare for a moment a child who has been caught breaking his parents' rules. He may acknowledge that he has broken rule, and he may (probably will) say, "I'm sorry and I won't do it anymore." But his real motive may be to avoid punishment that his parents have warned him would be given to him if he disobeyed. However, given opportunity, he may break rule again, and not feel any guilt unless he gets caught again. This is not repentance.
Gambling — Don't Bet On ItWritten by Hoyt W. Allen, Jr.
The more state governments approve of legalizing casinos, lotteries, and various forms of gambling (along with many good organizations and some religious groups), more citizens become confused about whether it is honorable and right to participate.
The first regular lottery was authorized to be drawn for charitable purposes at Malines, in Low Countries, in September 13, 1519. It was to benefit Church of St. Peter.
An English lottery in 1612 supported English settlement in Jamestown, Virginia. Between 1744 and 1894, more than 1,300 separate lotteries were approved. Harvard University's Holsworthy Hall was built from such lottery funds. In 1830's, many Americans began to oppose lotteries. State after state began to prohibit them. In 1894, Congress had closed interstate and foreign commerce to lottery materials, thus ending lottery craze. In 1963, New Hampshire revived American lottery tradition by instituting such.
John Jacobson, Executive Director of "National Association of Fund Raising Ticket Manufacturers" stated that in 1992 at least $6.4 billion was spent on bingo, raffles and other ticket games for charity in U.S.A. The income from bets netted about $721 million for charities in 26 states and District of Columbia. The amount did not include amount of money poured into electronic gambling, such as slots and video machines nor dice, punch boards, horse racing, football parlays, check stub number matching, etc. The association actively lobbies against those devises which competes with tickets it manufactures.
The question is often asked, "Is it sinful to gamble?" I will attempt to answer this question from Scriptures and by applying some common sense. May it be understood that amount one gambles does not justify it, as it is principle of gambling that makes it wrong.
Gambling is an attempt to gain without working. All games of chance come under this heading. Genesis 3:17-19 states that man is to work for a living. Likewise, Ephesians 4:28; 6:6 calls for old fashioned work. In II Thessalonians 3:10 inspired writings even state that those refusing to work should not be given charity. Certainly those who are incapable (physically or mentally) do not come under this category. However, when work is available and one refuses to work – he is not to be donated to. Our present-day government welfare programs should be reading Scriptures and then maybe our taxes would be much less.
Some would point to Scriptures and attempt to prove gambling is justified. Often, one will point to Exodus 28:30 to usage of "Urim & Thummim." However, this was a means by which divine revelation was revealed to High Priest. God directed this, and nothing that God directs is in error. Likewise, some will point to Acts 1:26 to "Casting of Lots," for selection of a replacement for Judas Iscariot. However, this was a procedure which God approved.
I Corinthians 5:11 uses a Greek word "HARPAX," which is translated "Extortion," and "Swindler" in English. It means to: seize, carry off by force, rob, plunder. . . Basically, it means to take without giving in return! That is what gambling is – it is all for taking home jackpot without giving labor in return.
Exodus 20:17 (The last of Ten Commandments) says, "Do not covet. . ." It is greed that causes one to covet. It is also greed that causes one to gamble, (see Colossians 3:5; I Corinthians 6:9,10). Some would have us to believe that gambling is a sickness like alcoholism. However, just like alcoholism, gambling is self induced.
Some cry out, "But word gamble is not even in Bible, so how can it be wrong?" Please note Philippians 4:8,9 and determine if gambling is right. The seeking of sudden wealth leading to a life of ease and no responsibility is not God's plan for man. Matthew 6:24 states that one cannot serve two masters and this is what happens as one permits him/herself to fall into trap of gambling.