Thursday, August 22, 2019

Attending Church Isn't a Sole Indicator of a Person's Belief in Christ, Our Faith in God Gives Us a Lot of Freedom, and Some Propose Beliefs That Sound Good but May Lead Many Astray posts-

Since Bible Passages That Can Influence Your Life, is now on line through individual posts, I am now putting several links together for each post. I found groupings of three posts worked well for anyone interested in using these for a Bible study group.  Debbie Seiling

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law: for by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.  Galatians Chapter 2:16.

There are people who think that if they are good people they will have Salvation, but they don’t actively believe in Jesus Christ.  This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to attend church regularly.  There are some people who attend church regularly that may or may not receive Salvation because of their lifestyle choices.  Attending church isn’t a sole indicator of a person’s belief in Christ.  That is a personal matter between God and them.  Isn’t it neat that God makes all of these decisions on an individual basis?

Anyway, the requirement for Salvation is to believe that Jesus Christ is Savior of all.  Now, this isn’t an isolated thing.  That belief needs to be an active part of our life.  It’s not just something we should think about every six years when a relative dies and you think about them going to heaven to be with God.  It’s supposed to be a daily part of our lives.  That’s what I mean.  This passage is saying that we don’t get Salvation by just following the Law; it’s our faith in Jesus Christ that saves us, but we are still supposed to be examples of how Jesus works in our lives.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.  Galatians, Chapter 5, verse 13.

Our faith in God gives us a lot of freedom.  I know I don’t have to worry about my kids starving because I know that God will provide food for my family since He says so in the Bible.  Realizing things like this has freed up my life so much that it’s difficult to explain.
Recognizing this, we have some choices.  We could say, “Well, I know that God won’t let us starve, so I could take the money I used to set aside from the budget for food and go out drinking with my friends who have been asking me for some time.  In the past, I had told them no because I couldn’t afford it.  Now, I can go out and party with them because God will make sure the kids don’t go hungry.”  I’m not sure that God would be pleased with this decision.
It’s a choice that God gives us.  Instead, I could say, “Since I don’t have to spend so much time worrying about my family having enough to eat the way I used to, I can spend my extra time helping the elderly neighbor across the street by cleaning her house or watering her plants.”

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  2 Corinthians, Chapter 11, verses 12-15.

This passage reminds us to be careful to not be deceived.  There will be people who say they are Christians, proposing beliefs that sound good but will lead many astray.  It goes on to say that Satan transforms himself into a minister of righteousness to mislead people.
I always remember Jim Jones who was a minister years ago.  He took a group of “believers” to JonestownGuyana.  These people must have been very devoted to their “beliefs.”  I’m not sure that if push came to shove that I would leave my home and family to go to another country just because someone told me this is what God wanted me to do.  Anyway, they must have been very dedicated to leave everything and everyone behind.
Jim Jones either convinced or tricked these “believers” into committing suicide when the authorities got too involved.  Well, although these were very committed “believers” who gave up all for their faith in God, it was for nothing.  They gave up all their things, friends, family and lives for a very disturbed minister who led these people to believe he was doing the will of God.  (If you want more details; look up the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana during 1978.)  Did these people find Salvation?  I can’t speak to that, but it’s highly questionable.
We don’t want to find ourselves misled by others who profess to be followers of God.  I think it’s very important for all Christians to check things out in the Bible.  Don’t take things for granted just because someone else says them, whether it’s a minister, a devoted Christian, me, someone on a Christian Channel or Radio Station.  It’s very easy to take a verse or two out of the Bible and make it support just about anything.  That’s considered using the Bible passages out of context.
Reading a chapter before the passage and after the passage is beneficial.  Each chapter is about a page or two.  This gives you a better idea of what the quoted Bible verses really mean.  That’s why I always tell you where I get the Bible passages.  I want you to be able to look them up and verify them.  It’s a very important thing to do.
You need to look at the people who have an influence on your religious life.  What type of lifestyle do they lead?  Are they running in the fast lane?  Are they preaching something that has become very popular or a fad type of belief?  Are they taking too much credit for things rather than keeping the focus on God?  Are they putting an undue emphasis on giving money?  Be cautious about who you give ultimate control of your religious life.  Check things out.  Passages like this one remind me that very dedicated believers can still be misled by others as in the Jonestown Massacre.  It pays to check things out.  It may have a direct impact on your Salvation.

Because this is an example of how I’ve applied this Bible passage to my life, it doesn't necessarily reflect the whole meaning of the passage.

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