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Are you saved? Are you in faith?

 

 

From which one can deduce whether man is truly saved and living in faith? Read about this most important thing!

 

When it comes to life after death, many don’t take this issue seriously. They do not think of the possibility of eternal life or going to hell. They think it’s better not to think about that topic at all and that after death they will see what’s really going on. Why bother with a thing that isn’t so much certain, though?

    However, the whole New Testament is based on the fact that life goes on after this life; every man is judged by his deeds, and his goal is ultimately heaven or hell. If his name is not in the book of life, he will go to hell as the following verses show:

 

- (Rev 20:12-15) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

- (Matt 16:26) For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

You can be forgiven everything. The teaching of the Bible, then, is that man can go to hell. The question, however, is, who will go to hell and how can we be saved from it?

     First, the question of who will go to hell. The answer to this is simple. Every unrepentant person gets there; that is, a person who does not repent of his sins and wickedness, and who does not want to turn to God. The following verses show that the unrighteous do not inherit the kingdom of God:

 

- 1 (Cor 6:9,10) Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

 

- (Rev 22:14,15) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie

 

Even if a person has done wrongs and lived in evil, or if he has only been the so-called decent man, however, he can be forgiven. In fact, the most important teaching of the entire New Testament is that every person can be forgiven for wrongdoings and sins. Forgiveness is told by e.g. the following verses:

 

- (Matt 6:12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

 

- (Luke 7:42) And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

 

- (Acts 26:18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

 

- (Rom 4:7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 

 

- (Eph 1:7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 

- (Col 2:13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

 

So God is ready to forgive everyone their sins and eternal life, but how does that happen? In this regard, it is worth paying attention to the following points:

 

Repentance. As stated, an unrepentant person will not be forgiven. That is why God wants us to repent, which involves turning to Him and changing our minds about sin. Jesus even taught that if a person does not want to repent, he will not be saved, but will perish. It has such a great impact on eternity. Of course, we cannot become sinless and can fall at times or often, but it is always dangerous if a person begins to justify his sins.

 

- (Luke 13:3) I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.

 

A good example of repentance is Jesus ’teaching on the prodigal son. This boy lived deep in sin, but then he turned to his father and confessed his sins. His father pardoned him.

 

- (Luuk 15:11-20) And he said, A certain man had two sons:

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided to them his living.

13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave to him.

17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you,

19 And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

 

- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

- (Prov 28:13) He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.

 

You can't save yourself. Turning to God in prayer is therefore the first step to salvation. God does not save anyone automatically, but man himself must turn to God.

    However, man as such is not saved by repentance, repentance exercises, or any deeds by which man tries to approach God. Through them we cannot receive salvation because we are far from perfection. Therefore, everyone should understand that man himself is in relation to salvation like a drowning man who cannot help himself. He has no chance to help himself, but salvation and help must come from outside.

   How, then, will this matter be resolved? The answer is simple. When a person realizes that he cannot save himself, the gospel of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Jesus, the Son of God, comes to the rescue (Col 1:14: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins). When we turn to Him in prayer and welcome Him into our lives, we can receive forgiveness of sins. Among other things, the following verses show how salvation is in Jesus. He is the only way to connect with God because He has borne our sins on the cross. If we reject him, who is like a lifeboat for a drowning soul, we will have to pay for our sins in hell ourselves. So do not reject Jesus, but welcome him into your life.

 

- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

- (John 5:40) And you will not come to me, that you might have life.

 

- (Acts 10:43) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.

 

- (Acts 13:38,39) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins:

39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 

 

If you have welcomed Jesus into your life and put your faith, that is, your trust in the matter of salvation, in Him (Acts 16:31 "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house."), you can pray, for example, as follows: 

 

The prayer of salvation: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.

 

You are under grace. Once you have turned to God and welcomed Jesus into your life, it is important to emphasize that from that moment on, you are under grace all the time. It becomes clear e.g. of the following verses:

 

- (1 Peter 5:12) By Silvanus, a faithful brother to you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein you stand.

 

- (Rom 5:1,2) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

 

What does the previous one mean? It means that even if you fail and fall, you will not go away from the grace of God. You will always be the object of his love and grace. That is, each of us can fall back into sin, but then it is best to immediately confess our sins to God and repent again. It is good to do this immediately after the Fall and to re-believe that all our sins are forgiven. However, it is good for us to be careful that we do not intentionally harden ourselves and constantly live in sin. The Bible warns of this in many places.

 

Are you in faith?

 

- (2 Cor 13: 5) Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?

 

The alphabet of salvation was discussed above. It is always a question of how man reacts to Jesus, where only there is salvation (Acts 4:12: Neither is salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.). If a person rejects Jesus, he himself will have to pay for his sins in hell. Instead, if a person wishes Jesus to be the lord of his life, then he has eternal life and forgiveness of sins, as the following verses show:

 

- (1 John 5:11-13) And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

 

But are all people in the church really saved and within eternal life? This is something to consider seriously, as it is possible that many have only embraced the scenes of the Christian life, but Jesus has never been allowed to enter their lives. It can be a ward worker, a priest, or anyone involved in Christian activity.

   The following quote says something about this. The author describes how he was involved in Christian activity, but Jesus had always stood outside his heart. He later came to living faith and salvation:

 

I thought about my early youth years when I was actively involved in Christian activity. Actually, I hadn’t known Jesus. At least not in the end times. I had only been a part of Christian culture and formal spending, which little by little had begun to feel deceptively comfortable. I lived in something far more dangerous than Satanism: in half-hearted of Christianity. I was said to be a believer, and I had the right kind of Christian upbringing. But I did not have any personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

   My faith at the time was not based on a relationship with HIM, but on a relationship with the church, spiritual activity, and the Christian living environment. I did not bring my heart before God, but a well-practiced presentation. (1)

 

It is also worth noting the teaching of the New Testament. Numerous verses show that being involved in spiritual activities does not guarantee salvation. A parable of the ten virgins and other examples show that spiritual activity and being in it is not a sign of salvation:

 

- (Matt 25:1-12) Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.

7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I know you not

 

- (Matt 7:21-23) Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity

 

- (Luke 13:23-25) Then said one to him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said to them,

24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say to you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not from where you are:

 

- (Rev 3:1) And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things said he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.

 

Another option is that man has been truly saved, but has then gradually drifted away from God. This may have been the case for many. For the Christian life is not just that one turns to God once, and then it has it all. Instead, it’s about following Jesus for the rest of your life and making choices. Salvation is, of course, all the time in Jesus, and man is allowed to be under grace all the time, but if he abandons Jesus and following Him, he will drift away from salvation. A person’s name can be erased from the book of life. Several verses warn us about this:

 

- (Hebr 10:38,39) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not of them who draw back to perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

 

- (Rev 3:5) He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

 

- (Matt 24:13) But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.

 

- (Luke 8:13,14) They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 

 

- (Luke 12:45,46) But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

 

- (John 15:4-6) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me.

5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

 

- (Rom 11:20-22) Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high minded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.

 

- (2 Cor 11:3,4) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

4 For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.

 

- (Gal 5:4) Christ is become of no effect to you, whoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace

 

- (Gal 6:7,8) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

8 For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 

- (1 Tim 1:18,19) This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare;

19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

 

- (1 Tim 6:20,21) O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

 

- (Hebr 3:12-14) Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end;

 

- (1 John 2:19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

 

- (2 Peter 2:20-22) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.

22 But it is happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

 

There were powerful verses above that suggested how people can lose their faith. This can easily happen if we do not control our lif and start playing with sin. Evil may be present with us, and we can sometimes fall because of the weakness of our flesh, but what matters is the direction of our will. Moreover, if we fall, we must immediately turn again to God and apologize for our actions. God forgives every repentant person.

   To get better clarity on the subject under discussion, we look at the vision that the late preacher, Frank Mangs, had at the age of 91. It shows how one can consider oneself a Christian and saved, but still be outside the gates of salvation and heaven. The reason for the condition of these people is certainly that they have never repented of their sins and wanted to change within themselves. They have not allowed God to act in their lives or maybe at some point they have gradually separated from him. Mangs explains his vision:

 

I would have liked to see these people walk all the way home, but this was not allowed. I was forced to look at the beginning of the road and the narrow gate. I saw a large number of people standing there, right in front of the gate. What was strange was that many of them seemed happy. They were happy because they thought they were on the road even though they had never turned to true conversion by travelling through the narrow gate.

   (...) We have guaranteed people their eternity because they have been baptised once. We have guaranteed that seeking souls have born of the Spirit even though they were only born by the influence of man. We have told them that they are children of God simply because they are “nice”. We have become pious quacks, and we have assured spiritual seekers that they have born of God even though they have just recently awakened. Sometimes, we have disrupted the spiritual process of birth this way.

   As a result of this, there are plenty of people who think that they are headed for Heaven even though they are not. Jesus said that this would be the case in the evening of this era.

   At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.

   No oil! No Spirit! No functional spiritual life. Name and recognition. And they thought this would be enough.

   I saw even more: I saw people who had entered through the gate, experienced the miracle of rebirth and started to walk the road but who had changed the road into something else than was meant. They had stopped and made the road a resting place instead of a travel route. They had not stopped because of old age. Their growth and development had simply stopped. They had stopped and started to live in their memories. Some of them had simply stopped and fallen asleep. They had all forgotten Paul’s command: “Even though we have already made progress on our journey, let us keep walking along the same road!”  (...) Paul was ruled by sacred poverty but these people are ruled by Laodicean satisfaction: “We have enough.”

   I saw something else, too. I saw people who had drawn away from the supernatural light shining on the road. They were in the dark on either side of the road. In the dark, where the vision of sin and bliss was unseen. All was dark and grey and surreal. And this grey surrealism made possible something that was not possible in the middle of the road: playing with sin, speech and actions.

   And I saw that the darkness on either side of the road had become the object of their attention. What had happened to them was the same that happened to Israel when the people started to listen to the calling of Egypt's food. The listening grew into lust. A hunger that trapped their thoughts and feelings. It overcame their dreams and visions. And so they were walking on the side of the road even though they seemed to be on it.

   Then, something horrible happened. Silently, like shadows, they slipped away from the road: there was no ditch or fence around it. They slipped away from the road onto which they had entered with tears and prayers. Away from the light, into the darkness. Away from life, into death. Away from living hope and into hopelessness. Into hopelessness they did not feel. Because they were dead. They had lost their ability to understand and react. They had lost their ability to experience a crisis of spirit.

   When I had seen all this, I silently fell to my knees and wept. I hoped that I were even half a century younger than I was. I hoped that I had an opportunity to invest all I have – better than I had – in the Holy Spirit of God using me even more than it already had. (2)

 

From what can it be inferred that man has not received salvation? Assessing the inner state of people can sometimes be really difficult, but there are some things that can be used to deduce whether it is a question of just religiosity or saving faith. Next, we will try to raise a few such issues.

 

Attitude to the Word and misconception about God 

 

- (Matt 15:6-9) ... Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

7 You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

8 This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 

Attitudes towards the Word, or the Bible, often indicate a person's spiritual state. Many do not honor the teachings of Jesus and the apostles as such, but act according to their own heads. Man himself decides how things are and settles into a greater authority than the scriptures, Jesus, and the apostles. It manifests itself e.g. in a matter like denying God’s work of creation and believing in evolution as well as millions of years. God is reduced so that he had almost no part in the birth of the universe and life. This is done even though no one has been able to show that life was born of itself. Similarly, intermediate forms are still lacking, even though hundreds of millions of fossils have already been excavated from the earth. Intermediate forms are not found in paleontological museums or elsewhere. The evidence clearly points to God’s work of creation.

    What about millions of years? When radiocarbon, which has an official half-life of only 5,730 years,  is repeatedly found from carbon depositions (According to Radiocarbon-magazine, no coal lacking radiocarbon has been found. / Lowe, D.C., Problems associated with use of coal as a source of 14C free background material, Radiocarbon 31(2):117-120,1989), from dinosaurs (http://newgeology.us/presentation48.html) and fromf organisms considered to be ancient, it cannot be a question of millions of years but of thousand years. The findings clearly point to short periods of time, even if atheist scientists claim otherwise.

    Second, the arrogance towards the teachings of Jesus and the apostles is manifested today in the prohibition of biblical sexual teaching, that is, that sex is right only in marriage between a man and a wife. (Hebr 13:4: ”Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”) That is why many people are in favor of open relationships, easy divorces or, for example, homosexual relationships. These people say that the Bible is just a cultural book of its time, the teaching of which does not apply to our time. They do not want to believe that the teachings of Jesus and the apostles are current and true at all times.

    One indication of arrogance is also a misconception of God. Many converts and religious people who have not received salvation have a god of their own, “My God”. They do not want to accept the God who has revealed himself in the Bible. This is especially evident in relation to God’s wrath and hell, which many deny, even though Jesus repeatedly taught and warned about it. Therefore, many of these people believe in universalism, that is, the doctrine of the salvation of all.

   But but. If God is good, how could He forgive an unrepentant man? A good God could not do that, because otherwise He would give his approval to the injustice of dictators and other people, and the Bible does not teach such a doctrine. Instead, the Bible repeatedly teaches about God’s wrath against unrepentant sinners. ”It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebr 10:31), ”For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18), ”​Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience:” (Col 3:5,6), ”But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who takes vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” (Rom 3:5,6).

   Of course, God is also love (1 John 4: 8). To that end, Jesus came into the world and God was in Christ, reconciling all our sins through him (2 Cor 5:19). We receive the gift of salvation and eternal life as we turn to God confessing our sins. The problem, however, is that most people don’t take this step.

    And what happens to spiritual teachers who mislead others? They are also responsible for misled people. It is not God’s will, of course, for these people to do this, but for them to be saved and to bring others into God’s eternal kingdom as well. The following description relates to the topic. It’s about the preacher in hell:

 

We stopped at yet another pit of fire and brimstone. There was a fairly large man in the pit, and I heard that he was preaching the Gospel! I didn’t ask anything anymore. I just looked at Jesus, amazed, to get an answer, because He always knew what I was thinking. And the Lord answered, “When he was on the earth, he was a preacher of Gospel.”

   I wondered what such a man was doing in Hell. (...) He spread his hands as if holding a book and started to read from it, like from the Bible.

   He read one writing after another, and I thought that this was good. Jesus said to the man, with great love in His voice, "Quiet. Be still.” The man immediately stopped talking and slowly turned to look at Jesus.

   I saw his soul inside his bony figure. He said to Jesus, “Lord, I am preaching the truth now to all people. Now, Lord, I am prepared to go and tell everyone about this place. When I was on the earth, I did not believe in damnation – nor did I believe in Your second coming. I told people what they wanted to hear and changed the truth so that it pleased them. I made my own rules about Heaven, about right and wrong. I led many astray and caused many to abandon Your Holy Word. I caused many to abandon You.”

   “But, Lord, I have changed. Please let me out, and I will do as You want.”

   Jesus said to the preacher,

 

Not only did you pervert God's Holy Word but you also lied that you did not know the truth. The joys of life were more important to you than the truth. I visited you myself and tried to change you, but you turned your back on me. You went your own ways and held the Devil as your lord. You knew the truth but you did not turn back to me. I was there all the time, waiting for you, calling for you. I wanted you to come back to me but you refused.

   The judgement has now been given.”

 

There was pity in the Lord’s face.

   I knew that if the man had listened to the Saviour’s call, he would not be here.

   Jesus spoke again,

 

You should have told the truth, and you would have turned many to faith with God’s Word. All my Words are true. You knew the way of the Cross. You knew the way of righteousness. You knew you should have spoken the truth. Yet, Satan filled your heart with lies and you turned to sin. You should have sincerely repented, instead of only partly. Now it is too late.” (3)

 

Fruit also matters - is there a longing for a more sacred life?

 

- (Matt 7:20-23) Why by their fruits you shall know them.

21 Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

  

When a person turns to God and Jesus in confession of his sins, he must constantly make choices about how he lives. Today, there are a wide variety of sources of temptation that were not the same before. Such things include porn, games, social media, the Internet in general, and TV. Each of them can bind us, take unnecessary time, and ultimately lead man completely away from God and to hell. That is why the Bible warns us not to drift into vain bonds and sins. It appears in the following verses:

 

- (Hebr 12:1) Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

 

- (Hebr 10:26) For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,

 

- (Eph 5:5) For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

 

Indeed, it is very possible that we fall into previous things and unnecessary use of time or unnecessary speech, anger, jealousy, pride, self-love, and other things. Everyone can cool in their faith and surrender in the face of temptation. Man’s nature ultimately affects what things are his weaknesses. For some it may be sexual desire, in others jealousy, fear of man, greed, pride and some other things. On the other hand, there are those of a steady and easy-going nature who may not fall into previous things, but they tend to be lazy and they are lazy in their relationship with God and in all they do. Each has its own weaknesses.

   How, then, can one know whether faith is genuine or just imagination? One example is the human attitude to sin. If a person is truly born again and has come into contact with God, he or she does not intentionally want to sin. He may often fall into sin, but he immediately grieves that this has happened. For example, Paul wrote in the seventh chapter of Romans about this battle between flesh and spirit, in which man would like to do the will of God but fails to do so. So Paul said that For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom 7:22-24). In other words, Paul had a desire to do God’s will, but he found that he could not always do it. This is true in the lives of most believers.

    However, true faith always includes a person’s longing for a holier and cleaner life. If this desire does not exist, the belief is certainly not genuine. A false Christian often looks pure and bright in his own eyes, and does not long for a change in his life and defends his sins, but true faith always causes a longing for liberation from sin and weaknesses in his own life, and more generally in society. True faith also includes the constant search for God. Jesus said:

 

- (Matt 5:6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

 

- (Matt 5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

- (Matt 6:33) But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

 

A good example of true faith is the T.B. In Barratt's description. He lived in the early part of the last century and he recounts how, before his Pentecost, he had strongly experienced and worried about his own shortcomings. The question of sanctification had been his favorite subject, although he had not experienced it properly before his renewal:

 

Barratt: It took place yesterday, Sunday, October the 7th, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and now I will tell you all how it happened. My soul is burning! I feel as if I was the happiest man in the world. Everything has become new. I am full of joy, peace, and love towards God and all people! Through the days he has led me, my heart continually shouting, “Forward! Forward!” Since my difficult illness over 20 years ago, there have always been forces, good forces, which have driven me forward. The question of sanctification has been my dearest subject; I have fought for it, even though I have not experienced it. (…)

   But how wretched I felt in my own eyes before the purity and holiness of God! I saw my own ambition, selfishness, stubbornness, and carnality. Oh, my God, I saw so much, so much that would grieve the Holy Spirit! I was broken and bent to the ground over and over again. (4)

 

The desire for a holier life and deliverance from sin is thus one of the most important signs of living faith. If a person does not have this desire, he is certainly not in living faith.

    How, then, does the fruit of living faith manifest itself in other ways in human life? Many converts who are not saved often plead that they have done nothing wrong. However, the fact that a person is not a thief, a drunkard, a curse, a liar, a blasphemer, sexually immoral, or has done no harm to others, does not testify that a person is a true Christian. Even an unbeliever person may not be guilty of previous things. In addition, many unbelievers can be honest, fair, or generous and have a gentle nature.

   Instead, living faith is also manifested in the fact that a person is positively God-fearing, gracious and forgiving, easily confessing his mistakes, calm, compassionate, humble, respectful of others, etc. Innstead if a person does not have any of these traits and has selfish, angry, cantankerous and a proud spirit or he makes a large number of his love and humility, there is reason to doubt the faith of such a person. The foregoing does not mean that man could not fall in these areas. Yes, everyone can, but the constant search for God and the longing to give up false traits is part of living faith. If this trait does not exist, it is certainly not a living faith.

   To get a better picture of the matter, let’s watch a vision of John Bevere. It shows how one can consider oneself a Christian and saved, but still be outside the gates of salvation and heaven. The reason for the condition of these people is certainly that they have never repented of their sins and wanted to change within themselves. They have not allowed God to act in their lives or maybe at some point they have gradually separated from him.

 

I received a breathtaking spiritual vision in prayer. It changed my life and my service work. I saw a large group of people, countless of people, a group so large I had never seen such before. These people were gathered outside the gates of Heaven, waiting to be let in and hear the Master say, ”Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Matt 25:34). Instead, they heard Him say, ”Depart from me, you cursed.” I saw their horrible shock, anguish and horror. They actually believed they would go to Heaven because they confessed the faith and Jesus as their Lord. However, they had not understood the true meaning of sin. Even though they wanted to get to Heaven, they lacked a burning desire to be obedient to our Father’s will. (5)

 

The question of rescue certainty. When the Reformation was born at the time, the central question was how to obtain forgiveness of sins, or God’s approval, and how one can be sure of God’s approval. Among other things, Luther’s explanation of Galatians deals with the subject extensively.

   The issue of rescue certainty is still a relevant matter and should be the most important thing for people. Paul also wrote in the above verses, “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves.” (2 Corinthians 13:5), so this should not be ignored.

     But, but. The problem with many people in churches is precisely that they are not aware of this, and worse, they are not even worried about it.

   Well-known preacher Niilo Yli-Vainio, who was in contact with thousands of people, often came across such people, the so-called converts. Usually ordinary sinners said directly that they did not yet have experience of salvation, but the converts circled and curved around the matter:

 

In the course of my spiritual work, I must have asked thousands of people if they were believers. An ordinary sinner admits, “Not yet.” But the convert beats about the bush and does not give a direct answer to a direct question. He wants to be a Christian but he lacks the internal experience. That is why he cannot really even lie properly. He does not want to deny – or admit – that something in his innermost being says that there is no assurance of what has been talked about. (6)

 

The problem with many such converts, then, is that they do not want clarity, but settle for vagueness. They may say that it is their personal matter, that it is inappropriate to discuss such a subject, or that

is proud to talk about personal certainty.

   However, the clear teaching of the Bible is that salvation can be assured. For example, Jesus exhorted the disciples to rejoice that their names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.). Such rejoicing would be impossible if one were not sure. Similarly, the well-known Finnish preacher Urho Muroma has stated in his book Kuka on kristitty? that “A truly saved person can always tell how he has been saved.” Muroma compares this to salvation from fire, or how many avoided a sure death during the last wars and survived. Admittedly, not everyone knows the exact moment and day of their salvation. For example, the well-known revival preacher Frank Magns could only state that he moved from darkness to light during ‘that and that’ spring.

   On the other hand, if one claims that salvation can never be assured, such a person will unbelievably nullify all the promises of the Bible for the remission of sins (e.g., Acts 16:31:  ”And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house".). Of such an unbelieving attitude, Jesus taught, ”He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18).

  So why do people lack the certainty of salvation? The biggest reason is looking at yourself. Even a truly saved person may be uncertain about his or her salvation, but he or she will be freed from it as soon as he or she looks to the atoning work of Jesus Christ and not to his or her own shortcomings. For example, the following verses refer to this: 

 

- (John 1:29) The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

 

- (Gal 3:1) O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

 

It is important to emphasize that the certainty of salvation is not a condition of salvation, but should be one consequence of man placing his trust in Jesus Christ and his work of atonement on the cross instead of himself. When a person has seen his hopelessness to save himself and put his trust in Jesus, he will get peace through this.

    What, then, is the problem with people who may even be involved in church activities but have not yet been saved? The problem is that they do not understand the difference between the law and the gospel. The law has never allowed them to be sentenced to hell, subject to the wrath of God, and guilty. The purpose of the law is to show that man himself is lost and incapable of saving himself, but they have never experienced this (Rom. 3: 19,20 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.)

 Jesus Christ can be the Savior only to a person who knows that he cannot save himself, and who puts all his hopes in the atoning work of Jesus, and in nothing in himself.

    We look at a quote in which man has experienced a “conversion,” but everything has remained superficial and Jesus has been left out of everything. This can easily happen if the law has not first allowed a person to reveal his or her condition. However, the same person later experienced a real conversion and in the light of the law saw his own state as it really is.

 

Earlier, faith in my mind was most of all a matter of will. I gave my life to Jesus at a winter camp and experienced an enormous feeling of freedom. I thought that this freedom was an assurance of being saved and so I started to live like a Christian. Among the young, I had been converting others to become similar kinds of Christians as I was.

   I now understand that I myself also belonged to that group of people who faithfully walked with Jesus when He was on Earth. They saw His acts and heard Him preaching. (…) But they never became His disciples. (…)

   Now I understand that I have been just like that all these years.

   When I gave my life to Jesus at the winter camp, I did so because people have to do so in order to become Christians. After that, I only had to start living like a Christian. I thought I could do that by hanging out with other young Christians.

  I now understand that during all that time that passed from the camp to this day, I hadn't properly received Jesus into my life.

   It feels strange that I did not feel lost or helpless before I started to search for God again. I knew everything was not as it should be, but I wasn't worried about that. I was a Christian after all; I had done everything one must do to become a Christian. The mere thought of not being saved felt impossible.

   (…)These days I simply just do not know whether I am a child of God. I now completely understand Martti. There really is cause to wonder whether I am a Christian at all.

   I told him about my conversation with Martti, and about the terrible time I had the following autumn. By them, I had begun to realize that I was full of sin and misery. I was astonished that Jaakko had never experienced that. Or if he had, it must have been years ago. He no longer considered himself a great sinner. He knew he was one, but did not have any personal feelings about it.

   (…) I was brave enough to say that his problem was not knowing God as He really is. The law had never had the chance to make him feel defenseless or guilty before God. Therefore he did not need the Gospel. (7)

 

C/O. Rosenius has also elucidated the backgrounds of the wrong turning. He states that such a convert sets the bar of the requirements of God’s law low enough not to be guilty before God. He may think that God does not demand unreasonable, and when man does his best, God will eventually give his approval. He also does not understand the difference between the law and the gospel and may take comfort in the fact that he has become better:

 

This can only lead to bad. Some become coarse Pharisees, who can easily be identified. Others become Pharisees in a more refined way.

   They know very well that no one will be declared righteous by fulfilling the law, as Paul says. They never intended to choose that, but somehow have been drawn to it. It started with them looking for salvation. They read the word of God, prayed, and defied the world and sin. They noticed that they really changed from what they were, and thanked God for that. They had a miserable luck in getting comfort and peace from becoming better people. But how did this really happen?

   Perhaps they were never really awoken? They assured themselves only of the danger of walking the wide road and chose the other road. They were sure that now that they walked a different road than the world in general, everything had to be in order. They put away a few sins and changed their way of life, but did not understand that God looks into our heart. Neither did they understand what being born again means but were satisfied with changing their life in a few areas. And when they were not perfectly content with themselves, they thought, “Christians also have their faults, but God is merciful”.

   Here and there, they also started to bargain about the law: no way can God make unreasonable demands! In this way, they arranged their lives and put their bar so low that they escaped from being guilty in the eyes of God. If they somehow took into consideration the fact that the purpose of the law was to bring about repentance and depression, they thought that everything must be all right when they felt bad about some sins in their conscience. But they were never entirely under the judgment and anger of God.

   Putting it briefly, this is the wrong kind of conversion. It is impossible to dig into all the details but briefly, it can be put like this: one who has never lost his wrongful hope about the grace of God, who has never failed in his conversion, never entirely been under the judgment of God, has never really turned to God and been saved. (8)

 

How do you understand salvation? When it comes to religious people who think they are on the way to heaven but have not been saved, there are different groups of them. Others have adopted a concept of faith in which it is easy for them to believe in God’s grace and love, even though they are constantly living completely according to their own minds.

    The second group, on the other hand, emphasizes deeds and law, but they never lose hope in their own self, which is the purpose of the law (Romans 3: 19,20). They are content with their piety and sanctification, so that they receive comfort from their deeds, baptism, sorrow, repentance, or that they are better than others. They do not rely solely on the Atonement of Jesus and the promises of the Word, but look at themselves in everything. They may nominally say they believe in Jesus, but they think they must do their best first, and then God will eventually give His grace “because of the work of Jesus’ atonement ”. This view thus confuses the law and the gospel. One does not want to hear the full truth that man, with all his deeds and attempts, has been completely lost and separated from God, as the law shows, nor the truth that God has already done everything for us in Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:19,20: 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.) Salvation is transformed into a path where man first does his best and gets an end from God — that is, what he himself cannot do.

   But how does salvation happen? In this regard, it is worth paying attention to the following points:

 

Putting trust in Jesus. Many have faith in the reliability of the Bible. They can believe everything written in the Bible that Jesus died for people and that God loves people. Such faith based on history is a good thing in itself, but it is not saving faith. Also the demons believe the same things are true (James 2:19).

    Instead, saving faith means more. It does not only mean believing in what Jesus has done in history and the claims made about him, but it means putting your own trust in Jesus alone. When a person has found himself lost and separated from God, he turns to Jesus with the sole hope of salvation. He does not put trust, that is, faith in himself and his transformation, but in Jesus alone and in his work of atonement. This point is well illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles, where Paul advises the jailer to believe, that is, to put his trust in Jesus in the matter of salvation:

 

- (Acts 16:30,31) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.

 

When a person believes in Jesus in the matter of salvation, this precludes action and attempt. Faith in Jesus outside is the opposite of man’s attempts to influence salvation. So, for example, Paul wrote about the relationship between deeds and faith and how we are saved by grace and faith, and not through ourselves and our deeds. Salvation is a gift that is received and nothing can be done for it. Otherwise it would not be a gift:

 

- (Eph 2:8,9) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.

 

What is the role of deeds in salvation? It is important to emphasize that they do not save anyone, but they can be done after salvation. This is repeatedly raised, for example, in Paul's teaching. He spoke of acts influenced by faith, e.g. in the next section. Faith in Jesus should always take precedence over deeds and be the foundation of salvation; acts are only consequences:

 

- (2 Thess 1:11) Why also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

 

Salvation happens in an instant. To this is referred e.g. by the fact that all the conversions in the Bible took place in one moment. Likewise, rebirth of which Jesus spoke refers to a rapid event (John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.") For just as ordinary birth happens in an instant, and people have a birthday once a year and not every day of the year, so it is with regard to rebirth. It is not a process of years, but a person is saved and reborn as soon as he receives Jesus into his life - after realizing before that he cannot save himself and that the only hope is in Jesus. The Gospel of John says this: 

 

- (John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

God justifies the ungodly and not the kind of person who partially trusts in his deeds. As for justification, which is the other side of rebirth, it also refers to quick salvation and we are not saved because of our actions. That is, God justifies the ungodly — a man who is guaranteed to have no merit. He does not justify the righteous a man who thinks he can influence salvation by his actions, but he justifies the ungodly who turns to Jesus and gets at the same time forgiving of everything.

 

- (Rom 4:4,5) Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

 

Here is one reason why Jesus said publicans and harlots go to the kingdom of heaven before the religious Pharisees. Religious Pharisees relied too much on their actions, and they did not understand the significance of the law, which is to show man himself as a lost and drowned soul who cannot save himself. It is easier for publicans and harlots to understand this because they cannot trust anything good in themselves: 

 

- (Matt 21:31) Whether of them two did the will of his father? They say to him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

                                                       

We will still look at a quote related to the topic. Urho Muroma tells how many make a decision or decisions, do their best, and then wait for God to finally give His grace “because of the work of Jesus’ Atonement ”. However, this is a completely wrong and impossible way to be saved. These people have not understood the meaning of the law, which is that every mouth may be stopped, that is, to make a person realize that there is no way he can save himself. (Rom. 3: 19,20 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.). The law should be the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith in him, and not by our works. (Gal 3:24 24 Why the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.)

Second, it is impossible to have the certainty of salvation if you put some of your hope in yourself, in your transformation, or even in your sorrow. (That is, if you are satisfied with your guilt, it is not a real guilt. The purpose of a guilt should always be that a person gets no consolation from himself and can no longer endure his current state, but seeks help from outside, from the Atonement of Jesus). The only way to have assurance is to put your hope and trust in Jesus Christ, who has already fulfilled the law for us. (John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.) Therefore, look not to yourself, but to Jesus Christ outside, otherwise you will never get assurance.

    So here is a quote from Urho Muroma's text, and how people may misunderstand salvation:  

 

- Have you ever made the mistake of seeing salvation as a result of cooperation between you and God, so that when you first do your best, God in His grace will forgive you for what you cannot do?

   She did not reply, but I noticed that the thought was doing some powerful work in her.

   - It is like this: many people try to create a way to salvation for themselves.

   First, they convert, make a decision and more decisions, give themselves to the Lord again and again, put away the sins which they can, confess their sins, start to pray, read the Bible, pray in the mornings, go to church and meetings, work for God, do social work, charity, and so on. And when they have done their part, they expect that God then will do His part: gives them grace or gives them what is lacking because of Christ.

   - That is exactly how I have thought, she quickly said.

   - But dear lady, that is not the way of grace. It is the way of earning. In this, a man does what he can and waits as a reward God to see his deeds in a favorable light. This is called synergism, the cooperation of a man and God for the salvation of the soul. No one can in this way find peace and assurance of salvation, because it holds no promise. It is not God’s way of salvation. Luther once tried to find God in this very manner, but fell into despair. As have others, always with equally poor results. All of the Catholic Church and many Protestants live like this. (9)

 

Emotions as such do not prove faith to be genuine. Finally, a small word about the feelings that are part of the spiritual life. Living faith is ”righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. vanhurskautta ja rauhaa ja iloa Pyhässä Hengessä” (Rom 14:17). Likewise, the greatest commandment includes the presumption of love for God and men. Yes, emotions are somewhat related to following this commandment, otherwise it's pretty hard to love: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:36-39).

 But do feelings or experiences testify of true faith? Jonathan Edwards has addressed this issue in his major book, Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. This book was born as a result of a great revival that took place in the United States in the 18th century. Edwards noted that after great religious revivals, there can often be a backlash that completely repels emotions and sticks only to cold, dry orthodoxy.

   So what is the right emphasis ? Edwards taught that emotions should not be repelled because they belong to the Christian life, but everything must be judged in the light of the Bible, especially in the light of whether the long-lasting fruit is good and whether it is manifested in practical obedience. People’s visions, states of ecstasy, strong emotions, experiences, or speech about Christian things do not as such testify to genuine conversion. Instead, Christian obedience, love of neighbors, and a practical life changed in a positive direction better testify to genuine conversion. Otherwise, you will be badly misled:

 

Writings stress actions more than any other proof of salvation. I hope this is clear by now. We must focus on this. It is dangerous to put too much weight on issues the Bible does not stress. We have lost our biblical balance if we focus mainly on feelings and experiences that cannot be seen as actual obedience. God knows what is best for us, and he has underlined certain issues because these are issues in need of being stressed. If we reject God’s clear focus in Christian practices and focus on other issues in testing sincerity, we are on the road towards deceit and hypocrisy. (10)

 

The fruit should therefore prove whether conversion is from God. Unfortunately, this is not always taken into account, but some things are branded as immediately coming from God or Satan. For example, if someone falls in a spiritual meeting or sees a vision of Christ hanging on the cross, it may be immediately explained that it comes from either source. Likewise, one can come to the false certainty of salvation after seeing some seemingly spiritual vision or dream. Such a case is told by Charles G. Finney, who lived in the 19th century, in his book Ihmeellisiä herätyksiä. It’s about a woman who based her confidence on the dream she saw as a young girl — that’s why she believed her sins were forgiven. However, the fruit of her life was not good, suggesting that she was not in true faith. Finney says:

 

During the revival, my attention was focused on a certain sick woman who had been a member of the Baptist church and was very well known in the locality but in whose piety people did not trust. Tuberculosis was rapidly weakening her and I was called to meet her. So I went and had a long conversation with her. She told me of a vision she had seen as a girl, which made her think that her sins had been forgiven. This was her argument and no evidence could shake her. I tried to convince her that this dream was by no means a sign of her conversion. I told her directly that her friends had assured me that she had never lived a Christian life or displayed a Christian disposition. I had come to try and get her to give up her wrong hope and to see whether she would like to receive Jesus Christ into her life so that she could be saved. I was very kind towards her but made my purpose very clear to her. She was, however, very insulted and when I left she complained that I only wanted to take her hope away from her and make her anxious, and that it was cruel to harass a sick person like this and disturb her peace of mind. Shortly after that she died. As her death approached, she received such a vision of God and the holiness that the inhabitants of Heaven must have that she cried in anguish and said that she was going to Hell. In this condition she died, as I was later told. (11)

 

As stated above, visions, dreams, and experiences can come from different sources: God, man himself, and the devil. The latter are very possible if an already bound unbeliever comes to the meeting, and Satan then shows him a vision of Christ hanging on the cross, or he hears some voice. As a result, he may consider himself saved, even though God has not been able to touch his life at all. Among others, Jonathan Edwards recounts such experiences that took place 300 years ago during the revival. He noted that it is not always possible to deduce from experience and emotion what source it is from, because a similar experience can be from different sources. Only time, inner change, and fruit will prove whether it is of God.

   A person, even a born-again Christian, can thus be deceived, and therefore it is worth taking reservations with regard to miraculous stories, visions, dreams, sounds, and experiences. One who receives them should seek advice from others, as others may see the situation more clearly (infallibility and not wanting to listen to the advice of others is one of the clearer signs of deception leading to wrong paths and fanaticism). The congregation also has teachers and pastors who can steer you in the right direction.

   If the experiences are of God, their most important consequence is inner change, fruit, and renewed life. It comes up in the following types of cases:

 

·         Understanding the significance of Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross

·         Willingness to read the Bible

·         Freedom from sins, bitterness and lust

·         Aware of one’s own wickedness and sinfulness: pride, anger, lack of love, lust, etc.

·         Becoming humble and not thinking that they are better than others

·         Worrying about others being saved

·         Deeper prayer life

·         Deeper love of God and people

·         Willingness to fulfil the will of God in everything (Rom 7:22: For I delight in the law of God after the inward man)

·         Mercifulness, forgiveness, compassion, and not exalting oneself are things that should follow true faith 

 

Have you received Jesus into your life? It was stated above that man can deceive himself and think he is on the path to heaven, even though he is on his way to hell. It is very possible and several Bible verses warn against this.

    So what does a person have to do to be saved? The answer is simple; man must receive Jesus so that Jesus can be the Lord and Savior of his life. According to the Bible, He is already standing outside the door of our hearts to enter our lives:

 

- (Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 

So if you have not yet received Jesus into your life, you can welcome him as the Lord and Savior of your life now. According to the Bible, if you have received him into your life, then you will have the childhood of God, eternal life, and you will be born again — regardless of your feelings — as the following verses show:

 

- (Joh 1:12,13) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

- (1 John 5:11-13) 11 And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

 

The prayer of salvation: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen. 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

1. David Åleskjær: Ennen sataa lunta helvetissä (Snø i helvete), p. 98,99

2. Frank Mangsin taivastestamentti, p. 143-145

3. Mary Baxter: Jumalan ilmoitus kadotuksesta (A Divine Revelation of Hell), p. 37-39

4. Martin Ski: T.B. Barratt - Helluntaiapostoli, p. 108-110

5. John Bevere: Turvapaikka (Under Cover), p. 47,48

6. Niilo Yli-Vainio: Kristitty vai käännynnäinen, p. 21

7. Hans Erik Nissen: Enkö koskaan tule paremmaksi, p. 47, 48, 38, 39, 99, 100

8.  C.O. Rosenius: Tie rauhaan, p. 29,30.

9. Urho Muroma: Oletko pelastettu?, p. 56,57

10.  Jonathan Edwards: Oikea hengellinen kokemus (A Treatise concerning religious affections), p. 74,75

11.  Charles G. Finney: Ihmeellisiä herätyksiä, P. 59,60.

 

More on this topic:

Are you a foolish virgin? It is possible to be a member of the church and attend church, but still be a foolish virgin, or unsaved person. What are the characteristics of such religiosity?

Theoretical belief. Many have faith in God, having outward forms of Christianity, and some are even church workers, but they still do not know the matter of salvation

Religiousness or faith? What is the difference between religiosity and saving faith in Jesus and God? They are not the same thing

About salvation. How do Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses understand salvation, and how their teaching differs from traditional Christian and biblical teaching?

Jesus and the Catholics. Mary, the merits of the saints, the works of atonement, and the sacraments have supplanted Jesus in the Catholic Church. Therefore, most lack salvation and certainty

Church leaders and God; that is, how many priests and bishops have drifted beyond the Christian faith

Misled priests; that is, how modern priests have created their own religion based on the basic assumptions of atheism

Modern priests want to appear tolerant and progressive, but at the same time they give their support to injustice 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!

 

More on this topic:

Are you a foolish virgin? It is possible to be a member of the church and attend church, but still be a foolish virgin, or unsaved person. What are the characteristics of such religiosity?

Theoretical belief. Many have faith in God, having outward forms of Christianity, and some are even church workers, but they still do not know the matter of salvation

Religiousness or faith? What is the difference between religiosity and saving faith in Jesus and God? They are not the same thing

About salvation. How do Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses understand salvation, and how their teaching differs from traditional Christian and biblical teaching?

Jesus and the Catholics. Mary, the merits of the saints, the works of atonement, and the sacraments have supplanted Jesus in the Catholic Church. Therefore, most lack salvation and certainty

Church leaders and God; that is, how many priests and bishops have drifted beyond the Christian faith

Misled priests; that is, how modern priests have created their own religion based on the basic assumptions of atheism

Modern priests want to appear tolerant and progressive, but at the same time they give their support to injustice