When is a Believer Saved by Grace and Alive with Christ?

How must a believer die with Christ for God to raise that believer to life?

Luke 9:23–24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (ESV).

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”Raised

2 Timothy 2:11, “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.”

Romans 6:8, “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also
 live with him.”

Must a believer be buried with Christ in baptism for God to raise that believer with Christ?

Romans 6:4–6, “Therefore, Continue reading

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“The Case for the Christ of the New Testament”

Varghese, Roy Abraham, Robert Price, Ralph Gilmore, and Dick Sztanyo. The Case for the Christ of the New Testament: An Adversarial Dialogue Concerning the Existence of Jesus Christ. Vienna, West Virginia: Warren Apologetics Center, 2013. Reviewer: Scott J. Shifferd

Making a case for Jesus as the Christ is older than the church. The church exists because experiences of Jesus’s resurrection converted the first Christians. These experiences transformed the lives of the first believers, and today, the phenomenon of the Christian faith produces that same transformation among vast numbers every century. Furthermore, Jesus’s apostles made the case that Jesus is the prophesied Christ upon the Scriptures, the empty tomb, and the witnesses who experienced Jesus risen (Acts 2; 13; 1 Cor 15:1–11). The Case for the Christ of the New Testament is useful for ministers to reach another level of depth in historical apologetics and prepare for the rising of mythicist claims.

The following is a summary of the dialogue between Roy Abraham Varghese, Robert M. Price, and Ralph Gilmore. Continue reading

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Why Evangelicals Need to Reconsider Being Born Again

The apostle Paul described salvation “by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph 2:8 ESV). This is truly the core of Christian teaching about salvation. However, where is the death, burial, and resurrection in the salvation plan of evangelicals? The saving gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:1–4). Why do so many evangelicals separate being born again from the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ?

Regeneration and Jesus’s Resurrection

When God saves the believer from death in sin, God raises that person alive with Christ (Eph 2:4–7). This is regeneration when one is born again throughHow to Be Born Again the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:3). This is God’s grace in the power of the resurrection for the believer’s salvation. According to Jesus, regeneration is to lose one’s life to find it (Luke 9:24). Regeneration is essential to salvation.

However, many evangelicals overlook the Scriptures demonstrating that God must Continue reading

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Thirteen Reasons Why Atheism is Implausible, Irrational, and Untrustworthy

  1. Purpose — Atheism cannot perceive an ultimate purpose for humankind and the universe. Without God, there is no ultimate purpose. Without God, humanity will eventually cease to exist, the stars will go dark, and the galaxies will drift into nothingness forever.
  2. Honesty — Secularism assumes unbiased neutrality and yet excludes other plausible explanations that include recognizing God. Anyone who disregards or reinterprets God to reject God is not honest. Neutrality cannot disregard probability and reason.
  3. Morality —  Continue reading
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Notes for Exposing Accusations against the Bible

God & Science
The antagonist asserts, “God is a myth.”

  1. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, universe must have a cause.
    1. Causality proves God. Every effect must have an equal or greater cause. Follow the effects to its logical origin.
  2. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to necessity, chance, or design. Fine-tuning is not due to necessity or chance. Therefore, fine-tuning is due to design.Apologetics Notes for the Bible
    1. If human life is significant, then the order of the universe for life is significant. The anthropic principle affirms that the fine-tuning of universal constants are essential for life.
    2. Design in nature & moral conscience proves God (Ro 1:20–21; 2:13–16).
    3. The most brilliant scientist, Isaac Newton, observed that an intelligent Agent started the nature’s order (Opticks). Add Pasteur, von Braun, etc.
  3. If something is complex, then it is probably designed. Biological complexity is more complex than all human design. Therefore, biological complexity is probably designed.
    1. Every code has a creator. DNA is the genetic code found in most cells of every life form.
    2. Molecular nanomachines show the complex design within cells, which the intelligent Creator must have designed. Continue reading
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What is the Oldest Christian Creed?

The Gospel is the oldest Christian creed. Galatians 1:11–2:10 dates the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1–7 to AD 30. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 15:3b–5 presents the oldest Christian creed. The AD 30 Creed is a historical marker for when and how the church began. The church could not have began unless the first converts experienced Jesus bodily risen from the dead.

Critical scholars date the source of this creed to the experiences of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection in AD 30–36.The Gospel Creed Paul recorded this early confession and profession of the Gospel: “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor 15:3b–5 ESV). Paul also cites numerous witnesses in verses 6–8 that may also be a part of this ancient creed.[1]

Why is this Early Creed So Significant? 

This pre-Pauline Gospel is a historical marker affirming that the Christian faith began with Jesus of Nazareth who lived, died, was buried, and many experienced Jesus risen. This is just as the Christian Scriptures report. Even critical scholars admit this fact and cannot claim that Jesus was a myth. However, history confirms the very core of the Christian faith. This is the Gospel by which the first Christians stood and trusted their salvation.

Why is 1 Corinthians 15:3–5 One of the Oldest Creeds?

Why do scholars find this message as one of the earliest Christian creed? Almost all scholarship places Jesus’s death by crucifixion about AD 30. Critical and evangelical scholarship agree as  Continue reading

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How Jesus Expects People to Believe in Him

Whether someone already believes that Jesus is the Christ or not, the Gospel writers depicted Jesus expecting people to believe in him. One of the ways that the Gospels present Jesus expecting His followers to believe is by his resurrection from the dead.

Jesus’s Reaction to Unbelief

Jesus wanted others to believe because of those who witnessed him risen from the dead. When Jesus rose from the dead, he rebuked his disciples for not believing the witnesses of Mary Magdalene and two other disciples in the country (Mark 16:9–14). The Gospel of Mark records, “Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen” (16:14 ESV). According to the long ending of Mark, Jesus expected his closest disciples to believe without having to see him. He expected them to believe upon the evidence of two or three witnesses.

The Disciples’ Mission

Why would Jesus expect anyone to believe upon reports from a few witnesses? Continue reading

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Why Christians Must Reconsider Baptism and the Holy Spirit

In Zechariah 12:10, the LORD spoke, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (12:10 NASB). This is one of five prophetic predictions of God pouring out the Spirit in the Old Testament (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 39:27–29; Joel 2:28–29).

This passage also appears as the words of Yahweh who is the Christ. Jesus promised His apostles, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the  Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7; 16:7–13).

The Promise of the Baptism of the Spirit

Was the baptism of the Holy Spirit for all Christians? John the Baptist also prophesied, “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8; cf. Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). From John’s words, the baptism of the Spirit appears to include all disciples of Christ. However, Jesus foretold Continue reading

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One Baptism Partakes of the Reality of Jesus’s Death, Burial, and Resurrection

The following is a comment in response to Mark Ballenger’s article, “Should You Be Baptized More than Once?” The article and comment can explain this post. God bless those who read:

Hi Mark:

I appreciate the sincerity that you demonstrate is seeking the truth. James D. G. Dunn has a book about the Holy Spirit and regeneration. I find your position similar if not the same as Dunn.

However, upon studying the Scriptures, my search has led to other conclusions. I hope we both remain open to reconsider how we handle God’s Word. Consider that Jesus commanded baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit when he rose from the dead (Matt 28:19-20). The baptism that Jesus commanded in his resurrection is the one baptism (Eph 4:5). Peter preached this baptism in Jesus’s name in Acts 2:38. This is a baptism of faith and repentance (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Peter also proclaimed that the forgiveness of sins is in Jesus’s name (Acts 10:43). That baptism in Jesus’s name is also in water (Acts 10:47–48). This baptism is not separate from the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38). Baptism in Christ’s name is the baptism of 1 Corinthians (1:13). First Corinthians 6:11 records a washing in Jesus’s name as when the Spirit justifies and sanctifies. This passage reveals that 1 Corinthians 12:13 refers to the same baptism and not to another baptism of the Spirit. First Corinthians 10:1–2 indicates that this baptism in Jesus’s name is in water. Furthermore, Paul revealed that those who reject the resurrection change baptism from the resurrected to a baptism of the dead (1 Cor 15:29). Colossians 2:12 and Romans 6:4 associate the dynamic symbolism of baptism as the burial from the dead as you accurately described. This baptism partakes of the reality of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection that saves believers (1 Cor 15:1–4). Baptism in Jesus’s name is passive just as God rises the believer from burial to new life. No one can boast of such as a work. I urge you to consider that baptism in Jesus’s name is the moment of salvation by grace when one rises with Christ alive (Eph 2:1–10). Faith is the means of salvation and yet the believer’s rising with Christ from baptism is the condition of faith.

May God bless you in the study of His Word.

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Jesus’s Tomb Empty

Christianity rises or falls by whether Jesus rose from the dead. To the Christian, salvation is dependent upon one believing and confessing Jesus’s resurrection. The apostle Paul declared, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). For this, Christians hope in the final resurrection of all saints. Jesus is the first-fruits of the coming resurrection (1 Cor 15:20–28).

By Jesus’s resurrection, Christians rise and are born again to the newness of life from baptism (Rom 6:3–6; 1 Pet 1:3; 3:21). Belief in Jesus’s resurrection and personal regeneration areRisen_Savior_std_t_nt essential for salvation to Christians. The rejection of Jesus’s resurrection is an opposition to the very core of the Christian faith. In 1 Corinthians 15:14–15, the apostle Paul declared, “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. And we are also found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified of God that He raised Christ.” Continue reading

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What is the Purpose of the Church?

The mission of the church of Christ is:

Tell the world of God’s love, forgiving grace, and eternal life through His Son, Jesus the Christ, who died, was buried, and resurrected conquering death, so that Jesus rose and sent His disciples to make disciples by baptizing them and teaching them to observe all of Jesus’s commands and to devote themselves to Continue reading

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