Season's greetings to you from Inspiration from a Blind brought to you monthly by www.ShirleyCheng.com!
Do you want to live forever in a world where only love, peace, happiness, and goodness exist? You can, and it is up to you to make that happen.
The Bible says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16, WEB) Does this mean that anyone who believes in Jesus will have eternal life?
Yes and no.
Yes, anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved (have eternal life in God's Kingdom). But no one will be saved if they simply believe in Jesus. Sounds like doublespeak, doesn't it? The thing is that we must understand what "belief" in Jesus means. The important doctrine of "believe and you will be saved," is often not fully grasped. The problem lies in the concept of "belief."
To begin to understand "belief" for salvation, we must ask ourselves: What does believing in Jesus really mean? Will those who simply acknowledge Jesus receive eternal life?
Well, let's consider the demons. During Jesus' earthly ministry, the demons fell down at his feet trembling, and acknowledged him as the Son of God (Mark 5:7). Indeed, the demons most certainly believe Jesus. But are they going to be saved? No, unless they repent.
The first message that Jesus preached at the start of his earthly ministry was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2) Repentance is a change of attitude that results in a change of action; if you only feel sorry about what wrong thing you've done without changing your action to do the right thing next time, you've not truly repented. Those who do not repent will perish (Luke 13:3), so eternal salvation requires a faith (belief) that entails repentance. Whenever we sin, we must confess it to God and He will faithfully forgive us (1 John 1:9).
Hence, our belief in Jesus must be a working faith, for faith without works is dead (James 2:26), and "that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith." (James 2:24). A faith is proven genuine by works. If you claim to have faith in God and not trust Him for your daily necessity, do you have genuine faith? By its very definition, "Christian" describes a follower of Jesus who is Christ-like in all they think, say, and do, by living according to the will of God. Being a Christian is not simply believing that Jesus exists; otherwise, we can call demons "Christians." Thus, if you don't live by faith, you aren't a Christian. And if you aren't a true Christian, you won't find the narrow road that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14).
Our belief in Jesus should involve not only acknowledging him as the Messiah and the only Son of Yahweh God Almighty, but also trusting him for our every need, knowing our need to be saved by him, that he is our only Savior (Acts 4:12), and that without his sacrifice, no one would receive eternal life--the entire human race would go on singing the sad tune of "Let's eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." And the belief of ours must be shown through our actions, and that's done by repenting and living according to Yahweh's teachings (Matthew 19:16-17). Our obedience to the Word of God should stem from our love for Him and gratitude for His gift. So the best way to describe "belief" in Christ is "active trust."
Of course, our works and obedience will never be perfect enough to meet the righteous standards of Yahweh; this is why we can never earn salvation through our works alone (if we can earn eternal life by working for it, then Jesus died for us in vain). Salvation is a free gift to those who believe and repent through God's grace (undeserved kindness). but it's one thing to receive eternal life without working for it; it's another thing to abuse this gift by repeatedly and willfully committing evil acts without repentance. Rest assured, unrepentant sinners will not be saved even if they confess and profess belief in Jesus.
Jesus himself said it best: "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’" (Matthew 7:21-23)
So, those who faithfully follow Jesus will never perish (John 5:28-29; John 10:28-29). On the other hand, those who, like the demons, simply have passive belief in Jesus without repenting of their evil deeds and without active trust will not receive eternal salvation. Don't be deceived--God will not be mocked. Whatever you sow, that's what you'll reap. (Galatians 6:7)
Please carefully note what the Bible says:
"For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. A man who disregards Moses’ law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, 'Vengeance belongs to me,' says the Lord, 'I will repay.' Again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:26-31)
"'But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.'" (Hebrews 10:38)
"For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame." (Hebrews 6:4-6)
"For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, 'The dog turns to his own vomit again,' and 'the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.'” (2 Peter 2:20-22)
"See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off." (Romans 11:22)
"Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
"Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21).
To learn more about salvation, please read my articles:
1) What is salvation? Why did particularly Jesus have to die to save us?
2) How to accept and keep the gift of salvation:
Please, I implore you, if you truly want to learn about salvation or any other crucial topic, study the Bible yourself. Personal study and constant prayer to God will give you the truths. Don't just take people's word for it, because there are many different interpretations and false teachings out there.
If you need help in better understanding the gift of salvation, please e-mail me, and I'd be more than glad to do my best to answer any questions you may have!
Make it your 2013 New Year's resolution to accept the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ! It'll be the best resolution you can ever fulfill in your lifetime!
~*~Q&A With Dr. Shirley~*~
All about the all-important "faith"...
Question #1: How important is faith in Yahweh God Almighty? We already know that faith in Jesus is required for salvation.
Answer: Faith in God makes all the difference in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him." (Hebrews 11:6) If we can't please our God, then how can we have a sacred, intimate relationship with Him?
Question #2: What is the faith that is required of all people who want a sacred relationship with Yahweh?
Answer: It is Biblical faith, which is "assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) This faith is like a "title deed," a legal document you have that proves that you will certainly own what you don't see yet.
Biblical faith is reasonable trust in the trustworthy, namely Yahweh God Almighty. It is therefore not blind faith, which is believing in something without basis or evidence.
It is faith (active trust) in God that makes a person righteous in God's sight. A person who does not trust God will not receive God's approval. Thus, "faith" is not just the passive belief that God exists. Faith is active trust in God. Genuine faith is proven by our actions, for faith without works is dead or meaningless (James 2:20). We are told that even demons believe God (James 2:19), but their faith is the passive kind that simply believes that God exists, not the active kind that trusts in God at all times at all costs. Therefore, we must avoid the faith the demons have. We must live out our faith daily. The way to do so is to study the Bible, apply its principles to our lives, and share its teachings with others.
Question #3: How do people misunderstand Biblical faith and thus live a misguided life?
Answer: Many people believe that Biblical faith is simply believing that God exists, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, died for us to give us eternal life. Therefore, they live a misguided life based on this erroneous belief in Biblical faith. With this erroneous belief, people live according to their sinful desires, not to the commandments of God. After all, only a simple belief without righteous works to support it is all that's required of us, they think.
If God only required that simple belief from us, then let us put Satan under the spotlight. Do you not agree with me that he is a believer of God? He was an angel living in heaven who regularly spoke with God! So he is not only a believer, as any of us are who have never seen or spoken with God, he is a spirit who witnessed God in person, face to face. So based on the popular belief that faith is passive belief, then we can call Satan a Christian who has received salvation!
So faith in Yahweh must mean much more than simply accepting of His existence and His works. How much more? Exactly, what should faith in God really mean?
When people tell me, "I believe in God," I often ask myself, "But do they love God?"
Yes, it all lies in love—loving God. This is why Satan has chosen to be evil even though he believes in God; Satan does not love God—he loves himself so much more, and that has driven him to do evil and to spread evil to others.
Truly having faith in God means we must love God. The most important commandment as put by Moses and confirmed by Jesus is: "You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5) And that love should be our reason for actively trusting God.
How should we show Yahweh God we love Him? By obeying His commandments: "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (1 John 5:3) Thus, our obedience to Yahweh is an expression of our love for Him. We cannot claim to love Him without doing what He asks of us, just as we cannot say "I love you" to our parents while rebelling against them.
Without love, our faith in God is meaningless: "If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Having active faith by loving God is how we can be true Christians. Being a Christian should be a lifestyle we live, not a title we carry around. Otherwise, we can call Satan and all demons Christians since they believe in God (James 2:19).
~*~Dr. Shirley's Corner~*~
Have a bookworm in your life but don't know what to give them for this holiday season? Have they read almost every author out there? Well, give them something fresh by introducing them to a "new" voice they never heard of: yours truly. I have nine books on various topics, ranging from Christian self-help to spiritual poetry. I even have a title (Dance with Your Heart) translated into Vietnamese, and another (Daring Quests of Mystics) into Chinese, so if you have any bookworm who reads Vietnamese or Chinese, you might like to consider these titles. Also, don't forget to give a Kindle ebook to your techie bookworm! My Amazon Author Page lists all my books in paperback, hardback, and Kindle: http://amazon.com/author/shirleycheng
Lastly, if you order autographed copies of any of my books through me, you'll receive free shipping this holiday season until January 15! Visit my site to learn all about my books, and then e-mail me to tell me which book you'd like: http://www.shirleycheng.com
Are you interested in obtaining in-depth knowledge of God's Word to help you deepen your understanding of God and His plans and develop a sacred relationship with your Heavenly Father? If so, you are more than welcome to sign up for the In-Depth Ultra-Ability Bible Virtual Class via e-mail.
· You will study the Bible in depth from Genesis to Revelation in order.
· The study will progress in your own pace.
· You will work one-on-one with me via e-mail only.
· Your personal Bible-related questions will be answered.
· Although the virtual class has no financial cost, it will require your dedication and diligence. There will be lessons to complete and tests to take for all Bible chapters. All assignments are in short question and answer format.
· The only textbook for this program is the Bible. If you do not have a copy of the Bible, you can read it online for free at www.BibleGateway.com.
· The class is non-denominational and is not affiliated with any church or ministry.
· You have no obligations; you may pause or stop anytime, though you are strongly encouraged to complete the study.
Interested? Then fill out the form at www.ultra-ability.com,
and we'll get started. I look forward to our study time together!
Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday season! See you in 2013!
May the grace and peace from Yahweh God and Jesus Christ be with you.!
Content Copyright by Dr. Shirley Cheng; All rights reserved
You are permitted to only give out or link to this website or post; all other distribution and copying is prohibited without the prior written permission of Dr. Shirley Cheng. Contact Shirley at www.shirleycheng.com
Would you like to receive Inspiration from a Blind via e-mail monthly? Then sign up at http://www.shirleycheng.com/contact.html
Read previous issues of Inspiration from a Blind at blog.shirleycheng.com
Dr. Shirley Cheng
Award-Winning Author with 27 Book Awards
Founder of Ultra-Ability Ministry
Proclaimer of Yahweh God's Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ
Author/Contributor/Editor of 35 books by age 27, Bible Teacher, Poet, Motivational Speaker, Self-Empowerment Expert, Advocate
Board member of World Positive Thinkers Club
"Although I'm blind, I can see far and wide; even though I'm disabled, I can climb high mountains. Let the ropes of hope in Yahweh God haul you high!"
Please sign the Parental Rights in Children's Medical Care: Give Parents the Right to Say No Petition: