Category Archives: Bible Study

Am I In Or Am I Out? Freedom From Being Neurotic About Our Salvation

There are a lot of people who are plagued by these questions. “Am I saved or am I lost.” “Am I in or am I out?”

The odd thing is, the people I am thinking of are people who have faith, are baptized, have repented of their sin, attend church, love God, read the Bible, pray, etc.

What is the issue?

They have been taught that so much of their salvation hangs on their own shoulders. I have heard people say that if you die with unrepented sin you will go to hell. So if you sinned and died right before you asked God to forgive you (even if you intended to but didn’t get there fast enough), you wouldn’t be forgiven. Unforgiven sin is then the pathway to eternity in hell.

I really don’t think that is how things work.

Salvation is much more sure than that for those who are in Christ because salvation hinges on the work of God (who is perfectly faithful) rather than on our work (who are not perfectly faithful). In fact, we are told to be sure of our salvation (1 John 5:12-13). How can we be sure if the process we believe in is so unsure?

God does the heavy lifting. Our role in the salvation process is all response. “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:8

God always initiates things pertaining to salvation and we have to respond to what God has already done. When we respond in faith God does more (unites us with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – Rom 6; seals us with the Spirit – Eph 1:13; etc).

The saying goes, “Exodus comes before Sinai.” That means God initiates the rescue, we do have to walk through the water to get out of Egypt and into the promised land. But none of it would be possible without God getting the ball rolling and using his divine power to work these things out in our lives. We must be willing to receive them.

One verse that helped break me out of neuroticism when it comes to my salvation is 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

How is this even possible? I knew that if I sinned I wasn’t in the light. But what I hear from John is the reason I am in the light is because I am walking, even though imperfectly, and because the blood of Jesus purifies me of my sin!

This, folks, is freedom. Not freedom to do whatever I want but freedom to live my life knowing I belong to God and he isn’t going to let me go. It is freedom from the idea that if I die with a single unrepented sin that I won’t be saved.

This kind of spiritual and mental liberation helps me live in an even closer walk with God because I am not living in fear of a God who is waiting to get me, looking for any reason to throw me into hell. No. God is looking for any and every reason to allow me to live with him for eternity!

That is a shift! It is one that more of us need to make

A Must Have Discipleship Conversation – How We Read the Bible

Please watch the following video and let’s discuss in the comments. We have a major problem with how we typically read the Bible. We miss important meanings because we are looking for the wrong things. We find things that aren’t there because we are looking for the wrong things. Understanding how to read the BibleContinue Reading

My Simple Note Taking System in the Bible Margins

I hope you find this as helpful as I have. It is one simple thing to help organize the notes you take in the margins of your Bible

Video: Context, Context, Context. The Key to Biblical “Aha’s”

I cannot emphasize how important this is for followers of Jesus. I am creating these videos in order to give people an easier resource and actions to thoughts on how to study the Bible more effectively. Check it out. Subscribe if you think it is worthwhile because there are more videos on the way. ThanksContinue Reading

Video: Applying the Bible Study Method to the Parable of the Sower

I took the outline I gave in the last video and used the Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13 to show how it would work on a specific text. I have found this approach quite helpful. We need to be in the word. I often hear people talk about how they don’t have timeContinue Reading

Bible Study Tip #8 – Study in Community

There are very few, if any insights from scripture that I have gained in isolation from other people. Most of what I have learned from scripture I have learned in community. This community is first and foremost my immediate and personal community of family and friends. This community is, secondarily, also the community of scholarlyContinue Reading

Developing Ears to Hear the Word & Voice of the Lord

On several occasions Jesus finished his teaching telling those who heard him that if they had the ears to hear they needed to listen (Mark 4:9, 13 & 8:18). Jesus taught in such a creative way that he not only kept your attention…he left you with more questions than you had answers. In doing so,Continue Reading

Building a Theological & Ministry Library Part 5 – New Testament Commentaries

Here are some commentaries that I have found exceptionally helpful.   On Matthew I go to Bruner’s 2 volume commentary (Vol 1 & Vol 2) and if I want something way more technical I check out Davies and Allison 3 volumes in the ICC. Here is a link to their “shorter commentary” that is anContinue Reading

Building a Theological & Ministry Library Part 4 – Bible Background

Learning the background of the world around Bible times is critical to good Bible study. There are a number of excellent books to choose from to get you closer to their world. The better you understand their world the better you hear the words from scripture. So here are a few books to consider inContinue Reading

Review and Giveaway of Logos’ Newest Product – Logos Cloud

So Logos is on to something. I have really enjoyed their software since I first started using it but what they developed this past year is really taking them to another level. I am going to tell you what they have come up with and then offer you a chance to win a 1 yearContinue Reading

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