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It's so simple:

K2CHRIST

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Nobody can understand the depths of God, but gospel message is so simple.

Jn 3:16 ... Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish.

Maybe we can talk about what belief means. Jesus said His sheep hear His voice, and seek and you will find.

There is something about repenting, so we add that in. But it is an add in to Jn 3:16. So it must be something done if you believe or something done to help you believe. We can argue about that also. Still the message is a simple message of faith.

Now I love to consider all the things of and about God, but that does not change the simple message of the gospel. I see it in the bumper stickers that read, "Know Jesus, know life. No Jesus, no life".

And in a practical sense it is even simpler. I get up in the morning, say something like, "Good morning Lord", and I hear that still small voice answer me something like, "Good morning, Karl"

It is so simple. I can ask Him to help me order food, or choose clothes, or for wisdom when making choices. It only takes the simple faith to believe that He is indeed there. Yet that is sometimes very hard to believe. Can He really help me find a job, or can He really heal me, or can He really help me get money or that things I need? Well, the gospel message is simple, but who will believe?

Who will believe and turn to the Lord by faith and ask Him what to do today, now, and for the next step? That is simple, but believing it is that simple is sometimes hard.
 

Sinthesis

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A sinner won't believe until first repenting of his sinful belief.
 

K2CHRIST

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A sinner won't believe until first repenting of his sinful belief.
I'm not sure that is quite right. I think repenting might be the first result of believing. I say 'might' because I am not really sure, and I think the believing and the repenting are close to happening at the same time.

Is it that all people deep inside their spirit know that God exists but have turned their back on Him because they want to do what they want to do. If that is the case, then seeing how their ways are not right and repenting of them would lead them directly to God, making the statement that 'a sinner won't believe until first repenting' a true statement, except it required some level of deep belief to begin with.

Another possibility is that people have just not considered that God is actually there. Then something happens to change their mind, like say a miracle, which causes the person to consider that God is actually there. Thus they seek God, find God, and upon finding that their is a God and being in His presence causes a repentance of their sinful ways.

I think the Scriptures point to the second concept. In Jn 3:16 we have a verse where who-so-ever believes is saved. So repentance is not a requirement according to that verse. Other verses also include repentance in the process, but even another verse can not mean the simple truth in Jn 3:16 is now wrong. So it seems the repentance is a result, not a precondition. It's like James explaining that faith without works is dead. Works are not a precondition, but a result of being saved and calling Jesus Christ your Lord. As your Lord, you are going to get instructions from God, and if you do believe He is God then you are going to make some attempt to do them.

So I believe works and repentance are the result and not the precondition, but I'll give leeway because I am not sure. And regardless, repentance is important. Yet it is also written that all those that seek find and not all those who have repented and seek find. So why make a precondition to finding God when one is not mentioned? That just clutters the way to God!
 

K2CHRIST

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And a sinner won't believe until the Gospel is proclaimed (Rom 10:17 ESV).
Well, we are asked to preach the Gospel, and since God did the asking there must be good reasons for doing it. The idea that someone might listen and turn to God is a great reason. But it is also written that 'their voice has gone out to the entire world' and that when the "Gospel" as we know it had only been presented by men to a small area of the world which we would describe today as the middle east.

To believe the gospel, Jesus Christ, their probably needs to be something said to get a man to consider the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that something can be said by angels, or the Spirit, or who knows. Perhaps a person finds a bible and begins to consider what is written and seeks the Lord? Then the Gospel wasn't preached as such, but it was spread. And could a person on a desert island take an evening and consider the possibilities of their being a God who man could hear from and seek Him. Would then that man who seeks find the Lord?

God said come reason with Me. And Jesus said He stands at the door and knocks and if anyone will open the door He will come into them and eat with them.

[NASB] Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ

What does that verse mean? Does it mean that nobody will believe unless we preach the Bible to them, or does it mean that nobody will believe unless they have had a conversation with Christ, who is the Word of God (but not the Scriptures) and who is fully God.

The Spirit once told me, "Karl, we don't use the Lord to preach the Scriptures, we use the Scriptures to preach the Lord."

The Spirit of God always glorifies Jesus Christ. We preach Jesus Christ whose name is called the Word of God because all the Father has belongs to Him, and that includes the very words of God, which the Spirit speaks to us. And since God is everywhere, even a man by himself on a desert island can come to know the Lord. And even if that desert island is a self-made island in a busy city. So we tell them about the Lord incase they will listen to us, but there is no excuse for those who never listened or heard from us. Paul knew this and addressed it and even in the very next verse.

[NASB] Rom 10:18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed theyhave; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD"

So all sinners have already heard!! We are giving them another chance to consider. We are speaking to them in sound waves, but their spirit has already been spoken to.
 

Edward

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I'm not sure that is quite right. I think repenting might be the first result of believing. I say 'might' because I am not really sure, and I think the believing and the repenting are close to happening at the same time.

Is it that all people deep inside their spirit know that God exists but have turned their back on Him because they want to do what they want to do. If that is the case, then seeing how their ways are not right and repenting of them would lead them directly to God, making the statement that 'a sinner won't believe until first repenting' a true statement, except it required some level of deep belief to begin with.

Another possibility is that people have just not considered that God is actually there. Then something happens to change their mind, like say a miracle, which causes the person to consider that God is actually there. Thus they seek God, find God, and upon finding that their is a God and being in His presence causes a repentance of their sinful ways.

I think the Scriptures point to the second concept. In Jn 3:16 we have a verse where who-so-ever believes is saved. So repentance is not a requirement according to that verse. Other verses also include repentance in the process, but even another verse can not mean the simple truth in Jn 3:16 is now wrong. So it seems the repentance is a result, not a precondition. It's like James explaining that faith without works is dead. Works are not a precondition, but a result of being saved and calling Jesus Christ your Lord. As your Lord, you are going to get instructions from God, and if you do believe He is God then you are going to make some attempt to do them.

So I believe works and repentance are the result and not the precondition, but I'll give leeway because I am not sure. And regardless, repentance is important. Yet it is also written that all those that seek find and not all those who have repented and seek find. So why make a precondition to finding God when one is not mentioned? That just clutters the way to God!
Romans 1:20
 

Sinthesis

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A sinner won't believe until first repenting of his sinful belief.
I'm not sure that is quite right. I think repenting might be the first result of believing. I say 'might' because I am not really sure, and I think the believing and the repenting are close to happening at the same time.
Repenting happens first. One realizes that what they've been believing isn't working, so repents of that false belief. This leaves them open to a new belief. Hopefully Christianity fills the gap. The change in lifestyle that appears in a Christian after conversion is not the 'repenting', rather the change is due to a Christian working out (exercising) their salvation. Repenting is the death of trust in the old lifestyle, and is signified by John's water baptism which ends the old life. Belief in Christ is signified by the baptism of the Holy Spirit which will build a new life.

Act 19:1 ¶ And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 - He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 - And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Act 19:4 - Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 - When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 - And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Act 19:7 - And all the men were about twelve.​
 

WIP

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Repenting happens first. One realizes that what they've been believing isn't working, so repents of that false belief.
Isn't working for what? I was happy and content in my unbelief. It was later in my life that I began to realize that I was asking myself questions about God and whether or not He truly existed. Eventually I came to the understanding that He in fact is real, however that happened (I believe it was the power of the Holy Spirit). It was after that when I began to feel a desire to turn from my sin.
 

OzSpen

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Romans 1:20
Edward,

That verse promotes what is known as 'natural theology' or general revelation - evidence of God in creation.

However, that is not knowledge that brings salvation. Salvation is made available through the preaching/teaching of the Gospel, e.g. Rom 10:17 (NIV), 'Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ'.

However, this also involves God's drawing power (see John 6:44 ESV). We mustn't forget the emphasis of John 12:32 (ESV).

Oz
 
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OzSpen

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Repenting happens first. One realizes that what they've been believing isn't working, so repents of that false belief. This leaves them open to a new belief. Hopefully Christianity fills the gap. The change in lifestyle that appears in a Christian after conversion is not the 'repenting', rather the change is due to a Christian working out (exercising) their salvation. Repenting is the death of trust in the old lifestyle, and is signified by John's water baptism which ends the old life. Belief in Christ is signified by the baptism of the Holy Spirit which will build a new life.

Act 19:1 ¶ And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 - He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 - And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Act 19:4 - Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 - When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 - And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Act 19:7 - And all the men were about twelve.​
That's not what Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer according to Acts 16:31 (NIV): 'They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household"'.

Oz
 

wondering

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Edward,

That verse promotes what is known as 'natural theology' or general revelation - evidence of God in creation.

However, that is not knowledge that brings salvation. Salvation is made available through the preaching/teaching of the Gospel, e.g. Rom 10:17 (NIV), 'Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ'.

However, this also involves God's drawing power (see John 6:44 ESV). We mustn't forget the emphasis of John 12:32 (ESV).

Oz
Would you agree that one that does NOT have preaching available to them and has never heard the gospel can be saved only through natural theology, as in Romans 1:20. For instance, someone living in a remote part of the world - away from civilization.

I've known persons that have told me that they cannot be saved because they have not heard of Christ and trusted in Him.

It seems to me that God is a just God and would take this into consideration.

Wondering
 

reba

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what of the deaf who can not hear.. remember no adding to the Word.. :)

Kinda depends on how we HEAR the Word and what we THINK it means... ..
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
 
R

Runner

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Would you agree that one that does NOT have preaching available to them and has never heard the gospel can be saved only through natural theology, as in Romans 1:20. For instance, someone living in a remote part of the world - away from civilization.

I've known persons that have told me that they cannot be saved because they have not heard of Christ and trusted in Him.

It seems to me that God is a just God and would take this into consideration.

Wondering
While I am in sympathy with this view, it is a slippery slope. It begins with the "age of accountability" fiction - there simply has to be an age of accountability, because a God who would condemn infants would be just too un-Godly to stomach. Then we have to carve out exceptions for the seriously mentally ill and deficient - condemning them would be just too un-Godly as well. Then we need some way to deal with those who have never had an opportunity to hear the Gospel - surely, as you suggest, it would be un-Godly of God to condemn them? Pretty soon the category of people whom it would just be too un-Godly of God to condemn becomes Rather Large and makes the doctrine of Jesus being the "only way" sound Rather Hollow. One response is the hard-line view that the "only way" means precisely that, to the extent that we even flush the "age of accountability" fiction and don't even start down the slippery slope. Another, which I hold without claiming to have all the answers, is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the conventional understanding of Jesus being the only way. Nothing requires God to be a God we can stomach, of course, nor is our perspective God's perspective, but I think most people feel intuitively that the hard-line God is an unlikely candidate for the kind, loving and just Creator of the Universe.
 

OzSpen

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Would you agree that one that does NOT have preaching available to them and has never heard the gospel can be saved only through natural theology, as in Romans 1:20. For instance, someone living in a remote part of the world - away from civilization.

I've known persons that have told me that they cannot be saved because they have not heard of Christ and trusted in Him.

It seems to me that God is a just God and would take this into consideration.

Wondering
Wondering,

There are a few issues from Rom 1:18ff (ESV) that encourage us to see how God can reach people through evidence in creation to the point where 'they are without excuse' (Rom 1:20 ESV). The question to me is: What have people done with this evidence from general revelation? Have they gone searching for God and his salvation through God or how do they know God is searching for them without a Gospel proclamation?

There is also the issue of our consciences, e.g. Rom 2;15 (ESV).

For me, there are some other issues: (1) There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus alone (John 14:6 ESV), and (2) There is salvation in no other Person than Jesus (Acts 4:12 ESV).

Here's the practical dilemma: SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators tell us that there are still approx. 2,000 native languages in the world that do not have a Bible in their native tongues. How can they hear without a preacher? Obviously, they are able to hear through verbal proclamation (oral tradition, if you like).

However, there is another factor that I've heard about: 'Visions of Jesus Stir Muslim Hearts' (CBN 2016). There's an increasing number of Muslims that I read about who are being confronted by Jesus in dreams. Sounds like another fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, 'Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams' (Acts 2:17 ESV).

I have no doubt that God can reach people in this supernatural way if there is no Gospel preacher in that region. The key is: There can be no salvation without Jesus' intervention.

Oz
 
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OzSpen

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While I am in sympathy with this view, it is a slippery slope. It begins with the "age of accountability" fiction - there simply has to be an age of accountability, because a God who would condemn infants would be just too un-Godly to stomach. Then we have to carve out exceptions for the seriously mentally ill and deficient - condemning them would be just too un-Godly as well. Then we need some way to deal with those who have never had an opportunity to hear the Gospel - surely, as you suggest, it would be un-Godly of God to condemn them? Pretty soon the category of people whom it would just be too un-Godly of God to condemn becomes Rather Large and makes the doctrine of Jesus being the "only way" sound Rather Hollow. One response is the hard-line view that the "only way" means precisely that, to the extent that we even flush the "age of accountability" fiction and don't even start down the slippery slope. Another, which I hold without claiming to have all the answers, is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the conventional understanding of Jesus being the only way. Nothing requires God to be a God we can stomach, of course, nor is our perspective God's perspective, but I think most people feel intuitively that the hard-line God is an unlikely candidate for the kind, loving and just Creator of the Universe.
Runner,

I notice that you don't identify yourself as Christian. Are you a Christian or not?

Do you believe your statement: 'Pretty soon the category of people whom it would just be too un-Godly of God to condemn becomes Rather Large and makes the doctrine of Jesus being the "only way" sound Rather Hollow'?

Do you consider that Jesus as the only way to salvation to be 'hollow' and/or a fabrication?

Oz
 

OzSpen

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what of the deaf who can not hear.. remember no adding to the Word.. :)

Kinda depends on how we HEAR the Word and what we THINK it means... ..
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
reba,

They may be able to READ the Word if they use braille.

Please read Rom 12:3 (ESV) in context where 'to every man [person] the measure of faith' is followed by 'FOR as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function....' (Rom 12:4 ESV). Every person having a measure of faith is not referring to salvation but to the faith necessary to exercise the God-given gifts that are articulated in Rom 12:3-8 (ESV).

This is why it is so necessary to interpret a verse in context.

Oz
 
R

Runner

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Runner,

I notice that you don't identify yourself as Christian. Are you a Christian or not?

Do you believe your statement: 'Pretty soon the category of people whom it would just be too un-Godly of God to condemn becomes Rather Large and makes the doctrine of Jesus being the "only way" sound Rather Hollow'?

Do you consider that Jesus as the only way to salvation to be 'hollow' and/or a fabrication?

Oz
I'm not sure why I'm not identified as a Christian - is there some box I'm supposed to check? I was born again in 1970, worked with Campus Crusade for Christ, attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and have been waist-deep in theology for many, many years. So, yeah, I'll match "Christian credentials" with other posters, if that's important to you.

Do I believe my statement, "Pretty soon the category of people ...."?
Yes, I do. The exceptions pretty much reduce the doctrine to "the only way, except when ...," which is quite different from "the only way." It strikes me as slightly bizarre that the hardline "only way" folks are willing to consign all Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, not to mention Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, to Hell, while carving out exceptions for those who have not reached the fictional age of accountability or are mentally disabled. (True hardliners, of course, permit no exceptions - so at least their theology is consistent, albeit repulsive.)​

Do I consider that Jesus as the only way to salvation to be "hollow" and/or a fabrication?
No, I suspect that the conventional doctrine is probably fundamentally misguided, meaning that we are not fully grasping what Jesus meant. (I am admittedly troubled by how many of the really puzzling and divisive doctrines have their roots in John and Revelation, but I realize that concerns about inerrancy are not permitted at this site.) I will not be surprised at all to meet hordes of people in Heaven whom the hardline "only way" folks would not now recognize as Christians at all. On the other hand, I will not be shocked if the most hardline "only way" folks are entirely correct and even infants are consigned to Hell - nothing requires God to be the sort of God we might like Him to be. On all of these potentially repulsive doctrines, my position is simply that we will eventually see that the end result is worthy of the Creator of the Universe.​
 

Mike

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Great conversation, here! I used to be open to the idea of salvation to those who have never had the opportunity to hear or otherwise learn about Christ, and it was Romans 1:20 that I found to support that. But that same verse turned in its meaning to me at some point to say that we are without excuse when we hear the Gospel.

I'll never close the door completely, because His ways are beyond my understanding Romans 11:33-36 and He will Give live to whomever He chooses (chosen). But I've never read anything in scripture describing any other way than learning, and confessing, repenting, and being born again.

I consider this. If God gives Grace and life to those who have never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel, why would I dare bring the Gospel to the corners of the earth? I'm bringing death to those who will hear it and not believe. If I leave them alone in their ignorance, God will honor their ignorance and lack of opportunity. That would be a most unloving thing to do, IF it is true that they will get a pass on the Way, the Truth, and the Life. None of this limited revelation either where a person is only held to the extent of which the Gospel they receive. I believe there must be more than "Oh. What a beautiful sky in the night. There must be an inviisible force that guides the ways of the world. If that's all he ever learns, he will need to learn more.
 

OzSpen

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I'm not sure why I'm not identified as a Christian - is there some box I'm supposed to check? I was born again in 1970, worked with Campus Crusade for Christ, attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and have been waist-deep in theology for many, many years. So, yeah, I'll match "Christian credentials" with other posters, if that's important to you.

Do I believe my statement, "Pretty soon the category of people ...."?
Yes, I do. The exceptions pretty much reduce the doctrine to "the only way, except when ...," which is quite different from "the only way." It strikes me as slightly bizarre that the hardline "only way" folks are willing to consign all Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, not to mention Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, to Hell, while carving out exceptions for those who have not reached the fictional age of accountability or are mentally disabled. (True hardliners, of course, permit no exceptions - so at least their theology is consistent, albeit repulsive.)​
Runner,

God does not talk of exceptions; that is human language to try to explain what seems unreasonable to us when we deal with God's kingdom and who should enter. God's language is that he has made provision for the salvation of certain people in His ways. I have addressed this as it relates to children in, Children and heaven

Now to your view that Jesus as the 'only way' consigns Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Mormons & JWs to hell. So did God mean it when he said, 'You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them' (Ex 20:3-5 ESV)?

Yes, he did mean it and if the nation violated God's laws they suffered the consequences. This is because God is a jealous and holy God who will not tolerate other gods of worship. He's the same God in OT and NT - in spite of what some higher critics want to say about the alleged differences.

Those who do not submit to the Trinitarian Lord God are serving 'other gods' and such worship is forbidden if one wants to get into God's kingdom. You'll probably label me as a hardliner. The fact is that I want to remain faithful to Scripture and the one who said his people are to have no other gods, is the same one who said that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6 ESV) and that there is salvation in no other person than through Jesus (Acts 4:12 ESV).

You stated:
Do I consider that Jesus as the only way to salvation to be "hollow" and/or a fabrication?
No, I suspect that the conventional doctrine is probably fundamentally misguided, meaning that we are not fully grasping what Jesus meant. (I am admittedly troubled by how many of the really puzzling and divisive doctrines have their roots in John and Revelation, but I realize that concerns about inerrancy are not permitted at this site.) I will not be surprised at all to meet hordes of people in Heaven whom the hardline "only way" folks would not now recognize as Christians at all. On the other hand, I will not be shocked if the most hardline "only way" folks are entirely correct and even infants are consigned to Hell - nothing requires God to be the sort of God we might like Him to be. On all of these potentially repulsive doctrines, my position is simply that we will eventually see that the end result is worthy of the Creator of the Universe.​
The fundamental doctrine of Jesus as the only way to salvation is not misguided, as you suggest, but is based on God's holiness and perfection in determining who should be saved and how they should be saved and enter His presence.

Seems to me that your Jesus is one of syncretism who allows anyone into his kingdom because the hardline 'only way' Jesus is too narrow minded for a syncretistic view.

You claim that you are 'troubled by how many of the really puzzling and divisive doctrines have their roots in John and Revelation''. Acts 4:12 (ESV) is not in John's writings. Neither is Acts 13:26 (NIV), which provides this insight, 'Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent'. God-fearing people have received the message of salvation.

Acts 10:43 (NIV) confirms: 'All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name'. They believe in Jesus for salvation. Then they become Christians and are no longer Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Shintoists, pagans, New Agers, JWs, Mormons, secularists, atheists, agnostics, etc. They become born-again Christians who have received Jesus as the only way to salvation.

However, there is one area in which I would agree with you: 'nothing requires God to be the sort of God we might like Him to be'. There will be God-fearers who make it into God's kingdom whom we would never know how they came to fear God. However, I dare not make 'one way' Christians into hardliners who are unreasonable. Those who believe Jesus is the 'only way' to salvation are following what Scripture teaches.

God doesn't dance to your or my tune. He sets the boundaries for who is in and who is out of the kingdom. From the teaching available to us, salvation through Jesus Christ alone is the only way to become a Christian (John 14:6 ESV; Acts 4;12 ESV).

Blessings,
Oz
 

K2CHRIST

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Repenting happens first. One realizes that what they've been believing isn't working, so repents of that false belief. This leaves them open to a new belief. Hopefully Christianity fills the gap. The change in lifestyle that appears in a Christian after conversion is not the 'repenting', rather the change is due to a Christian working out (exercising) their salvation. Repenting is the death of trust in the old lifestyle, and is signified by John's water baptism which ends the old life. Belief in Christ is signified by the baptism of the Holy Spirit which will build a new life.

Act 19:1 ¶ And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 - He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 - And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
Act 19:4 - Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 - When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 - And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Act 19:7 - And all the men were about twelve.​
Ok you make a statement: "Repenting happens first", and quote a bunch of verses but I don't see the connection?

For example you quoted Act 19:3 - And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

John's baptism was actually a baptism of repentance, and they had that but had not received the baptism of the Spirit. Why? The repentance didn't get them that. You might say it came first, but there are examples of men getting the baptism of the Holy Spirit and then being baptized is water.

Acts 10:47 Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?

So if you are thinking that because you once read where John baptism came first that it always comes first, you are wrong have just made and assumption. And that is the best I can see from the verses you quoted to support your statement that "Repenting happen first" And what does Act 19:7 - And all the men were about twelve have to do with anything?

So I looked back at your explanation to see if there is something of logic that might prove your point, because the verses you quoted didn't. You wrote " One realizes that what they've been believing isn't working, so repents of that false belief. This leaves them open to a new belief. Hopefully Christianity fills the gap".

We all analyze out actions from time to time and reconsider how we approach things. But is that really repentance? I think not! Repentance is the realization that we are never going to know what is right and wrong, and only God is! So some amount of belief in God's existence and the possibility that we can hear from Him is needed before we truly repent of our ways and turn to God.

Repentance is not like we build some steps and got them wrong to we reconsidered and rebuild the steps. True Christian repentance is the realization that we can't build a stairway to heaven, only God can. So we seek Him and not any of our thinking. Yet to seek Him you must first have some belief that He exists! So the belief, at least at some leave must come first!

Of course you only need extremely small faith to move the mountain. Perhaps only enough faith to say to yourself, 'perhaps God exists' so that you seek Him. And if you do seek Him you will find Him, and finding this incredible God we serve will lead to the realization that you don't know what I right or wrong, only He does. And you will seek Him more and often, thus hearing from Him more which leads to more faith, and even more repentance. Isn't that what you found out?

Yet if a person says they believe in God and don't seek Him, have they even repented? It seems many are doing works in the name of God, but don't really know Him. Saul was an example of that when the Lord spoke to Saul on the road. Where did Saul repent before the Lord spoke to him? Not before, but certainly after!

So I read your statement, but can't figure your logic.
 

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