How to Respond to How People are Saved

Question: How can God be loving and then demand that salvation is received only by those who believe in Jesus as their Savior? What about those who have never heard about Jesus? Could God really condemn them because they don’t believe if they were never given an opportunity to believe?

Answer: God says clearly in His Word that salvation is received by faith: (John 3:36, Galatians 3:22).

We are all sinners, we all deserve God’s just judgment because of our sin: (Romans 3:23). There are no innocent bystanders. We are all guilty before God.

We also need to realize that every civilization, no matter where it has settled, traces its family tree back to Noah through his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis 6-9). At one time in their history they knew the truth about God and the salvation that He would bring about through the coming Savior. If that knowledge was lost, it is not the fault of God, but the fault of man.

God desires the salvation of all people (2 Peter 3:9) and has sent Jesus to live and to die to atone for the sins of all people (1 John 2:1-2).

He has also placed within all people a natural knowledge that He exists (Psalm 14:1, Romans 1:20). This natural knowledge of God reveals that God exists so that we might search for Him and find out more about Him (Acts 17:27).

Finally, God also sends His people (Christians) into the world as witnesses of the salvation Jesus has won for them and for all people (Mark 16:15) so that others would believe through their word. Paul says: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

God desires our salvation, which we receive through faith. He has given to each of us an innate understanding that He exists, so that we might seek after Him, find Him, believe in Him, and receive His salvation. And He has revealed His truth and proclaims this truth through the people of His Church as His witnesses.

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses the question which is often asked:  Why do I have to go to church?  Can't I worship God at home?  While it is true that we don't have to go to church to worship God, and that we can and should worship and pray to God everywhere we go and in everything we do, it begs the following question in reply:  Are you taking time to worship God, to regularly reading His Word, to pray to God, to sing His praises, to encourage and be encouraged through fellowship with like-minded believers, to recieve the Sacraments that God has given to His people for their salvation as well as their great joy and comfort?  These are things that are done in church because God has invited us to, out of joy for the gift of salvation He has won for us, and in the confidence that He is at work through them.  In short, all these things are the outward marks which identify one as a believer in Jesus.  Jesus summarizes the answer to this question well when He said: “He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). Consider the following passages which emphasize the importance of the above relationship with God:  Psalm 1:2; Psalm 122:1; Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:25.  God’s Word is clear and gives us a sure answer to our question.  It isn’t about whether a Christian “has to” go to church.  The Child of God who has a relationship with God will go to church, study His Word, fellowship with other believers, receive His Sacraments, pray and praise Him. The Christian will go to church, because that is where God richly bestows His gifts of grace, life and salvation for sinners!

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses the question of the canonicity of the 66 Books of the Old and New Testaments.  The word canon comes from a Hebrew word which means root or cane.  This cane was used as a measuring rod which came to mean "standard."  Thus canon is a term that is used to describe those books that were recognized as meeting the standard of being inspired by God.  We need to be clear that human beings have not decided the canon.  They have only recognized what God has revealed as inspired by Him from the very beginning.  Our Old Testament is made up of 39 books, which are the same books that Jesus and the disciples had in the Scriptures that they used.  They were found in a different order, and there was a different number because some of our books were combined into one, but all the same books they had then are included now.  The New Testament is made up of 27 books which were written over a period of about 50 years.  Already in the second century A.D. these New Testament books were being read along side Old Testament books in Christian worship services.  The early New Testament church again recognized those books that God inspired and preserved for the benefit of all people. 

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses whether the Biblical account of the Flood in the time of Noah really happened and whether it was a local or worldwide flood.  The Bible clearly describes the flood as a real, historical event during the life of Noah.  Jesus and the apostles refer to the flood as a real event which is compared to the last day when God will judge unbelievers and save believers.  It is also clear from the Genesis account that this is a worldwide flood, and not a local flood.  It covers ALL the high hills (Genesis 7:19-20), and kills EVERY living human and land animal that was not on the ark (Genesis 7:21-23).  Finally the rainbow is given as a sign of God's promise not to destroy all flesh.  If this was only a local flood, God has broken that promise time and time again through other local floods!  In addition there are flood legends all over the world, which is what we would expect since all nations came from the descendants of Noah after the flood was over!  The Bible’s testimony of a worldwide flood that destroyed the world and changed the face of the earth is clear and it is confirmed both by Science and History.  God’s judgment against sin and His love for the sinner is revealed in the pages of the Bible.  This is just one more reason we can look to the Word of God as our ultimate source of truth in all things.

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses whether the writings of the Apocrypha are part of God's Word or not.  The 15 writings of what is called the Apocrypha are included in some Orthodox churches and some were added to the Roman Catholic Bible at the Council of Trent in 1545.  But they are not part of most Christian Bibles.  Some of these books (like Tobit, Judith and Bel and the Dragon) are quite strange to say the least.  Others (Baruch, Maccabees and Esdras) do record insightful historical information.  Yet these writings were all written after 400 B.C. and were popularized by the editors of the Greek Translation of the Hebrew Bible.  They were never accepted by the Jews (these books were formally rejected by the Jews at the Council of Jamnia in 90AD).  What is more, these books were not accepted by Jesus or the Apostles either.  While Jesus and the Apostles quote and refer to many of the books of the Old Testament in the New Testament, they never once quote or refer to any Apocryphal book.  While some may be interesting, they are not inspired by God.  God's Word is complete and is recorded for us in the 66 books we have in our Christian Bibles. 

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses a question about the truth of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  There are several evidences for this truth.  The resurrection of Jesus is not a New Testament concept.  It was foretold by many prophets in the Old Testament.  It was also foretold repeatedly by Jesus Himself in the weeks leading up to His death.  The empty tomb is also an evidence.  If Jesus was not raised, the Jews and Romans could have simply exhumed His body to squelch the idea.  The resurrection of Jesus is also proved by the testimony of His followers, many of whom gave up their lives because of their testimony.  Why would the die for something that knew or thought was a lie?  Finally there are example of other resurrections throughout the Old and New Testaments.  The resurrection of Jesus give hope and comfort to the sinner who trusts in Jesus!

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses a question about why Christians are always judging others.  First we need to make a distinction between making a judgment and being arrogant.  Everyone makes judgments.  That doesn't mean that everyone is arrogant.  Second righteous judgment is necessary to society.  What would happen if police officers and judges did not try to judge with righteous judgment?  Chaos would result.  People have misquoted Jesus' words:  "Judge not, lest you be judged" as proof that Christians are wrong to judge others.  But the context of that passage (Matthew 7:1-5) demonstrates that Jesus says that we can and SHOULD judge, but we should do so in a correct way.  We judge on God's standard of right and wrong and holding ourselves to the same standard before we apply it to others.  We have all failed and need the forgiveness God offers us in Christ.  For Christians it isn't about being better than others, it is about pointing people to Jesus, the one and only solution to the problem of our sin. Christians should strive to do this in love and not in arrogance.

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses a question about the reality of truth.  There is a difference between truth and opinion.  Opinion is a sentiment that is true for some, but not all.  In contrast, something that is true, is true for everyone.  Some people say that there is no such thing as truth.  But think about that for a moment.  If there is no such thing as truth, then such a statement must be false, because it is a claim to have truth!  Our daily lives are based on the fact that truth exists in conversation, learning and reading.  Otherwise what use is any of that? Others say truth is relative and that it varies from one person to the next.  But this too is foolish and causes all kinds of problems in life.  God is the author of truth and He reveals what is true and what is not true.  When a culture rejects truth, it rejects that God who established truth.

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses a question about how God can be loving and still condemn people to hell for eternity.  First we must remember that God is just, and when we sin we bring upon ourselves God's just judgment.  In His mercy, God desires the salvation of all through His Son.  We must also remember that God has demonstrated His love for sinners in sending His Son to suffer the punishment of our sin in our place.  When sinners choose to disobey God and reject His grace in Christ they bring the righteous judgment of hell upon themselves. God's love is clearly seen in Christ!

00:0000:00

In our How to Respond series, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew addresses a question about why there are so many differences between Christian denominations.  How can one know which one is right?  Sin is the reason there are so many differences between Christian churches.  But just because they have different beliefs doesn't mean that God's truth cannot be known.  Through the diligent study of His word, God gives knowledge and understanding.  Every truth is important, otherwise He would not have given it! The study of God's Word can be hard work at times, but it is very rewarding!

00:0000:00

Load more