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What is the Bible ?

What is the Bible ?

An extraordinary book, consisting of 66 books (39 books in the Old Testament, 27 books in the New Testament) and written over a period of 1600 years by about 40 authors in at least 4 languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin).

'God's Word' which God has prophetically revealed His redemptive plans for the salvation of man through Jesus Christ from the past, present and the future through the authors inspired by the Holy Spirit.

It starts with God's creation of the universe in the first book, Genesis, and ends with the coming of the new heaven and earth, and God's new city in the last book, Revelation.

A book of God's wisdom and power translated today into over 1100 languages, which has been influencing all men beyond the wall of time, space, race, and nation and which gives the true answer to the question, 'How should we live now?'

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Matthew 24:35
  1. God's Creation
  2. The Fall of Man
  3. The First Coming of Jesus, His Birth
  4. The Holy Spirit
  5. The Second Coming of Jesus and the Resurrection of Saints
  6. The Kingdom of God, Hell and God's Judgment
  7. What is Man ?
  8. Sin
  9. Deliverance from Sin
  10. Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
  11. What is the Meaning of Faith ?
    Repentance, Confession,Baptism with Water and Spirit
  12. Steps of Faith, Justification, Sanctification and Glorification

Ch.1 God's Creation

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?... The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. I, the Lord -with the first of them and the last--I am he.

The Bible declares that God Himself is the foundation of the universe. Modern science has been accepting the discovery of the birth of universe by a Big Bang, the expansion in the aftermath of a gigantic explosion, and the fact that one day, it will reverse its expansion down to a Big Crunch. This supports the Bible, which tells us that the Creator, God triggered a Big Bang fireball to brake up and that the universe will finally fly away from the presence of Him (the central of the universe) who sits on 'a great white throne' and disappear by fire.

We cannot 'prove' the existence of God. However, whenever we observe God's wonderfully, fearfully designed creation it is difficult for us to deny the fact that these things did not accidentally come into existence but that there is someone behind the scene, who has designed them and has been keeping them in order. According to His plan,

Let us make man in our image, in our Likeness,

Is.40:21,:28 Is.41:4 Ge.1:1-3 Re.20:11 2Pe.3:10,:12, Re.20:11 Ps.19:1,139:13-14 Ps.135:6,136:5 He.11:3, Ro.1:20, 2Pe.3:5-7 Ge.1:26

God formed (the)man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a Living being.

Thus, man was distinctively made as 'man' or 'woman' in this order and also as creatures completely different from other animals but who have a 'personality' and who are able to have a right relationship with God. It is apparent from Jesus' attitude towards women in the Bible that man and woman are equal in value and status. However, God has invested the responsibility of leadership in men and He has intended women to obey men as helpers and has intended both to complement each other with a heart of love. God's secret might be reflected in this creation order that although the triune God is equal in nature, power and glory there are Father, Son, Spirit in this order and in different functions. There were two trees in Eden. The tree of life symbolised the Holy Spirit and the tree of knowledge symbolised God's Word, Jesus. But in the last book of the Bible, the latter is to disappear and the former which gives the eternal life is significantly to remain in the Holy City, the new Jerusalem where God will live together with those given the same resurrected bodies as Jesus. The consistent theme of the Bible is the completion of Cod's eternal kingdom in Jesus Christ. The redemptive history for human beings by God who declares

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. will be developing over God's chosen people, Israel.

Ge.2:7 Ge.2:15-25, Ep.1:11 Lk.7:36-50,8:1-3, Jn.4:1-30,8:1-11 Ge.3:16, 1Co.11:3-16, Ep.5:21-24 1Pe.3:1-7 Ge.2:9,:16-17 Re.22:1-5,21:22-23 Re.21:6,22:13,1:8,:17

Ch.2 The Fall of Man

The bible tells us that although man was created spiritually, rationally, morally and immortally, as a reflection of God's holy and perfect nature, with authority over all living creatures on the earth and put in a right relationship with God, sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men.

Because of the rebellion to God by the first man, Adam (not obeying God's command) , man lost the right relationship with God and had to live in sin. As it was not God's will for man to live as a sinner eternally, man was doomed to die and was driven out of the Garden of Eden where the tree of life is (the place of life with God) . At the moment when 'sin entered the world,' man became terrified of God, instead of loving Him and the life of security, self-worth and significance turned to be that of insecurity, inferiority and insignificance because of sin. Physical death upon a spiritually dead man also started after the Fall, followed by a human history of reaping the consequences of sin from generation to generation. Starting with Cain's murder of his brother, Abel, the earth has come to be filled with violence. Therefore God who was grief-stricken destroyed both mankind and the earth, preserving eight members of Noah's family who lived upright in the eyes of the Lord and one pair of every kind of

Ge.1:28 Ro.5:12 Ge.2:16-17 Ge.3:16-19 Ge.2:17,3:22-24 Ge.3:8-10 Ge.4:8 Ge.chs.6-8

creatures (seven of every kind of clean animal for the burnt offerings and for food after the flood). However, the flood did not bring an end to man's sin, as apparent from Noah and his son, Ham's sins shortly after the flood. After that, the human desire for a totalitarian regime without God was almost embodied in the form of the tower of Babel, but God caused a split among the people by confusing their languages and scattered them all over the earth. Indeed, science and archaeology have evidenced that the earth was repopulated from a common ancestry and from a common geographical area after the flood, by the three main streams (Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth). They have also shown that false religion originated in Babylon (originally called Babel) and from Babylon horoscope was delivered to Egypt. Thus they support the Bible. What is more, the fact that Chinese characters can probably be thought to have been made up, founded by the biblical accounts of the first 11 chapters of Genesis is very significant because it seems to imply that the origin of all the languages is one. Interesting enough, God who then divided their languages and caused a split among them, on the day of Pentecost (the day of the descent of the Holy Spirit), many years later, once again united people in one by His gift of 'tongues' (spiritual languages spoken to God and which is one of the nine spiritual gifts) upon those who had gathered there in the name of the Lord. Jesus, on the night He was betrayed by His disciple (Judas) and was arrested, prayed for His followers whom He was about to leave in this world, asking the Father to bring them to complete unity. God answered His prayer and sent the promised Holy Spirit. Ac.2:1-12,:44-47 2Co.14:2 1Co.12:8-10 Jn.17:11,:21-23

Ch.3 The First Coming of Jesus, His Birth

God had already planned His blueprint of creation that the Son of God, Jesus Christ was to come to the world to accomplish God's redemptive plans (the Gospel). The Bible, thus tells us that salvation through Christ is not the means of solution added later as the result of man's sin. Some might be surprised by this fact. Paul, one of Jesus' apostle says that all things were created by Him and for Him. This amazing declaration that God has predestined everything is written everywhere in the Bible.

Luke,who was the only gentile author in the Bible says,

this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.

The first prophecy that Jesus would come for the salvation of the world is already written in Genesis shortly after Adam and Eve sinned (that is, they did not obey God's command). God declared war against Satan:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

He has prophesied that the one who brings victory over Satan would appear out of Jewish offspring, that is, Jesus' victory on the cross. Satan's struggle with God in order to hinder God's children from eternal salvation for the short while, when he is allowed to have power and to rule over the world explains why human history has been bloodshed by atrocities such as the holocaust and the massacre of infants.

Col.1:16 Is.14:24,46:9-11,48:3-5, Ac.2:23,4:28, Ep.1:4-5,:11 Ac.3:18 Ge.3:15

Thus, God has progressively been revealing His unchanging plans from the beginning of His creation through His covenants with Abraham, with Moses, with David and with the Israelites and also through revelations and visions to Israel's patriarchs, leaders kings and many Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and so on in different ages. These prophecies written in the Hebrew Bible testify that Jesus Christ came to the world as a human (incarnated) 2000 years ago and is also to come back again. Therefore, Jesus Christ, that is, the New Testament, written about Christ after His first coming, can be described to interpret the Hebrew Bible which had already been written by then. In other words, the New Testament tells us that Christ is the very one that fulfills what is written in the Hebrew Bible.

Jesus, Himself taught that the Hebrew Bible could be understood in the light of the gospel. Furthermore the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in the New Testament also tells us that God's promises have been embodied in Jesus Christ, saying,

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

Indeed, it is no other than the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ who can achieve the redemptive plans of God who is both love and righteous and whose plans are even to save a sinful man without violating God's law which is described in detail in the Hebrew Bible.

Ge.12:2-7 Ex.19:5-6 2Sa.7:14-16, 1Ch.17:4-14 Jer.31:31-34, Eze.36:24-29 Lk.24:27,:44-49 Jn.5:39,:46 Heb.1:1-2

Ch.4 The Holy Spirit

God has progressively revealed His plans through covenants and prophecies and the very living Word of God, Jesus Christ was the completion of God's promises and the last revelation. As John, one of the twelve disciples, has written,

He came to that which was his own did not receive him, in John's Gospel which starts with the words,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,

so the Jews who had been awaiting the literal fulfillment of all promises in the Hebrew Bible failed to recognize Jesus, as the fulfillment, who miserably died on the cross as a sinner.

Unlike us, who are living in the New Testament age and who can look at history from a different perspective, the Old Testament prophets failed to see the long gap of time (the church age, when the gospel is preached to the Gentiles) between the first coming of Christ (His birth) and the second coming. This was probably why the Jews were given the impression that there would be only one coming rather than two separate comings. As a result, the Jews did not recognize the first coming of Christ and are still waiting for their Saviour to be born as a victorious king to rule this world. This might be easy to understand for those who have experienced the difficulty of judging the positions of two mountains in the distance through a telescope. The mountains might lie side by side or there may be a big distance between them.

This is the reason for the separation of Christianity which believes that this Jesus the Nazarene who died on the cross is the Saviour of mankind, and Judaism which still await the coming of the

Jn.1:11 Jn.1:1 Mt.21:43,28:19, Mk.16:15, Ac.1:8

Saviour who will reign as a victorious king. God's Spirit (The Holy Spirit) who is expressed as 'breath' by the author of the Psalms;

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth,

was engaged in creation work with the Word of God (Jesus). He was always with Jesus in the times of Jesus' birth, baptism, temptation in the wilderness, sacrificial death, resurrection and so on. Jesus' amazing ministry and deeds were all the result of the Spirit's guidance. The apostle, Luke has recorded in both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts in the New Testament, what is taking place and also what will take place during the transitional time between Jesus' earthly life time when He physically lived with men for a while and the time of his spiritual existence to His second coming. In other words, in the book of Acts, it is written that even after His resurrection and ascension, Jesus is consecutively doing

all that He (Jesus) began to do and to teach through the Holy Spirit.

Ps.33:6 Ge.1:1 Mt.1:18, Lk.1:35 Lk.3:21-22 Lk.4:1 Heb.9:14 Ro.8:11 Ac.1:1 Mk.8:31, Lk.24:26, Jn.16:7

The only way for Jesus' followers to receive God's grace was For Jesus to undergo sufferings, be crucified as a sinner, be resurrected and ascend. In the other words, the Father's promise, the Holy Spirit(omnipresent Jesus' Spirit) has become available to dwell in all those who believe in Jesus by being sent in stead of Jesus. 'The Holy Spirit', whom Jesus mentioned as

you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, was given to all believers on the day of Pentecost.

Both events of Jesus' ascension and Pentecost have brought a new age, which is the age of the gospel for Gentiles, or the age of church growth. The work of the preaching of the gospel has spread all over the world by the power of the Holy Spirit. Wherever the gospel was taken and wherever believers came together, churches (i.e., God's temple) have been built beyond geographical restriction of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of Truth, is a helper, who convicts people of their sins and who leads them to the truth. Without His help, we would not be able to understand God, Christ or the Bible.

Jn.14:16-20, Ro.8:9-11 Ac.1:8 Ac.2:1-39 Mk.16:15, Lk.24:47, Jn.4:20-24,14:12, Jn.14;26,15:26,16:7-8,:13-15, Ro.8:14-16,:26-27, 2Co.3:16-18

Ch.5 The Second Coming of Jesus and the Resurrection of Saints

Just as the Old Testament prophets had prophesied, Jesus' birth announced the beginning of a new age and at the same time, the end of the old age. In reality however, this old age still continues in parallel to the new age. The new age has already come but not in its completion and this reflects the fact that though as Christians, we have already been saved, we are still waiting for complete salvation. However, this overlap of the two ages cannot continue indefinitely. It is only by the second coming of Jesus that this present invisible kingdom of God which can only be experienced by the works of the Holy Spirit can be put an end to, and then be transformed into a visible reality; the true kingdom of God! The apostle Paul explains the dilemma we face as Christians living in An imperfect end of the age ;

For while we are in this tent (physical body), We groan….., but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling (resurrected body), and For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

In the New Testament, astonishingly, there are more than 300 references to Christ' second coming! Living in a 'nuclear age' in which we are constantly exposed to sources that threaten our lives

Ro.8:23-25 2Co.5:2,:4 2Co.4:17-18

and live in the uncertainty of the 'moment ahead', what a comfort it is to know that we can find hope and confidence in the fact that God is still in control of history and that Jesus' second coming will bring fulfillment of promises, joy and completion.

Warnings concerning the time of the second coming of Christ had already been given in the age of the early church;

In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Even since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. However, The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Indeed, now that we are 2000 years nearer the second coming than in the age of the early church, these words must be taken more seriously than ever! On the other hand, we are recently beginning to see many people being stirred up by false prophets, religious leaders and diviners who give false dates of the end of the world. The Bible clearly tells us that only the Father God knows the day or the hour and not even the Son. Having said so, Jesus warned us to wake up and be alert signs of the second coming which will be revealed in worldwide phenomena.

The purpose of Jesus' first coming was both to

2Pe.3:3-4 2Pe.3:9 Mk.13:32, Mt.24:36 Ac.1:7 Mt.24:3-51, ITh.5:1-6
seek and to save what was lost, and to save the world. But He will come back to earth in the same way as you have seen him go into heaven,

that is, in the resurrected body, in order to judge the nations, to round off human history, to release God's people and to fulfill the promise God gave to Christians. The Bible then tells us that the same long awaited resurrected body as Jesus will be given to those who have endured to the end in the time of tribulation and that a thousand year kingdom by reign of Christ will begin.

Lk.19:10 Jn.3:17 Ac.1:11 Mt.16:27,24:30-31, 1Th.4:16-17, Re.6:9-17,20:1-6 1Co.15:51-52, Ph.3:21, Re.20:4-6

Ch.6 The Kingdom of God, Hell and God's Judgment

Jesus talked about the kingdom of God (expressed as the kingdom of heaven in Matthew's Gospel) in the form of parables. By using parables, He had intended those who heard them to identify themselves in them ,to encourage them to put what they heard into practice and also to meet God but those who did not have listening ears, hardened their hearts even further and though seeing, did not see; though hearing, did not hear or understand.

Although we can have a taste of the kingdom of God here through Jesus' teaching, it is only when Jesus returns that it will become a visible reality. Let's begin looking at a number of specific parables that point towards the kingdom of God. The famous 'Parable of the sower' describes the four Different reactions of those who hear the word of God (Gospel). Through this parable, Jesus suggests that spiritual enlightenment rather than wisdom of this world is needed to understand the kingdom of God. The following 'Parable of the weeds' tells us how we can deal with evil in this wicked world. The 'Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard' emphasizes the fairness of God's kingdom which is different from the standards of this world, portraying the master (God)'s grace towards the outcast and excluded from the society. In the 'Parable of the Tenants', the believer's responsibility for God's calling is argued; with the attitudes of the tenants to the master's son(Jesus) being the central focus of argument.

Mt.13:13-16, Mk.4:10-12, Lk.8:8-10 Mt.13:13 Lk.17:20-21,23:43 Mt.13:1-23 Mt.13:24-30,:36-43 Mt.20:1-16 Mt.21:33-44

The 'Parable of the Wedding Banquet'  speaks in a firm tone about believers who fail to enter the kingdom of God despite His open invitation because their minds are preoccupied with worldly matters. Finally, the 'Parable of the Ten Virgins' and the 'Parable of the Talents' are both directed towards the followers of Christ; how to prepare for the second coming of Christ and entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus, who said,

it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God

also warned the believers of the difficulty of entering the kingdom of God if they do not obey God's will. The Bible also tells us that those who fail to enter the kingdom of God are to be thrown into the outer darkness, the place of eternal punishment, in the fire. The Bible is also clear to say that hell will not just be a place prepared for immortal Satan and demons but also a place that the wicked will be thrown into on the day of judgment, a place of eternal punishment.

The judgment will be passed by Jesus, who sits on a 'great white throne'. Then, even the dead who have not been raised at the first resurrection (the resurrection of saints in ch.5) will be given a resurrected body in order to stand before God's judgment seat and those whose names are not written in the 'Book of Life' will be thrown into hell. Therefore, 'hell' is a place where a body rather than a spirit is eternally tormented.

Mt.22:1-14 Mt.25:1-30 Mt.19:24 Mt.13:40-42,22:13,25:30 Mt.25:41 Mt.5:29-30,18:8-9,25:41-46, Re.19:20,20:10,:15 Re.20:11 2Co.5:10, Re.20:5,:12-15

After the completion of the saints and the wicked along with the devil are thrown into hell, a new heaven and new earth will be created and a new Jerusalem will descend from heaven. God's redemptive plans will then be completed by not only our bodies but also the environment being redeemed. Thus, the kingdom of God will be fulfilled. The eternal world symbolized by the tree of life with twelve fruits where God will live with His people and where God's Spirit (Holy Spirit) dwells within the people, will come into existence. Both 'the throne' in heaven where God sits and 'the great white throne' on earth will be united as one as 'the throne of God and of the Lamb' in the new Jerusalem according to God's plan to

bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Thus with the whole universe being completed as God's original blueprint, His plans of salvation written in the whole Bible will come to an end.

Re.chs.21&22, Zec.12:10, Ro.11:25-27, Re.1:7 Re.22:2, Jn.14:16, Eze.47:1-12 Re.chs.4-5 Re.20:11 Re.22:1,:3 Ep.1:10 Col.1:15-17, Re.1:8

Ch.7 What is Man ?

Centuries ago, King David questioned in praise of the Creator;

What is man that you are mindful of him,
son of man that you care for him?

This question is becoming more and more serious today as signs of loss of humanity are beginning to appear everywhere. The threats presented to us by nuclear weapons, resources crisis, the inevitable extinction of human beings by pollution, disorder of society and the overflow of excess information by computer systematization and confusion caused by a rapidly changing world, are culminating fast to become the most serious crisis we have ever encountered.

What is man's origin?
The reasons behind the existence of human beings?
Man's value?
Man's ultimate purpose?

The Bible gives the answers to all these endless questions. The Bible wants to tell us that the cause of the present nightmare, confusion and evil lies in the fact that man has been ignoring God's word. Only in the light of God's light can we truly understand what a man Is and give answers to each of the question mentioned above.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth , before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"- before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark and the clouds return after the rain; …. Remember him - before the silver cord is severed or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, …and the dust returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment Including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. As shown in these verses, the author of Ecclesiastes tells us that the life of a man is under God's control. Those who have had near death experiences testify that their physical body was connected to their spirit by a 'silver cord' as told in the Bible.

Man did not start with parthenogenesis in the primitive age nor did man come into existence by evolution. For some reason, the vital fact that Darwin, the man who proposed the theory of evolution, himself regretted having formulated the hypothesis which blasphemed against God and which was misused by others (Karl Marx, Haeckel, etc.) and in his latter years became a devoted Christian whose favorite book became the 'Epistle to the Hebrews', has been concealed by the devout followers of the theory. The Bible makes it clear that from the beginning, man was created as one who reflects God's image, God's representative on earth, ruler of every earthly creature and as a creature with glory and honor. As it is written that Adam, the forefather of human beings, became a 'living being' by being made from the dust of the ground and by breathing the breath of life ,the nature of a man lies in the unity of the body and the spirit and man is unique, set apart in wonder and mystery from other creatures.

Man's goal in God's creation is for man to be made perfectly alive both physically and spiritually and to live in a right relationship with God. Man was approved and 'seen as good' by God, the

Ec.12:1,:2,:6,:7,:13,:14 Ge.1:26-28,2:7,:21-22 Ps.8:5-8,  Ac.17:26 Ge.2:7 Job 10:8-12, Ps.139:13-16 1Co.7:29-35, 2Co.5:9,:15-17

Creator and made worthy enough to exist. Nevertheless, by giving into temptation by Satan who had already been a deserter of the heavenly realm, man sinned and became spiritually dead, one living in sin. Of course we can be released from that spiritually dead state by faith in Jesus but the complete redemption of our physical body can only be accomplished at the time of the Lord's second coming according to the Bible.

Furthermore, God, who thought, it is not good for a man to live alone, from the beginning of creation, intended man to live in a mutual relationship within a community. In this way, the ideal image of the triunal Godhead (trinity), living in a mutual relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit, would be reflected in His creation. The complete picture of the relationship between God, man and other creatures is summed up in the 'New Jerusalem' in ch21 of Revelation. The terminal of God's redemptive history is the reappearance of the eternal city which God had intended humans to live in at the beginning of creation. So why did Human history begin to deviate in such a drastic manner from God's will?

Is.14:12-15, Eze.28:12-15, Lk.10:18 Ph.3:21 Ge.2:18

Ch.8 Sin

Day after day, violence, injustice, disorder, confusion, crime, hatred and discrimination fill today's newspapers as well as the broadcasts on TV and radio and we all tend to blame others or the environment for these countless evils. However, are we able to say for sure that we ourselves are totally innocent and sinless? In the New Testament, when the religious leaders tried to stone a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery, Jesus said,

if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her

and absolutely nobody could stone her. Are we honest enough to admit that the apostle Paul's sayings,

you who pass judgment on someone else for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things,


for what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing, seem to be our very situations? Our omnipotent and omniscient God's answer is, all have sinned


there is no one righteous, not even one.

Or maybe we take sin lightly as being man's natural attribute and not a crime violating the law? What the Bible says against this are;

the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.


Jn.8:7 Ro.2:1,7:19 Job 37:23, Jer.32:27 Ps.14:1-3, Ro.3:23,:10-12 Jer.17:9

for from within, out of men's hearts come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed ,malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man "unclean". Namely, the Bible severely points out that the root of the problem lies in man himself rather than his deeds. Man sins because he is born a sinner.

Israel's rebellious history against God written in the Hebrew Bible depicts that God is a God of wrath who repays sins relentlessly. He Himself declared.

I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.

However, at the same time, He is a God of love. The Bible tells us that even Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land flowing with milk and honey, Canaan because of one single act of disobedience to God, although he was otherwise always faithful to God, interceding for the dissatisfied and discontented Israelites in the wilderness after the Exodus and pacifying God's wrath towards them.

Then, what is sin in the Bible or what is sin from God's viewpoint? The answer to this in the Bible is that whatever cannot achieve God's perfect standard are all sins, which will surely be judged. In other words, the intentional rebellions which do not obey God's authority and laws are all sins. Man, who was given a free will is rebelling against God by choosing the way to sin.

A righteous God never overlooks sin. We might be able to avoid eyes in this world but not the eyes of God! No one can escape from the day of judgment which is to come after our death, which Paul describes, Each of us will give an account of himself to God. Revelation20:11-15 clearly announces that all those whose names are not written in the book of life will be thrown into hell where they will be tormented forever and ever.

Jn.8:7 Ro.2:1,7:19 Job 37:23, Jer.32:27 Ps.14:1-3, Ro.3:23,:10-12 Jer.17:9

Ch.9 Deliverance from Sin

Quite a few may show a complicated reaction to the word 'hell'.The question, 'What is awaiting us after death?' has led to various speculations: they range far and wide ,from those who believe that nothing remains after death and that we will pass away without pain or joy, to those who believe that everyone will go to heaven or that there will be a place in the next world where sinful souls would have another chance to prepare for the kingdom of God. The Bible however, does not support any of these views.

As it is written,

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power,

the destination of sinners is an everlasting tormented place, hell. Jesus depicted the reality of hell by using proper nouns such as Lazarus or Abraham, giving people warnings. But is there any way out for us, sinners, from God's fiery judgment? The answer is a big YES!!! Those of you who have been following this writings carefully might have wondered what the 'book of life' may mean (referred to in chs.6&8). The Bible says that those whose names are written in the book of life are exempt from God's judgment.

Man has sometimes been described as a religious animal. To satisfy his sense of religious mind, man has from ancient times worshipped gods. In spite of God's commandments and warnings, everything, the sun, moon, star, fire, water, wood, stone, bird, animal and so on, has become objects of worship. People may have started worshipping God with genuine hearts but may have

2Th.1:9 Is.33:14, Mt.13:42 Lk.16:19-31 Ex.20:4,  Dt.4:16-19, Is.44:9-17

slipped into the falsity of thinking that worshipping God means offering sacrifices, practicing religious rituals and to observe sacraments and services without noticing. Does doing something for God in order to satisfy our own religious minds lead to our names being placed in the book of life?

The biblical answer is seen clearly in the words,

He (God) is not served by human hands as if he needed anything and also in
Can a man be of benefit to the Lord?, What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would be the gain if your ways were blameless?

God, who knows that what is pure cannot be brought forth from a man, an impure vessel, speaks of how fruitless salvation by religious efforts and deeds is. All that God wants of us is absolute obedience. Therefore, any religion initiated by human hands cannot satisfy our perfect God at all. Religion cannot get rid of sins, let alone change man's sinful nature. Then, left at a loss as to what to do before an awesome Creator, man cannot help but realize his helplessness.

God has sent a light of salvation to a man in despair! He sent Jesus Christ to the world as our Saviour so that the names of those who seek and follow Him will be entered in the Lamb's book of life to be led to eternal salvation. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is the only way for man to be saved ; Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

Col.2:21-23 Ac.17:25 Job 22:2-3 Job 14:4 Jer.2:13, Ro.1:19-25 Is.40:9-31,45:5-25 Jn.14:6

Ch.10 Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

God hates sin but He is also a God who still loves sinners and is willing to forgive. Since God's law declares spiritual and physical death to all sinners, there is no other means by which we can escape this death than through God Himself.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In this way, Jesus Christ, who is fully God  and who was with God before creation and engaged Himself in creation, came as a full man to bear the sins of the world.

The focus of all the teachings in the Bible is on Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. The saints in the Hebrew Bible had been looking forward eagerly to the coming of the Saviour while those Christians who lived in the New Testament age and Christians living in this present age could and can look back to what the Lord has achieved on the cross for the salvation of human beings and hold on to their faith. So, why is the cross of Christ, which is to those who do not believe detestable and is

a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

the power of God to Christians? The following three factors draw up the background as to why Jesus had to die on the cross;

  1. There was no other way of appeasing the wrath of a holy God who never winks at evil than the cross which demonstrated God's love and grace.
    Jn.3:16 Col.1:15-17 1Jn.4:9 1Co.1:18,:23 Ro.3:23-25, Heb.10:22
  2. There was a limitation to the animal sacrificial system. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, man's sins were redeemed by the blood of spotless animals, without blemish. But such sacrifices could only redeem unintentional sins.
  3. Everything was under God's plan and initiative and Jesus willingly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies as a Lamb of God bearing man's sin according to God's will.

    However Jesus, by being raised from His shameful death which at first appeared to display defeat, has brought victory to those who believe. He has delivered us not only from the power of law as well as sin, but also from the power of evil which ruled over us, as it is written,

    Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Therefore those who believe in Jesus Christ have now been reconciled to God through Christ and have returned to a right relationship with God, completely released from His wrath, sin, law and death. Jesus has accomplished the salvation of sinners, something that could not be achieved by animal sacrifices in the Hebrew Bible by offering Himself as a sacrifice once and for all! If this wasn't gospel (good news) for sinners doomed for destruction, what is? The reason why Christians look up to Jesus Christ is that none other than Jesus is the true Saviour.

Lev.chs.1-7&16, Nu.15:22-31, Heb.9:7 Ac.2:23,3:18,13:29-30, 1Co.15:3-4, Ga.1:4 Col.2:15 Ro.chs.5-8, 2Co.5:17-21 Heb.9:12,:25-26

Ch.11 What is the Meaning of Faith ?
Repentance, Confession,Baptism with Water and Spirit

We have so far learnt that those who believe will be given eternal life because Jesus died on the cross, was buried and was resurrected and by that overcame the power of evil completely. We have also learnt that escape from God's judgment leading destruction is possible through our names being written in the 'book of life.' Now, has this gospel become relevant to you? For those of you who have heard the gospel of salvation and now desire to be saved, the next step to take is to repent of your sins, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and this should be followed by baptism with water and Spirit. What does repentance mean? Repentance means confessing the sins you have ever committed before God and changing your attitude, acknowledging you have ignored God and that you have rebelled against Him, by turning 180 degrees and changing the direction of your life. In repenting, therefore, you disown your past sinful self and are making a decision to walk in the way that pleases God with a fresh attitude. True repentance will naturally be accompanied by appropriate actions. 'Believing in Jesus' is to accept Him as your Saviour and as a living Son of God who died for your sins and as Jesus Himself declared,

I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It is also to believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation and to completely surrender yourself into His hands.

Ac.3:19, Ep.5:8-10 Lk.3:8, Ac.26:20, Mt.3:8 Mt.16:16, 1Co.15:3 Jn.14:6 Heb.7:25

You may possibly have received Jesus as your Saviour in your heart while reading this writings. As the Bible says, If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. It is important that you confess with your mouth. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews pleads with today's readers,  Today,

if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. NOW is the time of decision!

The last step involves receiving immersion in water in the name of Jesus (baptism in water) and immersion from heaven (baptism with Holy Spirit). Through them, you will stand at the start line as a Christian! Baptism with Holy Spirit seems to take place soon after baptism with water as in Jesus case; Holy Spirit descended on Him as He was praying. However it can happen after a lapse of time or before water baptism. In either case, the Bible says that it will be am observable experience as water baptism, that can be noticed by both yourself and the observers. Both baptisms will build the foundations of your personal relationship with Jesus and of eternal salvation….and the walk of faith starts right there. We will now turn to the concept of salvation as spoken in the Bible.

Ro.10:9 Ro.10:13 Heb.3:7-8,:15,4:7 Mk.16:16, Ac.2:38 Lk.3:21-22 Ac.8:15-17 Ac.10:46 Ac.9:2-6, Ga.3:2-4

Ch.12 Steps of Faith, Justification, Sanctification and Glorification

A life in faith means running the path set before us to the end patiently without stepping off in any direction. Jesus, who could see far ahead into the future, warned us that it will not be easy to keep on believing till the end; When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? and At that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other… but he who stands firm until the end will be saved. Faith is not to be taken lightly as 'once saved, always saved'. Behind all this, however, God's ultimate will is for everyone to be saved. There are three steps in the biblical salvation;

  1. First, among other religions, Christianity is the only one that claims justification by faith. Justification by faith means that God would regard those who believe, sinful as they are, as righteous because of Christ's redemptive work on the cross. God is willing to stretch out His loving hand towards us first and gives those who respond to Him the privilege to be sons of God; Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. and There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    1Co.:24-27, Heb.12:1 Lk.18:8 Mt.24:10-13 Jn.6:39-40 Ro.8:14-17 Ro.5:1 Ro.8:1
  2. Christians who have been saved not by their own works and effort but by God's grace in order to do good deeds, must live a life according to God's will. They will start off a sanctified life with the help of Holy Spirit, aiming to be a likeness to Christ.

Their growth towards salvation will be prompted by prayers as they ask for forgiveness of sins day by day, and as they give thanks for everything and present their requests to God, through the Bible and prayers where they will know God's will, through fellowship with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and through obeying God's commands. Preaching the gospel to others wherever they are should take high priority in their lives too.

  1. Christians' steps of faith will be completed by glorification when Jesus Christ comes back to earth, when those who believe will be
    raised in glory.

It is by no means easy for us to hear from God and to live according to His will in this wicked, highly tempting world where both kingdoms of God and Satan exist side by side. The Bible tells us that in the last days, the time will come when people will be drawn to what their itching ears want to hear and when even the elects and saints will be deceived. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews warns us,

Ep.2:10 Ph.2:3-8, 1Th.4:3-7 1Pe.1:14-16,2:2 1Jn.1:9 Ph.4:6 Mt.28:19-20, Mk.16:15, Lk.24:47 1Co.15:43, Ph.3:21 Mk.13:6,:22, Lk.21:8, 2Ti.4:3-4

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance.

Paul too, in the Epistle to his disciple, Timothy, writes that there will be some who will shipwreck their faith and even God Himself makes it clear that the names in the 'book of life' could be blotted out. However, those who remain alert and go on living in the way of God to the end will be protected from the powers of the evil spirits, clothed in the armor of God - the belt of truth buckled round their waist, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace on feet, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith in hands, the word of God on lips - and will be able to gain final victory. As Jesus Himself promised us that He would protect us in times of trial, there is no other security than obeying Christ in this insecure world!!

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION by the International Bible Society. A Bird's Eye View of God's Plan ISBN 1-86033-985-9 Copyright c 1997 Huldah K. Ito

Heb.6:4-6 1Ti.1:19-20 Ex.32:33 Ep.6:10-18, 1Co.9:27,15:57-58, 1Jn.5:3-4 Ph.3:8-12, Re.3:10-11, 1Co.1:8, 1Th.5:23-24, 2Ki.6:15-17,