A Series of Questions about Jesus with very short answers (non-scholarly, explaining -- not defending -- the positions)

Date: Jan 27, 2017

Is this important to convert to the Christian religion, if I have to accept Jesus? If I think about being a part of Christian religion how would I survive? Because my family will kill me, and how will I like to be a Christian just to die? 



Truthfully, the answer is "NO"--you do not have to do ANYTHING except believe in Jesus in your heart and mind to have eternal life. You do not have to tell anyone but God about your trust in Jesus--to have eternal life. It is that easy and that simple to be welcomed into God's eternal-life family.


Becoming a believer in Jesus--trusting His words and His death for you and His free offer of eternal life--is VERY different than becoming a disciple or follower of Jesus.


Accepting Jesus as the heaven-sent Son of God and sacrifice for your sins is the ONLY THING the Scriptures say is required from us to become right with God. We have seen this many, many times in the verses above.


All that is required for eternal life is faith. Nothing more.


Faith is belief and trust. It is not commitment, dedication, devotion, love, hard-work, living clean, doing good, becoming a martyr, joining a church, making a public proclamation, or anything else that is good to do!


Just belief.


Here's a passage from another one of my teachers:




"What is faith? Is it merely assent to facts? Does it involve any kind of commitment, particularly the commitment of the years of one’s life on earth? What does it mean when the Bible says that the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19)? How can some people apparently believe and not be saved, while others believe and are saved?


"Faith means “confidence, trust, holding something as true.” Certainly, faith must have some content. There must be confidence about something or in someone. To believe in Christ for salvation means to have confidence that He can remove the guilt of sin and give eternal life. It means to believe that He can solve the problem of sin, which is what keeps a person out of heaven.


"One can also believe Christ about a multitude of other things, but these are not involved in salvation. A person can believe He is Israel’s Messiah, and He is. One can believe He was born without a human father being involved in the act of conception, and that is true. A person can believe that what Jesus taught while on earth was good, noble, and true, and it was. He can believe Jesus will return to earth, and He will. One can believe Christ is the Judge of all, and He is. A person can believe He is a prophet and a priest, that priesthood being shaped after the order of Melchizedek, and one would be right. We can believe all those things. You and I also may believe He is able to run our lives—and He surely is able to do that, and He wants to. But these are not the issues of salvation.


"The only issue is whether or not you believe that His death paid for all your sin and that by believing in Him you can have forgiveness and eternal life.


"Faith has an intellectual facet to it. The essential facts are that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3–4; Romans 4:25). In addition, faith involves assent or agreement with those facts. One can know the facts of the Gospel and either agree or disagree with them. But faith also involves an act of the will, for we can decide either to obey or to reject God’s command to believe (Acts 16:31). And making whichever choice we do involves our will.



"From these suggested descriptions of faith, it is obvious that faith involves more than the knowledge of facts. The facts must be there or faith is empty. But even assent, however genuine, must be accompanied by an act of the will to trust in the truth that one has come to know and assented to.


"Hodge’s use of the word trust may be particularly appropriate today, for the words believe and faith sometimes seem to be watered down so that they convey little more than knowing facts. Trust, however, implies reliance, commitment, and confidence in the objects or truths that one is trusting. An element of commitment must be present in trusting Christ for salvation, but it is commitment to Him, His promise, and His ability to give eternal life to those who believe.


"The object of faith or trust is the Lord Jesus Christ, however little or much one may know about Him. The issue about which we trust Him is His ability to forgive our sins and take us to heaven. And because He is the Lord God, there is an element in bowing before Him and acknowledging Him as a most superior person when one trusts Him for salvation.


"Of course, when one believes he commits to God. Commits what? His eternal destiny. That’s the issue, not the years of his life on earth. Certainly when one believes he bows to a superior person, to the most superior person in all the universe. So superior that He can remove sin.




But becoming a believer and having faith is simple--even a child could do it:


"Some people brought even their babies to Jesus so he could touch them. When the followers saw this, they told them to stop. But Jesus called for the children, saying, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a child, or you will never enter it.” [Lk 18:15–17.]


But becoming a dedicated follower or disciple is different! It is NOT free -- like the free gift of eternal life. Jesus told His followers (believers) to be careful about accepting a life of discipleship.


These two relationships with God (a child of God through faith, a disciple of Jesus through a life of commitment) are talked about in the gospels often, but they are seen to be different.


Consider Luke 14:16-33, in which Jesus told two stories, one about a free banquet (eternal life) and one about an expensive path (discipleship):



A Story about a Big Banquet


One of those at the table with Jesus heard these things and said to him, “Blessed are the people who will share in the meal in God’s kingdom.”


Jesus said to him, “A man gave a big banquet and invited many people. When it was time to eat, the man sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come. Everything is ready.’

“But all the guests made excuses. The first one said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go look at it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen; I must go and try them. Please excuse me.’ A third person said, ‘I just got married; I can’t come.’ So the servant returned and told his master what had happened. Then the master became angry and said, ‘Go at once into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ Later the servant said to him, ‘Master, I did what you commanded, but we still have room.’ The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes, and urge the people there to come so my house will be full. I tell you, none of those whom I invited first will eat with me.’ ”


The Cost of Being Jesus’ Follower


Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me but loves his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters—or even life—more than me, he cannot be my follower. Whoever is not willing to carry his cross and follow me cannot be my follower.


If you want to build a tower, you first sit down and decide how much it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job. If you don’t, you might lay the foundation, but you would not be able to finish. Then all who would see it would make fun of you, saying, ‘This person began to build but was not able to finish.’


“If a king is going to fight another king, first he will sit down and plan. He will decide if he and his ten thousand soldiers can defeat the other king who has twenty thousand soldiers. If he can’t, then while the other king is still far away, he will send some people to speak to him and ask for peace. In the same way, you must give up everything you have to be my follower."



Here is an explanation of these two very different stories:


"Consider two important sayings of our Lord, spoken one after the other, as recorded in Luke 14:16–33.


"The first tells the story of a banquet for which great and elaborate preparation had been made. Many had been invited by the host, and when all the preparations had been completed, a servant was sent to tell those who had been invited that they should now come. But those invited began to make excuses—a real-estate purchase that needed to be seen, oxen that needed to be proved, and a new wife that the husband needed to be with. Remember that the people had been invited ahead of time so that they had ample opportunity to take care of their personal matters during the time the banquet was being prepared.


"The host became angry and told his servant to bring in those who were considered inferior (verse 21). Still the banquet room was not filled, so others were invited from the roads and lanes where the poor and vagrants lived (verse 23). (This latter group represents Gentiles who were offered salvation after the Jewish people rejected Christ.)


"What clear and repeated displays of the host’s grace shine through this parable. He gave three distinct invitations (verses 16, 21, 23), and a reminder to the first group of guests (verse 17). So actually four invitations were issued. In spite of rejection, the host continued to invite people to his banquet. No strings were attached, except to come. No price needed to be paid. No conditions were involved, except to come. Indeed, the host told his servant to compel or persuade (as in Acts 28:19) people to come. He wanted others to enjoy what he had prepared and to enjoy it without cost to them (though at great cost to himself).


"But there was a warning that the gracious invitation would not be renewed, so that those who gave excuses would have no further opportunity (verse 24).


"The teaching that follows stands in sharp contrast. Whereas the story of the banquet says “come” and “free,” the next says “stop” and “costly.”


"What is free? The invitation to enter the Father’s kingdom.

"What is costly? A certain kind of discipleship.


"What kind of discipleship? In this account, discipleship that involved attaching oneself to the Lord, leaving family and possessions to be with Him wherever He went. Discipleship that would involve standing against great opposition.


"So the Lord warned the multitudes who were attracted to Him too hastily but halfheartedly that it cost something to be His disciple. It cost (1) supreme loyalty to Him even above family, (2) willingness to die for Him, and (3) literally forsaking everything (not just being willing to do so) to be able to accompany Jesus from place to place. The word forsake means “to say farewell” (as in Luke 9:61). One would have to do that at least for the time that he left home to follow Christ. And apparently some had given up possessions and employment in order to hear and learn from our Lord as He and they traveled from place to place.


"To emphasize how carefully such a decision should be made, the Lord gave two illustrations: (1) the man who began to build and could not finish because he failed to plan wisely (verses 28–30) and (2) the king who carefully considered the strength of his enemy before deciding whether to fight or sue for peace (verses 31–32). Likewise, the decision to follow (and this meant literally to go from place to place with the Lord) was not to be made lightly, halfheartedly, or hastily.


"The contrast between these two sayings of our Lord could scarcely be more vivid.


"Come to the banquet. It’s free.

"Don’t rush into discipleship. It’s costly.


"Today the Lord Jesus, the God-man, offers His feast of salvation freely, and He can do so because He is God who became man. The same Lord Jesus, through many New Testament writers, asks those who have believed to submit to His mastery over their lives. Some do to a great extent. Some do to a lesser extent. No one does it fully and always. But He was, is, and always will be Lord whether He is acknowledged as the God-man Savior or whether He is acknowledged as Master of the believer’s life. He is Lord."


Some people try to add extra steps to the simple act of believing, but this is against God's Word.


Some people say that you have to make public confession of your faith before your family, friends, and community. But this is never demanded by God in the Bible as a condition for eternal life. [It would be a part of being a disciple.]


The only type of confession required is a confession TO GOD that you believe.


The apostle Paul speaks of this in talking to unbelieving Jews of his time, in Romans 10:



"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.” That Scripture says “anyone” because there is no difference between those who are Jews and those who are not. The same Lord is the Lord of all and gives many blessings to all who trust in him, as the Scripture says, “Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.”  [Ro 10:9–13.]


There is nothing in this verse about "confessing before people". It is about talking to GOD. And it is the same as believing.


Here are some statements by bible scholars, which show that this is what is meant:


"The true order is given in verse 10: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (lit., “it is believed unto righteousness”), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (lit., “it is confessed unto salvation”). Yet these are not two separate steps to salvation. They are chronologically together. Salvation comes through acknowledging to God that Christ is God and believing in Him. -- Paul then (v. 11) supported his position by requoting part of Isaiah 28:16 (cf. Rom. 9:33), adding the Greek word translated everyone. God responds with the gift of provided righteousness to each individual who believes. Then Paul reminded his readers of God’s impartiality, as he did when discussing human sinfulness (3:22). Just as all who sin will be judged, so all who believe will be saved and richly blessed. This conclusion also is supported by a quotation from Joel 2:32: Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. To call on the Lord means to pray in faith for salvation."  [John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck; vol. 2; Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 2481.]


"Does the New Testament use other words interchangeably with believe? Yes, it does. Receive is one (John 1:12); call is another (Romans 10:13). Confess is one (Romans 10:9; Hebrews 4:14); ask is another (John 4:10). Come is one (Revelation 22:17); take is another (Revelation 22:17). The person who asks or confesses or calls or receives or comes or takes, believes." [Charles Caldwell Ryrie, So Great Salvation: What It Means to Believe in Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1997), 113.]


"Paul’s statement in vv. 9, 10 is misunderstood when it is made to support the claim that one cannot be saved unless he makes Jesus the Lord of his life by a personal commitment. Such a commitment is most important; however, in this passage, Paul is speaking of the objective lordship of Christ, which is the very cornerstone for faith, something without which no one could be saved. Intimately connected as it was with the resurrection, which in turn validated the saving death, it proclaimed something that was true no matter whether or not a single soul believed it and built his life on it." [Everett F. Harrison, “Romans,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans through Galatians (ed. Frank E. Gaebelein; vol. 10; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), 10112.]


And, Paul was not actually requiring a VERBAL or VOCAL prayer even--when he used the word 'mouth'. He was basically matching his writing to the similar verse in the Old Testament/Hebrew bible:


"This simple response, surprisingly in light of Paul’s stress on faith in this context, is a twofold one: “if you confess with your mouth” and “if you believe in your heart.” Both the presence of these two conditions and the order in which they occur are due to Paul’s desire to show how his “word of faith” precisely matches the description of the word in Deut. 30:14, as being “in your mouth” and “in your heart.” Paul’s rhetorical purpose at this point should make us cautious about finding great significance in the reference to confession here, as if Paul were making oral confession a second requirement for salvation. Belief in the heart is clearly the crucial requirement, as Paul makes clear even in this context (9:30; 10:4, 11). Confession is the outward manifestation of this critical inner response." [Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 657.]


"This development of the wordplay makes it clear that Paul does not have different acts or results of actions in view; rather, he speaks perspectivally. “Confessing” and “believing” are inward and outward expressions of the one reality of the presence of the “word.” Not only faith, but also “confession,” is directed to God, as the acknowledgment of his right as God." [Mark A. Seifrid, “Romans,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos, 2007), 659.]


Furthermore, the word for 'confess' is different than the normal word for 'speak' or 'say' (which were used in the earlier verses like 'do not say in your heart'). The word for 'confess' means to 'say the same thing as'--or to 'agree with someone'. In this case, the believer is agreeing with GOD the Father that He raised Jesus His Son up from the dead and set Him up as Lord over all. That is why it is confession to God--it is agreement with His statements about His Son.




On the basis of the Lord Jesus' teachings, and because one should not commit to discipleship until they have carefully thought through all the issues, I can recommend this to you:


* Make the decision to believe what the Scriptures say about Christ. That He was from heaven and took on a human life so He could die in our place and pay the debt for your sins and mine.


* Then, in your heart or when you are alone, look up to heaven and tell Him that yourself--He will hear whether it is whispered alone in the dark or spoken silently in your heart. Tell Him that you now know that He is the Son of God--and not just a normal human--and that you now believe that He paid for your sins out of love for you.


* Ask Him then to accept you into God's family, and to give you the eternal life He promised to those who believe.

* And then thank Him for doing that--even though you probably won't FEEL ANYTHING different--God keeps His promises and your name will be written in the Book of Life (for heaven). And God will begin to make His presence known more in your heart and in your thoughts.


* Do not make any promises or commitments to Jesus to do anything more than believe at this time--He wants you to enjoy His love and to experience His presence in your life BEFORE you even begin to think about becoming a disciple and making your faith public. You will be a believer (and a child of God with eternal life from the moment you do the above things), but do not become a disciple until you are ready to do so, and wait until you want to do so with all your heart and soul. Only then should you take that step.


* But there may be a need to flee danger. Jesus sent His disciples out with these words:


"When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next." [Matt 10.23a]


The early disciples followed this principle, even to the point of having to use stealth:


"Some who were not Jews, some Jews, and some of their rulers wanted to mistreat Paul and Barnabas and to stone them to death. 6 When Paul and Barnabas learned about this, they ran away to Lystra and Derbe, cities in Lycaonia, and to the areas around those cities." [Ac 14:5–6]


"On that day the church of Jerusalem began to be persecuted, and all the believers, except the apostles, were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria" [Acts 8:1]


"After many days, the Jews had a meeting. They planned to kill Saul. 24But he learned about their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates closely in order to kill him. 25But his followers helped him escape by night. They lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. [Ac 9:23–25.]


Scholars comment:


"The action indicates that on some occasions Christians did not wait to be martyred but moved on to preach another day [Darrell L. Bock]


"The flip side of encouraging bold testimony under persecution when one has no alternative is the command to flee hostility whenever possible (v. 23a). Jesus calls his followers to bravery but not foolishness. Believers must not seek out persecution.26 God’s word can go forth powerfully through the unspoken testimony of martyrdom, but it is often better for people to remain alive to speak it aloud." [Craig Blomberg]


"Sometimes God does not call his people to stand and lose their lives but rather to escape from the danger that he has revealed to them. Because his disciples took decisive action, Paul’s life was preserved for his future ministry, for at this point he had not begun his major missionary journeys or written any of his letters. [The ESV Study Bible]


There are many places in the Bible where deceit or stealth has been necessary to follow the will of God. These are always in the context of extreme hostility and violence--especially in war time and in violence within a nation (e.g. King David pretending to be insane in 1 Samuel 21.13; the midwives lying to the Pharaoh about killing the infant Hebrew boys in Exodus), but it can also be in a family setting where the household is about to deliberately disobey God (e.g. , Rebekah's deception of Isaac in Genesis 27).



I can write more suggestions to you once you have taken this step of simple belief, and after you have told me that you have accepted the truth of Jesus and His death. I can offer more suggestions once you have the gift of eternal life from God.




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