Ask Your Preacher
I’m a high school kid. My group of friends is not a good one. I nearly overdosed on pain medication. I collapsed in the corner of the room, and I nearly died. I had a very clear vision of hell, and it was not fire. I just felt the worst pain I have ever felt. In this vision, I was in that same corner of the room watching myself take that medication over and over. All I could think of was God as I was motionless on the floor. They say I died for three minutes at the hospital, and I was brought back to life when I repented to God and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. You may not believe me, but I went to hell and need help in changing my life situation to make it more appealing to God’s eyes.
Dear Never Again,
Whether you actually went to hell or not… you had a turning point in your life, and you are ready to make sure that you don’t ever go there – good for you.
There are a few things that you need to do to make sure you are ready to meet God and are prepared to go to heaven. First of all, you need to take the steps to become a Christian. Believing in Christ and repenting are two things that you must do to be saved, but they aren’t the only two things. We recommend that you read our post “Five Steps To Salvation” and make a plan to do those things.
The last thing on that list that you must do is be baptized. We would love to get you in touch with a congregation that can baptize you and that you can grow with over the years. Not all churches are focused on the Lord, and we would be happy to help you find a congregation near you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help!
I'm interested in understanding where you find in the Bible that you can lose your salvation. And how do you re-obtain it, or in what way do you know God isn't "upset" with you anymore, so you can regain your salvation?
Dear Verse Please,
The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6).
We are warned to not “drift” away from the Lord (Heb 2:1) or “backslide” (Pr 1:32) into old sinful ways. Once we are baptized, we are told to grow in the Lord and mature in our faith (1 Pet 2:2). Baptism is the beginning of a new life, but God calls us to be faithful until death (Rev 2:10). A Christian can know that they are not lukewarm by properly examining their motives and lifestyle (1 Cor 11:28-30). God constantly forgives faithful and honest people for their sins (1 Jn 1:9), but if we neglect our salvation (Heb 2:3) or stop growing, we have no hope left (Heb 10:26-27). God is "upset" when we stop trying to grow and stop trying to be faithful... that is when our salvation is in jeopardy.
Three years after my wife and I got married, she had an affair and got pregnant. I stayed with her even though I had some struggles accepting the fact she cheated on me. I accepted the baby because I am unable to have children. It was our only child. Our son recently was killed on a motorcycle through no fault of his own. He was thirty-five years old. My wife and I divorced twenty-two years ago, but we are still friends. My question is: even though he was a great son and a church-going person with his wife who is sixteen weeks pregnant, is my son considered to be an illegitimate child to where he can't enter into the Lord’s congregation? I accepted him as my son, but I can't get this off my mind. Could you give me an answer, so I can clear my mind? I love my son more than I can explain, but I am so confused from what I read. Like I said, he was a church-going person and never gave anyone any problems.
Dear Mourning Father,
We are so sorry for your loss. What a devastating time for your family. Let us give you one comfort – your son is not responsible for the choices that others made that led to his conception. God very specifically says that each person is responsible for their own sins. The entire chapter of Ezekiel 18 deals with this issue. God’s conclusion is that a son can choose his own path regardless of what his parents chose (Ezek 18:20). Each of us works out our own salvation before God (Php 2:12). Your son is not barred from heaven because of his mother’s past. His commitment to Christ will define him on that great Day of Judgment.
My daughter says that we have to be baptized to be saved… that a confession is not what saves us. Where does it specifically say in Scripture that it's baptism that saves?
Dear Perplexed Parent,
The most well-documented and clearest doctrine in the New Testament is baptism… yet, it is also the most commonly ignored topic in the religious world. Peter said it best when he said, “Baptism saves you” (1 Pet 3:21). Every person that became a Christian in the New Testament was baptized – immediately. You won’t find a single person in the book of Acts that wasn’t baptized. When the first sermon was preached after Christ ascended into heaven, the apostles told the people that they needed to “repent and be baptized… for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:38). Paul tells us that baptism is a burial with Christ, and only after that burial do we receive a new life (Rom 6:3-4). Baptism was so important to Paul that he was baptized even before eating or drinking (Acts 9:18-19), which shows how important it is because Paul hadn’t had food or water in three days (Acts 9:9)! Belief is not enough; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19). It is only when our belief is combined with obedience that we have living faith (Jas 2:17-18), and the very first command to obey that God gives us is to be baptized in the name of His Son (Matt 28:19, Mk 16:16). We die to sin when we are baptized.
I'm hoping you might be able to help me in something that has been bothering me a lot, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take care of this major concern: I feel that until I am prepared to show someone what God says they need to do to be saved, I'm not doing one of the most important things He asks of me. I've seen outlines for teaching someone the plan of salvation, but nothing I can put in my purse. Are there, say, ten verses that include most everything I might need in order show someone God's plan of salvation – something I might be able to memorize and possibly make into a small handout in case the opportunity arises? Seems like the subject of God comes up when least expected, and I want to be prepared to share my faith. I would greatly appreciate your assistance.
Ready To Be Ready
Dear Ready To Be Ready,
What a great New Year’s resolution! Everyone should try and be ready to explain why they believe what they do and be prepared to share God’s plan of salvation with others (1 Pet 3:15). Many people have the exact same problem that you have – trying to have something simple enough to have on hand and take with them.
A while back, we taught a class on how to teach people about Christ entitled “7 Questions For Your Soul”, and as part of that class, we made up a set of notes that could be printed off on sticker paper and put into the inside cover of your Bible; the whole thing fits on two pages of a standard-sized Bible and could easily be made small enough to fit into your purse. If you’d like, below is a .pdf copy of those notes. Feel free to use, distribute, and adjust as you see fit to help you be the most effective evangelist you can be!