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  • Dr. Jim Broffitt

Salvation is a personal decision

Some background ...

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek, during the period of approximately 1500 BC to 100 AD by more than 40 kings, prophets, leaders, farmers, fishermen, and followers of Jesus.  Koine Greek is a form of Greek that was widely understood in the Mediterranean area. There are many English translations of the Bible.  The ones I mainly read are HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible), CSB (Christian Standard Bible – a revision of the HCSB), NIV (New International Version), and NLT (New Living Translation).  NLT2 denotes 2nd edition of NLT.  When I quote Bible verses, these designations specify the translation. HCSB is a little closer to the original text, but sometimes a bit less understandable. It is an excellent translation. NLT is easier to understand but not as close to the original text. NIV is in between these.  The English Standard Version (ESV) is used by many people – a good translation and probably similar to HCSB.

There are some excellent free Bible apps.  I mainly use YouVersion.  Gateway is also great.  The advantage of a Bible app is that you can read passages in different translations for comparison.  The apps make it easy to find verses and change translations, and you always have the Bible at your fingertips.  These apps also provide audio reading for many of the translations.  If I don't know how to pronounce a name (happens more than I would like), I'll have the app read it to me. 

Here is a good summary of the gospel:

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 (NIV)

1  Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.

("Fallen asleep" means that they have died.)

A well-known statement of Jesus is 

Revelation 3:20 (HCSB) 20  Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. 

The implication is that Jesus wants to have a close relationship with those on the other side of the door (us). Various artists have painted pictures depicting Jesus standing at the door and knocking. A person commented  to the artist of one such picture that it was incomplete because there was no door handle. The artist explained that the handle is on the other side of the door  because Jesus isn't the one who opens the door.  That is done by the person on the other side.  Jesus is a gentleman. He won't force Himself on anyone. The invitation is there, it is up to each person to accept it or not.  Salvation is a free gift from God.  It is offered, but until we reach out and accept it, we don't have it.  When someone extends their hand with a gift in it for you, do you have the gift? Not until you extend your hand and take hold of it.

We talk about  personally  receiving Christ.  What does that mean?  It means that you must be the one that accepts this free gift.  Your parents cannot do it for you.  Neither can your pastor or a friend.  You must personally do it.  It is your decision and no one else's. 

People can choose to spend eternity with Jesus (Heaven), or eternity without Jesus (Hell).  It is their choice.  If someone asked me how a good God could send a person to hell, my response would be, He doesn't!  People send themselves by their decisions and actions. 

I'm sure you are familiar with John 3:16. There are two great verses that come after it.

John 3:16-18 (NIV) 16  "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. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Notice that there is no fence sitting as expressed in vs. 18. Also see vs. 36.

John 3:36 (NIV) 36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. 

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