Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions have been supplied by others who have read my book, "Walking in the Spirit."

Q1:  Are there levels (or degrees) of sin?

Q2:  Is regular Bible reading necessary?

Q3:  Should a Christian aim to become sinless?

Q4:  Is it right to judge ourselves?

Q5:  Responsibilities of Christians in Leadership.

Q6: You said, "then many of these will NOT inherit eternal life with Christ, but will instead receive 'condemnation' for 'walking in the flesh.'" There seemed to be some doubt exhibited in the term "many of these," as if to say that some who walk after the flesh may receive eternal life. Is that because it's basically up to Jesus Christ as to who belongs to Him and who does not?

Q7: I see what you're saying about fruitfulness. But about "condemnation," John 3:16-19 speaks of people being condemned for not believing in Jesus Christ (18), not for walking in the flesh.

Q8: I believe in both instant (where in God's eyes, we're holy) and progressive sanctification, in that the Spirit points out things to the Christian as he walks, and if that Christian wants spiritual fruit, he will repent and ask God's help to change and become more renewed, more transformed, etc.

Q9: Also, you interpreted Luke 13:23-27 as pertaining to Christians, but I believe Christ was speaking of all people, not just those already saved. Do you have cross-references to back up your interpretation of that Scripture?

Q10: How do we test ourselves to know whether we are in the faith and whether or not we have been given over to a reprobate mind? How do we know?

Q11:  Can you explain Matt 16:17-19 and particularly why Jesus chose Peter to build His church?

Q12: Does God review my sins?

Q13: Did Noah produce any Spiritual Fruit?

Q14: Your diagram in Salvation Choices - True or Fale Conversion. There are 5 rows with different Churches identified that resulted with an X. Does this mean those are the Churches we shouldn't go to?

Q15: What does it mean to be Saved?

Q16: The grace of God, the gift of grace, for it is grace you have been saved. What does the word Grace actually mean?

Latest posting - Q14 to Q6, 17th May 2012


 

Q1:  Are there levels (or degrees) of sin? On page 81 under 'The Principles of Judging,' you imply there is a 'hierarchy' (or degrees of sin) rather than sins being judged equally bad. This view does not closely reflect the Biblical position that most Christians would accept.

A: This comment related to incest occurring among church members in the Corinthian church. The Apostle Paul was no doubt ‘flabbergasted’ that those in the church did not understand how significant this sin was – as it represented to him how far the church had not only departed from the moral values of the Christian faith, but it had become more carnal than spiritual. In this, he said:

(1 Cor 5:1) "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one [church member] should have his father's wife [or his mother in an incestuous relationship]."

To compare the degree of sin mentioned above with what King David was concerned about, he is recorded as pleading to God, “(Psa 19:13) "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins…”  Here, David is saying that these insignificant (or hidden) sins are the type of sins that become ‘ingrained’ into our souls.  Presumptuous sins are very hard to discern let alone eliminate, because they tend to originate through the sinner’s culture or community in which they live, which accepts them to be ‘normal’ behavior.  Regardless of what sinful behavior a community accepts, God still requires us to deal with and remove these ‘insignificant’ sins from our lives.  Therefore, these two examples of fornication and presumptuous sins illustrate there are degrees of sin that our Creator requires each of us to deal with.  It is how we respond to our sinful ways and take responsibility for our behavior that matters to God, which ultimately determines our eternal welfare.

To illustrate this point, most Christians would not permit an unrepentant mass murderer to attend their services each week – simply because every person’s life would be at risk in the church. Yet on a similar level of sinfulness, the Corinthian church was endorsing their own brethren’s sinful behavior of incest – but for what reason?  Was it because the newer or more junior members of the congregation were too afraid to speak out about this couple’s behavior?  Or was it because other church leaders did not want to openly question their morality?  From God’s perspective, the degree of sin that a church congregation tolerates among its members indicates the level of departure it has taken from the Biblical direction (Matt 7:14), rather than it deserving of more punishment for their sin.

The only true Biblical position for any Bible-believing church to take is that none of its members should knowingly be committing any acts of sin, as such acts represent hypocrisy.  If Christians ‘willfully sin,’ they bring the name of Jesus Christ into disrepute among all people - both inside and outside the church and will suffer for it accordingly (Heb 10:26-31).  In the Biblical sense, the only sinners that can be 'tolerated' in a church congregation are those who are seeking Christ for salvation and release from the guilt of their sins and the eternal punishment they deserve.

Therefore, there are "levels" (or degrees) of sin, but each will be judged in exactly the same way at the Judgment - guilty!  If different "levels" of sin are observed among church congregations, then the sins they tolerate represent the degree of Biblical error they have accommodated, and it illustrates the degree of offensiveness they are directing towards Jesus.

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Q2: Is regular Bible reading necessary? Although the timeline you refer to of reading the Bible through in one year is admirable, the timeline is not a Biblical requirement, and that distinction should be made.

A: Scripture records that God "magnifies" His words above that of His name.  If we believe that God wrote the Bible and 'inspired' His servants over a period of almost 2,000 years to write the scriptures we have in the Bible today, then it is understandable that He values His word very highly.

(Psa 138:2)  "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."

Therefore, if God values His words in scripture so much, isn't it reasonable to believe that He would want His people to read it?  If that is so, then the question could be asked - how much reading might He require us to do - a little or a lot?  Scripture again provides the answer:

(Eph 5:25-27)  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; {26} That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

This passage of scripture illustrates that if a husband truly loves his wife, that he would even die to save her.  Jesus Christ died for His church (symbolized as a bride), however He didn't die for a 'whorish' bride, but one who is ‘virginal’ and who has been sanctified (or set apart in this world to Him) and has been spiritually cleansed.  This 'cleansing’ process can only be undertaken by "...the washing of water by the word."

In the spiritual sense, the words of scripture symbolize water, which we all know is used as a cleansing (or purifying) agent.  The quantity of water used has to be sufficient to eliminate all 'spots' and 'blemishes' in the garment that is to be worn by His bride.  These ‘spots’ represent sins, and the 'blemishes' relate to imperfections in the Christian character.

Therefore, would a cupful of water be sufficient to do the cleansing process of a garment requiring the removal of spots and blemishes, or would it require a far bigger quantity to provide a thorough washing?

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Q3: Should a Christian aim to become sinless? Sinlessness is certainly the target of the Christian lifestyle, but if the Apostle Paul acknowledged his own acts as sinner (1 Tim 1:15 ... “I am...”), who else could achieve that goal, all the time?

A: I am aware that people use Paul’s comments (referred to here) to justify their position as being an imperfect Christian, presumably expecting Christ to correct their situation, sometime in the future.

To counter this claim, I believe the Apostle Paul used this statement because of his ongoing remorse about how he persecuted the early Christian church as a Pharisee before his conversion.  Although Jesus had forgiven him of this terrible sin, I believe his remorse is reflected in his statement in 1 Tim 1:15. This is because God gives the individual a free will to make a choice – to either accommodate sin through a view (albeit a widely accepted belief that we are all sinners saved by Grace) or alternatively, to ‘strive’ to be transformed into the image of Christ – a sinless person like Him with the new ‘lamb’ nature (Luke 13:24-30; Col 1:27).

For the record, I don’t claim to be entirely sinless, as only God knows my true sinful/sinless state.  I ‘strive’ to not sin, and I generally believe I am doing pretty well.  I have confessed and repented of my past sins (some of these committed as a Christian - 1 John 1:9), and if I become aware of any new sin, I immediately confess and repent of it too, so that "...the accuser of our brethren [Satan]...which accused them before our God day and night [about their unrepented-of sins]" (Rev 12:10) has no claims to use against me.

All I know is that ‘sin’ results from temptation inflicted upon us from Satan (1 Thes 3:5) as he used against Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-7).  If we (as Christians) succumb to his temptations and die as sinners, then Christ will have to judge us as being in the same category as Satan – a liar, an unrepentant sinner and worthy of spending eternity with him in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10 and Ezek 18:4).

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Q4:  Is it right to judge ourselves? Judging others is often a stumblingblock for Christians, especially new Christians. On page 86 under the 'Communion Service' there is little mention of love and love’s role in the context of judging ourselves and judging others.

A: It is very hard to live Biblically today because Christianity accommodates so many worldly values of tolerance, or of falsely extending ‘forgiveness’ to justify the taking of a passive position instead of taking a stand for 'righteousness' (John 2:13-16).  However, God never changes His requirements for holiness being a basic requirement for Christians to enter Heaven (Heb 12:14).  Every Christian who sins (and remains a sinner) will fail this fundamental requirement of holiness being necessary to be able to enter into Heaven after death (Heb 12:14).

Therefore, it is necessary for Christians to “examine themselves” prior to taking Communion (1 Cor 11:28-29) and to not partake of the elements in an unworthy manner; as if this is done ignorantly or arrogantly, scripture says he or she who does so will eat and drink eternal damnation to their soul (1 Cor 11:27-34).  If more of these ‘humbling’ aspects of Christianity (i.e. self examination) were focused upon today, then Jesus could use Christianity more than He is able – because it is supposed to lead people towards a lifestyle of holiness and towards spending eternity in the presence of a holy God - not to keep them 'comfortable' in their sins and on their way to Hell.

We must remember that it is every individual Christian's responsibility to determine their own eternal destiny (Phil 2:12).  If we neglect this personal responsibility and fail to enter Heaven after our death, whose fault will it be that this has happened?  We cannot blame God if we have failed to "examine ourselves" along the way and used the opportunities provided to correct the mistakes we have committed.  Will it do any good to blame our pastor (or anyone else) for our sins after we have died and ended up in Hell?

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Q5:  Responsibilities of Christians in Leadership. This topic on page 83 presumes that there will be sin in God’s presence, in eternity – which is a difficult stand to take Biblically.

A: You are correct about sin not existing in eternity.  The Bible indicates that it is God's intention to eliminate sin from the world, and the church is the instrument that He uses to do this.  God gives all people in this life the opportunity to come to Jesus in faith and to commence the process of turning from their sinful lives and moving towards establishing a new life of holiness that reflects "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27).

People in leadership positions are going to be judged by Jesus more harshly than other Christians if they fail to reflect this requirement to their congregations. This is because God expects those in positions of leadership (or authority) to set an example of holiness in their own lives and to motivate others to live a lifestyle that reflects they are a disciple of Jesus Christ (Col 3:10–13 and 1 John 2:6).  If leaders fail to reflect these requirements to their people, then there are warnings in scripture about what will happen to them at the Judgment:

(Luke 12:47-48) "And that servant [or minister of God], which knew his lord's will [about God's abhorrence to sin], and prepared not himself [to become holy], neither did according to his [Master's] will, [then he or she] shall be beaten with many stripes [or punishments in Hell]. {48} But he [the Christian] that knew not [these requirements], and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes [in Hell]. For unto whomsoever much is given [meaning, time to do studies in Bible colleges and use other learning resources], of him shall be much required [from God and others whom they teach]: and to whom men have committed much [such as their tithes and their trust], of him they will ask the more."

The above verses of scripture are a warning to church leaders, because they generally have many resources available to get their ministries and Bible beliefs ‘right,’ whereas achieving the same level of understanding can be far more difficult for others.  This means that where more responsibility (or authority) is exercised by people, then God will require more from those people.  Isn’t this the same in the secular world – in business, especially?

If Christian leaders prefer to structure their ministry to make people ‘feel good’ while compromising scripture’s basic truths (i.e. the need for holiness, sinlessness, righteousness, truth, sanctification, etc.) then how can God bless them and their ministry.  Although it is easy to assign large numbers of people in a church congregation indicating God is blessing the ministry, that is not God's method of judging the true church of Jesus Christ (Rev 3:7-13).

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Q6: You said, "then many of these will NOT inherit eternal life with Christ, but will instead receive 'condemnation' for 'walking in the flesh.'" There seemed to be some doubt exhibited in the term "many of these," as if to say that some who walk after the flesh may receive eternal life. Is that because it's basically up to Jesus Christ as to who belongs to Him and who does not?.

A: First, it’s not up to me or anyone else to judge who will finally get the nod to go to Heaven.  However, it is possible to detect heretics (Titus 3:10) and others who have departed from the faith (1 Tim 1:20) and avoid them:

(Rom 16:17-18)  "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; AND AVOID THEM. {18} For they [meaning certain Christians] that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple [minded Christians – or ‘Foolish Virgins’ Matt 25]."

This comment where “many” is used, comes from Jesus’ own words, where He says:

(Matt 7:22-23)  "MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

It is the professing Christians (such as Pentecostals, etc.) who will claim they have “prophesied in Christ's name" and in His name have "cast out devils" and have "done many wonderful works” in His name because those who are unsaved have rejected Christ, together with the lukewarm denominational Christians who entertain homosexuality in the churches, etc. - so these people will never make this statement.  My point here is that Jesus says the word “many” because He means “many Christians.”

My website theme is that Christians must be “Walking in the Spirit” to avoid receiving condemnation from Christ.  All of this harmonizes with Christ’s and the Apsotle's words elsewhere:

(Gal 5:16-17)  "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. {17} For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."

(Gal 5:25)  "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

(1 Cor 15:50)  "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

Sadly, many Christians are led to believe that being “saved” and being “born again” are one and the same thing.  Some Christians recently disputed this claim with me, and Jesus showed me during our discussions how they were in fact “marveling” that I dared question that being “born again” was different to being “saved.”  Interestingly, Jesus defined how the lifestyle of the truly “born again” Christian is to be equated to in verse 8 below:

(John 3:7-8)  "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. {8} The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

Being “saved” is a mere profession from the heart via the mouth about Christ (Rom 10:9-10), whereas being “born again” is a spiritual experience that Jesus related to a baby growing in it’s mother’s belly and then entering the birthing process to emerge from this world into God’s kingdom – a spiritual world.  In this regard:

(John 3:3-5)  "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God. {4} Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? {5} Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he CANNOT ENTER into the kingdom of God."

Being “saved” and being “born-again” must happen in a person’s lifetime on the Earth – not after his or her death.  There are no ‘magic wands’ in Heaven to transform bad people into good people or unholy Christians into holy Christian. It is God's requirement that every Christian be progressively changed into a new state of "glory" that ultimately sees "Christ in you, the hope of glory" being evident":

(2 Cor 5:17)  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is A NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become NEW."

(Rom 12:2)  "And be not conformed to this world: but BE YE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God [for your life]."

(2 Cor 3:18)  "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the [Holy] Spirit of the Lord."

(Col 1:27-28)  "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: {28} Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"

Therefore, although you tended to read there was some doubt about my website statement, what I was doing was trying to reflect the theme Jesus was saying to His people – that many Christians will not be saved – unless they are “walking in the Spirit.”

(Luke 13:23-24)  "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there FEW [Christians] that be saved? And he said unto them, {24} Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many [Christians], I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.".

 

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Q7: I see what you're saying about fruitfulness. But about "condemnation," John 3:16-19 speaks of people being condemned for not believing in Jesus Christ (18), not for walking in the flesh?

A: Believing in Jesus in the most basic requirement of the Christian faith, but having that level of faith on it’s own will not get anyone into Heaven – except in a minority of special cases. In the point you referred to, scripture says:

(James 2:19-20)  "Thou believest that there is one God [even Jesus Christ]; thou doest well: the devils also believe [in Jesus Christ], and [they] tremble [because they have no salvation]. {20} But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works [of faith] is dead [faith]? "

Here, James is saying that anyone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God has to go on and produce “works of faith.” It is these “works” – those that are initiated by the Holy Spirit and implemented by the believer that produce spiritual “fruit” into God’s kingdom, and which bring glory to Jesus – this is what God is looking for. God has heard many people utter vain promises to Him over countless generations, and has been disappointed by their many promises .  Spiritual “fruit” from His people that emanates from actions initiated by the Holy Spirit is what He requires to see from every Christian whom the scripture says has been grafted into Jesus as “The Vine”:

(John 15:1-2)  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. {2} Every branch [or Christian grafted] in me that beareth not fruit he [God the Father] taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

Any branch that is removed from "The Vine" symbolizes a Christian who was once in a relationship with Jesus became removed because he or she failed to produce the necessary spiritual fruit that God the Father required.  The verse then says that God the Father (as “the husbandman”) removes the Christian spiritually grafted into Jesus.  Further down in verse 6, Jesus indicates about what happens to these “branches” (or rejected Christians) that have been removed:

(John 15:6)  "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered [spiritually]; and men [or angels at a future time] gather them, and cast them into the [Lake of] fire, and they are burned."

None of these are very palatable truths to embrace, and that is why most preachers overlook them in their sermons today.  However, they remain true as God has them firmly stated in scripture.


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Q8: I believe in both instant (where in God's eyes, we're holy) and progressive sanctification, in that the Spirit points out things to the Christian as he walks, and if that Christian wants spiritual fruit, he will repent and ask God's help to change and become more renewed, more transformed, etc.

Regarding holiness, scripture states quite clearly that without it, no person shall enter into Heaven to “see God.”

(Heb 12:14-17)  "Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall SEE the Lord: {15} Looking diligently lest any man FAIL OF THE GRACE of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many [Christians] be defiled; {16} Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. {17} For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."

Many Christians today are selling their “birthright” into God’s kingdom for cups and coffee and cake by associating with apostate Christians at Ecumenical and Multi-faith church functions. In this regard, I suggest you visit my website illustration about this (bottom of the page), which explains more about spiritual fornication and the process of how it happens today.

As for progressive sanctification, there is no such Bible reference to this term that I am aware of. If you mean, “growing in the fullness and stature of Christ” then that may relate to it, but what you refer to is less definitive than the passage of scripture below, as this requires the wider church to become unified about evangelism, whereas Christians today mostly operate at a personal level of faith:

(Eph 4:13-16)  "Till WE all come in the UNITY of the faith, and of the KNOWLEDGE of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT man, unto the [FULL] measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: {14} That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; {15} But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: {16} From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

These are the qualities of what true sanctification represents – each Christian is to be spiritually bonded to other Christians in Godly “love” and in the unity of the faith. Each individual Christian is required to function spiritually as Jesus Christ would if He were here, walking upon the Earth as “a man.” This “man” represents the spiritual body of Jesus that comprises many members, such as we have in our human body; where every Christian has to find their place within “His body” such as being an eye, ear, nose, hand, foot, even one of the internal organs, etc.

(1 Cor 12:13-27)  "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. {14} For the body [of Jesus Christ in the spiritual form on Earth] is not one member, but many. {15} If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? {16} And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? {17} If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? {18} But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. {19} And if they were all one member, where were the body? {20} But now are they many members, yet but one body. {21} And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. {22} Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: {23} And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. {24} For our comely parts [or bodily members that others can see] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: {25} That there should be no schism [or divisions] in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. {26} And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. {27} Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

The church has lost this requirement of spiritual unity and genuine Godly love today, as prophesied by Jesus:

(John 13:35)  "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, IF ye have love one to another."

This is because individual Christians are more focused on ‘self’ rather than on becoming the spiritual ‘body of believers’ who are meant to go out in the power of God to preach the Gospel and save the souls of others while demonstrating the power of God.

(1 Cor 4:20)  "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in POWER."

(Mark 16:20)  "And they [the disciples] went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word [preached] with signs following. Amen."

 

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Q9: Also, you interpreted Luke 13:23-27 as pertaining to Christians, but I believe Christ was speaking of all people, not just those already saved. Do you have cross-references to back up your interpretation of that Scripture?

A: Yes - Matt 7:22-23 at the top of these notes closely harmonizes with Luke 13:23-27, and other words revealed here prove that it is not easy for Christians to get into God’s kingdom. Everyone who hopes to enter into it MUST prove their worthiness to do so.

(2 Pet 3:11-12)  "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all HOLY CONVERSATION and GODLINESS, {12} Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"

These requirements can only be achieved by perfecting holiness, sinlessness and above all, producing spiritual fruit unto God as a spiritual branch grafted into Jesus.  Sadly, many Christians fail to realize these fundamental Bible truths today.

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Q10: How do we test ourselves to know whether we are in the faith and whether or not we have been given over to a reprobate mind? How do we know?

A: We have to be “walking by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).  “Walking” means doing what we have read and believed in the Bible by faith.  If a Christian does that, they will demonstrate the righteous values of Jesus when He walked upon the Earth, together with holiness and sanctification (that of being set apart from those in the world) and thereby subject to ridicule and scorn from them.

(Heb 10:32-33)  "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; {33} Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used."

We are required to be “walking in the Spirit” (Rom 8:1) if we are to be one of Jesus "friends (John 15:14-15), which means we communicate with God through the Spirit rather than through the carnal means of the intellectual mind.  This reverses the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden where they lost communication and fellowship with God because of their association with Satan who caused them to disobey God's commandment, whereas now, with our NEW BIRTH and through OBEDIENCE to His word, we become joint heirs with Christ:

(Rom 8:17-18)  "And if children [who obey their Heavenly Father's voice], then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ [just as He obeyed His Heavenly Father's voice]; if so be that we suffer with him [Jesus], that we may be also glorified together [with Him]. {18} For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

If we do this, then we must produce “works of faith” for God as being co-laborers together with Him (1 Cor 3:9).  Without producing such “works’ together with God, our faith becomes “dead faith.”

(Eph 2:10)  "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them ."

(James 2:26)  "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

If any Christian is found to be faithfully applying the words of scripture to his or her life, the promises of God will then be assured, and the "works of faith" that produce the required "spiritual fruit" into God's kingdom (John 15:1-9) will be manifested.

On the other hand, if a Christian is not 'born again,' and prefers to exercise his or her intellectual mind to work out their own salvation (Phil 2:12) they will be given over to a reprobate mind (Rom 8:7).

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Q11: Can you explain Matt 16:15-19 and particularly why Jesus chose Peter upon which to build His church?

A: Matt 16:15-19 states:

"He [Jesus] saith unto THEM, But whom say ye that I am? {16} And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. {17} And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. {18} And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. {19} And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Scripture reveals that Jesus asked His twelve disciples, “But whom say YE that I am?” They might well have reasoned that question for a moment or two but Peter quickly said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then went on to say about HOW Peter had arrived at this statement by saying, “…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Scripture indicates that the Apostle Peter was a highly favored disciple of Jesus because he was courageous, open, honest and prepared to die for Jesus. I have no doubt that he loved the truths that Jesus revealed and endevored to put them into practice. This contrasted with the other disciples who were more placid compared to Peter's zeal. One only has to read how Peter asked the Lord if he could walk on water to justify this claim here (Matt 14:27-29). Therefore, I believe it was these personal qualities about Peter that found him in favor with both God and man. Compare this statement with Acts 13:22.

(Luke 2:52)  "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

It is my assumption that when Jesus asked the question and there was a pause while they were pondering what to say, God the Father spoke directly to Peter in the Spirit to tell him what to answer. After Peter responded and Jesus explained how he had received these words of wisdom, He went on to say:

(Matt 16:18-19)  “…That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. {19} And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

My response to your question is that Jesus is saying that He will ONLY build His church upon those people who are 'spiritually connected' to God the Father in Heaven. This means that those Christians who have truly experienced the New Birth (John 3:3-8) and have re-established the spiritual communication link with with God that Adam and Eve destroyed because of sin in the Garden of Eden - this is the essential ingredient that God is looking for in Christians.

(Gen 3:23-24)  "Therefore the LORD God sent him [Adam] forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. {24} So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life [from Adam and all his descendants who demonstrate they have a carnal mind - Rom 8:1.]"

For others who merely establish churches on the Earth to serve themselves and others like them – Jesus will not be amongst them. All truly born again Christians are supposed to represent the living and active body parts of Christ’s ‘spiritual body’ here upon the Earth – representing Him as His “ambassadors and of God’s kingdom to the unsaved of this world:

(2 Cor 5:20) "Now then we are AMBASSADORS for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God [spiritually]."

(1 Cor 12:17-25)  "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? {18} But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. {19} And if they were all one member, where were the body? {20} But now are they many members, yet but one body. {21} And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. {22} Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: {23} And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. {24} For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: {25} That there should be no schism [or divisions] in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another."

Jesus cannot work with a fleshly or carnally-minded body of believers as scripture says:

(Rom 8:6-9)  "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. {7} Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. {8} So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. {9} But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

Therefore Jesus promised Peter that He would build His spiritual church (or His ‘body of Believers’) upon Peter as an example, because Peter had acquired the required spiritual relationship with God the Father that is necessary for any Christian to serve Him on the Earth. This type of relationship with God the Father is the basis of what all born-again Christians are to establish at some point during their Christian life.

(John 6:45-46)  "It is written in the prophets, And they [meaning every born-again Christian] shall be all [be personally] taught of God [the Father]. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me [Jesus]. {46} Not that any man hath seen the Father, save [or except] he which is [truly born-again] of God, he hath seen the Father [John 3:3]."

That is the basis of why Jesus said, “…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” because the church Peter was to establish was founded on the RIGHT spiritual basis – Jesus “Christ, the Son of the living God” which “flesh and blood had not revealed unto him."

With the power of God behind Peter in his new ministry, NOTHING was able to defeat him as an ambassador for Christ – even the gates of Hell were helpless in this and God gave him the power to bind or loose any demonic spirit in the Earth.

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Q12: I was wondering if we confess our sins, can we know we are forgiven.

A: All sins are forgiven by God - according to 1 John 1:9, if they have first been:

1. Confessed. If you have sinned against another person, go to that person and say that you have sinned against them by explaining what you did.

  • It is then best to confess the same sin to God and remind Him that you have confessed it to your ‘victim’ and that you have put it ‘right’ with them.
  • If you commit the same offence again to that person, then go again to them and confess that sin. Very soon, both you and the other person will get tired of your sinful ways and you will be forced to either stop sinning, or harden your heart and say, “I have not sinned”:

(Prov 30:20)  "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness."

2. Forgiveness. After confessing a sin, then ask your ‘victim’ for their forgiveness.  If they forgive you then that is fine – there is no more sin held accountable between the two parties.  If they choose not to forgive you then don’t woprry about it – you are forgiven by God and the other person’s lack of forgiveness is between him or her and God.

  • Also, forgiveness must be asked for from God as it was one of His laws that was broken that caused the ‘sin’ issue to be revealed.

(1 John 3:4)  "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

3. Repentance. All sins MUST be repented of. This means the confessed sinner must NEVER commit them again, although sometimes these things happen once or twice by accident, but basically they have to be removed from our lifestyle and the temptations to commit them again overcome.  All sins confessed and then recommitted represent hypocrisy.  No hypocrite has any inheritance in God’s kingdom:

(Matt 23:29-33)  Jesus speaking, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES!…{33} Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"

  • If your ‘victim’ did not want to speak with you or refused to forgive you – then you remind God about this and pray for their heart to be softened.  God uses these methods of confession to the victim and forgiveness asked for by the Christian to reach out to others about sin’s awful penalty.

 

NOT to be overlooked is “THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE.”

(Matt 3:8-9)  "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: {9} And [you Jews] think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham."

Similarly, Christians should not say that Jesus is Lord who died for ALL their sins - past, present and future. This is a false belief as only those sins that have been confessed and properly repented of are fully eliminated from our lives from the books that hold records of them in Heaven.

The point here is that if God reveals to us our sins, He then requires us to go to the person we have sinned against, request that forgiveness be granted and then repent (or make a vow) to never commit that sin again. The “fruits of repentance” from each type of sin revealed demonstrates that this particular sin no longer has any power over you – the (former) sinner. This is especially evident if the sinner offers some form of restitution to their 'victim.' If something was stolen, then the Christian should consider not only restoring what was stolen, but giving back more as a gesture of remorse for what has happened:

(Luke 19:8-9)  "And Zacchaeus stood [in his act of repentance by vowing], and said unto the Lord [Jesus]; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him FOURFOLD. {9} And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham."

This is what God wants to see in His children on the Earth – a repentant and humbled heart, just as King David demonstrated each times he was found guilty of sin (Acts 13:22).

If Christians simply say “sorry” when they have been caught out “sinning” – this indicates that they are only being sorry because they have been caught out. Saying sorry is NOT repentance. Forgiveness comes AFTER a complete confession of the sinful act has been made and that remorse for it is visually and audibly demonstrated – usually accompanied with tears. If there is no sincere confession and no request for forgiveness forthcoming from the sinner, then forgiveness should not be given.

(John 20:22-23)  "And when he [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: {23} Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

(2 Cor 2:10-11)  "To whom ye forgive any thing [in the church at Corinth], I forgive [them] also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; {11} Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."

We must remember that every Christian has the power to forgive sins confessed, or to NOT forgive a person their sins. If a Christian is not sincere in the confession of their sinful act, there is no obligation to forgive them. None of this is ever taught in the church, but is Biblical.

God has made allowance for forgiveness to be given or retained because REBELS need to know that forgiveness is not necessarily automatic.

Are our sins still reviewed by God?

If you have attended to your confession, asked for forgiveness and then brought forth your fruits of repentance as described above for EVERY TYPE OF SIN you have committed (and that you are no longer committing them anymore), then God will NOT review your sins.

The way it works is this:

1. When you commit and act of sin, your sinful act is recorded in your ledger in Heaven:

(Matt 12:36-37)  "But I say unto you, That every idle word [that causes sin] that men shall speak (James 3:6), they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. {37} For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned [in Hell]."

(Rev 20:12)  "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books [that record each individual's "deeds" during their lifetime on Earth] were opened: and another [little - Rev 10:1-10] book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books [that record their ‘works’ – both good and evil], according to their works."

If a sinner responds as God requires and confesses and genuinely repents from their sinful ways, then the blood of Jesus Christ blots out the record of that sin in their book in Heaven. This is particularly the case for every sin a Christian commits in the name of Christ. For every sin committed in their own name before they accepted Christ as their Savior, the book that recorded these 'works' is cast behind God’s back, never to be remembered. It is a one off act by God for every Christian.

(Isa 38:17)  "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back."

God is not interested in holding people to account in this life who are sinning in their own name. He is INTENSELY INTERESTED in Christians who are sinning in His Son’s Name and therefore bringing the name of both Christ and the Kingdom of God into disrepute by their sinful (or rebellious) behavior.

On the other hand, it is Satan’s desire to have Christians go on believing they can commit as many sins as they like and will never be held accountable for them. This is a BIG lie. There is worse punishment waiting in Hell for the Christian sinner than the unbeliever who rejected Christ’s offer of Salvation.

(Luke 12:47)  "And that servant [of Christ – the believing Christian], which knew his lord's will [regarding God’s abhorrence of sin by reading the Bible], and prepared not himself [to remove sin from his or her life], neither did according to his [God’s] will [in which to serve Him faithfully], shall be beaten with MANY stripes [in Hell]."

(Luke 12:48)  "But he [the unbeliever] that knew not [about God’s eternal punishment for sins], and did commit things worthy of stripes [or punishments], shall be beaten [in Hell] with FEW stripes. For unto whomsoever [the Christian] much is given [such as Bible study materials, time to search out Bible truths, resources unlimited to seek out God’s will and His requirements in which to serve Him], of him shall be much required [in the Judgment]: and to whom men [in church congregations] have committed much [of the presiding pastor and leadership], of him they will ask the more."

Jesus indicated hese same truths to the woman caught in adultery and to the lame man healed at the pool of Siloam:

(John 8:10-11)  "When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? {11} She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and SIN NO MORE."

(John 5:14)  "Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: SIN NO MORE, lest a worse thing come unto thee."

The Apostle John summed up this teaching on how to detect the children of God in the church when he said:

(1 John 3:9-10)  "Whosoever is born of God DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN; for his seed remaineth in him: and HE CANNOT SIN, because he is born [again] of God [and therefore hates sin]. {10} In this [matter of sin eradication] the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."

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Q13: Did Noah produce any Spiritual Fruit? Alan - basically I agree with the first part of your article, but your emphasis on "spiritual fruit = number of converts" is over the top.· The texts don't say what you want them to say. This is not to say that evangelism is not everyone's concern, but look at Noah - he was a preacher of righteousness for 100 years and got zero converts.

A: Where you use Noah as an example, he was living in the end-times of his era (prior to God’s judgment of the Flood] when no one would listen to his preaching let alone take seriously what he had to say. I know how he feels as we are living in both the Days of Noah and of Lot.

The basis upon which I make this claim relates to the Parable of the Sower, where it says:

(Matt 13:5-9)  "Some [seed of the Gospel message] fell upon STONY PLACES, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: {6} And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. {7} And some [seed] FELL AMONG THORNS and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: {8} But other [seed] fell into good ground, and brought forth FRUIT, some an HUNDREDFOLD, some SIXTYFOLD, some THIRTYFOLD. {9} Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."

My point here is that the seed that fell in stony and thorny places failed to produce any fruit. On the other hand, the seed that fell on good ground produced a multiplying factor of similar fruit.

This 'FRUIT' can be associated with a faithful Christian spreading the joy of his salvation to other non-believers and they become “saved”. In this, the parable indicates that the Christian has produced some spiritual fruit into God’s kingdom – a lost soul won out of Satan’s kingdom into God’s kingdom.

Some people are better at evangelism than others. That is why Jesus illustrates that some Christians multiply their own salvation received by 30x, 60x and 100x during their lifetime.

In another Parable of the Talents, Jesus illustrates a Christian who knew he had to evangelise others (as illustrated above) but chose to do nothing except offer up an excuse to Jesus at the Judgment. In this illustration, the following points to be noted are highlighted:

(Matt 25:24-30)  "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed [or scattered]: {25} And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth [or the dust of my body]: lo, there thou hast that is thine. {26} His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed: {27} Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers [by financially supporting those in ministry who are saving souls into My kingdom], and then at my coming I should have received mine own [the salvation I offered you] with usury [or interest from the labours of others you supported]. {28} Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. {29} For unto every one that hath [produced spiritual fruit into My kingdom] shall be given [eternal life], and he shall have abundance [of rewards for being a good and faithful servant – Matt 25:21, 23]: but from him that hath not [any spiritual fruit] shall be taken away even that which he hath [- his salvation that he had no joy in to share with others]. {30} And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth [in Hell]."

Therefore, I understand you don’t like formulas here that say “spiritual fruit = number of converts” however Jesus is very plain here regarding the bare minimum requirements for spiritual fruit to be produced into His kingdom is “usury” however, He prefers to see 30x, 60x and 100x during our lifetime.

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Q14: Your diagram in Salvation Choices - True or Fale Conversion. There are 5 rows with different Churches identified that resulted with an X. Does this mean those are the Churches we shouldn't go to?

A: Every Christian MUST attend church regularly. My purpose saying this was not to heap criticism on these churches as such, but to say that they generally believe and follow ‘the doctrines and traditions of men – Mark 7:8, rather than put faith in God's word and suffer persecution for doing so. If Christians FAIL to produce and required “works of faith” toward God in their new life in Christ, then they have no salvation:

(James 2:20-26)  "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? {21} Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? {22} Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? {23} And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. {24} Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. {25} Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? {26} For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

The emphasis was more on going into these churches, listening and studying what was preached to see if the church beliefs harmonised with scripture - and if it didn’t, move on to another church.

We are each going to be judged upon WHOM we have believed. We either believe the words of Jesus contained within scripture (and act accordingly upon those words), or we believe the words of ‘men’ – preachers who tell us half truths to make us feel good. The more you move in and out of churches as the Holy Spirit leads you, this allows Him to teach you the lessons He wants you to learn, understand and apply to your life. 

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Q15: What does it mean to be Saved?

A: You are now saved from the penalty due to you of your past sins - Rom 10:9-10.

Any new sins committed AFTER you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are now committing in Christ’s name.

Each of these sins has to be confessed to God as sinful, you must plead for forgiveness, and vow not to repeat these offences again.

Endeavor to pay restitution for these sins wherever possible. Where love has been withheld, then offer love. Wherever forgiveness has been withheld, then offer forgiveness. We must NEVER become weary in doing good – 2 Thes 3:13. 

Humbling ourselves before others when we have offended them is good for them (as it strengthens your witness of being a good Christian) and it is good for your soul because ‘The Accuser of the Brethren (Satan) can no longer justify you are still a child of his – a sinner who continually offends a holy God.

 

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Q16: The grace of God, the gift of grace, for it is grace you have been saved. What does the word Grace actually mean?

A: It means you are simply saved from the penalty due to you of your past sins - Rom 10:9-10.

Grace withholds God’s penalty due to you for your sins. In other words, under the Law of God, each time you committed a sin worthy of God’s judgment, the Law demands that the penalty is to be paid. However, God’s grace can defer the penalty until another time.

God does this on the basis that during the period the sin was committed and the penalty falls due, He does all He can to have the Christian see the error of his ways, confess the sins covered by Grace, repented (or turned away from repeating those sins) and has been forgiven them by God - 1 John 1:8-10.

The blood of Jesus then covers those sins recorded in the books in Heaven – never to be recalled (Col 2:14). That is what the power of Grace represents – total forgiveness from the penalty of the sins due to us IF we appropriate the purpose for which it has been given of God. Amazing stuff that most Christians don’t know or appreciate.

Naturally, if we abuse God’s grace, we can then FRUSTRATE God's Grace and then FAIL of God's Grace. When this happens, the Christian will most likely NOT see Heaven:

(Gal 2:21)  "I DO NOT FRUSTRATE the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

(Heb 12:15)  "Looking diligently lest any [Christian] man FAIL OF THE GRACE OF GOD; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many [Christians] be defiled;"

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More questions and answers will come. Feel free to send me a question using my Contact page.

Recommended Links

http://www.BibleProphecyMan.com

Frank Dimora's website is about the best website I know for current, broad-ranging information about end-times events related to Bible prophecy - with analysis.

http://www.holyghostbaptism.org

Jeff is a young Christian who has a real passion for Bible truth and telling everyone about it. I encourage you to visit his website and view the many interesting articles he has there. His website theme is that Christians MUST be 'born-again' - John 3:7.

www.eternallysecure.com

This website uses many scripture verses to prove that EVERY Christian's salvation is very insecure. It addresses the need to eradicate personal sin, attain holiness, etc., which are some of the many essential 'spiritual' requirements to be met if eternal life with Jesus is to become a reality.