Why God Will Restore All Things
The magnificent Biblical teaching that in the ages to come death and hell will be conquered, the earth will be restored to Edenic peace and perfection, and fallen mankind will be reconciled to God, receives scant endorsement from most church pulpits. Yet it is a frequent theme throughout the Scriptures. Not only is it Biblically sound, but it is a necessary principle supporting some very important Scripture teaching, as seen in the following overview of sixteen aspects of God’s nature and character. See: Restore All!
Religion Compared To Salvation
Many people get the terms "religion" and "salvation" confused. It's easy to understand why--one looks so much like the other on the surface. May I share just four differences between the two? I hope and pray you will take a serious inventory of yourself because it can make all the difference in the world.
Religion emphasizes "DO" while salvation emphasizes "DONE." You can find many good churches and denominations that emphasize good works, moral living, rituals, etc. There is nothing inherently wrong with these things--God knows we could use a lot more moral people. But such outward deeds are man's futile efforts to make himself acceptable to God. The Bible tells us that even our righteousness looks like a filthy rag in His sight, so NO ONE can make himself acceptable to God through his/her own efforts. It is only when we realize that Christ already DID what was required for us so that we can be saved. He lived the perfect life we cannot possibly live. He fulfilled God's requirements. When He said, "It is finished" on the cross, He spoke of the fact that all that was needed for our salvation was DONE. Nothing else we can do is needed, indeed it is not even acceptable. Once a person chooses to accept what Christ has DONE, changes towards such qualities as goodness, humility, patience, love will be evident in their life. But it is not these qualities that will cause the person to be saved, it is what Christ has DONE.
Religion emphasizes "BE" while salvation emphasizes "BEEN." Be a good person, be a church member, be confirmed, be baptized. What matters most to God is what we have BEEN, not what we are trying to BE. Without Christ, we have already BEEN condemned (John 3:18). It is not that we will be condemned some day if we end up being more bad than good. The Bible tells us we have BEEN justified when Christ died for our sins. The relationship with Christ is a done deal. It cannot be reneged, undone, or improved upon by anything we try to be or do.
Religion speaks of GETTING. Salvation speaks of RECEIVING. Some well-meaning people think a person has to GET a certain feeling or emotion inside before he/she is saved. Though emotions may play a role in our relationship with God, they do not determine whether or not we have that relationship. John 1:12 tells us that salvation is RECEIVING. Man can produce emotional responses, but he cannot generate salvation of his soul through any emotion or feeling. Feelings and emotions are fickle. Salvation is firm and forever.
Religion puts emphasis on EXPERIENCE. Salvation is based on a RELATIONSHIP. External EXPERIENCES--whether a vision, dream, or some other ecstatic event--do not necessarily prove a RELATIONSHIP exists between us and God. The fact that you belong to a particular earthly family is not based on any experience you have in that family. Your membership in your family is based on your birth into that family. It is exactly the same spiritually. "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God," Jesus said. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the power [authority] to be the children of God."
When we, by faith, realize Jesus has already DONE everything required for our salvation, when we RECEIVE that salvation and have thus BEEN justified, we have a RELATIONSHIP with Him. That is salvation. Anything short of this is just "religion." Whatever religious tag or denomination you claim, have you realized what Jesus has DONE for you? Have you RECEIVED Him by faith and BEEN placed into His family? Do you have a personal RELATIONSHIP with Him today? See: About Us