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When we are born into this world it is by water. Our mothers water breaks and we are born physically, but are dead spiritually. When we trust Jesus as our savior, we are born again. Ephesians 1:13 We are given the Holy Spirit of promise. Born again. Born of Gods Holy Spirit. We are given eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone. We are given eternal life. Religion is what men do trying to earn heaven. But Heaven can not be earned. When we are born of the flesh, we all deserve to go to hell. We all sin and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23. Jesus came to take the punishment we deserve and pay for all our sins forever, so that we would not have to go to hell to pay for them. First Corinthians 15:1-4 Christ died for our sins. First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. No one could ever be good enough to go to heaven. That is why Jesus died for us, John 3:16 He loved us and so gave his life a ransom for us. We have been washed in the blood of the lamb. John 3:17 Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved. John 3:18 Whosoever believes in Him, is not condemned. We can no longer go to hell. We are given eternal life at the moment we believe on Him. John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Present tense. Born again. The new birth is Spiritual, No sin can enter heaven. That is why we all die physically. We have to be as righteous as God to be saved. When we are born of the Spirit He imputes His righteousness to us. Romans 4:6. All of those who have believed on Jesus as the only way of salvation will go to heaven when we die or at the rapture of the church. Jesus is the narrow way because there is no other way to be saved than what He did for us. We can do nothing to save ourselves but when we believe He did it for us, we are saved and given eternal life. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name. First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. The world believes that if they live right God will accept them in to heaven on their own merit. The way that seems right to men. But God only accepts those who are born of His Spirit who have believed on Him as the only way of salvation and accepted it as a free gift from God. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, not of works, what we do or do not do, lest any man should boast. So salvation is a free gift from God by just believing His finished work on the cross paid our sin debt in full, and we are born again by His Spirit, and given eternal life at that moment. It has nothing to do with how we live or what we do, because we have eternal life.
Christianity is a religion. Jesus didn't come to establish Christianity or any other religion. The only way mankind knows how to acknowledge a deity is by religious ceremony and practices. Problems arise when traditions are compared and someone claims their tradition isn't a tradition because it's superior to the other traditions. Other than the squabbling that differences produce in prideful people, religions are not a problem. Spirituality is just as ritualistic as practicing an established religion. People are creatures of habit, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. We usually do the same thing, in the same place, around the same time, when we do what we do. When we take time to meditate it's not different. The Lord commissioned His disciples to go and spread the good news (Matt 28:19, 20) that He sacrificed His life for all sinners for all times, had been resurrected, and was going back to the Father to complete the salvation plan. Matt 28:17, a few verses prior to the commission, says 'When [His disciples] saw Him they worshipped Him; BUT SOME WERE DOUBTFUL'. About what? They all saw Him die on the cross. They see Him now alive again. What does Matthew mean they were doubtful of? He must mean what people are still doubting... Can His death pay for all sins for all times? So, the natural response is to come up with something WE CAN DO to erase our guilt. It's an honest mistake, but still... Neither practicing Christianity or any other tradition, nor spiritual meditation and reflection, will settle a sin account. On that point religion and spirituality are identical. You must be born again (John 3:3). Being born again starts a new life in Christ. Ephesians 2:13 says 'In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ'. His suffering and death paid our sin debt. Observing days, abstaining from foods and beverages, living a lifestyle that society finds appealing, nothing, but the blood of Jesus, will wash our sins away. I believe spiritual enlightenment and introspection is good accompanied by an acknowledgment of Jesus as the Good Shepherd of our lives and our soul Savior. Spiritual reflection alone leads to death. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Solomon wrote it twice to be sure we got it.. Prov 14:12, 16:25.
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