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Hello brother or sister in Christ!
My greatest motivation for writing Christian oriented programs (games in particular) is to bring glory and honor to God. I believe God can be glorified by wholesome games and other programs that help a Christian further his walk with God. God is also glorified by the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ, and it is for Gods glory that I use these programs as an opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are basically four types of people in the world. There are those who are not saved, and know it. There are those who think that they are saved, but really are not. There are those who are not confident of their salvation, but really are saved. And there are those who are saved, and know it.
I would ask that you please read everything to the end. What I am about to share with you may not apply to you, but it will undoubtedly apply to someone who is reading this. I pray that you will honestly examine your relationship with God, and confirm whether or not you have truly received forgiveness of your sins through Jesus Christ. What I am about to write is not for the true Christian who has true saving faith in Jesus Christ. What I am about to write is for the person who thinks he is a Christian, but in reality, will be cast into Hell.
I cant think of a more shockingly sad and horrifying situation than to stand before the throne of God, thinking you are saved, but in reality, find yourself facing the righteous judgment of God for your unforgiven sinful life:
Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23 -- "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
My heart cries for these people. Here are people who thought they would spend eternity in heaven. They even performed "good works" by using the name of Jesus to perform miracles. They were more than likely, people who talked the talk, and walked the walk of Christianity, yet in reality were fooling themselves. In reality, they were only very good at playing the game of Christianity. There may have been some who even looked good in church as dedicated church attendees, elders, deacons, bishops, or even pastors. There were certainly some who didnt go to church, but thought they had a relationship with God. But it was all an unfortunate self-deception.
Some people will try to say that doubting your salvation is sinful once you have given your life to Jesus. Some say that once you believe in Jesus, you should never doubt, and that doubting is an insult to God. Nonsense! Dont squelch what may be the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us to be sure of our salvation. Dont take it for granted:
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed -- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence -- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:12-13.
"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:10-11.
What follows is an explanation of what it means to "believe". Please, take this time and see if your "belief" is the same.
First, lets start out by finding out what believing in Jesus does NOT mean. It is not enough to have an intellectual understanding about the facts of Jesus. You can know that Jesus is God, you can know that you are a sinner, you can know that Jesus died for your sins, you can know that Jesus was resurrected, you can know all these things and more, but just knowing these things does not save you.
Many people use the word "believe" as a synonym for "know". For example, "Do you believe that angels exist?" can mean the same as "Do you know that angels exist?" The differences are subtle, but if you say, "I believe in Jesus," but you are really saying, "I know Jesus exists," that is not saving faith. Mere intellectual acknowledgment of the facts doesnt get you to Heaven.
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that -- and shudder." James 2:19. The demons know the facts about God, but they are obviously going to spend eternity in Hell with the people who do not accept Jesus as their Lord, God, and Savior.
In order to know what it means to believe in Jesus or to have faith in Jesus, one must understand the distinctions and interactions of works and faith. Works versus Faith is a difficult concept to understand. Having the wrong idea of how these two concepts relate to each other has led many people to a false assurance that they are going to Heaven; when in reality, they are going to Hell.
First off, nobody will ever work their way to Heaven. Many people think that they have to do good works, say the right things, do the right things. Many people think that they have to believe in Jesus AND do their own part by working their way to Heaven. But no matter what you do, you can never, never, ever earn your way to Heaven by doing anything at all on your own strength apart from God.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.
"Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." Romans 3:27.
"You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope." Galatians 5:4-5.
"Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." Romans 4:4-5. Clearly, God is not obligated to do anything for a person, even if he/she does good works.
Now comes the hard part. We know that works, in and of themselves, in part or in whole, cant get you to Heaven. However, works are an indication of whether or not your faith is a true saving faith. Works are an expression of saving faith.
It is not enough to say that you accepted Jesus as your Savior, and then go on with life as if nothing has happened. Many people think of believing in Jesus as "Fire Insurance". They think that believing in Jesus will just stop them from going to Hell, and that is all there is to it. No commitment to God, no turning away from sin, not even the slightest intention of even trying to follow God. But that they can just go on living their life as always, as if God doesnt even exist. That is not saving faith:
"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17.
"We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, Gods love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:3-6.
"They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." Titus 1:16.
Todays Gospel (which means good news) has been watered down to easy believism, and is not the Gospel that Jesus preached. You cant just "Try Jesus out," or "Give Jesus a chance," or "Taste the life that Jesus offers, and then decide whether or not Jesus is what you need in your life." You cant just believe in Jesus, then if you dont like it, bail out later. Believing in Jesus doesnt come with a money back guarantee on your life if you later decide you dont like being a Christian. Believing in Jesus is not a take home trial offer that can be returned if you dont like it. Believing in Jesus isnt free; it costs you your very life.
The word "believing" involves several key concepts, none of which can really be separated from the others. If any concept is left out, you run the danger that your belief will not be a true saving faith, but a false faith that will lead to a false assurance of your salvation. This false assurance, no matter how intensely you believe in it, will not save you from deserved punishment and damnation in Hell.
To believe in Jesus is to submit your entire life to Him as your Lord. To believe in Jesus is to submit your entire life to Him as your God. To believe in Jesus is to submit your entire life to Him as your Savior. Believing means obeying Jesus. Believing means repenting (or turning away from) your sins. Believing means trusting in Jesus with your entire life, giving your life to Jesus in complete surrender. Believing means acknowledging that you are a sinner and that only Jesus can save you. Believing means going to God in humility, knowing that you are a wretched sinner deserving the punishment of Hell, and asking forgiveness of your sins through Jesus Christ. Believing means receiving the gift of Salvation. Believing means bearing good fruit.
Jesus said about false prophets in Matthew 7:17-20 -- "Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Jesus also said in Matthew 7:21-23 (emphasis added) -- "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, BUT ONLY HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"
"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6:1-2.
"Then he [Jesus] called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Fathers glory with the holy angels." Mark 8:34-38.
Jesus said in Luke 13:3 -- "But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
"Then he [Jesus] opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS of sins will be preached in his name to all nations" Luke 24:45-47 (emphasis added).
"When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." Acts 11:18.
The balance of works verse faith is a fine one. You cant work your way to salvation to get into heaven, but you cant get to heaven without salvation expressing itself through your works. Nothing you do BEFORE you believe with faith to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord, and God can save you. But after you believe with faith and received Jesus Christ as your Savior, Lord, and God, your faith must be evidenced by works. Saving faith always bears good fruit. False faith always bears bad fruit. (The fruit of a false faith is still bad, even if it appears to be good on the outside. On the inside, it is rotten to the core.)
So now you have a better understanding of what it means to believe. You dont have to totally understand the concepts behind the word "believing", but do realize that believing in Jesus Christ is not a free ride, it costs you everything.
If your "belief" is not the same, please, take some time to truly examine your faith. Are you really saved, or are your "beliefs" leading to a false faith -- a faith that is not a saving faith. I am not judging you. I dont even know you. Judgment is Gods business. But it is fair to warn you to examine your relationship with God.
Remember, Salvation doesnt just stop at believing. Salvation expresses itself in good fruit, a righteous life, obedience to God, repentance from sin, and personal growth as a believer. If your life looks like everybody else's in the world, please examine yourself before God. Here are some practical questions that you can ask yourself. If you answer "No" to any of these, it doesnt prove anything one way or the other. However, it may give you an indication that you really dont have saving faith. Be honest before God.
Lets be clear on one point. Every true believer in Jesus Christ sins in their Christian walk, and would answer "No" to some of the above questions during their life. Paul describes the struggle we Christians have with sin in Romans 7:14-25. However, are you consistently sinning or consistently becoming more righteous through Jesus Christ?
Look back at your life. Are you sinning less and less or more and more? Do you feel true remorse about sinning, or do you just flippantly say to yourself, "Oh well, nobody is perfect," and go on as if nothing happened? Or worse, are you sinning and dont even have the consciousness to even know it?
Some people say that they made a decision to believe in Jesus years ago; however, they live a life that is unchanged, a life of sin, a life without God. They may have even gone to church for a while, and gave the appearance of being a "Christian". They may even attend church right now, just to "play the game." Yet, in all likelihood, they never had saving faith to begin with. They probably were, and probably still are, Hell bound. Look at what 1 John 2:19 says:
"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
Dont deceive yourself. If you are uncertain that you are saved, please be sure to read the message to unbelievers. Realizing that you really need the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior may cost you your pride, but dont let it cost you your soul.
Now having said all this, if you are a true Christian, dont live your life day by day in fear, wondering whether or not you are saved. The Holy Spirit will give you true confirmation of your salvation. You can know, with confidence, that you are saved. There are many encouraging Scripture verses that point to the assurance and eternal security of the TRUE believer. Look at Romans 8:28-39. Find other Scripture verses yourself. Spend time in prayer and reading Gods Word. Know what it means to be a Christian by reading the Bible. Praise God for your Salvation, and ask Him to give you confidence!
May God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be given all glory, honor, and praise. Amen