It was once said, "The Cross wasn't a ladder." No matter what works we do or what laws we follow, we can't force our way into heaven. Like trying to put a square peg into a round hole, we just don't fit. From the beginning when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin has separated us from God.
Before the Law of the Ten Commandments was given to Moses, sin existed.
"Later, Cain brought some food from the ground as a gift to God. Abel brought the best parts from some of the first born of his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. So Cain became very angry and felt rejected.
"The Lord asked Cain, 'Why are you angry? Why do you look so unhappy? If you do things well, I will accept you, but if you do not do them well, sin is ready to attack you. Sin wants you, but you must rule over it.'"
Cain attacks his brother Abel and kills him.
"Later, the Lord said to Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?'
"Cain answered, 'I don't know. Is it my job to take care of my brother?'" In 2001, we are still asking that same question.
Sin became so pervasive that God flooded the earth. Noah and his family (eight people) were the only people God saved. Only a few meant only a few! It wasn't long after the flood that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of sin. From the beginning, God had a plan that would take away the sins of the world. That plan started with an agreement with Abraham and ended with a new agreement through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament, God guided us. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. Paul writes in Ephesians 3:9-12 "And God gave me the work of telling all people about the plan for his secret, which has been hidden in him since the beginning of time. He is the One who created everything. His purpose was that through the church all the rulers and powers in the heavenly world will now know God's wisdom, which has so many forms. This agrees with the purpose God had since the beginning of time, and he carried out his plan through Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ we can come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this through faith in Christ."
The New Testament reveals the Old Testament. In the New Testament, through Jesus, the prophecy of the Old Testament is fulfilled.
The Bible has one theme: human life has meaning in God.
My book starts with two essays. In the first essay, Why Should You Believe the Bible? I make the argument of why you can be certain that the Bible is God's Word. The next essay is titled Jesus Prophesied. It includes some of the more than 300 prophecies and references to Christ from the Old Testament written approximately 700 years before Christ.
After the two essays, the themes begin. A theme is stated and followed by New Testament scriptures that are relevant.
Salvation With Baptism: Baptism To Wash Your Sins Away
Matthew 3:13-17 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River and wanted John to baptize him. But John tried to stop him, saying, "Why do you come to me to be baptized? I need to be baptized by you!"
Jesus answered, "Let it be this way for now. We should do all things that are God's will." So John agreed to baptize Jesus.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven opened, and he saw God's Spirit coming down on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with him."
Mark 1:9-11 Same as above with variations.
Luke 3:21-22 Same as above with variations.
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age."
Mark 16:15-16 Jesus said to his followers, "Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but anyone who does not believe will be punished."
Luke 7:29-30 When the people, including the tax collectors, heard this, they all agreed that God's teaching was good, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts on the law refused to accept God's plan for themselves; they did not let John baptize them.
John 3:5 But Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless one is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter God's kingdom."
John 4:1-2 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more followers than John, although Jesus himself did not baptize people, but his followers did.
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away. It is for everyone the Lord our God calls to himself."
Acts 2:41 Then those people who accepted what Peter said were baptized. About three thousand people were added to the number of believers that day.
Acts 8:12-13 But when Philip told them the Good News about the kingdom of God and the power of Jesus Christ, men and women believed Philip and were baptized. Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed very close to Philip. When he saw the miracles and the powerful things Philip did, Simon was amazed.
Acts 8:36-38 (Philip teaches an Ethiopian) While they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The officer said, "Look, here is water. What is stopping me from being baptized?" Then the officer commanded the chariot to stop. Both Philip and the officer went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
Acts 9:18 (Paul is baptized) Immediately, something that looked like fish scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he was able to see again! Then Saul got up and was baptized.
Acts 10:47-48 "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we did!" So Peter ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Acts 16:29-33 The jailer told someone to bring a light. Then he ran inside and, shaking with fear, fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them outside and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?"
They said to him, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved - - you and all the people in your house." So Paul and Silas told the message of the Lord to the jailer and all the people in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Then he and all his people were baptized immediately.
Acts 16:15 (Lydia becomes a Christian) She and all the people in her house were baptized. . . .
Acts 18:8 Crispus was the leader of that synagogue, and he and all the p