In 1898, the 14 foot long linen cloth reputed to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ was photographed for the first time. In the developing process, photographer Secundo Pia held his huge glass negative plate to the light and, for the first time, saw that it produced a positive image of the man on the shroud. Awestruck, Pia uttered the words that have emanated from the lips of thousands since: “It is the Lord!” From that moment, a storm of controversy, rebuttal and attack raged around the world.It continues to this day. Somehow, just when the word gets out that the famous Shroud of Turin has been “debunked,” as a fraud once and for all, this amazing artifact bounces back into the public eye, stronger than ever. And so it was in late April, 1997, that a curious article appeared in – of all places – The Jerusalem Post. In the April 26, 1997 edition, the brief feature was given high visibility on the back page, topped by the title, “Israeli plants found on Shroud of Turin.” True to it’s billing, the article mentions entirely new evidence at the time, based on images of plants that appear on the shroud. The Jerusalem Post stated that many of these images have been thoroughly documented. According to the report, almost photographic representations show 28 species of plants native to Israel. Their identification is beyond doubt. It’s concluding paragraph gave a quick overview …
“Hebrew University Professor Avinoam Danin, an expert on the plant life of the land of Israel, was asked in 1995 by Dr. Alan Whanger – A Duke University medical lecturer – to study images of flowers on the shroud. They used a special process of photography to increase the contrast and make visible images that are not easily seen by the naked eyes.”
THE CARBON-14 HOODWINK EPISODE
In 1988, a small strip of cloth had been cut from the shroud. It was perhaps three- quarters of an inch wide and four inches long. Once removed, it had been cut into three
pieces, each of which had been sent to a separate laboratory for radiocarbon dating. This test essentially burns up the sample and measures the gasses given off. The ratio of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 in the sample purportedly determines the age of the material. Three laboratories conducted tests. After the tests were completed, all three samples were declared to date to the 13th century, the very time the shroud had first appeared in medieval France. On October 13, 1988, the announcement was made that dated the shroud to the years 1260-1390, with a 95 percent degree of certainty. “Experts” around the world nodded their heads with satisfaction. “At last, the shroud of Turin has been proven to be a hoax,” the omnipotent ones grunted with their spectacles falling down low off their noses and down to their lips in approval. Rumors of it’s supernatural nature had been put to rest. Obviously, they agreed, the fraud had been the product of an overzealous artist, seeking to produce a biblical-looking artifact that would provide a “miracle” for ardent believers in Christ’s resurrection. But others who had studied the shroud maintained that it contains too many authentic factors of identification to have been faked. For any true, scientific and rational person, these identifying factors should have been a case closed for any further investigation into whether or not the shroud was truly the image of Christ. Also, carbon-14 dating is notoriously not dependable. Any contamination by skin oils, dust, dust mites or a myriad of other possible sources will create the appearance of an artificially young age in the sample.
Furthermore, the shroud was almost destroyed in a 1532 cathedral fire. The silver chest in which it was stored melted in places, severely scorching the linen fabric. Silver melts at 960 degrees Centigrade. Scientists have noted that linen heated above 200 degrees Centigrade would produce clouds of Carbon-14 which, when infused into the fabric, would produce the impression that the shroud material is much more recent than it really is. Finally, since the same piece of cloth produced all three samples, the radiocarbon tests were said not to be three separate tests, but one test repeated three times! Scientists? Who were the morons who labeled themselves scientists on this one? Surely the head cheese scientists in charge of this whole operation were smarter than this right? But I digress. Onward and upward soldier. Furthermore, the sample piece included a seam, which critics of the testing have pronounced to be of late origin. In any event, rigorous testing of the fabric has not been accomplished. Given all the above vagaries, the 1988
deliberate falsifying tests … must be pronounced a big steaming pile of bull flatulance inconclusive.
AN IMAGE BEYOND SCIENCE
At the center of all the controversy lies a single fact: there is no known method by which the image on the linen shroud could have been produced. Exactly (to the day) ten years prior to the Carbon-14
lie announcement, on October 13, 1978, modern science announced it’s complete moment of truth befuddlement over the shroud’s image. During a five-day period, from October 9 through 13, 1978, eight American scientists subjected the shroud to a battery of non-destructive tests from every scientific discipline. Called “The Shroud of Turin Research Project” (STURP), it devoted 120 straight hours of exhaustive study to determining the truth about the image. Every form of photomicrography, spectrophotometry, X-ray radiography, fluorescence, infrared and ultraviolet photography was systematically called into play. After lengthy analysis of the data, STURP project scientists stated that there is no way that a mere human could have painted a photonegative image on a piece of linen. The image was produced by a process similar to scorching, but notably different, as though produced by some unknown form of radiation. Finally, computer analysis of the image astonished the scientists with it’s encoded information. When digitally analyzed, it contained enough information to produce a three-dimensional replica of a human body. No known photograph or painting contains this kind of data. The shroud is a unique artifact.
In 1973 and 1978, Swiss criminologist Max Frei concluded that the shroud fibers held pollen grains that could only have originated from plants in Israel. He took sticky tape specimens from the shroud and analyzed them under a microscope. This brings us back to the interesting story in the Jerusalem Post, mentioning Dr. Alan Whanger at Duke University. In his work with his wife Mary and Israeli professor Danin, he stated that they were able to identify 28 plant species, 20 of which grow in Jerusalem and the other eight within 12 miles of Jerusalem. Remarkably, the three determined that these flower images were made between 24 and 36 hours after picking. The earlier work of Dr. Frei provided verification for the observations on the flower images, as he had identified pollens from 25 of the 28 species. As astounding as it seems, the Whangers have discovered faint, but discernible, pictures of various flowers. The only conclusion is that they were interred with the body in the shroud. Somehow, the same radiation event that imprinted the body image also produced the floral images. Among these were the berries of the pistacia lentiscus, a well-known burial spice. Also identified was a type of thorn plant known as gundelia tournefortii, found only in the Middle East. According to Whanger, the thorns of this plant are “a good match for the wounds on the front and back of the head of the man on the shroud.” Many flowers seem to have been arranged around the man’s head. Among these are the chrysanthemum coronarium, cistus oreticus and scabiosa prolifera.
RADIATION PRODUCES “X-RAY” EFFECT
Using another viewing process on the shroud, the Whangers discovered that the body on the shroud somehow produced an X-ray effect. Using what they called their “Polarized Overlay Technique,” they compared the 3-D enhancements of the body with X-rays of hands and a skull. They found clear evidence of what they termed “autoradiation.” That is, some form of self-illumination beamed from inside the body. This means that at some point, the body produced a form of radiant energy that came from within. The comparison of the skull with the shroud image clearly reveals that the eye sockets nasal cavity, sinuses and teeth of the image are visible on the shroud.
Truly, the figure is much more than a painted representation of a body, it is, in fact, an anatomically perfect photograph of a body … registering internal as well as external detail. The bones of both hands and wrists are also clearly visible. They display a graphic depiction of how and where the Roman spike was driven through the bones of the wrist in a hollow called the “space of Destot.” The wound confirms with a visible blood stain at the same point. There is a great deal of historical corroboration showing that crucifixion as then practiced would produce exactly this type of wound.
Further still, modern scholars talk about “the man in the shroud,” but seem reluctant to take the position that the crucified man is Jesus. But the above-mentioned Dr. Whanger of Duke University developed a special technique using polarized lenses to study the shroud and has found the Greek letters for “Nazareth” apparently photographed into the fibers of the cloth. The letters appear to be from the title board that was placed above Jesus’ head on the cross. The Latin term for this board is “titulus.” It seems that the sign was laid beside the left leg of Jesus at burial, and was under the shroud at the time the image was formed on the fibers of the shroud. Dr. Whanger says …
“Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, went to Jerusalem in the early fourth century to search for the Holy places. She reportedly found the tomb with objects in it, including the titulus with the words, ‘Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews’ in three languages – Hebrew, Greek and Latin. She divided the board, sending one to Constantinople, and taking the other to Rome where it presently resides in the ‘Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.”
The wooden fragment is kept in a silver chest. It measures approximately 5.2 inches high by 9.2 inches wide. It’s letters are gouged into the wood by some sort of stylus, and then filled with a still-discernible red paint. Amazingly, Dr. Whanger found that it’s letters match those found on the shroud. Now we know. The “crucified man” has been positively identified. It is none other than Jesus Christ.
REAL BLOOD ON THE SHROUD
As is well known, the shroud shows many bloodstains; the hands, the wound in the side, the face and head all show blood flow patterns that are convincingly realistic. It is not so well known that in 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), physician John Heller and chemist Alan Adler verified the stains as actual blood. Writing in the winter, 1995 edition of Vertices, a Duke University publication, Marc Borkan wrote about their findings …
“Working with the samples extracted during the 1978 investigation, Heller and Adler performed twelve specific tests which confirmed the presence of whole blood on the shroud. These included physical and chemical tests for such compounds as heme, porphyrins, bile pigments (decomposition products of porphyrin) and serum albumin.”
The results of these tests led the two to conclude that the blood is in fact real blood. This conclusion is in agreement with results obtained through spectroscopic analysis of the blood images. Additional studies by Italian immunochemists reported the identification of the blood as human as well as the typing of the blood as AB. The identification by Adler of human serum albumin confirmed the first of these two identifications.
In analyzing the bloodstains, Dr. Whanger went a step further. Using the aforementioned polarizing image comparison technique, he compared the flow patterns on the shroud with those on a little-known piece of cloth called the Sudario of Oviedo in
Spain. It is reputed to be the actual cloth that enshrouded Jesus’ head, as described in John 20:6-7 …
“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:6-7).
In the Greek of the New Testament, this “napkin” is called a sudarion, or sweat cloth. It was separately wrapped around Jesus’ head. In Spanish, it is called the Sudario. Measuring 2 feet, 9 inches by 1 foot, 9 inches, it carries many heavy bloodstains. However, no image of any kind is found on it. Nevertheless, close comparison of the stains reveal that on both the back and front of the head, the stains match the shroud with startling conformity. Since the 9th century, the Sudario has been venerated as the sudarion of Jesus. As early as 1955, Monsignor Giulio Ricci was the first to make a comparative study. He noted the
remarkable conformity between the two sets of bloodstains. However, Dr. Whanger and his wife have carried the comparative studies to new heights. As noted in Vertices …
“The Whangers have demonstrated that the bloodstains can be aligned if the sudarion were tucked under the back of the head, wrapped about 3/4 of the way around the face, and then folded back on itself. Both the lack of image on the sudario and the presence therein of certain bloodstains not seen on the shroud suggests that the sudario was removed prior to enshroudment. The Whangers theorize that it was used to cover the disfigured face of the man in the shroud while his body was carried from the cross to the tomb. The evidence indicates that it was in contact with the same body as was the shroud. One can only come to the inescapable conclusion that the Sudarion is indeed the face cloth that was wrapped around Jesus head along with the Shroud of Turin.”
When computerized 3-D imaging techniques are used to view the shroud, it becomes apparent that the eyes have the appearance of being covered by two small discs. Under computerized analysis, the image of the disc on the right eye can be resolved to reveal at least 74 points of congruence with a real coin – the Pontius Pilate lepton minted in A.D. 29. Referring to the work of physicist John Jackson, Borkan writes …
“The characteristics of these images led the investigators to conclude that they were solid objects on top of the eyes of the man in the shroud. In light of readings he made about Jewish burial customs, Jackson theorized that these objects were coins placed on the eyes to keep them closed in death. In 1979, the late Francis Filas reported identifying the letters UCAI and a design resembling a shepherd’s crook or lituus, in the coin areas of the right anatomic eye. These patterns match those of a lepton of Pontius Pilate, struck in Israel during the time of Jesus, with the exception that the Latin C is apparently a misspelling of what should have been the (identically pronounced) Greek K in KAICAROC (Ceasar). Filas, however, managed to obtain a Pontius Pilate lepton with exactly this misspelling [That is, a “C” is used for the intial “K”.”], and at least six others have been found, thus rendering academic any debate over the likelihood over a coin with such a misspelling being struck.”
In the accompanying illustrations, the shroud image clearly shows the letters CAI preceded by a faint U, also seen on the narrowed image of the real coin (far right picture). Again, no medieval forger could possibly have managed to duplicate such subtle markings.
Using various viewing techniques, the Whangers have spent literally thousands of hours studying the shroud. Among the most exciting of their findings is the apparent impression of the title board that was placed above Jesus’ head as he hung upon the cross. In the Latin language, this board is called the titulus. It is common knowledge that it was the Roman custom to attach a sign to the victim’s cross, listing his name and crime. John 19:19-20 are two verses that provide a graphic description of this process …
“And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin” (John 19:19-20).
In the horrific days of Roman crucifixion, a hideous protocol emerged. No doubt, the local sign makers of the day even made a ghoulish living by providing signs for crosses. Note the order of the languages in the concluding verse above. In the sequence given, the only verse that lists the order of language appearance, Hebrew would have been the top language on the sign, with Greek below it, then Latin. It is most interesting, therefore, to note that fragments of the original sign are reputedly still in existence. Dr. Whanger relates that …
“Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, went to Jerusalem in the early A.D. 300’s to search for the Holy places. She reportedly found the tomb with objects in it, including the title with the words “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” in three languages, sending one to constantinople, and taking one to Rome.”
In other words, she divided the wooden sign into three segments. If the story is true, the central segment ended up in Rome, where it presently resides in a cathedral known by the lengthy name, “Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.” There, the fragment is kept in a silver reliquary. It measures approximately 5.2 inches high by 9.2 inches wide. It’s letters are gouged into the wood by some sort of stylus, then filled with a still-discernible red paint. Barely visible at the top of the sign are the remnant of Hebrew letters. In the middle are the Greek letters and at the bottom are the fragments of the Latin. The Greek word “NAZARETH” is clearly visible on the sign. Remarkably, what appears to be the image of this sign is imprinted in identical letters on the cloth of the shroud. Using the polarized photo overlay technique, the letters on the shroud are identical to those on the sign. Likewise, the identical Roman letters representing a part of the same word are seen on both the sign fragment and the shroud (See illustration). It appears next to the calf of the man’s left leg.
Though it seems strange that these items would be placed next to Jesus, Dr. Whanger makes logical arguments for their existence. The Whangers have also discovered many other objects imprinted on the shroud, including two scourges, a large hammer, a pair of tongs for pulling the nails out and two desecrated Jewish
phylacteries or prayer boxes [tefillin]. Also, the image of a woven crown of thorns is faintly visible over the figure’s right shoulder.
Finally, there appears over the chest an amulet which compares closely with a Roman minting called “the Amulet of Tiberius Caesar.” According to the Whangers, this ornament seems to have been suspended on a chain about the figure’s neck. According to their current thinking, many of the items on the shroud were placed their by Roman authorities, acting to desecrate the memory of the deceased man in the tomb. In particular, the leather tefillin over the image’s forehead seems to have been ripped, as with a knife. This would only have been done by a Roman authority, giving an entirely new view of Christ’s burial. If this is true, Joseph of Arimethea might have been under the close scrutiny of Roman soldiers as he prepared the body in the tomb.
THE ENERGY OF CHRIST’S GLORY
Study of the shroud continues. At the present rate of discovery, more breakthroughs are forthcoming. Whatever one thinks, however, it cannot be denied that the image was produced by some sort of high energy burst. Working with ancient coins in an attempt to reproduce the scorching seen over the coins on the eyes of the image, scientists have come close to producing convincing evidence that it can be done. Using a high voltage, high frequency coronal discharge, 20,000 electron volts created a satisfactory image on linen. Simple heating of the coin proved that an image could be produced on the linen cloth with the application of 50 watt-seconds of current. The Bible has a completely different name for this phenomenon. It is called the Shekinah Glory of God. Perhaps the closest approximation of such magnificent radiance is seen in John’s description of the glorified Jesus in Revelation 1:14-16 …
“His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:14-16).
Certainly, such a body as this would scorch an image into ordinary linen. If exposed for more than an instant, the linen would probably vaporize.
NUMBER 3 BLOODSTAIN ON THE FOREHEAD: TAKE THE HINT ALREADY
When looking at the forehead part of the image on the Shroud of Turin, one will notice the number 3 bloodstain. If one had to choose just one number that is more associated with Jesus Christ, it most certainly would be the number 3:
- Jesus prayed 3 times in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- At his crucifixion while on the cross, there were three hours of darkness from 12-3 p.m. Jesus died at the ninth hour – 3.p.m.
- Jesus was on the cross for 3 hours
- NASA confirmed there was a blood moon in Jerusalem on Friday April 3, 33 A.D.
- Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 days (Jesus said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). The phrase “sign of Jonah” was used by Jesus to tell us he would leave a miraculous sign or evidence of his crucifixion, death and resurrection. The word sign means evidence. So where is this miraculous sign of Jonah?….The proof that Jesus is indeed the Messiah? Answer – The Shroud of Turin.
- After Jesus was taken into heaven, skeptical roman soldiers searched for his body for 3 days but did not find him, only his Shroud/Mantle was left behind.
- Jesus’ ministry on earth was 3 years
- Jesus is 1) Prophet, 2) Priest, and 3) King.
- There were 3 witnesses to the transfiguration.
- During His ministry, Jesus raised 3 people from the dead.
- There were 3 crosses.
- The inscription on the cross was in 3 languages.
- Peter denied Jesus 3 times.
- Peter told Jesus he loved him 3 times.
- Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
- Shroud samples are sent to 3 different labs.
- Shroud is 3 over 1 herringbone twill fabric.
- 3 women and 3 men were present at burial of Jesus.
- Jesus appeared to his disciples 3 times after being resurrected.
- 3 witnesses to his resurrection – Shroud, Sudarion and the empty tomb.
- It took Saint Joseph and Mary 3 days and 3 nights to find Jesus in the Temple; talking with the elders for 3 days.
- Jesus received 3 gifts at birth – gold, frankincense & myrrh.
- Jesus was in the tomb 3 days.
- Jesus said he would rise after 3 days and the temple will be re-built in 3 days.
- God’s attributes are (3) omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.
- Blood Moon In Jerusalem on April 3, 33 A.D. lasted for 3 hours.
- The Number 3 is the number of resurrection.
- The number 3 is written in blood on the head of Jesus – The number 3 bloodstain is 3 centimeters long.
- Jesus was questioned by 3 High Authorities – the Jewish High Priest, Herod and Pilate.
WHAT MUST WE CONCLUDE
Do I really have to spell it out at this point? We are once again faced with the conclusion that the aforementioned scientists of the carbon-14 dating test era (at least the ones with the haze and cloud of skepticism hanging over their heads) are/were either complete morons and idiots who wouldn’t move out of the way when they saw the evidence of a tsunami (a big wall of water) coming at them but would instead try to analyze if it really was water or mud, or they are (to put it kindly) in league with a cover-up of supernatural proportions and not deserving of the title of “scientist.” I choose the latter. These people are, and were not, that idiotic to trust in a questionable and notoriously unreliable carbon-14 dating test and just ignore all of the massive tidal wave of evidence pointing to the shroud’s authenticity.
We are once again faced with the inescapable conclusion that the Shroud of Turin image is of supernatural origin and the cloth is indeed the burial wrapping of Jesus Christ. To believe otherwise is to believe that a medieval artist could visualize X-ray effects, the photo-negative process and have a knowledge of Israel’s botanical peculiarities. He would then have had to combine all his data into an artistic masterpiece so detailed that even computer analysis would perfectly authenticate it … in a realistic 3-D view no less! Anyone familiar with the medieval artistry will conclude that this would require a greater miracle than the apparent infusion of divine radiation from the Shekinah glory of the Lord.
Finally, when an Israeli newspaper and a botanist from Hebrew University announced that the shroud may be self-authenticating, it’s time to take notice.
Given the present information, it would certainly seem that Jesus left visible evidence of his resurrection. He left an actual photograph of himself. And that, my fellow humans, is the final say on the Shroud of Turin.
THE MEANING OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN AND IT’S WARNING TO YOU
Now that the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin has been conclusively proven to be the image of Jesus Christ imprinted on his burial cloth, the obvious question of what exactly it means has to be answered. Anyone who is at all concerned with their destiny after death must deal with it, whether they realize it or not. It should be clear by now to even the most hardened of any skeptic that the Jesus of the Bible actually existed and continues to exist in the hereafter. That being the case, it becomes even more obvious that anyone without any kind of particular spiritual belief must come to a required conclusion for his or her own personal safety in the afterlife. The claims of who Jesus is and said about the afterlife in the written biblical text must be dealt with. The Shroud of Turin prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is an afterlife of horror and bleakness for every human being that remains outside the ark of safety that can only be found in him. That place must be shunned and avoided.
Yes, I am indeed speaking of a place so horrible that, in order to satisfy God’s justice and ensure that you do not go there, Christ (the very Son of God and God incarnate) came to die the horrible death we see displayed on the Shroud of Turin. But this salvation does not automatically apply universally to everyone. The salvation that Christ offered will be given only to those who personally receive him through faith or belief in what he did for you personally.
The biggest deception ever perpetrated on mankind is the notion that all will get to go to Heaven without possessing the right credentials. You will not be there because your wife has a right to enter. You will not be there because you have a child who is already there. This is an individual matter, and only those with the right credentials will be allowed entry.
Our problem, of course, is that God will not accept us on our terms. We cannot arrive at Heaven’s gates hoping for leniency. “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). We cannot come pleading for special favors once we have slipped from this life into eternity. Our only hope is for God to give us credit for righteous perfection we could never attain on our own. Once such righteousness is credited to our account, we can enter Heaven immediately at death without so much as an intermediate stop. As the Bible says, “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
The problem: Salvation is not dependent upon whether or not we are successful at turning from our sinful life. It’s recognizing that we are hopelessly unable to save ourselves because of the fallen nature that we all have that is given to us, or inherited, Adam. The spirit of every living human being that was ever born and ever will be born is in a state of death. There is nothing we can individually do about it. It has to be regenerated back to life. The sins that we human beings commit is only a symptom of the much bigger problem. Our spirits, the part of us that will live on in eternity, is in a state of death. In order for us to escape eternal damnation, our spirits must be brought back to life through the regeneration of our spirit.
This fact is precisely why Jesus said you one must be “born again” to enter Heaven …
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
This is what being “born again” means. It means that when one receives Christ as his or her savior by trusting on him alone and personally receiving him as his or her substitute, the spirit of God literally and instantly inhabits the body of said person and instantly regenerates an individual’s spirit from it’s state of death back to life. Romans 6:11 puts it this way…
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).
This verse of scripture is basically confirming and reinforcing what Christ said about having to be “born again.”
Here’s how that’s possible: When Christ died on the cross, He offered himself as a sacrifice for sinners, which God accepted …
“For our sake he [God] made him [Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Though Christ was perfect, God made Him legally guilty of all of our sins. In turn, those who believe that Christ did this for them receive credit for his righteousness before God. But this is not an automatic given for each and every individual ever born. It is only for those who personally choose to believe and trust in the ultimate sacrifice that Christ paid for. This given righteousness that we cannot possibly earn is reserved for only those who have consciously and deliberately made the decision to receive Christ, and thus, become “born again” in him. It will be presented in a debate format. But for now, let’s continue to examine how it is first received.
Christ was considered to be a sinner when he took our sins on himself. In turn God considers us to be saints when we receive Christ’s righteousness. God has exceedingly high standards, but thanks to him, he meets them for us through this amazing exchange. It’s the only way we could ever enter God’s Heaven! When we receive Christ’s righteousness, God also changes our whole perspective.
So, how can we receive the gift of righteousness and be “born again”? The answer is to admit our helplessness and sinfulness to God, and to acknowledge that we are dependent on his mercy. We must have a complete change of mind about whatever we were believing would make us acceptable to God. Instead, we must transfer all of our trust to Christ as our sin-bearer. We must believe in Him as the One who did all that we will ever need to stand in God’s holy presence. To “believe in Christ” means that as best we know, we trust Him alone for all that we need to please God in this life and to live with him forever in Heaven. This trust includes NOT relying upon our own works of righteousness to gain the proper credentials …
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
It is a sobering thought that Jesus revealed that most will spend eternity separated from God. Hopefully, this gets your attention …
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13:14).
“Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that “does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 21:23).
The question is, what is this “will” that God requires out of each and every person to ensure their soul from being eternally damned? Throughout the Bible, it is made explicitly clear that no amount of right living or good deeds can secure a person’s eternal future in Heaven. We see the exact “will” that God requires for salvation revealed in John 6:40 from the very mouth of Jesus himself when he states …
“This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).
Interestingly, we are told by none other than Jesus himself that we must “believe” on the atoning sacrifice of Christ for our sin nature and receive him into our hearts by faith. This requires one to believe that Christ is who he said he is, the Son of God and thus, God incarnate in human flesh. Faith, or the belief in Christ, is the key ingredient for one’s salvation. If that is missing, one is eternally damned. This faith requires one to perform a certain act. This act is revealed in Romans 10:13 …
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).
THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN AND YOU: WHAT YOU MUST DO TO RECEIVE IT
In order to accept the offer of God’s grace and his salvation, you must take the crucial three steps of …
1. Agreeing – A belief and agreeing with God in all that he says in his word, the Bible, about the fact that you are separated from God, as every man and woman on the face of the earth are before accepting his salvation. The Bible reveals that all are separated from him in a spiritual state of death, or in another way that the Bible puts it, in a state of sin, that will result in eternal damnation. Agreeing with God in your heart that you are in need of his salvation. The Bible reveals that God looks upon the heart of a man, and thus, responds accordingly to the man or woman who comes to him for salvation in recognition of his inability to save himself. The Bible makes these facts very clear …
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The Bible describes these three kinds of death: physical death (the state experienced when life leaves our bodies); spiritual death (spiritual separation from God caused by our state of spiritual death, or state of sin that results in outward acts of sin on a daily basis as the Bible also puts it – the state of sin is received from the first man Adam); and finally eternal death (the fixed state entered into by the individual who dies physically while he or she is dead spiritually). It is eternal death, in particular, which is the horrible result of receiving the wages of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ frequently described such a death as being eternal (without end) in a destiny which he called Hell. He described Hell as a literal place of judgment (Matthew 13:42); a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8); a place of torment (Luke 16:24,28); a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50); a place of remorse (Mark 9:44-48); of bitter memory (Luke 16:25), and a place originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). In fact, Jesus more often warned about Hell than he spoke about Heaven.
It is not God’s will or desire that any person should be consigned to perish in Hell (2 Peter 3:9), but rather that all should come to repentance of unbelief toward him and believe on him for the salvation of the individual’s soul. But God’s justice requires that the “soul who sins” (remains in it’s state of death or state of sin) is the one who will die eternally (Ezekiel 18:4). So, agree with God, admitting that you are unable to save yourself and in a state of sin under God’s just condemnation for that sin and that you are in need of his salvation.
2. Believing – Then, believe that God does not want you to perish eternally in the torment of Hell because of your sin. Believe that God loves you so much that he provided a way whereby he could still be a just, holy and righteous God, and yet pardon you. Believe that God did not just overlook sin, but that he sent his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to provide salvation by personally paying the penalty for sin. Believe that Jesus Christ, whose life, death, burial and resurrection is the best-attested fact of antiquity, did come to earth to live, die, rise again and ascend to Heaven in order to provide justification and salvation for all who trust him. Believe that he, and he alone, can save you because he has fully satisfied the just demands of God. Believe that you can’t become righteous in God’s sight by your own effort. Believe that he wants to save you and that he will save you. The Bible provides a solid basis for such belief …
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
“But God demonstrates his love toward us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
God presented him (Jesus Christ) as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man or woman who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures … ” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“Jesus answered, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out [drive away]” (John 6:37).
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
3. Calling – It is not enough to agree with God, admit your need, and believe that Christ can and will save you. You must act upon those facts. You must repent of the sin of your unbelief toward him and actively call upon him for the salvation of your soul based on the fact that you cannot save yourself because of your sins. You must be willing to completely turn from your own efforts to save yourself or from any other hope. You must come to Christ, calling upon him for salvation and counting on the fact that he will do what he has promised. This means simply taking the gift of pardon and eternal life which he offers. Merely believing about Jesus Christ without coming to him makes as much sense and is as effective as believing that a medication can successfully treat a fatal disease, but failing to take it. Yet again, the Bible emphatically and authoritatively provides the basis for such statements:
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
The word translated “believe” here means to “rest one’s entire weight and trust on the object or person in which the belief is placed.” It requires action in keeping with the intellectual assent of that belief.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
” … but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The logical question you may be asking at this point is: “how do I come to Christ and call upon him?” The answer is that “calling upon the Lord” is just another term for praying, or talking to God. To talk to God is not a complicated process, dependent upon some special rituals. God has invited people to approach him through his Son in simple, straightforward terms. In fact, Jesus approved of the dishonest, despised tax collector who simply prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” While the exact words of your prayer to God are not of vital importance (since God sees and knows the attitude of your heart), the following is the kind of prayer that you could pray in calling upon God for salvation …
“Dear Lord Jesus: I realize that I need you. I admit that I have sinned and that I deserve your just, eternal punishment for that sin. But I am sorry for my sin and I am turning to you and asking for forgiveness. I believe that you died and rose again to pay sin’s penalty on my behalf. I come to you and open my heart to you. I ask you to come into my life, forgive me for all of my sin and make me your child. I invite you to take control of my life and to cause me to be the kind of person you would have me to be. I thank you for doing this because you have promised that whosoever calls upon you, as I am doing now, shall be saved. I pray this in the name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, I urge you to sincerely and genuinely express it to God as your prayer. The Bible makes clear that when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in our heart, God forgives our sins and counts us righteous, and that when we openly confess with our mouth what we have done in our heart, God gives us assurance of that salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
“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. 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? 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:3-7).
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