God Vs Religion – Presbyterian
Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and Protestant Reformation.
Presbyterians were among the earliest Reformed immigrants to America, settling along the East Coast, and pushing westward into the American wilderness, founding congregations as early as the 1630s.
Presbyterianism formed itself in opposition to a church government. John Calvin (1509-1564), along with Martian Luther, (1483-1546), reformed the Christian movement with their ideologies that differed from the prominent Roman Catholic Church. Calvin, a Frenchman, training for the Roman Catholic priesthood, later reforming himself, becoming a lawyer, writer, and evangelist of the Presbyterian movement. He is also accredited for having led the Particular Baptists movement, which followed his TULIP method.
In 1706, seven Presbyterian ministers formed the first Presbyterian presbytery in the New World. They proclaimed the freedom to worship, preach, teach, and administer their sacraments without persecution. Growing population and immigration prompted the presbytery to organize a synod in 1717, with four constituted presbyteries.
Presbyterianism today, also called Reformed Churches, share a common origin in the 16th-century Swiss Reformation and the teachings of John Calvin, and is one of the largest Christian denominations in Protestantism.
When And Who Founded The Church?
History of the Church:
John Calvin trained for the priesthood in Roman Catholicism at the University of Paris, and later as a lawyer, but eventually converted to the Reformation movement, becoming a theologian and minister.
In 1536, he began teaching his doctrine throughout Geneva, was driven out of town in 1538, then returned in 1541, where he remained until his death in 1564. Calvin revolutionized the Reformed movement with his writings, and lengthy commentaries, doing much of his writing in Geneva, Switzerland, which later traveled to other parts of Europe and the British Isles.
In 1541, the town council of Geneva, made Calvin’s Ecclesiastical Ordinances the law of the land, which set regulations on everything from the church to education, and immorality. Strict disciplinary measures were put in place to deal with a person in violation of these ordinances.
The Huguenot’s were French Calvinist who faced a great deal of persecution by French Catholic authorities in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first French Protestant martyr was burned at the stake in 1523. In 1559, a synod of French Protestant leaders met in Paris. And drew up a confession of faith that reflected Reformed views.
Before long, the Huguenots began to fight back against persecution. In 1560, they plotted to kidnap then boy-king Francis II. In April 1562, leaders signed a declaration stating that they had been forced to take up arms in defense of freedom of conscience. That August, some Huguenots were murdered by Catholics in the famous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which set off more violence across France against the Huguenots and fanned the flames of the Wars of Religion.
In 1598, King Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted the Huguenots political and religious freedom. However, in 1629, the Peace of Ales ended the Wars of Religion with the Huguenots defeated. They were granted freedom, but lost all military advantages, and persecution continued. In October 1685, King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes. As a result, most Huguenots immigrated to Prussia, England, the Netherlands, and America, and by 1715 Louis XIV announced that Protestantism had been eradicated in France. However, a Huguenot remnant remained that was determined to revive Protestantism in France. From 1745 to 1754, active persecution of Huguenots resumed.
Finally, in 1789, Emperor Napoleon granted the Huguenots equality under the law and established a state-supported Reformed church. In 1848, a free Reformed church was established apart from state support; the two groups united in 1905 when state support was withdrawn.
John Knox (1514-1572), a Scotsman from Scotland, led the Reformation in Scotland under Calvin’s doctrine, focusing much of his attention on the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots, and Catholic practices. In 1690, the Church of Scotland converted to the Presbyterian church government, and the teachings of John Calvin.
Presbyterianism has had a strong presence in America since the colonial period. Reformed churches were first established in the colonies in the early 1600s and Presbyterians were instrumental in shaping the religious and political life of the new nation. The only Christian minister to sign the Declaration of Independence was Reverend John Witherspoon. The 18th-century “Great Awakening” was led by evangelically-minded Reformed theologians including Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.
During the Civil War, American Presbyterians divided into southern and northern branches. These two churches reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the largest Presbyterian/Reformed denomination in the United States.
Other Presbyterian churches that exist today were also formed in the 20th century as some chose to move in a more liberal direction and others remained conservative.
In 1957, The United Church of Christ (UCC) was formed, which were a unification of Reformed, Puritan, and Evangelicals, and today they are the most liberal of all American Presbyterian churches. In 1972, the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) formed, due toe the UCC being too liberal, and follows the doctrines of John Calvin’s TULIP method, and does not ordain women, unlike the UCC. A small group of UCC’s calling themselves, the Reformed Church of The United States, rejects the merger, believing it does not honor God and his Word.
What Does The Church Believe?
According to Presbyterian Mission, Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin are still at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers. What these tenets mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God’s purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God’s generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone’s job — ministers and lay people alike — to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike.
Presbyterians confess their beliefs through statements that have been adopted over the years and are contained in The Book of Confessions, and also follow the Book of Order. These statements reflect our understanding of God and what God expects of us at different times in history, but all are faithful to the fundamental beliefs described above. Even though we share these common beliefs, Presbyterians understand that God alone is lord of the conscience, and it is up to each individual to understand what these principles mean in his or her life.
What Does The Bible Say About This?
While those who are saved are called by Jesus Himself to go out into the world and preach the Gospel to all, He did not ordain women to be clergy members. Women are to be teachers, and ministers, they are not to be at the head of a church or in authoritative roles of a church. This is due to Eve sinning first, she was the weaker vessel, therefore, she had to submit to her husband. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” – I Thessalonians 2:11-14.
With that said, that does not mean that God does not use women to preach the Gospel or teach the Bible, He will use anyone with a willing heart. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:3-5.
Presbyterians believe the Bible when it says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Unlike crime, which involves the breaking of human law, sin is a condition of the heart or an expression of that condition where we are estranged from God and fail to trust in God. Sin expresses itself in particular acts. The “Brief Statement of Faith” of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) says:
But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator. Ignoring God’s commandments, we violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care. We deserve God’s condemnation. – lines 33-39
What Does The Bible Say About This?
While we do deserve God’s condemnation, sin is any wrongdoing deemed by God, it is not a condition of the heart, it is an act done in disobedience to God’s law with a prideful heart. Sin is an act of pride and lust of the flesh, we want what we want, and we do not care what we have to do to get it. “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” – I John 5:16-17.
Sin separates man from God, it does not matter if a person ate a piece of fruit from a forbidden tree or killed someone, the same punishment is given to the soul, and that is death and hell. How God deals with sin in the flesh does have to do with the nature of the crime, a person caught stealing a piece of fruit had to return it, plus interest, while a murdered would be sentenced to death. All of this can be found in the Book of Leviticus. And as for, the death of the planet, that is inevitable, when Jesus returns and starts judging the earth it will not be around long after, but He is preparing a place for us, and all who are saved will resurrect, and we will all live there for eternity in the new earth. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 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. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” – Romans 3:10-12,23,23.
About The Bible:
The church confesses the Scriptures to be the Word of God written, witnessing to God’s self-revelation. Where that Word is read and proclaimed, Jesus Christ the Living Word is present by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. For this reason the reading, hearing, preaching, and confessing of the Word are central to Christian worship. The session shall ensure that in public worship the Scripture is read and proclaimed regularly in the common language(s) of the particular church.
—Book of Order, W-2.2001
Leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) can be expected to affirm that “… the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments … [are] … by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to [them].”
—Book of Order, W-4.4003b
What Does The Bible Say About This?
The Bible is God’s Written Word, and yes, Jesus Christ is the Living Word, made flesh. The Holy Spirit, who by the way, is God, part of the Triune of God, is the one who inspired men of great faith to write down the words of God as well as their testimonies and collect them in the Bible. In other words the Bible is the infallible, Holy Spirit led words of God, written exactly the way God wanted them, and put exactly what He wanted in them. “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” – II Peter 1:20-21.
There are several books written about prophets and disciples, that are actually mentioned in His Word, but they are not in His Word because they are not inspired, which is why the Apocrypha books in the original King James was first put in the back of the book, and then later removed as to not cause confusion. The reason that King James is the only Bible to read at this present age us because it is as close to the original transcripts as it can get. Yes, there were others before that, but King James and all his men who helped translate the Bible made it easier to read.
King James is the only Bible that is not under copyright, which means it can be used as much as you want without paying royalties to use it. Modern versions have changed, and even taken out several verses to make it their own, and in that case it is no longer a Bible, it is just a book that teaches what they believe it to be. We are to never add or take words from this book and make it to be what God says. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” – Revelation 22:18-19.
Jesus was born of a woman Mary in a particular place the Middle East to a particular people the Jews. He was born as a helpless infant who hungered, cried, had to be changed and grew as all babies grow. As a grown man, Jesus knew all of the feelings humans know joy, sadness, discouragement, loneliness and longing. Yet, Jesus also trusted completely in God and was without sin.
Jesus’ actual ministry on earth was short approximately three years. Because his teachings challenged powerful religious and government leaders, he was executed as a dangerous and seditious criminal. He died, was buried and was resurrected by God. For Christians, this resurrection is God’s most amazing miracle and proof that Jesus was indeed divine.
We believe that Jesus is as alive today as he was on the first Easter morning and that he is present with us today, even though we cannot see him or physically touch him. We call Jesus “Lord” because he has saved us from the power of death and the power of sin and because, through his sacrifice, we are able to know the fullness of God’s love for us.
What Does The Bible Say About This?
Mary was a virgin when God, through the Holy Spirit, put His seed into her belly. She conceived, never having been touched by any man. And yes, Jesus took on flesh, and was tempted such as we are, yet without sin. It was His immaculate birth, and the fact that He never sinned that allowed Him to become the spotless lamb sacrifice that would redeem anyone who believes in Him through their faith alone.
“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” – Luke 1:26-27,31-35.
Jesus endured the most horrific crucifixion, died on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and resurrected three days later, and He is alive, and sitting at the right had of His Father. While Jesus is fully man, He is also God, and part of that holy trinity of the Almighty, for He truly did love the world that He sent His own begotten Son, that none who believe in and receive Him should perish. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2.
God has always been faithful to the people of Israel and to the church. Presbyterians believe God has offered us salvation because of God’s loving nature. It is not a right or a privilege to be earned by being “good enough.” No one of us is good enough on our own — we are all dependent upon God’s goodness and mercy. From the kindest, most devoted churchgoer to the most blatant sinner, we are all saved solely by the grace of God.
Out of the greatest possible love and compassion God reached out to us and redeemed us through Jesus Christ, the only one who was ever without sin. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection God triumphed over sin.
Presbyterians believe it is through the action of God working in us that we become aware of our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Just as a parent is quick to welcome a wayward child who has repented of rebellion, God is willing to forgive our sins if we but confess them and ask for forgiveness in the name of Christ.
What Does The Bible Say About This?
While it is true that we cannot earn our salvation by our own good works, and God is willing to forgive us of our sins and save us through Jesus, it is a little more evolved than that. First, we need Jesus, He truly is the only way to God, and to be saved from our sins. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:22-23.
Second, we need to come to the knowledge that we are a sinner, and acknowledge that only Jesus can save us. Who suffered a horrendous death on the cross, was buried, and arose three days later to redeem all who believe in Him. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” – Romans 3:22-24.
Third, we must confess that we need Him to save us, and call on Him. We cannot just believe on Him, we must call on Him as our Saviour to be saved. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:9-10,13.
And once we are saved, it is for life, and while we do need to confess sin on a continual basis it is not to keep our salvation it is for peace between you and God. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – I John 1:8-9.
About The Trinity:
The term Trinity wrongly suggests that Christians are tritheists. To avert the erroneous idea of having triple gods, some have appropriately placed a “u” in the midst of the word, making it Triunity. Taken from the Latin tria, threefold, and unus, one, this preserves the oneness notion intended by the ecumenical councils of the fourth century that included the Trinity in their creeds.
In ordinations that take place in almost every Presbyterian congregation, elders, deacons and ministers are asked: Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Have you heard anyone answer “no” recently? Neither have I.
We haven’t rejected the Trinity outright; we simply do not seem to need it any more. If we can express our faith using only “God,” we have become functional Unitarians. Apparently, we are able to talk about our faith through simple appeal to God: God loves you, God forgives you, God will be with you. The “Gracious God” we address in prayer is all we need.
What Does The Bible Say About This?
There is just way too much of what is actually nothing as they try to explain the trinity of God, and boil it down to they do not know how to explain it, so they just do not talk about it.
God is all three, Father, Son, and Spirit. He is one God, in the form of three persons. It is not that hard to explain, you can use the analogy of an egg, the shell, the while, and the yolk. You can use the analogy of a woman, a mother, a daughter, and an aunt. You can use the analogy of a man, a father, a son, a grandfather. These are all one, they serve specific roles that make them three different people, but they are one person.
Jesus is also known as the Word. The trinity is also known as the Spirit, the water, and the blood. “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” – I John 5:6-8.
Almighty God is the Father is the Master Builder over all souls, Jesus is God’s Word in the flesh and the blood sacrifice that gives life to the souls of His believers, and the Holy Spirit is the one who teaches the believer how to live like the Son, and receive the showers of blessings that come from our obedience to all three. We cannot have one or the other, we need all three, without Jesus we have none of the persons of God in us, but with Him, we complete, having one powerful God transforming us into the image of His Son. “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – I John 5:9-13.
If there is a Presbyterian narrative about life after death, this is it: When you die, your soul goes to be with God, where it enjoys God’s glory and waits for the final judgment. At the final judgment bodies are reunited with souls, and eternal rewards and punishments are handed out. As the Scots Confession notes, final judgment is also “the time of refreshing and restitution of all things.” And it is clearly the case that both the Scots Confession and the Westminster Confession of Faith want to orient the present-day life of believers around this future.
But the Bible spends more time focusing on new life here than on life after death. So do all our more recent confessions. Although the Confession of 1967 mentions life after death, it does so only briefly. Its focus is on new life now and on the church’s ministry of reconciliation.
Our most recent “Brief Statement of Faith“ has only one line explicitly mentioning eternal life. The rest of the confession is devoted to present life on this earth. The focus of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed on Jesus’ ascension and future return is missing. Instead, Jesus is the one who models our ministry here, concentrating on the enormous tasks of this life and letting God worry about heaven.
What Does The Bible Say About This?
Okay, this is just a sad excuse, there are several passages that talk about heaven, also known as the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven, and Jesus repeatedly talks about the Kingdom of God, and how He is the only one that gets you there. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” – John 14:1-7.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:18-19.
“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Luke 12:31-34.
When a saved soul separates from its fleshly body it does go up to heaven, and stays there with Jesus, and will remain until Jesus returns. When He returns all of the saved will resurrect, and reunite with their body, and in fact, receive a new glorified body.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” – I Corinthians 15:51-54.
There is no restitution once you die, if you die without knowing Christ as your Saviour before you die, you will not get a second chance to do it, you will stand before Jesus as He reminds you of what you did not do to be saved, and that is receive Him as their Saviour.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” – I Thessalonians 4:13-17.
What happened to people before Christ’s passion is also clearly explained, no one went to the part of heaven where God resided, they lived in what was called paradise, and this is where a lot of religions come up with purgatory, or some other place awaiting judgment. After Jesus resurrected all of those in paradise went up to the heavens where Jesus is today. This is explained when Jesus was on the cross speaking to one of the men being crucified along with Him.
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43.
Hell has always been theologically troublesome, because it goes straight to the question of who God is: How do grace and judgment, or love and justice, mix in the divine mind? Are unrepentant sinners ultimately separated from God, the source of all life and hope, which is torment enough, or are they, literally, tortured for eternity? It is hard to talk about hell because this is hard stuff to talk about, but also because the Scriptures are not clear.
There are only two clear references in the Hebrew Bible to punishment for the wicked. Isaiah 30 condemns tyrants to “a burning place” and Daniel 12 condemns the sinful to “shame and everlasting contempt,” without further details.
Anticipation of an accountable afterlife does not appear common until the period between the Old and New Testaments. New Testament writers picked up images like fiery lakes and winnowing forks from the later Jewish writings to make the point that it matters how people live.
“Many persons … have entered into ingenious debates about the eternal fire by which the wicked will be tormented after judgment. But we may conclude from many passages of Scripture that it is a metaphorical expression … Let us lay aside the speculations, by which foolish men weary themselves to no purpose, and satisfy ourselves with believing that these forms of speech denote, in a manner suited to our feeble capacity, a dreadful torment, which no man can now comprehend and no language can express.”
“In The Institutes Calvin takes these things as metaphors, as poetic images,” says Mark Achtemeier, assistant professor of systematic theology at Dubuque Theological Seminary, who dismisses medieval talk of primordial and sadistic dungeons. “Calvin takes pains to point out that this is not intended to soften the point. These powerful metaphors, if not literal, express something that is every bit as awful as they depict.”
What Does The Bible Say About This?
This is also sad, there are several passages that explain exactly what hell is, and it is a real place. Why did God, who loves man make such a place in the first place? Because He is a just God also, and sin of any kind carries a very hefty price, death and hell. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”- Romans 6:23.
The final judgment, known as Judgment Day, is when all unsaved souls will resurrect to face Jesus, they along with Satan, and all his demons will be cast into the lake of fire, which by the way is, a fiery lake of torment. It is also known as eternal death because they will be in utter darkness, separated from everyone, and tormented with pain and fire for eternity. And
Jesus Christ is the only one who can save us from hell, and the second death.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” – Revelation 20:10-15.
“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:6-8.
Regardless of our divergences on other issues, Presbyterians can certainly agree that baptism is all about grace. If we know anything that is distinctively Presbyterian, we know that God’s grace extended to us in Jesus Christ is prior to and calls forth our own response of faith. We know our relationship with God depends primarily on what God has done and only secondarily on what we may or may not do. As Presbyterians practice it, baptism is a powerful sacramental enactment of this truth. And because God’s gracious call precedes and evokes the human response of faith, it is normal for Christian parents who are active church members to present their children for baptism as infants or very young children.
Through faith, grace is certainly free to us, in the sense that it is not earned or merited. But it was not free to God. Its price was the life of God’s only Son, Jesus. And on the human level, it costs us our own lives, which now belong unconditionally to God. Baptism acknowledges our intention to live as God’s people.
When Presbyterians speak of baptism as a covenant, we emphasize the multiple commitments involved. First and most basic, there is God’s commitment to us. Then there are the commitments the community of faith makes to us. Finally, and no less important, are the commitments we make to God, to our children, and to the church. That is why our Book of Order echoes Calvin’s own two-sided treatment of baptism’s gracious character when it says:
“Baptism enacts and seals what the Word proclaims: God’s redeeming grace offered to all people. Baptism is God’s gift of grace and also God’s summons to respond to that grace. Baptism calls to repentance, to faithfulness, and to discipleship. Baptism gives the church its identity and commissions the church for ministry to the world.”
Presbyterians believe that baptism envelops our lives as Christians. As part of the covenant community, we baptize children as they grow into their faith. Believers are baptized as they make a decision to enter the covenant community and to follow Christ. When Christians die, we say that they have completed their baptism in death.
What Does The Bible Say About This?
Water baptism does not remove sin, only Jesus Christ does that, and He did that with His blood. The only way we are cleaned from sin is by confessing to Jesus that we are a sinner, that we believe in His sinless death, burial, and resurrection, and confess that we are only trusting in Him for our salvation. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” – Romans 10:9-12.
Water baptism is a profession of our faith in Christ, it does not save us nor is required in addition to our salvation. However, we do need a spiritual baptism. The second we believe in and receive Christ as our Saviour we are baptized in Him, redeemed forever. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” – Colossians 2:12-13.