{11}     Salvation: Changed lives

42.            How can we be sure about the reality of salvation?

a.Salvation can only be known after we accept it by faith. We have to rely on the witnesses of the Bible and Christians.

b.Based on the Bible, salvation is real and certain:

(1)1Jn 5:12-13 Salvation is clearly declared.

(2)2Ti 2:11-13 Paul uses the definitive word ďwillĒ 3 times to emphasize the reality of salvation.

(3)Eph 1:13-14 God puts the Holy Spirit in a believerís heart as a seal and a deposit to guarantee Christians that we will receive eternal life and future glory in Godís eternal kingdom.

43.            Is rebirth real or imaginary?

a.Jesus affirmed the fact of rebirth (Jn 3:3,5).

b.Rebirth is real and objective: (1) Some argue that rebirth is a temporary emotional phenomenon. But there are innumerable believers who accept Christ in different situations and possess enduring faith all their life. (2) Some argue that rebirth is resulted from the adolescent feeling of insecurity. But Christians come from all walks of life, including many famous thinkers. (3) Some argue that rebirth is imaginary. But it is impossible to have an imaginary experience in different parts of the world all through history and with high degree of similarity.

c.The best proof is the experience of the changed life of a born-again Christian, often very different from the old life. Changes include renewed strength, courage, love, higher morality, and inexplicable joy and peace. It can be felt by the reborn person and by others (2Co 5:17).

44.            How can a Christian be sure about his own rebirth?

a.Based objectively on Godís promise (1Jn 1:9): (1) Rebirth is preceded by repentance and faith. (2) Assurance of salvation: No man can snatch salvation from a believer (Jude 1:24; 1Co 1:8-9; Jn 10:28-29; 17:11-12).

b.Based subjectively on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who helps the believer in: (1) having a new attitude toward the Lord (1Co 12:3); (2) being more conscious and sensitive of sin (Jn 16:8); (3) understanding truth (Jn 16:13); (4) being comforted (Ro 8:26); (5) receiving power and gifts to witness and to serve (1Co 12:11); (6) possessing fruit (singular) of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

45.            How can we be sure that there is life after death?

a.Arguments from Authority: (1) Consensus: Nearly all cultures and the majority of all individuals believe in life after death. (2) Jesus: Jesus affirms the fact of resurrection (Jn 11:23-25; 5:25-29). There is also strong evidence presented in the Bible that Jesus rose from death.

b.Arguments from Reason:

(1)Existence of the soul: If the soul dies, it must die either by decomposition or by annihilation. But the soul is not composed of parts so it cannot decompose. Also, death is not a process of annihilation and there is no external process to annihilate.

(2)Godís justice: God is just and that attribute is reflected in all his dealings with man. But there is great injustice in this life. To be consistent with Godís justice, there must be justice after death to redress and compensate for injustice before death.

(3)The meaning of life: If life ends in final annihilation, then life does not have an end worth living for. Life must have an end worth living for. Therefore life does not end in final annihilation. [This is precisely why suicide is an atheistís logical choice.]

c.Arguments from Experience:

(1)Experience of dying: Many dying Christians said that they saw the heaven opened and Jesus welcomed them home (Ac 7:55-56).

(2)Postmortem presence: Many describe experience of the presence of a person already dead.

(3)Near-Death experience (NDEs): Many who were medically dead for a short while but were revived later reported out-of-the-body experience with uncanny precision.

46.            Can Christianity really provide meaning to life? How does Christianity solve the problem of anxiety?

a.Anxiety is the deep-seated inexplicable fear or worry. (In comparison, fear is resulted from tangible things, such as fear of taking an examination or fear of crime.) Everyone is burdened with anxiety.

b.Existentialist philosophers talk about 4 types of human anxiety: (1) guilt of sin, (2) alienation from your own true self and from others, (3) meaninglessness of life, (4) inevitability of death.

c.Christianity provides answer for the above 4 anxiety problems:

(1)Sin is forgiven and man is justified (Ro 5:1). Guilt should not control us anymore. (1Co 15:56-57)

(2)Man is born again (2Co 5:17) and should be true to oneself. True fellowship and harmony with God and among men are established (1Co 1:9), especially in the church today.

(3)Life is meaningful (Jn 10:10). We now have a destination (heaven) and are now living our life to serve God. We have true joy (Ro 5:2) and peace. We will receive the divine inheritance in the end.

(4)We are not afraid of death because we have eternal life. It is a blessed hope. Life in heaven is a better life than life on earth. Moreover, we will be resurrected in the end (1Th 4:16-17).

47.            Why should I believe if there are hypocrites in the church?

a.A hypocrite is an actor, one who puts on a false face. He says one thing but does another. A church contains some people like this because: (1) Not all people in the church are real Christians. (2) Some Christians may have wrong understanding of what they believe. Jesus condemned hypocrisy (Mt 23:15). (3) Some Christians omit to follow Christ -- carnal Christians. (4) Believers are striving to be holy and perfect but are not perfect yet and have weaknesses. (5) All believers are fallible human beings who are prone to sin (Gal 2:11-14).

b.Just because the church contains hypocrites does not mean that all Christians are hypocrites. There are many people who are living consistently with the teaching of Jesus Christ.

c.Christianity stands or falls on the person of Jesus, not on actions of Christians. Jesus was never a hypocrite.

d.The church is like a hospital, full of sick people who wish to be healed. The presence of sick people in a hospital should not stop a sick person from entering it.