Christ said that only blasphemy against the Holy Ghost would not be forgiven. All else can be?
Some say all men's other sins were forgiven by Christ's atonement. Other say only on condition of repentance. While still others say that repentance alone is not sufficient. Some say faith is required, while others say that faith without works is dead. Christ said there are two great commandments in the law, and that by keeping them mankind can inherit eternal life. Can a man sin and still keep those two great commandments, and, if he sincerely repents, is that enough to insure he will live eternally?
I'm a bit rusty on my Bible, but... the thief in the cross didn't need any particular action. He just needed to acknowledge his own hopelessness, and Jesus' status as savior. The fact that the Bible itself says "faith without works is dead" means that if you believe in God, it is expected that there will be actions (works) as a result of your faith.
It is the same with the two commandments that Jesus brings up to the Pharisees in Matthew. "Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself." There is no need for any other commandment because it is expected that if you follow these two, you'll follow the others.
I hope others with "a bit rusty" memory of the Bible can answer as well as you have. For a concise statement of the Gospel, Jesus of Nazareth is indeed a great communicator (clear, concise, and confirmed by his parable of the good Samaritan.)
The answer is in the first commandment. Love God. Why would a loving God make anyone who didn't love him go to heaven and live with him eternally.
I am with Theif12. There is nothing to add to the cross. Ephesians 2: 8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved through faith--and this not from yourself, it is the gift of God. How many times can you receive the same gift? Enjoying the gift is what I want to do.
Wow! Love this question, P.
I cover some of this in my latest book, but I'll keep my answer relatively short, here. Almost midnight, so I'm a little sleepy too. So, bear with me.
One analogy I use involves a car which needs repair and which someone locks in a garage and puts the key away in a forgotten, "safe" place.
A traveling car repairman says that he can repair the car, but the owner denies that he even has a car. Therefore the car cannot be repaired.
Perhaps a better example would be someone with a broken heart. Denying the existence of the heart prevents it being repaired.
Genesis 1:26 makes it obvious that the Holy Ghost is us. The sons of God are immortal spirit (fallen) wrapped in Homo sapiens flesh. Denying the existence of the Holy Ghost makes it impossible to forgive one's sins. The repair cannot be done. Even saying nasty things about Jesus or God can be forgiven, if one admits that they have a spirit that needs repair.
Eternal life is a return to the continuity of consciousness of spirit we had before we ate the forbidden fruit. What? Us? Read Ezekiel 18:18–20 in the context of us paying for the sins of Adam and Eve. Something doesn't fit, unless you consider that Adam and Eve were us. We don't owe anything for their sins unless we were them.
Homo sapiens was created because we no longer had continuity of consciousness after the Garden. Try balancing your checkbook in your dreams. Not easy! That's how easy salvation is without a human body. Impossible.
And that's why God brought about Noah's Flood, because something threatened the rescue mission -- jeopardized the integrity of Homo sapiens and the future of civilization. None of God's children were hurt during the Flood -- only the bodies they wore.
Rod Martin, Jr.
"The Bible's Hidden Wisdom: God's Reason for Noah's Flood"
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