A Hard Valuable Lesson Learned!

A week or so ago, I made a trip to California from my home in Arizona to visit my daughter. During the trip, I discovered my wallet missing. Do to the nature of the trip; the discovery was unknown by me for several days. The result was my credit card was maxed out, my savings was completely withdrawn, and my checking account was over-drawn by $1500.00. I also found out that because my credit card was not actually used in the theft that I am not protected financially as I wrongly thought.

The Hard Lesson Learned:

Credit card theft or fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft committed using a credit card as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorized funds from an account. Credit card fraud is also an adjunct to identify theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, while identity theft had been holding steady for the last few years, it saw a 21 percent increase in 2008.

The cost of card fraud in 2006 were 7 cents per 100 dollars worth of transactions. Due to the high volume of transactions this translates to billions of dollars. In 2006, credit card fraud was estimated at $750–830 million within the United States.

The fraud begins with either the theft of the physical card or the compromise of data associated with the account, including the card account number or other information that would routinely and necessarily be available to a merchant during a legitimate transaction. The compromise can occur by many common routes and can usually be conducted without tipping off the card holder, the merchant or the issuer, at least until the account is ultimately used for fraud. A simple example is that of a store clerk copying sales receipts for later use. The rapid growth of credit card use on the Internet has made database security lapses particularly costly; in some cases, millions of accounts have been compromised.

Stolen cards can be reported quickly by cardholders, but a compromised account can be hoarded by a thief for weeks or months before any fraudulent use, making it difficult to identify the source of the compromise. The cardholder may not discover fraudulent use until receiving a billing statement, which may be delivered infrequently.

The only common security measure on all cards is a signature panel, but signatures are relatively easy to forge. Some merchants will demand to see a picture ID, such as a driver’s license, to verify the identity of the purchaser, and some credit cards include the holder’s picture on the card itself. However, the card holder has a right to refuse to show additional verification, and asking for such verification is usually a violation of the merchant’s agreement with the credit card companies. Self-serve payment systems such as gas station pumps are common targets for stolen cards, as there is no way to verify the card holder’s identity. A common countermeasure is to require the user to key in some identifying information, such as the user’s ZIP or postal code. This method may deter casual theft of a card found alone, but if the card holder’s wallet is stolen, it may be trivial for the thief to deduce the information by looking at other items in the wallet. For instance, a U.S. driver license commonly has the holder’s home address and ZIP code printed on it. The credit cards have a three-digit security number code (CVV) on the back and along with the stolen driver’s license; a thief can make actual purchases of almost anything they desire over the internet without a signature being required.

Credit and charge card fraud costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. While theft is the most obvious form of fraud, it can occur in other ways. For example, someone may use your card number without your knowledge.

It is not always possible to prevent credit or charge card fraud from happening. There are a few steps you can take to make it more difficult for a crook to capture your card or card numbers and minimize the possibility of credit theft.

If you lose your credit or charge cards or if you realize they have been lost or stolen, immediately call the issuer(s). Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. By law, once you report the loss or theft, you have no further responsibility for unauthorized charges. In any event, your maximum liability under federal law is $50 per card if the actual card is used.

Here are some tips to help protect you from credit and charge card fraud.

Do:

• Sign your cards as soon as they arrive.
• Carry your cards separately from your wallet, in a zippered compartment, a business card holder, or another small pouch.
• Keep a record of your account numbers, their expiration dates, and the phone number and address of each company in a secure place.
• Keep an eye on your card during the transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible.
• Void incorrect receipts.
• Destroy carbons.
• Save receipts to compare with billing statements.
• Open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, just as you would your checking account.
• Report any questionable charges promptly and in writing to the card issuer.
• Notify card companies in advance of a change in address.

Don’t:

• Lend your card(s) to anyone.
• Leave cards or receipts lying around.
• Sign a blank receipt. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
• Write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope.
• Link your checking or saving accounts to your credit card.
• Give out your account number over the phone unless you’re making the call to a company you know is reputable. If you have questions about a company, check it out with your local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau.

Limiting Your Financial Loss:

Report the loss or theft of your credit cards and your ATM or debit cards to the card issuers as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. It is a good idea to follow up your phone calls with a letter. Include your account number, when you noticed your card was missing, and the date you first reported the loss.

You also may want to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers your liability for card thefts. If not, some insurance companies will allow you to change your policy to include this protection.

Your Financial Liability for the Loss:

Your maximum liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your credit card is $50. If you report the loss before your credit cards are used, the FCBA says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your cards before you report them missing, the most you will owe for unauthorized charges is $50 per card. In addition, if the loss involves your credit card number, but not the card itself, (such as purchases over the internet) you have liability for unauthorized use.

ATM or Debit Card Loss or Fraudulent Transfers (EFTA). Your liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss. If you report an ATM or debit card missing before it is used without your permission, the EFTA says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized transfers. If unauthorized use occurs before you report it, your liability under federal law depends on how quickly you report the loss.

For example, if you report the loss within two business days after you realize your card is missing, you will not be responsible for more than $50 for unauthorized use. However, if you do not report the loss within two business days after you discover the loss, you could lose up to $500 because of an unauthorized transfer. You also risk unlimited loss if you fail to report an unauthorized transfer within 60 days after your bank statement containing unauthorized use is mailed to you. That means you could lose all the money in your bank account and the unused portion of your line of credit established for overdrafts. However, for unauthorized transfers involving only your debit card number (not the loss of the card), you are liable only for transfers that occur after 60 days following the mailing of your bank statement containing the unauthorized use and before you report the loss.

If unauthorized transfers show up on your bank statement, report them to the card issuer as quickly as possible. Once you have reported the loss of your ATM or debit card, you cannot be held liable for additional unauthorized transfers that occur after that time.

Protecting Your Cards:

The best protections against card fraud are to know where your cards are at all times and to keep them secure. For protection of ATM and debit cards that involve a Personal Identification Number (PIN), keep your PIN a secret. Do not use your address, birth date, phone or Social Security number as the PIN and do memorize the number.
The following suggestions may help you protect your credit card and your ATM or debit card accounts.

For Credit Cards:

• Be cautious about disclosing your account number over the phone unless you know you are dealing with a reputable company.
• Never put your account number on the outside of an envelope or on a postcard.
• Draw a line through blank spaces on charge or debit slips above the total so the amount cannot be altered easily.
• Do not sign a blank charge or debit slip.
• Tear up carbons and save your receipts to check against your monthly statements.
• Cut up old cards – cutting through the account number – before disposing of them.
• Open monthly statements promptly and compare them with your receipts. Report mistakes or discrepancies as soon as possible to the special address listed on your statement for inquiries. Under the FCBA (credit cards) and the EFTA (ATM or debit cards), the card issuer must investigate errors reported to them within 60 days of the date your statement was mailed to you.
• Keep a record – in a safe place separate from your cards – of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the telephone numbers of each card issuer so you can report a loss quickly.
• Carry only those cards that you anticipate you’ll need.

For ATM or Debit cards:

• Do not carry your PIN in your wallet or purse or write it on your ATM or debit card.
• Never write your PIN on the outside of a deposit slip, an envelope, or other papers that could be easily lost or seen.
• Carefully check ATM or debit card transactions before you enter the PIN or before you sign the receipt; the funds for this item will be legally and quickly transferred out of your checking or other deposit account.
• Periodically check your account activity. This is particularly important if you bank online. Compare the current balance and recent withdrawals or transfers to those you have recorded, including your current ATM and debit card withdrawals and purchases and your recent checks. If you notice transactions you did not make, or if your balance has dropped suddenly without activity by you, immediately report the problem to your card issuer. Someone may have co-opted your account information to commit fraud.

Buying a Registration Service:

For an annual fee, companies will notify the issuers of your credit card and your ATM or debit card accounts if your card is lost or stolen. This service allows you to make only one phone call to report all card losses rather than calling individual issuers. Most services also will request replacement cards on your behalf.

Purchasing a card registration service may be convenient, but it is not required. The FCBA and the EFTA give you the right to contact your card issuers directly in the event of a loss or suspected unauthorized use.

If you decide to buy a registration service, compare offers. Carefully read the contract to determine the company’s obligations and your liability. For example, will the company reimburse you if it fails to notify card issuers promptly once you have called in the loss to the service? If not, you could be liable for unauthorized charges or transfers.

Guy Lewis
Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Just How Important is Love Expressed?

This is interesting because the word most in the New Testament to define Jesus was compassion or compassionate.

Scripture also says that Jesus went about doing good. It does not say that Jesus only did good to the people with “cash deposited in the religious church bank.”

There are more references in scripture to show love and kindness to others then there is to deny help of those in need. To be honest I do not recall any to deny those in need.

Scripture is so very clear that we are to help others through our love and compassion.

Matthew 5:46 (New International Version) “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” Jesus is telling us to love everyone not just our family, friends and fellow church members. Jesus is saying ALL people.

Matthew 22:37-40 (New International Version) “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus is telling us that if we love God we must love people. Jesus is also telling us that the way we show that we love God is by the way we love others and not just those we chose. See Matthew 5:46.

John 15:12 (New International Version) “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” The term “Each other” is not a restricted statement to only those we believe to be followers of Jesus.

John 15:17 (New International Version) “This is my command: Love each other.” This is a command to love all people not just those we chose.”

1 Thessalonians 4:9 (New International Version) “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.” Paul says here that it is God’s will that we love others and express that love.

1 Peter 4:8-9 (New International Version) “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” Peter is saying here to show love to all because it is through love that the way of repentance is found.  Peter also says that hospitality is a part of love and hospitality root means to fill needs.

James 2:16 (New International Version) “If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James is telling us what the love Jesus told us about in Matthew 5 and 22 looks like in and that love is a true expression of practical action. James tells us that real love is action not word.

James 4:17 (New International Version) “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Showing love, compassion, and help for others is doing good because that is exactly what Jesus went about doing according to Acts 10:38.

Galatians  6:9 (New International Version) “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul is telling us that when we do the good that James says is the expression of the love Jesus told us to do if we love God that is how we will reap our reward from God.

Galatians  6:10 (New International Version) “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Paul continues to show the context in which he is telling us how to and whom to show good  (the expression of love for God show to everyone) when Paul tells us to help everyone (in or out of the church).

1 John  3:10 (New International Version) “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” John is not using the word brother to mean ‘church member” but in keeping with the context of Jesus, Paul, and James, he is saying everyone.  We know that showing love to everyone is good and right.

1 John  3:14 (New International Version) “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” John here tells us that if we have not learned what Jesus was saying in Matthew 22 and we do not help others as James says in 2 and Paul in Galatians 6 we are lost and remain in our sin.

1 John  3:17-18 (New International Version) “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” here John is saying the same thing that was said in James 2:16.

1 John 3:23 (New International Version) “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” Here John reminds us once more of the command of Jesus in Matthew 22.

1 John  4:7 (New International Version)  “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” John is telling us here that if we do not love others we are not really a child of God. In other wards we are not really saved because John’s words place love as a sign of a true conversion to Jesus and therefore a true baptism and repentance (Acts 2:38).

1 John  4:20 (New International Version) “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” John is again making a reference to what love is and how true love is expressed as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 22. A person cannot love God if they do not love the people around them. Who showed love and compassion in the Good Samaritan story: The religious of the day or the worldly sinner?

1 John  4:21 (New International Version) “And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Another reference John is giving to Matthew 22.

3 John  1:11 (New International Version) “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” We already know from all the other scriptures listed here that Jesus, Paul, James and John all tell us that love of others is good and is what God’s will for us is. Therefore, John is telling us here that if we do not express love to ALL PEOPLE we really do not know God and are doing evil and that is sin.

Hugs, Guy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mental Illness: Are Christians Fearful of Association?

Mental illness is a disorder of the mind, why it occurs in people no one knows for sure, and there is no real cure for most forms. There are several different categories of mental illnesses, with several disorders within each category. With these several disorders of mental illness within the various categories still further classed depending on the depth of severity of the particular form of mental illness, from mild to severe, and it is possible for these disorders to interrupt daily activities to the point that life becomes extremely difficult for the sufferer.  This past year, starting in March 2009, I personally went back into a deep and severe depression linked to my PTSD issues.

You might be asking yourself what this topic has to do with anything or on a blog of a person who is grateful to God for his sobriety or why the word Christian appears in the title. Well these are very good questions to be asking.

The answer is that the majority of people with mental illness reach for drugs and alcohol to help them cope and change the reality they see their life in whether real or imagined. This was my case for 32 years. I used drugs and alcohol to alter my reality I felt I was living in. It was not until I was, gifted, by God, with 10 years of sobriety that I found the answer to my personal question concerning depression and feeling as if I do not belong in this world. I have severe major clinical depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) stemming from the first 17 years of my life and which, amplified by my naval career, and was the major reason behind my 32 years of alcohol and drug addiction.

I recently read an article online, from a lady PhD member of the church in Canada, who wrote that 1 out of 5 members of the church has some form of mental illness and the church leadership as a whole world wide has no skills in offering help, support and aid to these members and fellow Christians.

Even clean and sober for over 19 years, I have had a tough year dealing with my PTSD issues and the depression that brings me. My only real support came from my friends in recovery from drugs and alcohol and three families from the local church here in Payson, Arizona. During this past year, I had people whom I thought were real friends, within the church, withdraw from me by pulling away their friendship, stopping emails, phone calls, or stopping by the little house God has seen fit for me to live in. One of the church leaders here in Payson, Arizona, when I asked them why they withdrew their friendship from me, stated that “the way your acting, I do not want that impression associated with the church.” These types of statements are unchristian and just reinforce a person with mental illness distrust of people in leadership or authority positions and it saddens me personally that the church seems so unaware and fearful of people with dual diagnoses such as me.

Paul says that we as Christians are to be ambassadors for God through Jesus in order to bring others into a reconciled relationship with God. How can we, in the church do this, if we do not want to be associated with people (1 in 5) that suffer from one of the many forms of mental illness or suffer from an alcohol addiction or drug addiction to survive the struggle playing war in their minds? Jesus went to all the downtrodden (viewed as less than people) reaching out to them in kindness, compassion, and love and we as Christians are suppose to follow in his footsteps. When are people in the church really going to start acting like Jesus and stop fearing people who are different then they perceive themselves to be? Payson, Arizona, has a very large portion of the total population living in the town, as do a majority of cities, towns, and suburbs of the United States, of who suffer from issues such as mine; i.e. mental illness, addictions of various kinds, etc… Is the church, as a whole, going to side set those people during their outreach evangelism to seek out only the people we think will not look bad in the church membership?

I do pray, and hope that the dark storm clouds of my own personal set back into severe depression is lifting. Therefore, I will once again feel the desire and have the energy to participate more with my life and find away to be active in reaching others, without fear of association, that suffer as I once did and still do at time.

Hugs, Guy

March 10, 2010

P.S. By the way, I am thankful that on January 28, 2010, God was kind enough to have blessed me with 20 years clean and sober.

Is there a True Biblical Five-Step Plan of Salvation?

 

The acts or steps or tenets of salvation first appeared during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers’ basic theological beliefs in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. The Latin word sola means “alone” or “only” in English. The five solas articulated the five fundamental core beliefs of the Protestant Reformation.  All five of the “solas” implicitly reject or counter the then prevailing status quo, the Catholic Church, which had, in the various reformers’ minds, usurped divine attributes or qualities for the church, its hierarchy, and especially, its head, the Pope.

The first five acts of salvation were as follows:

  1. Scripture alone.
  2. Faith alone.
  3. Grace alone.
  4. Through Christ alone.
  5. Glory to God alone.

Revision number one:

The first revision to the first five acts or steps to salvation came around 1827, when a preacher named Walter Scott accompanied Alexander Campbell to the annual meeting of the Mahoning Baptist Association. At this meeting, Campbell nominated Scott to be the evangelist for this association for the coming year. Thus at the age of 31 Scott embarked on an adventure that would alter the 20st century Christian religion.

Scott believed that Jesus the Messiah was the Golden Oracle of the Christian faith. Jesus was to be lifted up and people called to respond to him. Jesus the Messiah was the creed of Christianity. Faith in him was the requirement of entrance into the Kingdom and church and fellowship for Christianity. In a nutshell the Ancient Gospel, was according to Scott, arranged into Six Items: (with a division between Baptism and remission of sins)

  1. Faith
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism
  4. Remission of Sins
  5. Gift of the Holy Spirit
  6. Eternal Life

Scott’s new formulation of the Protestant Reformat Act’s of Salvation never loses sight that Christ must be the object of our faith, adoration, and love. Scott’s formulation tells what God has done, is doing still, and will do in the future. Scott believed and taught that we respond in Faith to this Golden Oracle. We repent of our sin to God. In our Faith, we are baptized in the name of the Jesus. As a result of our baptism, God Forgives/Remits our sin. Then God grants the gift of himself in the person of the Holy Spirit to those baptize; then God seals the baptized to himself for Eternity.

Revision number two:

Scott’s formation then is changed yet again by the time of the 20th century churches of Christ grew in the US and was sometimes referred to as the “Churches of Christ have a Five Finger Discount! The revised, revision of the origin reformation Acts of Salvation was simplified in the five acts of salvation taught in churches of Christ today. The new revision is as follows:

  1. Hear
  2. Believe
  3. Repent
  4. Confess
  5. Be Baptized for the Remission of Sins
  6. (Sometimes living faithfully is included)

Walter Scott saw the diminishment of his formulation of the Protestant Reformation’s Acts of Salvation and Scott believed the watering down was due to the incipient legalism that was creeping in and clouding the churches of Christ’s primary mission from God and to the vision, he preached. Scott said the church had “watered it” down.

In 1844, Scott wrote to Jacob Creath, in a letter stating: “Hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing, being baptized should not be misconstrued as the Golden Oracle or the gospel. Scott pointed us first to the WHO of our faith and never let his hearers forget what God had done, is doing and will do for us. Remission is the gift of God not some command we can humanly fulfill. The Spirit is essential to our lives and the eternal hope … how did we lose sight of it all?” (Credit due Bobby Valentine for his research concerning Scott)

So what do we know from all of this?

What can we gleam from the foundation and change of the Acts of Salvation?

1. The Protestant Reformation was from 1517 to 1648 the Bible was written some 1400 years before the first creation of any Acts of Salvation were even thought about by mankind.

2. Nowhere in the Bible does God ever inspire any of His authors to write about any “Acts of Salvation”

3. God’s desires and will never changes. This we know from scripture. However, the acts of salvation have changed twice since they were first thought of by men. Therefore, they are not an inspired teaching that God wanted us to teach others.

4. Does the Bible talk about: faith, hearing, believing, repenting, baptism, etc… Yes it does. However, it never combines these into any required Acts of men in order to obtain salvation from God. The Bible does say that salvation is NOT due to any ACTS of people but ONLY through the GRACE of God. (Eph 1:7) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” and (Eph 2:8-9) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

So what does the Bible really teach?

1. Our mission, as Christians, is to reconcile a lost world back into relationship with God through Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has GIVEN US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2. Who set the standard for admittance into the “New Kingdom” or church? Peter primarily and the apostles. (Matthew 16:13-20)

“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.”

3. What did the apostles say were the response (Acts of Salvation) of people in order to enter the Kingdom or church?

a. Peter says to REPENT and BE BAPTIZED. (Acts 2:37-41) “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

b. Paul linked BELIEVING (FAITH) in Jesus to what Peter commanded in order to enter the kingdom. (Acts 19:4-5)

Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

c. Paul linked BELIEVING in Jesus to what Peter commanded for people to enter the kingdom. (Rom 6:1-11)

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There are other passages, within the New Testament, that bear these three “Acts” out. However, I feel my point’s made in the use of these three.

HEARING is not an “Act of Salvation” established by the apostles. Hearing is the natural act of learning and being taught. If we include hearing in this list of manmade Acts of Salvation then we also must include teaching, washing feet, holy kisses, etc… because they too are written about in the same style (context) as when the eunuch asked his question of Philip. (Acts 8)

CONFESSION is not an “Act of Salvation” established by the apostles. Paul said that confession was an act of BELIEVING. (Rom 10:9) “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” John implies that confession is an act of our obeying Peter when he established the criteria for entering the kingdom in Acts 2:38. (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We know this because Peter said that our sins are forgiven in repentance and baptism.

LIVING A FAITHFUL LIFE is not an “Act of Salvation” established by the apostles. Being faithful as in living a Christian life, until death, after baptism, that is what we are supposed to do any way. The name Christian simply means Christ like. In other words, it means to live as Christ lived. A Christian is a person who adheres to the lifestyle of Jesus, based on the life of Jesus, who they believe is the Messiah, prophesied in the Old Testament, and who is the beloved Son of God incarnate. Therefore, what was the life of Jesus like? (Acts 10:38) “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, WHO WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD AND HEALING ALL WHO WERE OPPRESSED BY THE DEVIL, for God was with Him.” Do I need to also include that James said “Therefore, TO HIM WHO KNOWS TO DO GOOD AND DOES NOT DO IT, TO HIM IT IS SIN.” (James 4:17)

Paul also implores us to live a life of doing good when he wrote “Therefore, AS WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY, LET US DO GOOD TO ALL, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10)

So basically, Scott had it correct back in 1827. Salvation revolves around Jesus and Jesus alone through the delegated authority He gave the apostles to establish the requirements for admission into the church or Kingdom of God. Maybe, it is high time; Christians returned to the scriptures (alone) and relied not on the teachings of men.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010, Guy Lewis