Were I an unbeliever listening to Christians today, I'd be extremely confused. It always sounds like I gotta be good, and do something to get this goofy Christian God to let me into Heaven. It always sounds like I can do something dreadful, and LOSE whatever "salvation" is said to mean. Or, it sounds like some kind of magic, and I 'get away with' something, if I 'merely' believe! But if I look anywhere else -- to any other faith or holy book -- I find a disturbing thing: GOD NEVER GETS PAID for sin, or for the shortfall of having to see puny finity forever. So if there really is a God, then He must be paid for that. So any faith or holy book which doesn't show HOW God gets paid, can't be valid. Truth doesn't contradict itself: all faiths cannot be alike, all roads cannot lead to heaven, since if God, then He Must Get Paid -- or He's not even just to Himself, so how can He be just to me?
So let's now examine this unique, nothing-like-it-in-the-world claim of GOD being paid for sin.. and what that means about how-i-get-to-heaven. GOD being paid, never mind whether the puny human suffers any consequences. For only if God gets paid, can there even BE a heaven. [Logically, any other afterlife proposal is just a continuation of life on a lower level with other creatures who aren't God, i.e., paradise, reincarnation, etc., so wouldn't be "salvation" from the puny imperfections, but rather a continuation of them in other formats. But to qualify as "heaven" with "God", then -- infinite perfection has to be satisfied. Hence the need for GOD, never mind anyone else, to be paid for it.]
The Bible is not a goofy Christian, of course. God is not people. We goofy Christians are goofy because we are "born-again": we are babies, all over again, spiritually. So, until we grow up spiritually, when we read the Bible, we come up with babyish ideas about what the Bible says. And thus confuse good folks like you about what ya gotta do to get saved...
So, what does the real Bible say one needs to "do", to get "saved" (go to Heaven when you die)? Simple: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and IN THAT MOMENT you ARE FOREVER saved-to-God!" That's a verse named Acts16:31. I've quoted it from the original Bible's Greek, and capped words translate its verbs idiomatically into English (so the meaning in English is closest to the Greek's meaning). So: If it makes you feel more official, try telling God the Father (or thinking toward Him) that you believe in Christ. He'll "hear" your belief in Christ, whether you officially tell Him, or not. He's always listening to your thoughts.
Belief-in-Christ is ALL you ever need to "do" to get "saved", and it's not magic. Because, God is Infinite, but we are not. So, think: what else can one do? If GOD doesn't solve the problem of us being so small, so unappealing to INFINITE Righteousness, what could anyone else do? So, obviously: it doesn't matter what your religion is, it doesn't matter at all, ever what your sins are/were/will be, it doesn't matter how handicapped you are, how bad or good you are. See -- God is Infinite, so only Infinite Good is enough. We can never BE infinite, so whatever we do can't "pay" for any wrongs. Not even the wrongs we do to ourselves -- because we can't turn back Time. Think: would God make you, then throw you away? Of course not. Think: would God allow some poor baby or handicapped person to be denied salvation? Of course not. God is Perfect. So, a Perfect salvation must be accomplished by God -- we just consent, that's all.
You might be tempted to think, "Oh, that's too easy!" Guess again. This is the hardest decision you will ever make. Everything goes 'against' it. So, don't belittle the gift which even the most handicapped person can "do", on the grounds that one does nothing.
Yep, that's precisely how Jesus "the Christ" (aka "Savior","Anointed One") accomplished payment for ALL sins on the Cross: He did nothing. Remember, He was Nailed To A Cross, so could barely even move. What could He do??? So, He was like a lamb, allowing Infinite Righteousness of God the Father to lacerate Him (like javelin-stabs, says Isaiah53), imputing ALL sins in ALL history to Jesus' Body; and then, to judge every sin imputed. As if Jesus were guilty, instead of us. That's why it says, in another Bible verse (2 Corinthians 5:21), "He [Father] made Him [Jesus] Who knew NO sin, SIN! as a Substitute for us, so that we become the Righteousness of God IN Him[Jesus]." (That's a corrected translation from the real Bible's Greek.)
So, then: imagine Christ being hit over and over and over with every hurtful thought which was ever or will ever be in the mind of man, only Christ doesn't get upset, He doesn't react; instead, He embraces every thought and 'replies' to it with some truth he knows which is so good, the 'reply' literally Atones For, Propitiates, Justifies, the hurtful thoughts repeatedly lacerating His Soul! What thoughts can propitiate, satisfy, make one even want such pain? Look: Oh, Wonderful Father! Thank You For Stabbing Me With These Horrible Thoughts, And With Your Own Thoughts Toward Them AlL. Gratitude: for, Father is LOVED so much, that even getting Bad from Father is an outlet for Jesus' unending Gratitude. See? He isn't doing anything at all; not reciprocating the pain, not lashing out, not accusing Father for giving Him the Worst Kind Of Pain: man's ugly thoughts. ALL of them. At Once.
God the Father EXCHANGES our sins for Christ's thoughts on the Cross, and as a result of the extreme Beauty of His Thinking on the Cross, we are "become the Righteousness of God IN Him." That quote's from another verse, 2Cor5:21. See? It's a Real Purchase. For, it's ONLY the thought that counts: His.
Let's look at that Acts 4:12 verse again: "There is no other PERSON under heaven given to men BY WHOSE AGENCY we MUST be saved" -- no other person. NO OTHER person. Are you a person? Then, are you Christ? No? Then Nothing You Do Is Given To Help Your Salvation, get it? Because, He is the Truth (John14:6): Truth needs no additions, no 'help'. You don't need to 'do' anything TO Truth. It just is: total, complete, entire. Of Itself. Defense rests. And so can you. [Greek grammar note: when a sentence has a passive-voice verb and a by-means-of case in which the 'means' is a PERSON, it's solely by agency of that PERSON that the verb is accomplished. You learn this in first or second-year Biblical Greek. Yet most translators forget this rule, so mistranslate verses like Acts 4:12. Many Bible verses are similarly structured, and similarly mistranslated. Folks who think you gotta do something to get to Heaven don't know the Greek, and thus use mistranslations to justify their claims. So be careful to test for sense what someone tells you the Bible says: do homework in the original languages, if you can.]
Look: if you throw a ball up into the air, it goes up, then comes down. You threw the ball, but you were given power to throw it -- but not power to make IT work the way IT does. So also, with getting saved. You have the power to say yes, or no. That's like throwing a ball. But the ball itself, and what happens to it after that throw -- you have no power over it. You just use the option of throwing. You just use The Option To Say Yes To What Was Accomplished In Christ, on your behalf. For, He Himself merely used His Own Option to keep saying YES while imputed and judged with all sins in history. He didn't have to do anything to accomplish your salvation in Himself: because, He just IS the Truth. Like gravity on a ball: needing no other 'help', Truth always works, intrinsically. Unassailably!
It's not magic, either. See, God is Infinitely Perfect, and Alive. So, Omnipotent. So, if God Himself were ever to sin, what would happen? Could anything be done to restore God to His pre-sin state? NO. So also, for us: no works we do, no repentence or crying or sacrificing -- nothing can be done to restore us to a pre-sin state, because the problem of sin is IN us, in our very genes. For, even one teeny sin has the effect of mold which completely infects a slice of bread: what 'work' can you do to fix the bread? nothing. So, if God sinned, He'd have become irrevocably moldy. If we sin, we are completely moldy. Difference is, we are not Infinite, we do not have God's Own Life, so we can be saved: upon faith in Him we get HIS Righteousness in exchange for all the sins we'll ever sin. (2Cor5:21, quoted above.) And also, God's Own Infinite Eternal Life. So, We Can Be Saved. Which happens the very second we FIRST believe in Christ. Because, God Obligated Himself To This Promise, as we just saw, in Acts 4:12. So, God will never sin, so God Saves Everyone Who Believes. Forever. Just as Jesus told us, in John 10:28: I give them Eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand."
By contrast, if you really hate someone, you want to be as far away from them as possible. So, even if you are in the same room with that person, your "fellowship" is miles away. For, unlike love, unlike Integrity, rapport does not exist where hatred is present. So, while God is Omnipresent, it doesn't mean that you are in fellowship with Him. You can be in the same room with another person yet due to differences between you, be (as it were) miles away.
It's not magic how we get that Infinite Righteousness and Eternal Life, either. Infinity is neither mass nor energy, so it replicates without loss, similar to the way thought does. You read this page, and the thoughts in it, are now in you, yet still on the page. That's not magic, that's simply the property of thought, provable anytime, anywhere. [If you know something about fractals, you'll better understand why infinity can replicate yet not be diminished. If not, don't worry, you can learn in some different way: the Holy Spirit will eventually teach you.] So too, with the property of Infinite Righteousness and Eternal Life: difference is, God would have to will you to get those Attributes. Will, also, is a type of thinking. So, that's why we have to consent, too, in order to be saved: Will never coerces.
See? It doesn't have to be magic. If it had to be magic, then the relationship between God and us would be the magic.. instead of being Together. Free. Just because. So, we can't magically earn anything to credit us before Infinite God. So, God needn't compromise His Infinite Righteousness by binging us magically. After all, He could. But He doesn't want to. He can do anything, but He doesn't want to do all He can do. It's not about Power, it's about Love. Which, after all, wouldn't BE love, if not free. The gift of salvation, is FREE. Because, it wasn't accomplished by magic, is not offered by magic, and isn't obtained by magic. Because, God isn't magic, and neither is Real Love.
So it takes a lot of very painful and needless arrogance to imagine that a puny human can pay Holy Infinite God even one 'dot' of anything. People who choose to reject Christ are just that irrational (arrogance is irrationality, the source of all non-organic mental illness). God knows this; and, like it says in both Isaiah 53:5 2Chronicles 7:14, He uses our flaws to heal us of irrationality, to the extent we consent: for, God Loves. He's never insecure, so He's never about 'put down'. He put UP Christ ON the Cross to put us all UP. So, He puts up with us, while we learn, down here, about the Gospel -- so to put us up in Heaven with Him, forever. [See Romans Chapters 5-6, 2 Corinthians 5, plus "brass serpent" verses in Bible, which cover this topic. Greek/Hebrew note: the common custom of using "He" to mean Each God is Biblical. The "He" (Him, His, etc) usage expresses awe (not daring to call Him by name); plus, it's a very witty verbal device to stress that the Each Infinite Person Individually has the same Attributes, Attitude.. and, are in Total Communion (ultimate word for "rapport", Love) on all things. 'Stronger statement than even total marital 'oneness'. Folks who don't get the deliberate pun on Their alikeness which such "He" usage means in both the ancient Greek and Hebrew of Scripture, become very confused, lol.]
Many believers are themselves confused about these things, and imagine that they must do something to either be saved, or that they can lose salvation. However, as you saw earlier, it's Christ's Doing Nothing On The Cross Which Saved Us, So We Do Nothing, Too. How do we know? Well, look, here's what He said While ON The Cross: "Tetelestai!" That's part of a verse's Greek, of course. It means, "Salvation is (literally, "brought-to-completion") finished in the past with results which go on forever!" and is an exultant shout. Then, His last words: "into Your Hands I dismiss my human spirit, Oh God of Doctrine!" (Ps31:5.) So, then: if HE says it's finished, it's FINISHED! So, then: if someone, whether unbeliever OR believer disputes and says Christ's do-nothing Work on the Cross is unfinished, such that the human should also 'do' something, isn't that disputation an insult to God, and thus apart from God, even -- besides being rather silly? [Verses here are many. The ones quoted, though, are from the Greek, not English, and include: John 19:30 (idiomatic translation of the Greek tense), Luke 23:46 (ties to Ps31:5 -- "Doctrine"="truth", Heb/Greek use the term both ways). The 'doing nothing' fact is baldly evident from Him being nailed to the Cross, so obviously couldn't 'do' anything but Think Doctrine; Levitical "lamb" sacrifice and "Lamb-of-God" moniker for Him in both NT and OT.]
So this world is freely bad mainly because people use morality to get things they want -- a kind of bullying. It's not good, it's not of God, and it is really immorality in disguise. Hypocrisy. Guilt. Pride: preening over one's own self-sacrifice, and expecting others to do the same! That's what happened to Satan (head angel opposing God, term means "opposing attorney" in Hebrew). That's what he and his cohorts very much want to happen to the human race. So, they, not God, sponsor all the morality they can. To abuse us. For, this world is also freely allowed to be bad to play out their arguments against God. That's why they sponsor religion: man, by man's own efforts, claims the approbation of God! True evil. See how disgusting such claims are, versus Jesus the Christ hanging on a Cross, doing nothing? Which side in the 'argument' do you think is more godly?
Oh, yes. In fact, you are "born from above" (not "born again", a mistranslation) so you have a new spiritual nature: like God's. So you are a Royal Priest forever, which means you represent Him. So there's stuff to learn (never earn) about what that means. What it means the most, is that you can KNOW God intimately. That's the best reason to want to be saved, actually. Using 1Jn1:9 and learning what Scripture says, you can learn how to enjoy being with God, even while down here. Life down here after salvation is expressly for the purpose of learning Him. God will provide the spiritual intelligence you need to learn Him. Your high or low IQ is irrelevant. That's why you use 1Jn1:9, to 'access' His Spiritual 'Brains'. As you learn Him, you will come to understand Him and enjoy Him, as you grow spiritually.
Truth is not magic; Truth can be Learned. God's Truth is His Attribute, and thus can be LEARNED. Learning of any kind changes a person for better or for worse, because thinking is involved with learning, and one also values what he learns. See? Not magic. Not emotion, not hocus-pocus or weird rituals, not chantings or ohmings or sitting on a mountain somewhere. Not works, but instead: Learning. Learning from God, takes God's Power, but it's certainly not magic. It certainly is a function of whether you are positive to learning. Hence the need for 1Jn1:9, for when one sins, one is offline with the Holy Spirit, and not positive. See? No magic at all. God is just that BIG: it's natural for Him. So, learning Him makes us bigger, too. Just as any learning does, except this learning is at GOD's level. Not magic, nor anything we can do. Just like salvation, we can only get this learning by Consent.
Learning and thinking are to your soul what food and exercise are to the body, and they develop in exactly the same way: all that is true about the effect of diet and exercise (or lack thereof) on the body is analogously true for learning and thinking on the soul (brain is interface between soul and body). Food supplies the body with the chemicals and energy to stay alive and be healthy; exercise instructs the body where and how to deposit muscle so the body can do what it needs to stay alive and be healthy under varying conditions of stress (resistance). So, if you eat the wrong food, or too much or not enough, you tax your body's ability to be alive and healthy. So, if you do wrong/too much/ too little exercise, you tax your body's ability to aptly function. [Nerd note: Everything is made up of some type of chemical, for a chemical is but a combination of atoms: "O2" for example, is a common version of the elemental chemical called "oxygen". Sadly, the term 'chemical' today is inaccurately used in a nasty way.]
So, if you don't 'eat' learning, you starve your soul (that's why brain won't work properly, either). So, if you don't exercise your thinking, your soul atrophies and fattens. So, if you 'eat' unhealthy learning, or exercise unhealthy thinking, you sicken. As with the physical body, the deleterious effects of an unhealthy soul take time to manifest, and take a much longer time to correct; the more time passes, the tougher and more correction is needed. That is why you must discipline your body, your mind. That is especially why God punishes: if we won't discipline ourselves, for our own sake we need to be disciplined. Clearly, then, learning Scripture is easier and more effective, than getting spanked.
Learning anything means essentially three functions must occur: 1) you learn DATA; 2) you learn CONNECTIONS among the data; 3) you believe what you learn. The believing is a consent, basically -- for, when you believe, you agree that a thing is valid, true. Of course, to do that, you have to have a justification, a reason to agree. That's where your brain comes in. The Holy Spirit's Ability to Communicate DATA and CONNECTIONS via your God-appointed pastor (God will show you who) nonetheless will not enable you to learn unless you believe. You won't believe unless you can see the reason why the communication is true. So, some things you hear, you immediately believe; some, you don't. Others, you sorta believe, but you don't understand them well enough yet. Of course, this same process is true for secular learning.
Will is the dominating factor of your life. You are what you want to believe, what you want to think, what you want to know. Bible calls this "eating". For, the soul 'eats' by believing, even as you eat food by wanting it. No one believes apart from wanting to believe, and no one else (not even God) can force you to believe what you don't want to believe. So, like it says in Proverbs 23:7 (in an eating context, no less!) -- You Are What You Think. By Choice.
For the truth for us, is the same as for God: Will dominates, and Truth comforts. Specifically, the Willingness To See Truth, is innately contenting. God doesn't sin, because the Truth is so Gorgeous. No reason to want to sin, ever. So it stands to reason that the more truth you know, the happier you will become. But only God is Truth. So to get Truth, you've got to get it from God. That's why we have a Bible. People who get past wrongs in their lives do so because they accept the truth of what happened. They stop trying to fix what happened, but instead, move on. They don't necessarily ever like what happens, but they accept it. Same is true for unusual prosperities. Acceptance Is The Key To Everything. Just as your body becomes more content the more you properly feed and exercise it, so also your soul becomes more content the more you properly 'eat' truth and exercise thinking based ON truth. Which, of course, means you are first accepting both.
Happiness Warning And Disclosure (heh): Accepting and Learning Truth from God is by far the most fulfilling and taxing life you can live. Fulfilling, because He's so Wonderful, and the more you Learn how He thinks and is, the more you want to learn. Taxing, because your body's got that stupid sin-nature genetic structure we all inherited from Adam: it's always going in the opposite direction. Taxing, because folks around you are being led-by-their-bodies: thinking is too hard, you see. So, you'll find it progressively taxing to be around others, the more you learn Christ. However, you'll also find learning His Thinking so refreshing and contenting, just as His Thoughts on the Cross comforted Him, so also will you be comforted as you face the 'cross' of having to live with the weaknesses of this world. In a word, you'll eventually find the entire experience, propitiating. Which, of course, Father also finds His Thinking on the Cross to be. Heh.
So what do these twin pulls (toward God, toward weaknesses) 'do' to your spiritual and soul life as you accept learning Christ? Well, it's doo-doo (weakness) converting into Diamonds (Doctrine, His Thinking). Paul writes about these twin pulls in Romans 7: lol, you no sooner know what "good" is, than you have an urge to disobey it! 'Same kinds of things as happen to your body when you feed and exercise it properly: you gain in agility/speed, coordinative integrity (synergistic competence), endurance (stamina), flexibility (ease), strength (power). As you grow, you'll find the emphasis needed to keep on growing is in the reverse order, with strength-of-will being the initial focus, to keep you going despite the pulls; but focus shifts to agility, once you're 'athletic'. Thus you can track your spiritual progress (progressively learning and using Bible Doctrine), similar to the way you'd track a body's progress.
A baby doesn't know anything. So all input is sensory, how a thing feels. Volition interacts with feeling to 'baptise' onto the feeling, a meaning of 'i like', or 'i don't like'. The trick to growing up, even secularly, is to have volition replace feeling preferences with meaning preferences. And preferably, the meanings will be aligned with the Truth. To the exact extent this replacement does not occur, the soul will be weak, babyish. Like a weak torso which thus weakens the entire body, so also a soul's 'torso' of weak thinking will stunt that soul's growth. For, weak thinking on any topic displays a continuing preference for feeling as the criterion for decision.
So a weak soul can't take much input or think very long before it 'faints'; isn't agile, so it can't 'dance' (enjoy) and can't evade sudden hits; it can't 'bend'; and above all, it can't have coordinative integrity, especially under repeated strain. A soul learning Christ, akin to a soul learning any viable subject over his lifetime, enjoys ever more increasing input and thinking; thus any 'hits' have progressively less adverse effect; such a soul also progressively enjoys bending, coordinating, holding together, especially under repeated strain. In short, learning Christ makes you a spiritual athlete, as Paul so frequently reminds folks in his letters. [In Greek, that is: all too often translations mask the athletic and military terms Paul uses.]
Hence the hallmark symptom of spiritual retardation or at least, immaturity, is a view of the spiritual life as a works thing. Kids are like this, always comparing what they do to other children, looking for approbation because they took out the trash, or took a bath -- and tattling on those who didn't. Thus you see the wide divergence between Bible.. and Christians. We are all growing, and retardation is the norm. The higher a job you have in life, the more THINKING is required, not body stuff. So much more true, in the spiritual life! For God, is PURE THOUGHT.
So the hallmark symptom of the maturing Christian, is that he accredits his works less or not at all, because he's come to know better -- and instead, he focuses more and more on how he thinks toward God. For the essence of the spiritual life, is your SOUL thinking toward Father. That's how sins got paid for -- that's how you relate to God. For God, has no body.
All the foregoing is even more true, with respect to the way Bible is taught; translations and religions alike make it out to be useless, rotelike, in order to deserve the moniker of 'holy'; so life with God is pitched as a boring huff-and-puff sterility, with man doing all the 'pain', and God getting all the 'gain'. So, learning becomes 'hard'. So, we seek shortcuts, soundbytes, quick-fixes and answers. So, we bond data and connections incompetently, to avoid that bad feeling we knew as children.
Hence historically, most Christians choose to accredit what they do with their still-moldy bodies (sin nature stays in you until you die) -- and learn God's Word, not at all. So no conversion is going on. No data is being connected. No relevancy is being built by the Holy Spirit. Paul explains all this in Romans 2, 4, 7, 9, 11. So their feel-goods and moralities, help them accredit themselves still further. That is why their ideas of what Bible says are so puerile; why as they age chronologically, they become prickly and legalistic, graceless, fixated on other's sins or alleged heresies. They remain immature, Eph4:14. Such is not God's intent.
God's intent, is that you come to enjoy the Truth and Intimacy with Him, as He does. If you're busy loving, you're not busy tallying up scorecards of how good or bad you or someone else is. You're not busy saying how correct your belief, how heretical is someone else. Lovers are too busy loving. God threw all scorecards away on the Cross. So as you mature in Christ, you will too.
So notice how profound, even devastating: how you BELIEVE the relationship with God should be, is how it will turn out: for you are a King-Priest in training. So your own decisions, govern. Choose wisely, then. You're crafting an eternal future from those decisions. And any decision made in the past, can be reversed, while you are still breathing.
But what's the real message of the Cross? Christ tells the world that the Truth is so beautiful, He wanted the Cross! See, the Cross is fundamentally, the Invincible Power And Beauty of the Truth: Ps138:2, 89:14-15, Ps31:5 (His last words on the Cross). It's not really about sin -- that was a Problem of Separation (contagion, 'mold' of sin); which, His Growing Up IN the Truth and Bearing both sin and judgement of sin, solved. (Isaiah depicts what He did as healing us, in Isa53:5.) So, no need to feel guilty or bad that He paid for you. Instead, you can celebrate, and learn this beautiful Truth, which the Holy Spirit replicated in Him, thus in the Bible: the Mind of Christ. You'll have, as you learn Him, a truly meaningful life: a life where even all bads are 'baptised' (by Divine Design) to be catalysts for the greatest of goods, says Romans 8:28 (in Greek; English is fuzzy). For, by absorbing all bad into Himself, He "fills all in all" (Bible catchphrase used in a bizillion different ways in the New Testament). So, nothing else to do. So, no happiness exists "outside". Tell me: is this Ultimate Justice, or what?
Just think: here you are, with your happinesses and problems. Here the world is, constantly warring, striving, demanding, crying -- so much pain! Yet what does it mean? All this pain illustrates what would have been the meaning of life, if He didn't pay for our sins! We are watching what he paid for, occur! After this life, these things are gone: "no more sorrow, no more tears, the old things have passed away" are but two of many Bible clauses revealing our future due TO salvation. For now, we're getting intelligence information on the extreme value of what He paid -- by doing nothing! So, isn't this the ultimate of Justice? Truth is so valuable, God doesn't even have to lift a finger to stop what's bad; what's bad is, just like everything else, Converted To A Training Device, resistance weights to make one spiritually bigger; converted to a hands-on Learning, akin to His No-Work Accomplishment on the Cross! [See Heb5:8-9, one of the funniest Greek paronomasias in Scripture -- if you dare!]
These learning (never earning!) choices you make determine how you will enjoy Heaven, not whether you go there. (You can't undo salvation, any more than you can turn back time.) Unlike the one-time consent to BE saved, you've lots and lots of choices to make about how you want 'your' Heaven to be: kinda like a menu of options. God Himself knows what would most fulfill you, and He has a very detailled plan for your life; which plan, you yourself can choose to learn and follow. Or, you can choose your own way (not recommended, as God is far smarter than we about what's beneficial). So, by the time you quit this moldy body down here, your choices, like votes, add up to some resulting person you've become, in your soul. You thus will voluntarily and happily and perfectly 'fit' in a certain kind of societal life with God, as part of what the Bible calls "The Body of Christ". (The Book of Ephesians is on this topic.)
So, inabilities don't matter. Desire, though, does. If I desire to be a nuclear physicist, and I have all I need to actually become one, but don't choose to study enough -- I won't become one. Because, I didn't desire it enough. Lots of Christians desire to be favored by God, but won't choose to learn Him. So, the life in heaven they actually choose is.. distance. Kinda like being a king, but choosing to live like a peasant.
For, Christ is Royal; so we who are IN Him (believers) also are, because IN Him, Royal: "King-Priest kata Melchizedek" (per Hebrews 5, and lots of other verses -- "kata" is Greek for "according to the pattern of, the order of"). That 'position', status IN Him is irrevocable (one of 39 irrevocable inheritances one gets upon salvation). In fact, if you've ever once believed in Christ (even right now), at that very second you are a Royal Priest, in training (should you consent) to become also a King. Under the "King over Kings", Christ. Forever. The Kingship option is yours to accept, or reject. The level of priesthood you want to have in heaven is likewise your option to accept or reject. Acceptance means you use 1Jn1:9 and start learning Scripture in that state, habitually. Rejection, of course, is the opposite. See? You choose how you want 'your' Heaven to be, once saved: do you elect God's King-Priest Plan for you.. or, your own?
What does a King 'do'? By contrast, what does a peasant do? A peasant cannot think, because that requires a lifetime of training. But all a king does, is think. He has to look good for the peasant, since the peasant cannot think and therefore cannot imagine the role of thinking. A peasant therefore must SEE things. Visible wealth is important to impress the peasant. But to the king, thinking is true wealth. No polity lasts long, without it. And all the physical wealth is meaningless, without thought wealth. So how much more true, when being crafted as a King for an eternal kingdom? Again, Christ was nailed to a Cross. All He could do was think -- and that Thinking, paid for our sins, Isa53:10-12 (the fact is stated 21 times from Isa52:13-54:1).
So only God can do things to heal, slow down, make good out of, all the moldy infection which keeps on spreading also, by means of thought. (Thought naturally replicates, so thought is naturally contagious.) So only God can truly help man. So, if you are growing in Him, becoming more compatible with Him, your own moldiness while down here is being healed by that Truth, His Thinking you are learning. For, that Truth replaces the mold by means of Learning His Thinking! [Ephesians 4:11-16 and 4:23 in Greek say all this; so do many other verses, like Romans 12:2-3, all of John 14, 1Corinthians 2, 5. Again, translations are usually messed up.]
So, unlike someone who's not growing in Him, you're being used to do what no moldy body can do. Truly truly help replace moldy thinking, with Christ's Thinking. Doesn't matter that it's not visible: mold's danger is not in the part you see, but in the part you can't see (get any good biology book on molds). So also, the counter-mold (so to speak) of His Healing Thinking is not visible to others. Bigger still, you are becoming more like Christ, which pleases Father no end: just as we are blessed with salvation due to Father's Pleasure with Christ, so also those of us IN Christ are the justification for Father blessing the world, temporally. Bible frequently calls this Father-pleased-so-Father-blesses, "sweet savor", and it's a Priestly thing. So, see?
It honors Christ to bless us and the world; and Father Loves Honoring His Son. Christ paid, we benefit. We benefit, because Christ paid, because He loved us. So, the Father GIFTS us to Christ. So, we must be made glamourous, so to speak. Scripture depicts life post-salvation to an engaged woman who gets ready for her marriage: beautifying herself, and enriching her dowry. In the process, even those who will never believe in Him will be "paid" for our training period, as it were, down here. In short, if you would do good for people, learn Christ! That function does FAR more for them, than all the money on earth: "infinitely more than all we can ask or even imagine". (Eph 3:20 -- clause is very strong in Greek.)
The links at pagetop provide further introductory material.
That short webpage gives you a hands-on way to deal with the spiritual life, especially when you don't know much. You'll see the results as you practice it, privately: no one has to know.
For why should Omnipotent God, tolerate lesser-thans? Why should you settle for BEING a lesser-than, when that is not your destiny in Christ? See: His Goal is to put us UP, which is why He puts up with us down here. We are His Children. We can grow up in Him. Our Choice.
This is a personal thing, your salvation and spiritual life. It's not about who else believes as you do, what your family and friends do: you are your own soul. No one else has rights over your soul, and you have no rights over someone else's soul. So no one has any right to influence or dictate to you what you should believe. That's a private matter at all times between God and you. God is your Real Father, since only God can make a soul.
So, now you know the simple truth: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and IN THAT MOMENT you ARE FOREVER saved-to-God!" Go in peace: "Be Still, and KNOW that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (7 verses, incl. Deut31:6, Josh1:5.) "not willing that anyone should perish" (2Pet3:9). 'I, even I am He Who removes your sins, as far as the East is from the West.' (Christ, talking from His Deity in Isa43:25; see also Ps103:12. This quotation concatenates both verses, which is a common interpretational math technique in Scripture.)
See? He loves you: "For God so loved the world" (John 3:16) and "God demonstrates His Love toward us: in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died as a substitute for us." ('corrected translation from the Greek of Romans 5:8.) FOR ALL OF US: 1Jn2:2, 2Cor5:14-15. See? God never rejects anyone. So: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you are forever saved-to-God!" Plain, Perfect, Simple. FOREVER. So: go in peace, and, as 2Pet3:18 says, "grow in grace and knowledge of Our Lord-Savior, Jesus Christ -- to Whom, Glory! both now and forever!" (Peter's last words, semi-corrected trans. of New International Version.)