OVERCOMING HINDRANCES TO SALVATION
by Segun Olumide

Some people find it difficult to become born-again because of one or more of the following wrong beliefs or notions. If any of them has been hindering you, it is your time now to overcome and become genuinely saved.
Congrats ahead! Don't stop reading this article until your find peace with God through Christ Jesus.


1. "I CAN'T BELIEVE IN JESUS WHOM I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE."
Are you one of those people who refused to believe in Jesus because you have not seen him face to face?
That reminds me of Thomas, a disciple of Jesus. When he was told about Jesus' resurrection by those who had seen the Lord (Jesus), he responded, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it" (John 20:25,NIV).
Some days later, Jesus appeared to them but said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. STOP DOUBTING AND BELIEVE."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET HAVE BELIEVED" (John 20:27-29, NIV).
Before I got born-again, I had that problem. I used to reason then: 'How will I believe in Jesus whom I had neither seen nor met? I was told he shed his blood for me but I had never seen that blood!'
For some time, I wrestled with that thought until I understood that I didn't have to see him and his blood to believe; I had to believe with my heart, not with my five natural senses.
Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) reads, "That if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is WITH YOUR HEART THAT YOU BELIEVE and are justified (made righteous), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
This have been the problem of some scientists, professors, philosophers among others. After searching for God with their senses without finding him, they conclude that God is not real - that Jesus is not the saviour of mankind.
John 1:1,14 declares Jesus as the Word, and also as God who became flesh and dwelt among men (see also Isaiah 9:6).
Job 11:7 reads, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" The answer is certainly a big NO!
Peter wrote under God's inspiration to some believers, "Though you have not seen him (Jesus), you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8, NIV).


2. "PEOPLE OF ALL RELIGIONS ARE SERVING THE SAME GOD."
One of his disciples asked him, "So how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME" (John 14:5-6, NIV).
Jesus did not say, "I am a way and a truth and a life" That means there are no two ways; there is no other truth; and there is no other life. He IS THE ONLY WAY, THE ONLY TRUTH and THE ONLY LIFE.
He said no one comes to the Father, only (except) through him. What then is the hope of those claiming to come to the Father through other people apart from Jesus Christ?
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, there has been a vacuum (empty space) in the heart of everyone born of a woman into this world.
All the religions of the world came up in an attempt to fill up this emptiness (vacuum).
Interestingly, only Jesus Christ can satisfactorily and accurately fill in that vacuum because, as somebody said, it is Jesus-shaped, that is, it is shaped to occupy only Jesus!
That was why Jesus said, "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:8-9, Gideon's International).
That means all the people who have brought false religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, traditional religions, false Christianity (Catholicism, Christian Science, and so on) and such like into the world are thieves and robbers!
The Bible says, "For there is ONE GOD AND ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN THE MAN CHRIST JESUS, who gave himself as a ransom (redemption price) for all men" (1 Timothy 2:5-6, NIV).
Jesus is the only mediator between God and mankind. According to Dr. W.E. Vine's Greek Dictionary of New Testament Words, a mediator is a go-between, a reconciler, one who acts as a guarantee so as to secure something which otherwise, would not be obtained.
So, Jesus is your mediator. He is my mediator. He is our mediator, middleman or intermediary who removed the enmity between God and men (see Ephesians 2:12-18).


3. "I WILL SERVE GOD LATER, AFTER I HAVE ENJOYED MY LIFE AND ACHIEVED MY GOALS."

Several years ago, some brethren went to preach to a young man in a particular place. He told them to go away that he wanted to enjoy his life first and probably that he might listen to them thereafter.
Unfortunately, some days later, this young man was a dead fellow! When I was told about his death by one of our brothers I felt unhappy.
Friend, maybe you have been postponing your salvation. Now, hear this warning: "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1, NIV).
James also admonished, "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money; why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist (vapour, fog, cloud) that appears for a little while and then vanishes (disappears). Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that. As it is you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16, NIV).
Somebody sang this song: Today is the day of salvation (2ce).
If you delay, tomorrow may be late (3ce).
There is danger, if you delay!
2 Corinthians 6:2 declares, "Behold, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME; BEHOLD, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION."
If you are not yet born-again, you need to accept Jesus right now before it's too late.
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:8, NIV).
God says a time is coming that this will be too late for you: "Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me" (Proverbs 1:28, NIV).
Now the Bible says, "TODAY (NOT TOMORROW) if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 4:7, NIV).


4. "GOD IS TOO GOOD TO CONDEMN SINNERS TO HELL."

On the one hand, God is good. On the other hand, He is severe (strict, harsh, stern). Romans 11:22 says, "Behold therefore the GOODNESS (KINDNESS) and SEVERITY (STRICTNESS, HARSHNESS, STERNNESS) of God"
Friend, there is a heaven to gain but a hell to shun. The choice is yours.
Mathew 25:41 (NIV) reads, "Then he (Jesus) will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the ETERNAL FIRE (LAKE OF FIRE) prepared for the devil and his angels."
Hell fire is a temporal fire but the lake of fire is an eternal fire. Revelation 20:14 declares, "And DEATH and HELL were cast into THE LAKE OF FIRE"
The Bible teaches that the lake of fire was never made for mankind but the disobedience or sinful will end up there (see Matthew 25:41 above). This implies that people can go to hell, which was never made for them.
The psalmist wrote, "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17).
God does not intend people to be condemned to hell but anyone who rejects Jesus Christ as the Saviour is condemned to hell!
That was why Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:16-18).


5. "IF GOD TRULY LOVES US, WHY DOES HE ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN TO US?"

We blame God ignorantly for the bad things that happen to us. But he is never to blame.
The Bible says, "The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man (mankind)" (Psalm 115:16, NIV).
That means God is responsible for whatever happens in the highest heavens but man is responsible for whatever happens on earth.
God exercises his dominion in the heavens but he gave man dominion over all the earth.
The Bible says, "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let THEM have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, AND OVER ALL THE EARTH
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and REPLENISH (RESTORE) THE EARTH and SUBDUE IT: and have DOMINIONover every living thing that moveth upon the earth
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, IT WAS VERY GOOD" (Genesis 1:16-28,31).
God made all things very good but when man fell, sin came into the world. It is the sin of man that brought death, diseases, poverty, pains, accidents, and all the mishaps we see in the world today (read Romans 5:12, Matthew 9:2-7).
When Adam and Eve sinned, God knew the consequences of sin (death, diseases, calamities, etc) would follow. And when he asked Adam what had gone wrong, he said, "The woman you (God) put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.
Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" (Genesis 3:12-13, NIV).
You see, Adam blamed God and Eve for the evil. Eve blamed the serpent (the devil). The devil would have probably blamed the tree planted or created by God himself.
This blame game dates back to the Garden of Eden. So, friend stop blaming God for any misfortune of mishap you must have suffered in life. God loves you. Jesus loves you. He loved you enough to die to give you life!
Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).


6. "I'M AFRAID GOD CAN'T FORGIVE ME; FOR MY SINS ARE TOO MANY TO REMEMBER."

Jesus said about a sinful woman, "Therefore, I tell you, her MANY SINS have been forgiven" (Luke 7:47, NIV).
Jesus shed his blood to take away the sins of the whole world, no matter how many they are.
Actually, man is not a sinner because of what he does or what he doesn't do. No, he is a sinner because Adam sinned. A sinner is a sinner from the womb.
So, everyone conceived of man is born a sinner. Jesus was not a sinner because, though, he was born of a woman, he was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20-25, Luke 1:34-35).
You see, man inherited sin from Adam. Romans 5:12,18-19 reads, "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned"
Therefore as by the offence (sin) of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous."
Are you a terrible sinner? Are you as terrible as Saul of Tarsus who later became Paul, the apostle.
He wrote, "There is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I AM THE WORST. But for that very REASON I was shown MERCY so that in me, THE WORST OF SINNERS, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an EXAMPLE for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life" (1 Timothy 1:15-16NIV).
The grace of God is more than all human sins. This mercy can turn the worst sinner away from hell!
Jesus declared, "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37, NIV).
God said, "Though your sins are like scarlet (light red colour - not too terrible sins), they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson (deep red colour - very terrible sins), they shall be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18, NIV).


7. "NO ONE CAN BE RIGHTEOUS; FOR WE ARE ALL SINNERS."

Paul wrote, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified (made righteous) freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24)
There are two kinds of people in the world: children of the devil and children God, unbelievers and believers, the sinners and the righteous.
You are either a sinner or a righteous person. A sinner is one who has not received Jesus as his personal Saviour while a righteous person is one who has received Jesus.
Everyone who is born-again or has received Jesus has the gift of righteousness.
The Bible says, "For if by one man's offence (sin) death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).
Righteousness has been defined as the ability of the human spirit to stand before God without sin consciousness, guilt (condemnation), inferiority, unworthiness or fear.
It is standing before God as though one never sinned. It is right standing with God.
Righteousness is not holiness! While righteousness is right standing with God, holiness is right living (thinking, talking and doing) in God.


What a sinner needs is the gift of righteousness but what a believer needs is the consciousness of righteousness and lifestyle of holiness. The first is a free gift but the second is never a gift at all!
Paul wrote some believers: "Just as you used to offer the parts your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to RIGHTEOUNESS LEADING TO HOLINESS" (Romans 6:19, NIV).
If you are not born-again, then all your righteousness is like a filthy rag before God (see Isaiah 64:6).
But the Bible says concerning every child of God, about you, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"
For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM" (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).


8. "I THINK I'M NOT PREDESTINED TO BE SAVED BECAUSE I FAIL EACH TIME I TRY TO."

I remember years ago before I got born-again, I struggled with the subject of salvation for months.
I wanted to be born-again, but I didn't know exactly how. At first, I thought it meant to be in a gathering where you will sing, pray and hear the word of God. So I involved myself in such gatherings.
But I soon discovered I had no assurance of salvation. On one occasion, I entered a church and saw people speaking in tongues. Then I thought to myself, "This is what I need to be born-again speaking in tongues."
Without wasting time, I opened my mouth so that I could speak in an unknown tongue, too and thus become born-again. I was, however, sadly disappointed because nothing came out of my mouth.
I didn't throw up my hands in discouragement saying, "I think I'm not predestined to be saved because I fail each time I try to."
Eventually, I got to know that I had to believe in Jesus and call on him to be saved. I did so and became born-again (Romans 10:9-13).
You see, Jesus died for us all and he wants us all saved. But, sadly, not all of us are ready to accept him.
Peter wrote, "He (God) is patient with you, NOT WANTING ANYONE TO PERISH, BUT EVERYONE TO COME TO REPENTANCE" (2 Peter 3:9b, NIV).
Paul affirmed, "This is good, and pleases GOD OUR SAVIOR, WHO WANTS ALL MEN TO BE SAVED AND TO COME TO A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH" (1 Timothy 2:3-4, NIV).
Even Jesus declared, "For God so loved THE WORLD (everybody, including you), that he gave his only begotten son, that WHOSOEVER (anyone that) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
When God would love, he love whole world-that includes you! This last verse here says 'whosoever believeth.' That means 'anyone who believes.' This is an open unrestricted invitation to everyone and anyone!


9. "I DON'T WANT TO BE BORN-AGAIN BECAUSE I HAVE FOUND SOME FAULTS WITH CHRISTIANITY."

Christ is faultless. He is perfect. When Christ was accused before Pilate, the Roman governor, he said, "I find in him (Christ) no fault at all" (John 18:38).
Christ Jesus himself said, "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me" (Matthew 11:6).
Even Satan couldn't find faults with Christ. Jesus put it this way, "For he prince of this world (Satan) cometh, and HATH NOTHIHG IN ME" (John 14:30).
Besides, some are trying to fault the Scriptures. David wrote, "The law of the LORD (the Scripture) is PERFECT who can discern his (God's) errors (faults)?" (Psalm 19:7,12,NIV).
You can't discern his errors because he has none. That is why the Scripture is error-free.
Jesus declared boldly, "The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
That means it is not false. I am yet to find one truth which contradicts another in the word of God. Why?
It's so because, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" and "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 spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21).
For example, Luke 23:43 says, "And Jesus said unto him, ' Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.' "
This was Jesus' message to the thief who was crucified with him on the right-hand side. The translators put it this way, and it means that, that thief would be with Jesus in paradise that very day.
But when Jesus died on the cross, he went to hell immediately, not to paradise (heaven). He remained there for three days and nights. It was after his resurrection that he went up into heaven (Acts 2:31, Ephesians 4:9-10, John 20:11-29, Acts 1:1-11).
Interestingly, in the original Greek text, that Luke 23:43 reads something like, "And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee today (I am saying it today), 'Thou shalt be with me in paradise."
So the translators missed it but the Greek writer did not! Jesus was not saying "You will be with me in paradise today." No, not at all. Rather, he said, "I say it to you today: 'You will be with me in paradise (some day)."
Lastly, some are trying to find faults with believers, especially with prophets, pastors and so on.
Jesus warned, "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment" (John 7:24, NIV).
He continued, "You judge by human standards: I pass judgment on no one" (John 8:15, NIV).
If, for example, you find some believers, especially Christian leaders dig their hands into sins: stealing, adultery, lying, killing, gossiping, anger, pride and such like, then leave their judgment to God.
Hebrew 10:30-31 (NIV) reads, "For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay, and again, 'The Lord will judge his people; It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."


10. "IF I GET BORN-AGAIN, I WILL BE PERSECUTED BY RELATIONS, FRIENDS, CO-WORKERS OR NEIGHBOURS."

Jesus told his disciples, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV).
Some folks are afraid to accept Jesus into their lives because of fear of persecution. The fear of man brings a snare or hindrance (Proverbs 29:25).
If you face persecution because you get born-again, Jesus says you are blessed! In the face of insult, persecution and false accusation for the sake of becoming a child of God, he tells the believer to rejoice and be glad, for his reward will be great in heaven!
I heard the story of a girl who got born-again, but backslid because of persecution from her father. Eventually, her father also got born-again. Then his friends challenged him, "When your daughter gave her life to Jesus, you persecuted her until she turned away from Jesus. Now you've given your life to the same Jesus."
He replied to them, "If my daughter knew the same Jesus that I now know, I wouldn't have been able to turn her away from him. In my case, no one, not even my great grandfather can turn me away from this Jesus that I know."
Jesus warned, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell
Whoever acknowledges (confesses) me before men, I will also acknowledge (confess) before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns (denies) me before men, I will disown (deny) him before my father in heaven
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it "(Matthew 10:28,32-33,37-39, NIV).
Also there was a story of a girl who was persecuted at home, and was probably disowned by her parents for becoming born-again.
Then, a foreigner (an American or so) visited Nigeria. God revealed that girl to him supernaturally. He later sponsored her abroad.
No wonder David wrote, "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).


SINNER'S PRAYER
If you want to be born-again, say this aloud:
'I choose to repent today. Also I choose to believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose up for my justification.
The Scripture says, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
Therefore, I believe in Jesus with my heart and confess Him as my Lord. Now, I am born-again (Amen).'


SAY THIS ALOUD TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
Also Jesus said, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8).
And on the day of Pentecost "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4).
Therefore, I receive the Holy Spirit by faith right now and I begin to speak in an unknown tongue (unlearned tongue) as He gives me the utterance.
I command every foul spirit [spirit of fear, spirit of unbelief, spirit of doubt, religious spirit, unforgiving spirit] wanting to hinder me to stop in its evil operation in my life in Jesus' name.
Thank you God for filling me with your Spirit in Jesus' name (Amen).

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