The Buddha and the Christ: Their Teachings & Persons Compared

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The Buddha and the Christ: Their Teachings & Persons Compared

The Buddha and the Christ:

Their Teachings Compared

 

Great Buddha or Daibutsu in Kamakura, Japan Garden Tomb Gordon's Calvary Jerusalem Jesus Christ resurrection
“One who acts on truth is happy in this world and beyond.”[1]

—the Buddha

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto [God the] Father, but by me”[2]

—the Lord Jesus Christ

Hundreds of millions of people today seek to follow the teachings of the Buddha. Many millions more say that Jesus Christ is the most important Person who ever lived; He is, in fact, the Creator of the universe become Man. Since many people seek to follow Buddhism and many others claim to follow Jesus Christ, a comparison of the teachings of the Buddha and Buddhism with those of Jesus Christ and His followers should enlighten anyone who honestly seeks for truth.

“[T]he Buddha … encouraged critical thought about what he taught,”[1] commanding: “Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon what is in an [Eastern religion’s] scripture; nor upon surmise … nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias toward a notion … nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk [Buddha] is our teacher.’”[2] “Do not accept any of my words on faith, believing them just because I said them. Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns, and critically examines his product for authenticity. Only accept what passes the test[.]”[3] These commands from the Buddha are honored when Buddhists compare Buddhism to other belief systems and apply careful tests to consider whether Buddhism is true or false.

Comparably, in the Bible, God commands: “Come now, and let us reason together.”[4] Jesus Christ promised sincere seekers for truth: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”[5] “If any man [is willing to] do [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I [Christ] speak of myself.”[6] Clearly, it is appropriate to compare the teachings of the Buddha and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who do so must have a sincere heart and mind and be willing to follow the truth whatever the cost.

Who was the Buddha?

Buddhists state that the Buddha was a wealthy Indian prince named Siddhartha Gautama.[7] After being confronted with the reality of suffering and death, he left his wife and infant child, “abandon[ing] his family” to “search for spiritual truth,”[8] an act Buddhists call the “Great Renunciation.” After some failed searching, he sat down under a fig tree, where he “received news that his father’s kingdom had been conquered and his relatives were prisoners of an evil king. But this vision did not affect his resolve. Whatever happened to his family was not his concern”; all was subordinated to achieving personal enlightenment.[9] Buddhists claim that after Siddhartha Gautama overcame a variety of trials under the tree, the Buddha saw visions of his past lives, achieved enlightenment, and gained an understanding that the essence of existence is suffering. He then became a famous teacher and founded a monastic order, the Shangha. The Buddha died a number of years later.[10] When over-zealous followers claimed he was the greatest person who ever lived, Buddha wisely rebuked their claims. He also “categorically … rebuffed” all attempts to “turn him into a god … insisting that he was [merely] human in every respect.”[11] Buddha “made no attempt to conceal his temptations and weaknesses, how difficult it had been to attain enlightenment … [and] how fallible he still remained.”[12] Buddha also never claimed any knowledge about the origin of the universe or about people’s future after death.[13] “We usually expect religions to give us answers to the big questions of life, such as how the universe began, why we are here, and whether our souls survive after death. … Buddha … never promised … to any of his disciples … answers to such questions.”[14]

Unfortunately, scholars recognize that “Gautama … lived in a mythological mist, which makes it impossible to ascertain the real facts.”[15] The most commonly accepted date for Buddha’s death is 483 B. C., while others date it 150 years later. Dates have been given from 852 B. C. to 252 B. C.[16] Nobody knows for certain when the Buddha lived and died, much less what he did during his life, which “has become encased in … legend.”[17] What is more, “the oldest Buddhist writings were not composed until four hundred years after his death.”[18] And, “the earliest extant copies come from around the third century AD, about seven hundred years after the probable date of the Buddha’s death.”[19] The large majority of Buddhist scriptures such as the Chinese Tripitaka have perished forever—only about 13% of this collection still exists.[20] “The extremely late date of even the oldest Buddhist writings and the even later date of their earliest copies makes certainty impossible about what Buddha actually did or taught. A “quest for the historical Buddha is impossible to achieve using modern historiographic standards. Buddha’s life is shrouded in the thick fog of … myth.”[21] “[W]e really know very little about early Buddhism. Nor do we know what the Buddha actually taught. All we know is what later generations said he taught. Unlike … the historical Jesus in Christianity, there is no search for the historical Buddha. Such a search is virtually meaningless because of a lack of historical data over several hundred years.”[22] “[A]part from brief quotations in inscriptions and a two-page fragment from the eight or ninth century [A. D.] found in Nepal, the oldest manuscripts are from late in the fifteenth century, and there is not very much before the eighteenth,”[23] reflecting the fact that “Buddhist literature was codified” only “[i]n the fourteenth century” A. D.[24] Furthermore, “the manuscripts we do possess are so contradictory that one despairs of ever finding truth.”[25] “In the case of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, none of his actual words remain … the Buddha’s actual words are lost to us.”[26]

Who is Jesus Christ?

The Lord Jesus was a perfect Man, miraculously conceived through a virgin birth[27] in the land of Israel. He claimed that He was sinless—perfect in His thoughts, actions, and nature—a claim His followers repeated and His enemies could not refute.[28] He was a great Teacher, but Christ was also much more—He claimed to be “God manifest in the flesh”[29]—the All-powerful,[30] All-knowing,[31] Everywhere-present[32] One who created and controls the universe,[33] now become Man to “save his people from their sins.”[34] Christ’s followers “worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Mt 14:33), and He willingly received their worship. The Lord Jesus warned that there are many false ways that lead to eternal destruction, but only one narrow way that leads to eternal life: “Enter ye in at the [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat … [but] narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”[35] Indeed, Christ claimed that He Himself is that one narrow, exclusive way—He said that He is “the way, the truth, and the life,” so that “no man” could come to God the Father except through Him.[36] Christ not only knew the origin of the universe, but He claimed to be its Creator.[37] The Lord Jesus not only knows what will happen to people after death but said that He Himself will be the Divine Judge who will determine whether each person enters eternal happiness or eternal misery, based on whether they have believed in Him.[38]

Jesus Christ validated His claims by performing countless miracles. He miraculously healed “great multitudes” of “all manner of sickness and all manner of disease,” essentially eliminating illness from the entire region where He ministered by curing of every disease, without even one failure, every single person who came to Him.[39] Christ restored sight to people blind from birth, instantly cured people with damaged or entirely missing body parts by healing withered arms and reattaching missing ears, and raised many people from the dead, including an individual who had been dead for days and whose body was stinking from decomposition.[40] The earliest Christians could tell non-Christian contemporaries that “Jesus of Nazareth [was a] man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know”[41]; nobody could deny the facts, for the miracles Christ did were abundant and undeniable. Over seventy years later, Christians could testify to the emperor of Rome: “But the works of our Savior were always present, for they were genuine—those that were healed, and those that were raised from the dead, who were seen not only when they were healed and when they were raised, but were also always present; and not merely while the Savior was on earth, but also after his death, they were alive for quite a while, so that some of them lived even to our day.”[42] Not just all Christian sources, but all ancient non-Christian sources, whether Jewish or pagan, recognize that Jesus Christ performed miracles; not a single extant ancient historical document denies this fact.[43] No trace at all appears in history of anyone who denied the facts; there were simply too many people walking around whom the Lord Jesus had healed or raised from the dead to question the truth.[44]

Christ predicted that He would die by crucifixion and then rise from the grave, and He fulfilled His prediction when He “died for our sins … was buried, and … rose again the third day,” appearing after His resurrection to men and women, believers and unbelievers (who came to faith after seeing Him), individuals and groups of over five hundred people.[45] His enemies were unable to stop the proclamation of His having overcome death by rising from the dead, for His tomb was empty, despite the fact that it had been guarded by Roman soldiers who risked losing their lives if they allowed any violation of His grave.[46] Immediately after His resurrection Christ showed Himself alive by “many infallible proofs.” After providing unimpeachable evidence for forty days, He ascended to heaven.[47] He will soon come again to judge and rule the world.[48] Every person who has ever lived will be raised from death to stand and be judged by Jesus Christ.[49] The Lord Jesus will “come in his glory,” and “then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another … Then shall [Jesus Christ] the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world[.] … Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. … And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”[50] After Christ returns He will restore the earth to a condition of incredible peace and prosperity for a thousand years,[51] and then create “a new heaven and a new earth,”[52] a world of perfect righteousness, joy, purity, perfection, holiness, and love,[53] where “God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”[54] When the Creator makes a new heaven and earth and rules over His people there, both that future world and its blessed and resurrected inhabitants  will be just as real as this current universe. This future world will exist eternally,[55] and in it “the kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”[56]

The Bible claims to provide God’s perfect revelation, completely free from error, and the Lord Jesus likewise taught that the Old and New Testaments were God’s infallible truth.[57] The facts of history validate these claims.[58] Happily, “the case for accurate reporting is far better in the case of … Jesus … than for the best-known contemporary of Christ, [the Roman emperor] Tiberius Caesar.”[59] Christ’s miracles, life, death, and resurrection are attested by an abundance of contemporary, accurate, early, and eye-witness sources.[60] Furthermore, with over 5,500 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament and thousands more of the Old Testament, no other document from antiquity comes anywhere close to the number of copies that are available for the Bible. The Bible remains “by far the most attested ancient work. … if … skeptics … reject [its] transmissional reliability[,] … then they must also consider unreliable all other manuscripts of antiquity … [and] throw out [their] knowledge of the classical world.”[61] Scholars have concluded: “It is undeniable that the … resurrection of Jesus is one of the best attested facts of history.”[62] “Modern scholarship recognizes no plausible explanatory alternative to the resurrection of Jesus. Those who refuse to accept the resurrection as a fact of history are simply self-confessedly left without an explanation.”[63]

In summary, the Buddha was a fallible man who knew he made mistakes and errors. He had no answers to the questions of how the world or people got here nor where people go when they die. Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God, the One who controls the universe and is God and Man united in one Person. He not only knows how the world got here and where people go when they die but is both the Creator Himself and the Judge whose decision determines every person’s eternal destiny. The Buddha’s actual teachings are unknown; Christ’s teachings are infallibly recorded, with historical evidence superior to what exists for any comparable individual in ancient history. Buddha is also dead. Jesus Christ overcame death and is alive!

 

What Does Buddhism Teach?

 

         As noted above, it is impossible to know anything about Buddha himself; nobody knows whether he taught what Buddhism now teaches. Buddhist scholars admit that the “Buddha did not teach Buddhism.”[64] Historians recognize that it took about 1,000 years for many basic teachings of Buddhism to develop.[65] The many different schools of Buddhism (Mahayana, Theravada, Vajrayana, Zen, Nichiren, etc.) are full of contradictory teachings; indeed, there are “eighty-four thousand different paths a Buddhist can follow,”[66] corresponding to the Buddhist myth[67] that there are “84,000 … atoms in the human body … [and] 84,000 stupas erected by Asoka, each to accommodate one of the 84,000 relics of the Buddha’s body.”[68] Nevertheless, according to the large majority of Buddhist teachers, people—selves—do not exist. The Buddhist teaching of anatman, “not-Self,”[69] affirms that “the soul or any form of self or personal identity is an illusion.”[70] Humans are just a number of sense impressions made up of groupings called skandhas.[71] The only true reality, the dharma, is contrasted to the illusory world in which all people live. Dharma also refers to the teaching of Buddha and to virtuous actions by human beings.[72] Therefore, according to Buddhism, you are not reading this right now, because you are not real. Your family is also not real. Even Siddhartha Gautama—the Buddha—did not exist, if Buddhism is true. “According to Buddhism … the Buddha does not exist because … nothing exists.”[73] He was just an illusion. So are you.

Although (according to Buddhism) you do not really exist, you should follow the Four Noble Truths, so that you can escape a cycle of reincarnation and suffering and achieve nirvana. Buddhists are supposed to recognize: (1) Dukkha, the impermanence of the world that leads to all of life being suffering. (2) Suffering is caused by our longing for existence. (3) Suffering can be eliminated by the annihilation of consciousness and the cessation of all activity. (4) The last Noble Truth is the way of the Noble Eightfold Path, which leads one to enlightenment and the cessation of existence (and thus suffering). One must have right belief, attitude, speech, actions, livelihood, effort, awareness, and meditation.[74] Part of a right life is treating all people and animals, as sentient beings, equally: “the Buddha treated all sentient beings as if they were Rahula, his beloved son. Buddhism stresses protecting the right to life for all sentient beings.”[75] One is supposed to transcend all desires, so that even “human love from a Buddhist point of view is ultimately dukkha, suffering”[76] that needs to be put away.

Through the practice of Buddhism one also seeks for “complete and utter self-sufficiency … [for] one’s own needs and aspirations [to be in] complete immutable independence from others.”[77] If you practice virtue, reincarnation to what is better is supposed to take place. However, “the standard Buddhist position explicitly denies that the reincarnation is the same person as the one who died,” and very influential “Buddhist traditions … have no problem in affirming that the rebirth is a different person … from the one who died.”[78] Thus for you, as an individual, there is no hope even if you do a lot of good, because someone else, not you, will come back in the next reincarnation. Indeed, it is better to speak of you reincarnating as a “thing” rather than as “someone,” for “the chances of incarnating as a human being are said to be so miniscule as to make the event almost miraculous,”[79] with a “human rebirth … extremely rare … as rare as stars seen in the daytime.”[80] “The Buddha likened the rarity of … [a] human existence to the following situation: Imagine a wooden yoke with one hole floating on the surface of an ocean churning with huge waves. In the depths of this ocean, there is a blind turtle. The wooden yoke doesn’t stay still for even a moment, and the turtle comes to the surface only one time every hundred years. The support of a human body, the Buddha said, is even more rarely met with than the turtle putting its neck through the hole of the yoke. … [O]btaining a human body is virtually impossible … [j]ust examine how many parasites live on or inside a single human body.”[81] Clearly, if you return as “a cockroach in South America … it is clear that the cockroach … is not the same person as me … the person that [I am] has actually ceased to exist.”[82] From the “Buddhist perspective in the scale of infinite time and infinite rebirths, the significance of each of us as such, as the person we actually are now, converges on nothing.”[83] What is more, “the exact workings out of karma are [extremely] complicated. … It is perfectly possible, because of the complex causal patterns involved, for a person to be eminently virtuous in this life and to obtain a very unfavourable rebirth next time round. All [Buddhists] can be reasonably sure of is that … virtuous deeds will eventually produce happiness”[84] at some future stage for someone in the long series of reincarnations. Finally, through following the Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, after many reincarnations enlightenment or nirvana takes place. Buddhists, however, have “great difficulty explaining what … nirvana … is.” Buddha is “said to have described his teachings, the dharma, as a raft that ferries people over a river so wide that the passenger never knows what the other side looks like until reaching it. Entering nirvana is like crossing this river. Nirvana is the unknown.”[85] Indeed, the “Buddha said” not only that people do not exist but that even “nirvana is illusion,” a teaching of his that he acknowledged would cause even dedicated Buddhists, “bodhisattvas … [with] aspiration for Bodhi [enlightenment, nirvana],” to have “their hearts agitated and fear-ridden.”[86] Buddhists, therefore, while denying that they even exist, must strive to follow Buddhist teachings in the hope that if they do a good enough job they will escape bad karma and get off from samsara, the “wheel of existence.” If they do, they hope that something unknown, something that is itself an illusion, will happen to them when they cease to exist—nirvana.[87] The tremendous uncertainties involved lead even a highly dedicated Buddhist to acknowledge: “I had no idea where I was going [after death], or even if it makes any sense to talk of ‘going’ at all. … [D]o I know where I am going? It seems I am going nowhere. … I really have no grounds for assurance.”[88]

Some people enjoy following Buddhist teachings and practices such as meditative yoga. On the other hand, a sadly high percentage of people who practice Buddhist meditation suffer spiritual, mental, psychological, or even physical harm.[89] What is more, the vast majority of Buddhists do not live as though they believe Buddhism is true. They act as if they believe that they are real; their families are real (and more important than, say, a pig, although a pig is an alleged equal as a “sentient being”); the world is real; and the Buddha was a real person, despite Buddhism’s teaching that both the Buddha and his followers do not exist.

While the reality of suffering is hard to deny, other Buddhist teachings seem highly questionable. Is it obvious that the life of a shark that is about to maim or kill one’s own child, or parasitic worms in the intestines of one’s child that are tormenting and killing him or her,[90] are of equal value to one’s beloved son or daughter just because the shark and the parasites are “sentient beings”? Other Buddhist teachings, such as that people and the world do not really exist, or that one should strive to achieve nirvana although it is itself an illusion, seem so astonishingly implausible that they require a very high burden of proof. However, Buddhism cannot come anywhere close to proving that its teachings are true, for it can provide no objective proof at all for its ideas. Nobody has ever proved that there is a “wheel of existence,” or that reincarnation takes place, or that following Buddhist teachings will lead to nirvana. The Almighty God revealed in the Bible is able to reward good and punish evil and is able to bring the universe from a state of nothingness into existence, but the Buddhist worldview can provide no reason why something (rather than nothing) exists, nor why good deeds will be rewarded by good karma and evil deeds will be punished. Nor can Buddhism prove that it has the solution to human suffering. Whether or not we like what the Buddha taught, or whether we like what the unknown people taught who centuries later pretended to be the Buddha and deceitfully invented sayings in his name, is just a matter of liking or disliking fallible opinions and guesses. Buddha (commendably) admitted that he could be wrong. The Buddha also admitted that although he taught others to achieve nirvana he could not even describe what it was. Just like the Buddha could be wrong, the forgers who centuries later placed their own ideas in Buddhist writings, pretended that they were from the Buddha, and convinced Buddhists to follow what they made up, could very easily be wrong. Any Buddhist who sincerely wants truth and genuine enlightenment should honestly face the possibility that Buddhism might be wrong.

 

What Does Jesus Christ Teach?

What Jesus Christ Teaches About God

 

            The Lord Jesus Christ taught that there is one “true God”[91] who made the universe out of nothing;[92] “the heavens declare the glory of God.”[93] As the eternal[94] Creator[95] of the space-time universe and the personal Cause of all that exists, God “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things,” and does not Himself need anything.[96] The true God revealed that His name is “Jehovah,”[97] which He explains as meaning that He is the “I AM,”[98] the self-existent One on whom all things are dependent, while He alone is dependent upon no one or nothing; God is the independent Lord with self-sufficient “life in himself,”[99] who sustains all created things.[100] (Usually the name “Jehovah” is translated in the Bible as “LORD” in all capital letters.) Supremely wise, He “knoweth … all things.”[101] The “Almighty God,”[102] He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will;”[103] “of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.”[104] As the Creator of all matter, He is “a Spirit,” a spiritual, immaterial Being without a body[105] who exists outside of space and time. He is both distinct from and rules over the universe while also being present everywhere within it.[106] As He is perfect in every way, He “changeth not”[107]—He cannot get any better and will never get any worse. He is holy—infinitely exalted and perfectly good, “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy.”[108] Also, “God is great,”[109] and “God is greatly to be feared … and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.”[110] At the same time “God is love,”[111] and so is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”[112] Furthermore, in a way that is above complete human understanding,[113] the one true God has within His undivided Being three eternal and distinct Persons[114]—God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit[115]—each having the whole Divine Being, yet the Being undivided; the Father is eternally Father of His eternal Son, and the Holy Spirit is the eternal Spirit of the Father and the Son.[116] The Father is Jehovah, the Son is Jehovah, and the Holy Spirit is Jehovah, yet there is but one God—Jehovah.

What Jesus Christ Teaches About Your Purpose in Life and About God’s Law

God created you as a spiritual and physical being, not only with a wonderfully designed body but also with an immaterial soul and spirit, so that you have the mind, will, and affections appropriate for you to love, fellowship with, and serve God.[117] Your purpose in life is to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit,”[118] to please God and do His will: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”[119] You can discover God’s will in the Bible. Jesus Christ taught that every word and letter of the Bible is God’s error-free Word, as much His speech as if you heard God audibly speaking out loud to you.[120]

The Ten Commandments[121] are an important summary of God’s will for you. Have you kept them? In the First Commandment, God says: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”[122] Have you always loved, honored, and perfectly obeyed the only true God, considering His will and trusting in His aid in all your decisions in life, rather than depending on your own strength? Do you forsake all false gods and idols? If not, you have broken the First Commandment!

The Second Commandment says: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”[123] The invisible God,[124] who is “a Spirit,” declares that “they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,”[125] and “[n]either shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.”[126] Have you ever bowed down in front of an image, including an image of the Buddha, as part of religious worship, or have you hated all religious images and purely worshipped God from your heart in spirit and in truth? If you have not loved and practiced true worship and detested all false worship, you have broken the Second Commandment!

The Third Commandment declares: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”[127] Have you always treated God’s name and character with the utmost reverence? Or have you ever used His holy name in a curse phrase or a thoughtless expression of surprise? If so, you have broken the Third Commandment!

The Fourth Commandment requires that on God’s weekly day of rest[128] you cease from work and assemble with His people to worship Him, calling His day “a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.”[129] His day of worship in this time period is the day Christ rose from the grave—the first day of the week, Sunday.[130] Have you faithfully worshipped the true God every Sunday in one of His true congregations[131]—and loved being there? If not, you have broken the Fourth Commandment!

The Fifth Commandment orders: “Honour thy father and thy mother.”[132] Have you always shown the deepest respect for your parents, honoring their desires and refraining from displeasing them in your words, deeds, thoughts,[133] and even your facial expression and bodily gestures?[134] If not, you have broken the Fifth Commandment!

The Sixth Commandment declares: “Thou shalt not kill.”[135] God forbids murder because people are uniquely created in the image of God,[136] made by the Creator with the ability to fellowship with Him, to reason, and to benevolently rule the earth with its creatures for the Creator’s glory.[137] While a righteous person takes proper care of animals[138] and even the smallest creatures reflect the all-wise design of God,[139] human beings, as God’s image-bearers, are vastly more important than cockroaches or rats; and killing a person strikes at God by attacking His image. Even if you have never literally committed murder, Christ warned: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [an insult in Christ’s day—that is, to insult someone in anger] shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”[140] Have you, even once in your life, gotten unjustly angry with someone else, insulted someone, or hated[141] someone else in your heart? If so, you have broken the Sixth Commandment—you will be condemned for murder at Judgment Day!

The Seventh Commandment orders: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”[142] “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers [fornicators, the sexually immoral] and adulterers God will judge.”[143] God’s good gift in husband-wife[144] relations is wickedness in all other settings. Furthermore, Jesus Christ taught: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”[145] Have you ever had even one lustful thought or look? If so, you have broken the Seventh Commandment—you will be condemned for adultery at Judgment Day!

The Eighth Commandment states: “Thou shalt not steal.”[146] Have you ever taken anything that is not yours, failed to generously give to others in need,[147] or engaged in any unjust financial dealings[148] of any kind? If so, you fall under God’s curse on thieves and robbers!

The Ninth Commandment reads: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”[149] Have you ever told a lie? Your Judge is the “God of truth”[150] who “cannot lie,”[151] while God’s enemy “the devil” is the “father” of the “liar.”[152] The “LORD hate[s] … a lying tongue … a false witness that speaketh lies,”[153] and warns: “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.”[154]

The Tenth Commandment states: “Thou shalt not covet.”[155] Have you always been fully “content with such things as ye have,”[156] full of thankfulness,[157] and free from all envy,[158] discontent, and complaining?[159] Covetousness is the evil attitude that leads people to break the first nine commandments.[160] One moment of unthankfulness or discontent shows that your heart has within it the sinful root that leads to idolatry, murder, theft, and all other terrible evils. Beware:  “no … covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”[161]

The Lord Jesus Christ taught that the greatest and second most important commands summarize what the Ten Commandments require: “Jesus said … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law.”[162] While Buddhism says human love is suffering that needs to be transcended, God says that loving other people is the second greatest commandment, more important than everything except loving Him. Have you always loved the true God with all your being, and perfectly loved all mankind? If not, you have broken the two greatest commands of all!

What Jesus Christ Teaches About Your Greatest Problem—Sin

Clearly, you have not perfectly obeyed God’s commands. You are not even close. Since your purpose in life is to please God and do His will, your failure to do so is your greatest problem. God requires that all people be as good, pure, and holy as He is Himself: “Be ye holy; for I [God] am holy.”[163] “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”[164] The Bible calls any and every failure to meet God’s perfect standard sin.[165] The Lord commands you to be perfect in your acts, your thoughts, and your nature. Sin is being in any way not perfectly pure like God; it is doing what God says not to do, failing to do what He says to do, or not being in your nature as righteous as He is. Honest self-examination makes it clear that you are a sinner—and so is everyone else you know. Why is this the case?

Because God is perfectly good, He created a perfect universe;[166] “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”[167] God made the first human couple—Adam and Eve—holy and free from sin, placed them in a perfect paradise, and gave them authority to benevolently rule the earth and its creatures. The world was free from all sin, suffering, and death. Adam and his wife had a personal relationship with God and were commanded to fill the earth with a perfectly holy and happy human race.[168] However, some of the angels (a class of heavenly beings God created) rebelled against Him, and the leader of these evil angels, Satan, led Adam and Eve to freely choose to rebel against God.[169] Satan lied to Adam and Eve, telling them that through sinning against God, seeking independence from Him instead of continuing in trusting dependence on Him, their “eyes [would] be opened” and they would “be as gods.”[170] Buddhism seeks for “complete and utter self-sufficiency”[171] as “enlightenment,” but God reveals that exactly the opposite is the truth. What Satan said would lead man’s eyes to be opened actually led to spiritual emptiness, darkness, alienation from God, and blindness, to “vanity of … mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”[172] Only Jehovah, the Almighty Creator, is completely and utterly self-sufficient, while the happiness of every person, as His creation, is found in loving, submissive, and complete dependence on Him. Self-sufficiency is Satan’s lie that led to the destruction of mankind, and true enlightenment and blessedness is found in the knowledge of and dependence on God: “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.”[173] “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”[174]

Through the first man Adam’s rebellion and attempt for self-dependent enlightenment apart from God,[175] “sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”[176] Spiritual death (separation from God),[177] physical suffering and physical death (the separation of the human soul from the body in the grave),[178] and the second, eternal death (separation from God forever in hell, the lake of fire)[179] entered the world only after sin entered into the world.[180] Thus, although originally “God made man upright,”[181] by Adam’s “disobedience many were made sinners”[182]; the whole human race fell in union with Adam, losing its blessed privilege of fellowship with God.

You were born, therefore, as a sinner with a sinful nature. You can testify: “I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”[183] You also break God’s law in countless ways: “[A]ll have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. … There is none righteous, no, not one[.] … They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable.” Compared to God’s standard of perfection, “there is none that doeth good, no, not one”[184]; “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”[185] Not only have you broken every single one of the Ten Commandments, and the two greatest commands of perfect love for God and for other people, but your very nature is sinful! “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”[186] “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”[187] Your impure heart and imperfect motives corrupt even the moral things that you do, so even your “righteous” actions fall short and are filthy to God: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”[188] Indeed, unless God solves your sin problem, you “cannot please God,”[189] for in you is “nothing pure; but even [your] mind and conscience is defiled.”[190] You are spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins,” under the control of Satan, “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” and are enslaved to “the lusts of [your] flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and [are] by nature the chil[d] of wrath.”[191] Sin so dominates your mind, will, and desires that you are not even able to come to Christ for deliverance apart from His drawing you: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”[192]

Because of God’s holiness and justice, His law curses sin and sinners and demands that sin be punished: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”[193] Since “the wages of sin is death,”[194] including “the second death … the lake of fire,”[195] your problem is not only suffering in this life. Your problem is “sin … [which] bringeth forth death.”[196] Attempting to deal with the problem of suffering while ignoring the holy God against whom you have sinned is the height of folly. Suffering in this world and death for the body are indeed evils and temporal judgments because of sin,[197] but they are not your most important problem. Rather, the Lord Jesus warned: “Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”[198] If in this physical “lifetime … thou … receivest thy good things,” as you enjoy temporary feelings of tranquility from Buddhist meditation and from mystical experiences, but after death “art tormented,”[199] what have you gained? It would be far better for you to suffer the terrible evil of bodily mutilation, losing your “hand,” or “foot,” or “eye,” yet “enter into [eternal] life … the kingdom of God,” than “having two hands … two feet … [and] two eyes … to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”[200]

Consider that, because of your sins, your “damnation is just,”[201] you are “condemned already,”[202] “the wrath of God abideth on”[203] you, and that you “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone … and the smoke of [your] torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and [you will] have no rest day nor night.”[204] According to the Lord Jesus Christ, your worst problem—by far—is your sin, the separation from God that it produces, and the righteous Divine curse and wrath under which you stand. At any moment Christ could return to earth,[205] or you could die, not to be reincarnated, but to face judgment for your sin: “[I]t is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”[206] Ask: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”[207] The Lord Jesus warned: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”[208] How will you escape?

What Jesus Christ Teaches About the Price of Salvation from Your Sin

Although God could have justly left all mankind to perish in sin and everlasting suffering, He provided a way of escape! Foreknowing that mankind would sin, the one God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—made a plan to save sinners.[209] God the Father would send God the Son, Jesus Christ, to become Man, uniting a true human nature to His Divine Person. He who from eternity was the “Son of God”[210] now became also the “Son of Man.”[211] Christ, the God-Man, would live a perfect life in full obedience to the law, suffer and die a substitutionary, sacrificial death to satisfy the penalty owed by sinful mankind, and then rise from the grave, shattering the power of sin and death for those who receive the benefit of His sacrifice. God the Holy Spirit would then apply the merit of Christ’s sacrifice to every sinner who would come to the Lord Jesus to receive eternal life—a spiritual coming to Christ which the Spirit Himself would enable for those spiritually dead sinners.[212] God placed an immeasurable value upon you by having the Son unite to His Divine Person a human nature just like yours (except without sin),[213] then bear the terrible penalty you owe for your sins, so that Christ could be offered to you as “the Saviour of all men.”[214] “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”[215] You are not just a meaningless water droplet in an infinite ocean of reincarnations. God loved you personally so much that He lowered Himself to unite human nature to Himself and suffered the infinite pain and punishment you deserve for your sins! “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”[216]

Thus, the “gospel” or “good news” of salvation is “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day.”[217] “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”[218] God the Father placed the penalty of your sin upon Christ, and the Lord Jesus satisfied the just punishment you deserve for your sin when He died on the cross. “[T]he Son of man came … to give his life a ransom for many.”[219] “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”[220] God’s law demands perfect righteousness for entry into heaven, but Christ died as your Substitute so that His death and shed blood could pay for your sin, and you could have His righteousness put to your account and be counted righteous in God’s sight because of Christ’s work for you. You can be saved, not through your own works, but through Christ’s work; not by your attempts to obey the law, but by His perfect obedience to it and death to satisfy it. You need perfect righteousness, so God the Father “hath made [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us [on the cross], who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”[221] “In … Christ … we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”[222] “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but [made alive] by the Spirit.”[223] “Jesus Christ … loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”[224]

Having completely satisfied the penalty for sin, Christ rose victoriously from the grave, shattering the power of death and ascending to heaven to be the perfect Advocate before God the Father for all those who receive the benefit of His sacrificial death. “[W]e have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous … he is the propitiation [satisfaction, redemptive sacrifice] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”[225] Christ is the perfect and sole Mediator between mankind and God the Father. Because Christ is true God, He could fully bear and satisfy the penalty of sin, could fully know and fully reveal the Father, and has perfect power and ability to save. Because Christ is true Man, He could perfectly keep the law given to mankind, could stand in the place of the human race in His sacrificial death, and is able to perfectly identify with and represent His redeemed people. “[T]here is one God, and one mediator between God [the Father] and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.”[226] Thus, by Christ’s “one offering he hath perfected for ever”[227] those who receive the benefit of His sacrifice. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, having overcome death and risen from the grave, is “exalted … to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance … and forgiveness of sins.”[228] “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”[229] The Lord Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[230] There may be 84,000 paths, as Buddhism affirms, but 83,999 of them are lies that lead to incomprehensibly terrible and everlasting ruin. Only one way—the Lord Jesus Christ—leads to everlasting life.

What Jesus Christ Teaches About How You Can Receive Salvation

The Lord Jesus preached: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”[231] To receive eternal salvation in the kingdom of God, you must repent and believe the good news about what Christ accomplished to save you through His death and resurrection.

Repentance is turning from your sins to submit to Christ as Lord: “Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”[232] “[R]epen[t] … of [your] murders … sorceries … fornication … thefts … [and other sinful] deeds.”[233] “[R]epen[t] … of the works of [your] hands, that [you] should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk … to give [God] glory.”[234] You must not only repent of immoral actions, but you must repent of your false religion. You cannot simply add the God of the Bible or add the Lord Jesus to other gods and worship the other gods and the true God. You must turn from all false religion, including Buddhism, and submit to the one true God, Jehovah, the Creator—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—as your King: “tur[n] to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead,”[235] for “if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.”[236] “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.”[237] “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”[238] Do not deceive yourself—there is not the slightest doubt that unless you “repent, ye shall … perish.”[239] Turn—or burn!

The moment you repent, you must also believe on or trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He promised: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”[240] “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”[241] “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”[242] You can receive the salvation purchased by Christ through repentant faith alone—you cannot earn or deserve salvation in any way. “For by grace [God’s undeserved favor] are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”[243] God gets all the glory in saving sinners by His grace alone—all attempts to merit or work for salvation are a rejection of His mercy: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”[244] “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us … through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified [declared “righteous” or “just” on the basis of Christ’s death as your Substitute] by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”[245] Reject any trust in the Buddha or Buddhism; reject any trust in good karma or in moral actions; reject all confidence in yourself; reject self-sufficiency; reject any trust in your attempts to keep God’s law in the past or promises to keep His law in the future, and place your full faith, confidence, and dependent trust only in Jesus Christ, who died for your sin and rose again.

Any split trust, partially in Christ and partially in anything or anyone else, is a faithless rejection of what Christ did on the cross to save you: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. … I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”[246] You must stop working for salvation in order to believe on Christ and receive it for free as God’s gift: “[T]o him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. … God imputeth righteousness [credits the merit of Christ to sinners] without works.”[247] “[A]ll have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins …to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”[248] You must immediately repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!

What Does Jesus Christ Do For Those Who Receive Salvation?

The moment you come to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentant faith, He will give you an eternal salvation that you can never lose. Christ promises: “And I give unto them [the redeemed] eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”[249] Once Christ has taken away your sin through His death as your Substitute on the cross, and given you His righteousness as your legal standing before the Father, you can rejoice that not only God’s love, but His very holy justice requires your salvation. Your sin debt forever satisfied, the very righteousness that before demanded your condemnation now demands your salvation! “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”[250] Once saved, you are always saved; you will never, ever face the penalty of sin in hell!

The moment you come to Jesus Christ, God will also transform you, shattering the control of sin in your life and making you a new person: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”[251] The first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament or Old Covenant, while the second part of the Bible is called the New Testament or New Covenant, named after God’s promise of forgiving, transforming inwardly, and personally entering into relationship with those who are redeemed by the Son of God: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant … I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”[252] “[F]rom all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them … and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”[253] Although God’s people still sin,[254] they can never be dominated, controlled, or enslaved by sin again: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”[255] Once you are saved, you are always saved, not only from the penalty of sin, but from its control or power. You will never, ever be in bondage to sin again!

The moment you trust in Christ, God also enters into an intimate relationship with you; instead of being “of your [spiritual] father the devil,”[256] you become God’s adopted child and heir: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba [an intimate term of filial affection], Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”[257] Every sinner who trusts in Christ was in eternity past loved, chosen and given by the Father as a love-gift to His Son, who receives all the people the Father gave Him, loves them, and purchases them for Himself at the cost of His own life on the cross. God the Holy Spirit likewise loves, draws to Christ, and keeps them all.[258] If you will come to Christ, the Father says to you: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”[259] Even before creation, the Son was rejoicing with the Father in love and delight over those needy sinners He had set His heart upon and determined to save: “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”[260] Every one of these, having come to Christ, knows the “love of the Spirit,”[261] which is infinitely better than anything any man-made religion, including Buddhism, can offer.

Not one whom the Father, Son, and Spirit save can ever lose salvation and be eternally separated from God in hell; on the contrary, the sovereign God controls every single aspect of their lives on earth, from outward prosperity to difficult trials, for their eternal good and His glory: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow [know from eternity as those who would believe and be redeemed], he also did predestinate [predetermine] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect [chosen]? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[262] So once you are saved, you are always saved, not only from sin’s penalty and power, but also from your old spiritual “family” of sin, death, and the devil. You become permanently and eternally God’s adopted child, with an unbreakable relationship that, from the moment God establishes it, is as certain and secure as God’s unchanging promises, faithfulness, and character can make it!

The Lord Jesus called this glorious and eternal deliverance from sin’s penalty and power, and adoption into God’s spiritual family, being “born again.” (Christ’s language has nothing to do with the Buddhist idea of reincarnation, and the Bible explicitly denies that reincarnation happens.[263]) Jesus Christ taught that everyone who has been born again is certain of eternal bliss in the heavenly presence of God, while everyone who has not been born again is certain of the lake of fire: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”[264] You cannot be born again by self-discipline and Eastern meditation, by moral actions or religious rituals, by anything some other person can give you or anything you can do for yourself—the new birth is from God. But if you will believe on God’s Son, transferring your allegiance and dependence to Him, you will be born again today: “But as many as received [Christ], to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood [human heritage], nor of the will of the flesh [any merit of your own], nor of the will of man [any religious ritual or act someone else can perform for you], but of God.”[265] Have you been born again?

The Buddha or the Christ: Which Will You Choose?

In this study we have briefly compared the persons and teachings of the Buddha and of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is time for you to make a choice.

Following the Buddha and his teachings means that you choose a mere man who made mistakes, did not know how the world came into existence, did not know what would happen after death, could give no proof that his teachings were true, and who long ago died and remained dead. Indeed, choosing Buddha means choosing a man about whose life and teachings the historical facts have perished. Contradictory schools of Buddhism follow the teachings of people about whom we frequently know nothing other than that they deceptively forged writings centuries after Buddha’s death and pretended that they were from the Buddha. By following the teaching of whichever school of Buddhism you find attractive, you hope to eventually cease to exist in nirvana, a concept the Buddha encouraged others to seek but could not even explain. In Buddhism, you choose a religion that cannot explain the past and the existence of the world, cannot prove its teachings are true, cannot know anything about what its founder actually did or taught, requires you to believe absurdities such as the idea that you do not really exist now, offers as your highest goal ceasing to exist, and cannot prove that its promises about the future will be fulfilled. Buddhism is uncertain and hopeless, because it rejects the truth about the Almighty God who created and controls all things and has revealed Himself in the Bible and in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, for some people, pressure from family and friends makes it easier to follow Buddhism than to follow Christ. When only one family member believes in and loves the Lord Jesus, displaying unselfish love to his friends and relatives, Christ warned that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”[266] Non-Christian family members often are unhappy when someone is born again and trusts in Jesus Christ. Many people also reject Jesus Christ because they do not want Him telling them what to do and hate the idea of the Bible ruling their life. The president of the USA’s largest atheist organization has repeatedly stated: “Even if Jesus … rose from the dead [and] there’s a God [and] I don’t deny any of that … does NOT mean that he is my Lord. … I [would rather] go … to hell. It would be worse of a hell [in my opinion] for me to bow down before a Lord … Even if I agreed 100%, I would still reject that Being as a Lord of my life … to live and enjoy … life unshackled from the demands … [of a] Lord. … [T]hat’s more important than all this historicity stuff, [this question of whether in real space and time Christ really rose from the dead,] [in denying] which … I might be wrong.”[267] For this leading atheist, and for many other people who do not as boldly rebel against the truth, rejecting Jesus Christ is not about logic, facts, and historical evidence, but about rebellion and wanting to live their own way. The Bible promises: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”[268] The Lord Jesus Christ Himself suffered an extremely painful and shameful death on a cross, and told those who were considering following Him that they too should expect to suffer and possibly even die for Him: “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”[269] Perhaps practicing Buddhism will prevent you from suffering persecution that you may face if you follow the Lord Jesus Christ. However, any short-term ease you gain will be infinitely outweighed by failing to know the personal fellowship and tender care arising from having your Creator as your adopted Father,[270] by failing to have the eternal Son of God become Man unashamed to call you “friend” and “brother,”[271] and by failing to experience the “comfort of the Holy [Spirit].”[272] It is also absolutely certain that you will fail to receive eternal life and will suffer forever in the lake of fire.

If you turn from Buddhism to Jesus Christ, your Lord will be One who is God—the Almighty Creator of the universe—become Man. You will have as your resurrected Savior the One who is sinless, perfect, all-knowing, and infinitely “full of grace and truth.”[273] You also will have God’s own speech, the Bible, to delight in and follow. Rather than depending on yourself in vain attempts to overcome life’s suffering, you will have God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit personally taking care of you, so that “all things” in your life work for His glory and your eternal good.[274] You will personally know the “God [who] is love”[275] both now and for all eternity. And you will be able to say: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. … Worthy is [Christ who] was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto [God the Father] that sitteth upon the throne, and unto [Christ] for ever and ever.”[276]

Will you respond today to Jesus Christ’s call? “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”[277] “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life … him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”[278] Turn from Buddhism to Jesus Christ today! Tomorrow it may be too late: “[B]ehold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”[279] “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”[280]

For more information, or to start a Bible study with a trained Bible teacher in order to learn more about the truth of Scripture, about God, about the Savior, Jesus Christ, and about how you personally can be saved from your sins, visit or contact:

Bethel Baptist Church

4905 Appian Way / El Sobrante, CA 94803

(510) 223-9550 / faithsaves.net

bbcelsobrante.org / bcaelsobrante.org

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[1]           Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), xvi.

[2]           The Buddha, Kalama Sutra (3), in Gerald Benedict, ed., Buddhist Wisdom: The Path to Enlightenment (United Kingdom: Watkins Media, 2012). In context, the “scripture” referred to is likely a Hindu writing, since no Buddhist scriptures existed until many years later.

[3]           Darren Littlejohn, The 12-Step Buddhist: 10th Anniversary Edition (United States: Atria Books, 2019), Chapter “Step 2.”

[4]           Isaiah 1:18.

[5]           Matthew 7:7.

[6]           John 7:17.

[7]           Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 180–181.

[8]           Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 183.

[9]           Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 183.

[10]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 185.

[11]         Huston Smith, The World’s Religions (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991), 90.

[12]         Huston Smith, The World’s Religions (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991), 90.

[13]         Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught (Delhi: MLBD, 2017), 13-15.

[14]         Dominique Side, Discovering Buddhism (Leicestershire: Troubador Publishing, 2022), 134-135.

[15]         Philip Schaff, Theological Propædeutic: A General Introduction to the Study of Theology (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1893), 47.

[16]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 201.

[17]         Huston Smith, The World’s Religions (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991), 82.

[18]         Philip Schaff, Theological Propædeutic: A General Introduction to the Study of Theology (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1893), 47.

[19]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 201.

[20]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 202.

[21]         Christian A. van Gorder, Fragrant Rivers of Wisdom: An Invitation to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (Eugene, OR:Wipf & Stock, 2021), 17.

[22]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 195.

[23]         Chroniker Press, Epitome of the Pali Canon (Lulu.com, 2012), 4.

[24]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 199.

[25]         John Weldon, Buddhism and Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai Buddhism (Plano, TX: ATRI Publishing, 2012), “Talking With Buddhists.”

[26]         Richard Hooper, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, & Lao Tzu:  The Parallel Sayings (Charlottesville, VA:  Hampton Roads, 2007) 5.

[27]         Matthew 1:23.

[28]         John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5.

[29]         Mark 1:22; John 7:46; 1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:1; 20:28; Colossians 2:9.

[30]         Revelation 1:8; John 5:19-23.

[31]         John 16:30; 21:17; Colossians 2:3.

[32]         John 3:13; Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 3:17.

[33]         John 1:1-18; Colossians 1:15-17.

[34]         Matthew 1:21.

[35]         Matthew 7:13-14.

[36]         John 14:6; Acts 4:12.

[37]         John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Hebrews 1:3.

[38]         Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:22-24.

[39]         Matthew 8:16; 10:1; 12:15; Luke 6:17, 19.

[40]         Matthew 12:10-13; Luke 22:50-51; Matthew 9:24-26; John 9; 11.

[41]         Acts 2:22.

[42]         Quadratus, Apology, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4:3:1-3, in Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, trans. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, vol. 1, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1890), 175.

[43]         See the discussion in Thomas Ross, Archaeological Evidence for the New Testament, elec. acc. https://faithsaves.net/archaeology-new-testament/.

[44]         See the study of the ancient evidence in “Evidence for the New Testament from Archaeology,” https://faithsaves.net/archaeology-new-testament/.

[45]         Matthew 17:22-23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Acts 9:1-22; John 7:5 & Acts 1:13-15.

[46]         Matthew 28:1-15.

[47]         Acts 1:3, 9-11.

[48]         Matthew 24:36, 42, 44; Revelation 19:11-15.

[49]         John 5:22.

[50]         Matthew 25:31-46; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15.

[51]         Revelation 20:1-6; Isaiah 11:1-9.

[52]         Revelation 21:1.

[53]         2 Peter 3:13.

[54]         Revelation 21:3-4.

[55]         Isaiah 66:22.

[56]         Revelation 11:15.

[57]         John 17:17; 10:35; Matthew 4:4. Christ authenticated the New Testament in advance in John 14-16 as preparation for its being revealed by Him after His resurrection. As a result, the New Testament was immediately recognized as God’s infallible Word as soon as it was revealed by God (1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Peter 3:15-17; Revelation 22:18-19).

[58]         2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16-21. Learn more about the evidence for the Bible at https://faithsaves.net/Gods-Word/.

[59]         John Warwick Montgomery, “Could the Gospel Writers Withstand the Scrutiny of a Lawyer?” in The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith, ed. Ted Cabal et al. (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1511.

[60]         Thomas Ross, Archaeological Evidence for the New Testament, elec. acc. https://faithsaves.net/archaeology-new-testament/.

[61]         See Clay Jones, “The Bibliographical Test Updated,” Christian Research Journal 35:3 (2012) for sources and further information.

[62]         Donald Guthrie, “Jesus Christ,” in Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, gen. ed. Merrill C. Tenney.  [Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1963, Accordance elec. ed.] Par. 27035.

[63]         William Lane Craig, “Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Truth 1 (1985) 89-95.

[64]         Paul Fleischman, “The Buddha Did Not Teach Buddhism.” Insight Journal: Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (Fall 2005) 7-11.

[65]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 204.

[66]         Christian A. van Gorder, Fragrant Rivers of Wisdom: An Invitation to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue (Eugene, OR:Wipf & Stock, 2021), 15.

[67]         This Buddhist legend illustrates well the failure of Buddhist teachings to go back to the Buddha. The 84,000 number originated in a poem by the Japanese Buddhist monk Saicho. Since Saicho lived in the 8th century A. D., it is impossible that there were 84,000 shrines set up in Asoka’s day, six-hundred years before Saicho lived, and 84,000 relics of Buddha many hundreds of years before Asoka in the Buddha’s lifetime. Science is also clear that there are far more than 84,000 atoms in the human body. This teaching concerning the number 84,000, which many Buddhists claim comes from the Buddha, actually comes from a poem by someone else well over a thousand years later, and what this other person said was simply false. (Christian A. van Gorder, Fragrant Rivers of Wisdom: An Invitation to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue. [Eugene, OR:Wipf & Stock, 2021], 15 & Ron Geaves, “Saicho (J),” in Continuum Glossary of Religious Terms [London: Continuum, 2002], 351 & Keiji Ashida, “Japan,” ed. James Hastings, John A. Selbie, and Louis H. Gray, Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics [Edinburgh: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1926], 483.

[68]         William Edward Soothill & Lewis Hodous, A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1977),  39.

[69]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 103.

[70]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 203.

[71]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 203.

[72]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 204.

[73]         Donald S. Lopez, Jr., From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 220.

[74]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 205–206.

[75]         Hsing Yun, Humanistic Buddhism: A Blueprint for Life, trans. John Balcom, rev. ed. (Hacienda Heights, CA: Buddha’s Light Publishing, 2005), 113.

[76]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 88; the Sanskrit spelling duhkha is replaced with the Pali dukkha in the quotation. The sentence above, while accurate, does not deny that many Buddhists use the word “love” in a positive sense, although their meaning is different from the meaning Bible-believing Christians have for “love”: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:9-11).

[77]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 51.

[78]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 83, 199.

[79]         Rebecca McClen Novick, Fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhhism (Berkeley: Crossing Press, 1999), sec. “Karma.”

[80]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 189.

[81]         Cortland Dahl, ed., Entrance to the Great Perfection: A Guide to the Dzogchen Preliminary Practices. (Boulder: Shambhala, 2010), 45.

[82]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 200.

[83]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 15. If there has been an infinite amount of past time in which to attain nirvana, one wonders why everyone has not already achieved it.

[84]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 78.

[85]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 206.

[86]         Kyôgyôshinshô Shinran, On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment (Berkeley: Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, 2003), 226.

[87]         Irving Hexham, Understanding World Religions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 207.

[88]         Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 86–87.

[89]         Christ Lyford, “Is Meditation as Safe as We Think? The Risks We Don’t Talk About.” Psychotherapy Networker 46:1 (January/February 2022) 11-13. The article notes that a shockingly high percentage of “regular meditators experience negative effects,” and among people who meditated only one time nearly 10% “experienced impaired functioning,” while “nearly 60%” of those who “experienced negative effects … were meditation teachers. Some even required inpatient hospitalization. … People’s demons come out and play[.]”

See also the many peer-reviewed studies on the risks, dangers, and harms of Eastern meditation at: https://www.cheetahhouse.org/bibliography/; see also https://www.cheetahhouse.org/symptoms/.

[90]         “[I]n Buddhist accounts th[e] sentience … of … beings such as worms and beetles … is never doubted. … Such strictures [against killing] are even taken to apply to … microscopic life … [in] drinking … water” (David E. Cooper & Simon P. James, Buddhism, Virtue, and Environment [London: Routledge, 2017], 131). The faithful Buddhist can testify: “I became sick. … I discovered that I had worms, and a doctor gave me medicine to get rid of them. … [but] since the Buddha did not allow killing any sentient being and as worms are also sentient beings, it was not permitted to take worm medicine. … I never took worm medicine again … [I hoped that] after some time, when [my] karma to have worms is exhausted, they [would] just leave by themselves, even without medicine” (Jamyang Wangmo, The Lawudo Lama: Stories of Reincarnation from the Mount Everest Region [Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2005], ch. 18). Note that this book is not a fringe work; its preface was written by the Dalai Lama, and it is about the “saints, great practitioners” and leading Buddhist teachers Lawudo Lama and his successor, Thubten Zopa Rinpoche (Forward by the Dalai Lama, ibid.).

Of course, not all Buddhists are consistent with their Buddhism on this point. Many Buddhists are willing to value their children’s lives and their own lives above the lives of parasitic worms ravaging their bodies—but such ethical practicality is made despite their Buddhism, not because of it. Bible-believing Christian ethics unambiguously value people above parasitic worms and deadly microbes because people were made in God’s image while parasitic worms and bacteria were not (Genesis 1:26). Jesus Christ explicitly taught told His followers that they were “of more value than many” animals (Matthew 10:31). Christians would follow the Biblically based scientific method (Genesis 1:28) and develop medicine to deliver people from agonizing suffering inflicted by parasites. They would strongly disagree with the devout Buddhists who would not only refuse to develop the medicine but also refuse to take it after it was developed. The Lord Jesus miraculously cured many diseases, joyously delivering people from agonizing suffering by bringing about the death of countless bacteria and parasites. One of Christ’s close followers who wrote one of the inspired accounts of His life in the Bible was “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). It was good to kill a poisonous snake that was attacking a person (Acts 28:3-5). Buddhist ethics do not fit the real world, while Christian ethics do, because the Creator is the God of the Bible.

[91]         John 17:3.

[92]         Genesis 1:1; John 1:1.

[93]         Psalm 14:1

[94]         Deuteronomy 33:27.

[95]         Isaiah 40:28.

[96]         Acts 17:25.

[97]         Psalm 83:18.

[98]         Exodus 3:13-15.

[99]         John 5:26

[100]        Colossians 1:17.

[101]        1 John 3:20; Isaiah 46:9-10; Acts 15:18.

[102]        Revelation 19:15

[103]        Ephesians 1:11.

[104]        Romans 11:36.

[105]        John 4:24; Luke 24:39.

[106]        Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:24.

[107]        Malachi 3:6.

[108]        Isaiah 57:15.

[109]        Job 36:26.

[110]        Psalm 89:7.

[111]        1 John 4:8.

[112]        Exodus 34:6.

[113]        Isaiah 55:8-9.

[114]        Hebrews 1:3.

[115]        1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 1:3-14; 4:4-6.

[116]        John 1:14, 18; 3:16; 15:26; Galatians 4:6.

[117]        1 Thessalonians 5:23; Psalm 139:14; Mark 12:30;

[118]        1 Corinthians 6:20.

[119]        Revelation 4:11.

[120]        Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Revelation 22:18-19. Christ predicted that the Holy Spirit would infallibly cause the New Testament to be recorded, making it as much God’s Word as the Old Testament. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Timothy 5:18 (Deuteronomy 25:4 & Luke 10:7); 2 Peter 3:15-17.

[121]        Exodus 20:1-17.

[122]        Exodus 20:3.

[123]        Exodus 20:4-6.

[124]        1 Timothy 1:17.

[125]        John 4:24.

[126]        Deuteronomy 16:22.

[127]        Exodus 20:7.

[128]        Exodus 20:8-11.

[129]        Isaiah 58:13.

[130]        Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Revelation 1:10. Before the coming of Christ the seventh day of the week, the sabbath, was God’s ordained day of worship. Learn more at https://faithsaves.net/seventh-day-sabbath/.

[131]        You can learn about God’s true congregations in “Bible Study #7: The Church of Jesus Christ,” at https://faithsaves.net/Bible-studies/.

[132]        Exodus 20:12.

[133]        If your parents tell you to disobey God or command something that is clearly harmful to themselves, you should not obey them because of your love for God and for them; in the large majority of other situations, honoring parents involves obedience. Matthew 10:37; Acts 5:29; 1 Kings 2:12-25.

[134]        Proverbs 30:17.

[135]        Exodus 20:13.

[136]        Genesis 9:5-6.

[137]        Genesis 1:26-28.

[138]        Proverbs 12:10.

[139]        Psalm 104.

[140]        Matthew 5:21-22.

[141]        Genesis 27:41.

[142]        Exodus 20:14.

[143]        Hebrews 13:4.

[144]        Contrast Genesis 1:28 & Song of Solomon 1-8 (blessing) with Leviticus 18 & Romans 1:26-27 (sin).

[145]        Matthew 5:27-28.

[146]        Exodus 20:15.

[147]        Luke 6:30-38; Galatians 6:10.

[148]        Proverbs 20:23; Zechariah 8:16-17; Psalm 15.

[149]        Exodus 20:16.

[150]        Deuteronomy 32:4

[151]        Titus 1:2.

[152]        John 8:44.

[153]        Proverbs 6:16-19.

[154]        Revelation 21:8.

[155]        Exodus 20:17.

[156]        Hebrews 13:4

[157]        Colossians 3:15.

[158]        James 3:14-16.

[159]        Jude 16.

[160]        Colossians 3:5; Joshua 7:21; Proverbs 6:25; Micah 2:2; James 1:15.

[161]        Ephesians 5:5.

[162]        Matthew 22:36-40.

[163]        1 Peter 1:16.

[164]        Matthew 5:48.

[165]        1 John 3:4.

[166]        For scientific evidence that God created the world as the Bible teaches, please see https://faithsaves.net/science/.

[167]        Genesis 1:31.

[168]        Genesis 1:28.

[169]        Genesis 1-3; Revelation 12:4; 20:2.

[170]        Genesis 3:5.

[171]        Paul Williams, The Unexpected Way (London: T&T Clark, 2002), 51.

[172]        Ephesians 4:17-18.

[173]        Psalm 36:5-9.

[174]        Jeremiah 9:23-24.

[175]        See Genesis 1-3.

[176]        Romans 5:12.

[177]        Ephesians 2:1-10.

[178]        Genesis 35:18.

[179]        Revelation 20:14-15.

[180]        Genesis 2:17.

[181]        Ecclesiastes 7:29.

[182]        Romans 5:19.

[183]        Psalm 51:5.

[184]        Romans 3:10-12, 23.

[185]        Ecclesiastes 7:20.

[186]        Genesis 6:5.

[187]        Jeremiah 17:9.

[188]        Isaiah 64:6.

[189]        Romans 8:8.

[190]        Titus 1:15.

[191]        Ephesians 2:1-3.

[192]        John 6:44.

[193]        Galatians 3:10.

[194]        Romans 6:23.

[195]        Revelation 20:14-15.

[196]        James 1:15.

[197]        Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:22. While all men are sinners, not everyone who suffers particular bad times must necessarily have committed particular sins that caused those specific afflictions. See, e. g., the book of Job.

[198]        Luke 12:4-5.

[199]        Luke 16:19-31.

[200]        Mark 9:43-48.

[201]        Romans 3:8.

[202]        John 3:18.

[203]        John 3:36.

[204]        Revelation 14:9-11.

[205]        Matthew 25:13.

[206]        Hebrews 9:27.

[207]        Isaiah 33:14.

[208]        Matthew 23:33.

[209]        John 17; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8.

[210]        Psalm 2:12; Daniel 3:25; John 1:49.

[211]        Daniel 7:13; Matthew 16:13.

[212]        John 16:7-15; 1 Corinthians 12:3.

[213]        Hebrews 2:14-17.

[214]        1 Timothy 4:10.

[215]        Philippians 2:5-11.

[216]        John 3:16.

[217]        1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

[218]        Romans 5:8.

[219]        Mark 10:45.

[220]        Galatians 3:13.

[221]        2 Corinthians 5:21.

[222]        Ephesians 1:4-7.

[223]        1 Peter 3:18.

[224]        Revelation 1:5.

[225]        1 John 2:1-2.

[226]        1 Timothy 2:5-6.

[227]        Hebrews 10:14.

[228]        Acts 5:31.

[229]        Acts 4:12.

[230]        John 14:6.

[231]        Mark 1:15.

[232]        Ezekiel 18:30.

[233]        Revelation 9:21; 16:11.

[234]        Revelation 9:20; 16:9.

[235]        1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.

[236]        Deuteronomy 8:19.

[237]        Jeremiah 10:11.

[238]        Isaiah 44:6.

[239]        Luke 13:3, 5.

[240]        John 6:47.

[241]        Acts 16:31.

[242]        John 3:36.

[243]        Ephesians 2:8-9.

[244]        Romans 11:6.

[245]        Titus 3:4-7.

[246]        Galatians 2:16, 21.

[247]        Romans 4:4-5.

[248]        Romans 3:23-28.

[249]        John 10:28-30.

[250]        Psalm 85:10.

[251]        2 Corinthians 5:17.

[252]        Hebrews 8:8-12.

[253]        Ezekiel 36:25-28.

[254]        1 John 1:8-10; Romans 7:14-25.

[255]        Romans 6:14.

[256]        John 8:44.

[257]        Galatians 4:4-7.

[258]        1 Peter 1:2; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:13; John 17.

[259]        Jeremiah 31:3.

[260]        Proverbs 8:30-31.

[261]        Romans 15:30.

[262]        Romans 8:28-39.

[263]        Hebrews 9:27.

[264]        John 3:3, 7.

[265]        John 1:12-13.

[266]        Matthew 10:36.

[267]        “Comments and a Review of the Dan Barker-Thomas Ross Debate,” elec. acc. https://faithsaves.net/barker-ross-review/.

[268]        2 Timothy 3:12.

[269]        Mark 8:34-36.

[270]        Romans 8:15.

[271]        John 15:13-15; Hebrews 2:11, 12, 17.

[272]        Acts 9:31.

[273]        John 1:14.

[274]        Romans 8:28-39.

[275]        1 John 4:8.

[276]        Revelation 1:5-6; 5:12-13.

[277]        Matthew 11:28-30.

[278]        John 6:37, 47.

[279]        2 Corinthians 6:2.

[280]        Proverbs 27:1.

[271]        2 Corinthians 6:2.

[272]        Proverbs 27:1.

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