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Lesson One

Before explaining how you can be saved, or how to be sure you are going to heaven, let's make one thing clear- there's nothing YOU CAN DO to get saved! You can't EARN IT, you can't BUY it... It only comes from trusting in Jesus and what HE DID on the Cross FOR YOU! To understand this clearly, let me teach you an "acronym". An acronym is using letters of a word to teach other ideas. The word we are going to use is TULIP. I know that sounds like a funny word to use, but let's check it out and see what it means...

T-Total Depravity U-Unconditional election L-Limited Atonement I-Irressistable Grace P-Perseverance of the Saints

Now, let's study each letter by itself to understand what it teaches us about God.


TOTAL DEPRAVITY
The word "depravity" means to be lacking something, or without something. When we use it in relation to God, we are saying that as sinners we are without holiness, goodness, or anything that God would find pleasing. Now, this doesn't mean that we are all going around killing people and robbing banks, but it means we are DEAD IN SIN.

From the moment we were conceived in our mother's womb, the Bible says we were sinners(Psalm 51:5). That's why little brothers throw fits, and steal our toys and lie. Did you teach him how to do that? No, sin did. And because of this sin, we are unable to approach God. As a matter of fact, we don't want to approach God. That would be like a thief looking for a cop! Look how the Bible puts it:

"There is none righteous,no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God."(Romans 3:10-11)


UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
We all know what an election is. That's when we choose someone to be our Class President or the captain of the football team. We usually choose these people because they are athletic, outgoing, or smart. Based upon their qualities we choose or elect them.

When we talk about unconditional election, that means choosing someone without basing our decision upon how good they are. The Bible says that God chooses some people to be His children because He loves them. This process of choosing is called ADOPTION. When someone adopts a baby, they don't choose that baby because he or she is good. It is only a baby, it can only cry and poop. So the person adopts that baby purely out of love and nothing else. That's the way God chooses us. He knows we are dead in sin. He knows we don't like Him. But He chooses us anyway, and brings us into His family.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in lovhe, having predestined us to ADOPTION as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself..(Ephesians 1:3-5a)

God decided before the foundation of the world, even before the oceans and the skies were created, whom He would choose to adopt. And He raised us from our spiritual death by His Son Jesus Christ.


LIMITED ATONEMENT
Now, when God chose to adopt us, there was a problem. Even though He loved us, He still couldn't allow us as sinners to enter into heaven. Only perfect things are allowed there. So God had to figure out a way to save us from our sins, but still punish those sins because they were evil. God did this by sending His Son Jesus to the earth.

Jesus' mother Mary was visited by an angel who said she would have a baby from God. This made her soon to be husband Joseph a little upset, because those kind of things didn't happen back then. But an angel also appeared to him and told him that the boy would be the Messian, the Christ, and that He would save His people from their sins.

Jesus was the only person born on this earth without sin. Think about it-from the time He was a baby until the time He died at age 33, He never sinned. Not even once! And because of this, He did a great thing. He exchanged His life for ours. We who were sinful and deserved death, instead switched with Jesus and received His holiness. He went to the cross and died because of us. We get to go to heaven now because of His sinlessness.

But we need to remember, Jesus came to die for those people that God chose before the foundation of the world. They are the ones who needed a way into heaven. The other people whom God didn't choose, they could care a less about what Jesus did on the cross. That's because He didn't come for them-He came for His adopted brothers and sisters.

And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that NO ONE can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." (John 6:65)

Only those whom the Father has chosen will desire to be with Jesus. Everyone else is still dead in sin. More in Lesson Two.