THE OLDEST RELIGION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IS HOLINESS
"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). To keep oneself unspotted from the world is to be set apart from it; in other words, to be holy. Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16).
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). Unlike religion, holiness is not anything man can create, because it is the very being of God who is eternal, without a beginning. It is the process of sanctification given to us from above by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We can see that the true religion of God is holiness through faith: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6)...
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE IN JESUS?
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16 NKJV). This verse has to be the most renowned Bible verse, but also the most misinterpreted. What does it really mean to believe in Jesus?
It logically follows that if you truly believe in Jesus, you believe in every word He spoke. For He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." (John 14:6 NKJV) and "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Matthew 24:35)
He taught us to obey Him: "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15 NKJV). "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9 NKJV). So it is by our obedience to His commands, through faith, that defines our salvation...
WHAT IS GOD'S MERCY AND GRACE?
Begin by imagining the perspective from God's view. Who knowing all things but no sin, who created all things through His love; being able to see the heart and thoughts of man in all his sin. See how loving, forgiving and tolerant He is with us as we should have been put to death for our iniquities against a holy God: "The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy" (Psalm 145:8). Compare this to our own lives, how we can easily be brought to anger over the sin of one man, sometimes seeking vengeance, while we ourselves having committed a multitude of sins.
For Jesus to say that we must forgive others to be forgiven by the Father is not even comparable to what the Father has tolerated and forgiven of us. This command is an act of His mercy and grace: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15)...
WHAT IS OUR NATURE TO SIN?
We should never forget this, that it is not sinful for there to be evil thoughts in our mind. Just as it is not sinful to hear evil thoughts from an external source that can ultimately reside in our memory. These thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. Did Jesus sin when He was tempted by the devil? No.
It is not until these evil thoughts are conceived by our own desires that they give birth to sin...