Thank you for participating! We had 1186 responses to the survey. The complete survey results can be found here. Below we have chosen a few questions to discuss in depth.
- I have good wellbeing?
Interestingly, general wellbeing was better among evangelical Christians compared to social Christians, Christian Seekers or non-Christians. This was true when all four groups were compared (P=0.001) and then specifically between the Christians versus non-Christians (P=0.005). The findings for wellbeing were also supported by further results that evangelicals were more content (P=0.001), at peace (P>0.001), and joyful (P=0.002) than the other groups. No differences between groups were observed in feelings of guilt (P=0.426).
This is the first study to my knowledge evaluating young Christians versus young non-Christians and wellbeing. Why would Christians have better wellbeing? We do not know for certain, but it is consistent with past medical literature and several Teleios studies. We could speculate the following:
Confidence in salvation – Almost every person has a spiritual interest. We have found through Teleios sponsored surveys that those confident in their salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death for the forgiveness of sins, note better wellbeing. This most likely results, at least in part, from a lack of fear of rejection by God because salvation is based on Him and not our ability to prove ourselves with good works, which the Bible says is not possible (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4,7).
Supportive socialization – Practicing the Christian faith brings us into contact, through church and other similar activities, with like-minded people we have the same joyful confidence. Further, we have shown through Teleios research that a Christian who studies the Bible enjoys better wellbeing. This most likely results from God putting into our minds positive messages from the Bible about joy, peace, etc.
- What gives you hope for the future. The correct answer for our hope – salvation by grace:
Satisfying family life with children
Eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ***
Eternal salvation through good works
Position of power and influence
Personal activism to affect social change and justice
Government based employment with benefits and job security
One world government to affect social change and justice
*** Biblical answer
Salvation, this is our hope – Christ accomplished our glorious salvation by His death and resurrection within God’s overall plan for the ages, to bring both heaven and earth in subjection to His Son (Ephesians 1:10-11). Scripture describes two key components of Christ’s actions bringing us eternal life:
Death on the cross– His agonizing and unjust death on the cross provided the sacrifice to bring about forgiveness of our sins. God, being righteous, demanded punishment for sins committed (Romans 3:24-25). However, God, being loving, provided His Son as a perfect and sufficient payment that scripture describes in four ways:
- Propitiation – Christ’s sacrifice was a full and sufficient payment for our sins to God (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2).
- Reconciliation – Christ’s sacrifice ended the enmity (hatred) between God and man because our sins, being forgiven, changed our status before God allowing peace between the two parties (Romans 5:10-11; Colossians 1:20-21: Ephesians 2:16-19).
- Redemption – Christ’s death purchased us from sin for which we owed a payment of death (Romans 3:23-26; Ephesians 1:7).
- Substitution – Christ died in our place, the death we deserved, that we could obtain eternal life (Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 3:18).
- Christ’s Resurrection – By His glorious resurrection, Christ made us alive so we might gain eternal life (Romans 6:2-9). Despite forgiveness, without the resurrection we would still be dead in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17; Romans 10:9).
Process of salvation – Christ gracious salvation for us is a process that began before all time and ends at His second coming with continued effects into eternity. Thanks be to God! Here is the process the Bible describes (see Figure):
- God chose us before all time (Ephesians 1:4,5,11; Romans 8:29-30).
- God convicted us by his Spirit (John 16:8).
- God dragged us to Himself to believe (John 6:44).
- Our faith (belief) made Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection efficacious for us to our salvation. Further, at the time of our belief we were sealed by the Holy Spirit:
- Regenerated into a new person (Romans 6:2-9; Colossians 2:12-13; Ephesians 2:4-7).
- Sealed to the day of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5).
- Placed into the church universal (1 Corinthians 12:13).
- God causes us to persevere throughout our lives until Christ comes again (Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
- Christ returns a second time and will gather believers to Himself and His righteous kingdom, as well as ultimately to the new Jerusalem and eternity (Revelation 19-22).
Figure: Timeline of salvation
How does the unbeliever access salvation? It is by faith alone! No work is can be done, either before or after salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:23-26).
God did all the work to bring us salvation and no credit is given to us. It is a gift with all glory and praise to God.
What exactly is the Gospel message? Here it is again packaged and ready to say! Salvation is a free gift of God! You can have confidence you are saved:
- Each person has done misdeeds (sin) that deserve judgment and punishment from a perfect and just God.
- However, God being loving, sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins on the cross to take the punishment that we deserved.
- Consequently, by accepting through faith the forgiveness that Christ provided by his death on the cross and new life through His resurrection, we have access to God in prayer and eternal life!
- When I die I will go to heaven? Answer: we are secure.
Yes, God forgives me by faith alone through Christ’s death on the cross***
I am unsure
Yes, my good works outweigh my bad
Yes, I receive grace because of the sacraments and/or my good works
No, there is no heaven
No, I will not be admitted
*** Biblical answer
What are the evidences of our eternal security?
There are on at least five levels:
Direct statements to our eternal security – At least several key verses directly indicate a believer, who has trusted in Jesus Christ by faith for his salvation, is eternally secure, are the following:
- 1 Peter 1:4-5 – To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- John 10:29-30 – 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.
- 1 John 5:10-13 – He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
- Romans 8:28-39 – 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, he also did predestinate 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? 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?
Positions in Christ – By the results of our glorious salvation we obtain positions in Christ which are irreversible, on both a legal and a morphological basis. It is not that we believe, become a Christian, and that’s it; rather it is that we believe, become a Christian, and obtain the amazing unchangeable positions listed below. These positions add strong evidence to our eternal security. There are a number of these positions but several pertinent ones are:
- Spiritual baptism – We are regenerated by the Holy Spirit into a new person and our old self dies (Romans 6:2-9). We become identified (the meaning of the word ‘baptism’) with Christ’s death and resurrection. This marvelous spiritual truth speaks to the importance of the resurrection because it is the vehicle for our new life in Christ and eternity (Romans 6:9, 10:9-10). Indeed, we are a new person and the old sinful self is gone forever.
- The Holy Spirit – He is given in part as a down payment to our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21) that we cannot lose (Romans 8:28-39; 1 Peter1:4-5). He maintains us until the day of our redemption when Christ comes again (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:10).
- Adoption – Each believer is a child of God, adopted into His family. As generally in first world cultures today, when a child was adopted in the ancient Greek and Roman world, it was a legal right that could not be overturned (4). In other words, the adopted child received all the rights and privileges of a natural-born child; so also it is with a believer as a child of God (Ephesians 1:5).
- Justification – Before we believed we were guilty of sin for which Christ died on the cross to provide His forgiveness and to declare us innocent (Romans 3:24-25). The word for justified in Greek (δικαιος, dikaios) means legally found innocent as in court of law. In other words, there is no double jeopardy: οnce found innocent no one can bring a charge against us (Romans 8:33).
Perseverance – This theme is vital because it indicates that God alone, and not us, causes us to endure to our salvation. Even if we wanted to change our position in Christ, or if we make mistakes, He causes us to persist to eternal life. Thanks be to God – it’s all based on Him not us! Here are some key verses (KJV):
- 2 Timothy 1:12 – For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
- Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Christ’s sufficiency – God’s glorious salvation, accomplished on the cross, provides that we can be saved by faith alone and not our own work. Every aspect of salvation is God’s, all to His glory. God not only endorses eternal security with wonderful promises, as we’ve just seen, but also expresses His displeasure to those who do not believe it. This is expressed in two main passages in Hebrews, Chapters 6 and 10. Let’s examine briefly the main passage in Hebrews 6, which although it can be controversial, is an exciting proof of our eternal security. Here are the main points:
- Hebrews 6:1-3 – The author urges the readers to leave the rudimentary principles of the faith dealing with issues related to their salvation.
- Hebrews 6:4-7 – How could those who were saved (have known God’s gift and enlightenment and received the spirit [all words or events consistent with salvation]) and have believed their sins were forgiven, could have another means to salvation apart from Christ. Indeed, their insistence that some sin was not forgiven indicated they would want Jesus to return to the cross and submit to public humiliation again. This is not viewed favorably by God.
Certainly, we have a wonderful salvation by which Christ is sufficient to cover each and every one of our sins, past, present, and future. For us to say that somehow His painful, long, suffering, humiliating and unjust death is not enough to cover even one of our sins is an offense to God.