I recently purchased The Strand Study Bible. You can purchase a cheaper used one at Abe's Books. I love it so much that I bought another one. Pastor Brad Strand was one of my favorite Bible teachers at Hyles-Anderson College in the late 1980's. I am so glad that he made a study Bible, and I cherish it. It took Brother Strand 30,000 hours over 33 years to complete his amazing study Bible. THANK YOU Pastor Strand for sharing what the Holy Spirit taught you with everyone else! I cannot recommend his study Bible enough.
I was reading Brother Strand's commentary today for Titus 3:5 and he mentions that Bono of U2 is a Christian, which compelled me to do some research online about Bono. Here is what Pastor Strand writes on page 2057:
Bono (of the band U2), one of the world's most famous rock stars, and a Christian (yes, you can be a rock star and a Christian), in an interview with Michka Assayas, a French music journalist, in March of 2004 was correct when he described the difference between Karma (works of righteousness) and grace. He said:
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff. (So have we all, Bono.).Bono went on to say:
I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep .... It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
Bono continued:But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled… . It's not our own good works (Karma) that get us through the gates of heaven.SOURCE: Pastor Brad Strand, “The Strand Study Bible,” p. 2057
That is very interesting and encouraging, to know that Bono is saved. You can read the preceding entire interview of Bono HERE.
Worldliness Cannot Prevent You From Going To Heaven
There are some wicked religious neo-evangelical websites which wrongly accuse Bono's faith of not being sincere, since he is worldly, but that is not the true Gospel. Case in point is the website at BereanResearch.org, who foolishly state concerning Bono's worldliness:
Liar, liar, pants on fire!!! I am so glad that Bono is a Christian. The worldly life that Bono chooses to live is a strict matter of sanctification and service (Romans 12:1), not of justification and the new birth (Galatians 3:26). If we cannot be saved by good works, then we cannot be lost by bad works. As our text passage from Titus 3:5a says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us...” Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do.
The bottom line is this: A person cannot profess a belief in Jesus Christ and live like the devil. Like so many so-called Christians, Bono takes Christianity cafeteria style – he picks and chooses what pleases him and avoids what doesn’t.
The thing that I love most about The Strand Study Bible is that Pastor Strand upholds a 100% free grace Gospel. A free grace Gospel is the simplicity that is in Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). It is very easy, free and simple to get to Heaven; you just need to BELIEVE that Jesus did it all for you through the cross of Calvary, that He was buried, and bodily resurrected from the dead three days later. Believe the GOOD NEWS, Oh guilty sinner, and you are forever saved!
Bono has made it clear to the world that He believes Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah:
"[Jesus] went around saying he was the Messiah. That's why he was crucified. He was crucified because he said he was the Son of God. So, he either, in my view, was the Son of God or he was nuts. Forget rock-and-roll messianic complexes, I mean Charlie Manson-type delirium. And I find it hard to accept that whole millions and millions of lives, half the Earth, for 2,000 years have been touched, have felt their lives touched and inspired by some nutter. I just... I don't believe it."
(From an interview with Gay Byrne, RTE One, June 2013)
SOURCE: Christianity Today, '7 Surprising Things Bono Has Said About Jesus'Good for Bono! I rejoice with him is his sole trust in Jesus Christ and God's grace for eternal life. The way to Heaven is to wholly lean on Jesus' name, and dare not trust the sweetest frame other than Christ. 1st Corinthians 3:11 says that Jesus is the only foundation. Bono says this concerning God's saving grace:
"...I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there's a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled. It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven."
SOURCE: Christianity Today, '7 Surprising Things Bono Has Said About Jesus'
Bono's best friend recounts how the U2 rockstar first came to faith in Jesus Christ. Amen. The only reason why any sinner has ever gone to Heaven, or ever will go to Heaven, is because that person rested completely in the finished work of Jesus Christ through Calvary's cross.
Famous Singer Bob Dylan Is Also A Born-Again Christian
Pastor Strand further comments concerning Titus 3:5 on page 2058:
Phillip Yancey in What's So Amazing About Grace? notes:
The notion of God's love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, the Muslim code of law—each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional.
Only Christianity offers salvation via grace. Bob Dylan, another famous rock star, in an interview with Bruce Heiman, KMEX Radio in December of 1979, said:
A religion which says you have to do certain things to get to God..., which is a religion which is by works: you can enter into the Kingdom by what you do, what you wear, what you say, how many times a day you pray, how many good deeds you may do...That type of religion will not get you into the Kingdom, that's true. ...
Again, it's not what we do (works) that gets us to Heaven, but what Christ did (grace) for us. Trust what He did, not what you do, and Heaven will be yours.
SOURCE: Pastor Brad Strand, “The Strand Study Bible,” p. 2058
Amen and amen. Boy that's great stuff! I love free grace Gospel preachers!!!
We Are Saved By God's Imputed Righteousness, Not Ours
When I bought and first opened The Strand Study Bible, I was a bit nervous, afraid that I'd find he teaches that you cannot be saved unless you turn away from your sinful bad habits, become a Christ follower, invite Jesus into your life, or some other poisonous neo-evangelical garbage from the Devil. I have been pleasantly delighted to learn that Pastor Brad Strand is 100% free grace on the Gospel, and I love the man for it!
For example: Read this wonderful exegesis he writes:
True repentance has nothing to do with “turning from sin” and everything to do with “acknowledging one's sinfulness” (Jonah 3:5). Like the thief on the cross who simply acknowledged his sinfulness (Lk 23:39-43), the only part a person has in salvation is the beggar's part.SOURCE: Pastor Brad Strand, “The Strand Study Bible,” p. 1939
Titus 3:5 and 7, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us... being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Romans 4:4 teaches that if salvation has ever been by works, then it was by debt and not grace.