No Need To Fear
Before reading Gods words, lets claim His promise if wisdom to guide our minds:
Dear God in heaven, in your Word, in James 1:5 you promised wisdom of we would ask. Were asking now for this, in the name of Jesus, and we thank you. Amen.
We Have Been Promised:
A TV Advertising Success
If television commercials advertised a medication that would promise to help a person live forever, nothing would stop people from getting out and buying that item. Nothing. Distance and money would be no object. Some would probably kill to get it. It would be the ultimate saleable product.
Living eternally is not offered for sale on TV, but it is another powerful promise advertised in the Bible: a gift from God that is free of charge.
the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
It is "advertised" in Gods Book over and over:
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13
We Can Know We Have It
That powerful promise says that we can know well live eternally when we believe in the name of the Son of God. Heres another powerful advertisement of this product that is promised in the Bible:
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life " John 3:36
Living forever, then, is a gift given to people who "believe".
Believing What About Jesus?
Evidently we are promised we will live eternally if we believe something about Jesus.
What is it we are to believe? Is it enough to acknowledge the fact that Jesus the man was also Jesus who came from God? In the Scriptures, again, we read a statement made by an evil spirit who knew Jesus was "of God".
Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are---the Holy One of God! Mark 1:23-25
Evil spirits are not going to receive eternal life. In fact, the Book of Revelation promises something quite different to these satanic forces in the final judgement! Yet, the evil spirit did express his understanding that Jesus was God.
So we know that belief in the historical fact Gods existence, and the knowledge that He came to this earth and lived as a man, is not the belief those "living forever" promises are talking about. What, then, is the belief in the name of Christ that leads to living forever?
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (Emphasis supplied.)
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:20, 21 (Emphasis supplied.)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16,17 (Emphasis supplied.)
So, this belief is Christs powerful promise to "save". Save from what?---Punishment of some sort? An accident? Sickness? Death?
The first promise in which we read about living forever, is found in Romans 6:23. It not only says living forever is a gift, but the first part of the text says, "the wages of sin is death". In Romans3:23 it states that "all have sinned".
If God says all persons have sinned, and all are to die, then all humanity is under a death sentence. It sounds like we need help; we need someone to get us out of this mess, to "save" us! In response to this need, God tells us about something we may not feel, and we cant see, but which He asks us simply to believe. We are told in Philippians 2:5-7 that Christ Jesus, who was "in very nature God," lowered Himself to take the nature of a servant. Verse 8 reads:
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death---even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8
Why Did He Lower Himself To This?
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (NIV: for everyone.) Hebrews 2:9, KJV
Evidently the kind of belief we need is based on the good news that Jesus Christ (God) deliberately became a human being. He did this in order to experience death in place of human beings like the first man, Adam, who was doomed to perish.
He took the punishment of eternal death for humanitys sake and saved us from having to take it, if we choose to accept His substitution. Without this loving sacrifice for us, every human being would have had to die just because Adam made one mistake:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. Romans 5:12
Something Intensely Powerful
The world came under the dominion of sin after Adams choice to distrust, disbelieve and, therefore disobey God. The whole race was lowered by this disgraceful fall, that happened right in the presence of Gods love. Sin must be something intensely powerful, and a whole lot stronger than we like to admit. Mans very nature became weaker, inclined toward sin.
It became necessary for our even more powerful Creator to come down and release us from sins power. He did it for us and then gave us this tremendous promise:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death---that is, the devil---and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14, 15
Who Is Afraid To Die?
Everybody. Thats why a TV ad about a product giving life for everyone would sell so well. God promises in Hebrews 2:14,15 that everyone who is afraid of death can be delivered from that fear. He says He "tasted" or experienced death for everyone.
Earlier we read a promise saying we may know we have eternal life. Not everyone seems to be aware of this. Many persons---even some Christians---are afraid. Some concern about future uncertainty and separation is natural, but terrifying fear is evidently unneeded. Who will be "saved" form an eternal separation? According to 1 John 5:11-13, it will be those who personally choose to believe that God, as Christ, became a man and then died on the cross for them. These individuals can tell God they accept this act in their behalf.
Maybe It's Our Pride
Its hard to admit we have a sinful nature and that we have cut ourselves off from life. Its hard to keep from saying, "But look at all the good things I do." But, deep down, we know we have evil thoughts, sinful tendencies, wrong desires. We dont like to admit that with our sinful nature, a heaven in which everyone lives to seek the happiness of others and to praise God, sounds almost boring. Its just not natural with us.
But We Can Say:
God, Im ashamed. I need Your help, Your salvation. I am a sinner, and have cut myself off from life. I deserve punishment, but I choose to believe You came and died in my place. I accept this, as a covering for my sins, my sinful nature. Since You took my place in the death punishment, I accept Your gift of eternal life for me right now. I dont understand this, but I choose to believe it because You said it was so. Thank You, in Jesus name. Amen.
God doesnt leave us with a sense of shame for our sinful nature, to be miserable with our gift of living forever. He gave us another special gift, with love form Jesus that is brought to us by His Holy Spirit. Its the gift of a whole new nature that inclines us toward God. We are born anew by His powerful promise:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3,4
I accept this promise of a new birth---a new nature---right now, dont you?
As humans we do die, but we can have eternal life in Christ. The Bible declares that there is life beyond this life, for those who believe. How and when that life is actually, physically, received is explained in this powerful promise:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, he comes, those who belong to him. 1 Corinthians 15:22,23
What a privilege we have in knowing we belong to Jesus and that those who die now, having had faith in Christ, will be made alive once more by His creative power when He comes again.
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