Recently while reading comments written by others on a Christian message board, one of the entries captured my attention. The subject being discussed at the time was about heaven. The person who raised the red flag for me began his message by saying, "If I make it to heaven..."
"If I make it to heaven..." What?? That statement came from someone who professed to be a Christian!
The "if" in the person's statement would indicate that he's not real sure he will actually go there. It's obvious that he lacks the faith and assurance true believers have in the Scripture promises. In addition, the "make it" portion of his statement would suggest that some form of acceptable and on-going works effort is required from him to either earn or maintain his salvation status.
Sadly, many people today have dutifully placed their faith in religion, rituals, their church, and in doing good things desperately trying to somehow render themselves as more pleasing to God and worthy of salvation.
Those people are probably churchgoers, they carry a Bible, they sing Amazing Grace, and they try to love one another. They're just very busy with what they perceive as the Christian life doing things Christians do, saying things Christians say, and by all outward appearances, they would seem to be following some accepted standard of Christianity.
They have lots of "religion" in their life, but don't truly have Jesus in their heart. Their names are recorded in a church membership book, but not in the Lamb's Book of Life. We must remember that Biblical Christianity is not a religion it's all about having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
But, what exactly is that standard of Christianity they're trying to follow? Is it a handed-down tradition taught by their church organization? Do they blindly follow it simply because their family members or friends have done so for years? Maybe they have followed teachings of false doctrine. Or, is their Christianity clearly based on a solid Biblical foundation that teaches Christ dying on the cross, buried, risen from the dead, and coming again and that by faith alone we can receive and have assurance of salvation through His redeeming blood shed on that cross?
Many believe that faith is fine, but that it's also necessary for them to do, do, do - do this, do that, or do more - to insure their salvation. But, while Jesus was hanging bleeding and naked on the cross, He shouted out these words as recorded in John 19:30 NKJV, "It is finished!" He was declaring that His work was done. He had paid the full penalty for our sins, and that we only need to believe Him by faith. In effect He was also saying, "No, no, no! There's absolutely nothing more you can do...for I've done it all!"
By God's grace, salvation through faith alone not by works is clearly stated in Ephesians 2:8,9 NKJV, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Sadly, many people are simply acting out Christianity they're role-playing. They have never been on their knees before Him in total and humble submission with tears flowing, convicted of their lost sinful condition, and they have never poured their heart out to receive His free gift of salvation. They have never experienced a truly repentant, born again, spiritual re-birth of the heart.
In John 14:6 NKJV Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." His blood was shed on the cross at Calvary for all my sins and yours. After three days He rose from the dead victorious over death and the grave. He ascended into Heaven and is preparing a place for us. Jesus, the Name above all names, is soon to return and will rule and reign forever and ever. He will be King of Kings, Lord of Lords and of His Kingdom there will be no end.
Jesus' warnings in Matt. 7:13,14 and Matt. 7:21-23 are relevant for what we clearly see all around us today. Broad is the road to destruction, and many are going there. They profess "Christianity", but few will find and follow the narrow road to truly possess it.
People today must realize they are eternally lost in sin without the Savior in their life. They must cry out to God, "Oh God, help me! I need You in my life. I'm so sorry I had turned my back on You for so long. I can't go on without You. I believe Jesus died for me, in my place, for my sin. Forgive all my sins and come into my life now, today, as my Savior, Lord and Master - and help me to live a life that's pleasing and honoring to You. Thank You in Jesus' Name!"
When we do that and place Him first in our life each day with our complete dependence and trust, we will then have a personal relationship with Him. We will learn to pray and find comfort in His written Word. He will be our friend, our Savior, our Lord and Master, and our Blessed Hope for all eternity. Only with that relationship can we truly say, "I am His, and He is mine" with confidence...and with the assurance of salvation through Him as He has promised.
The Bible tells us in Luke 15:10 that when one sinner repents, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God. Just imagine...there's a massive victory celebration in heaven the moment each one of us places our faith and trust in Him! Also, as born again believers, we instantly become royalty. We become sons and daughters of the most-high sovereign God (John 1:12), Who rules today and will rule and reign forever.
As a child of the King, we become worthy heirs to the kingdom of heaven. Revelation 3:4 promises that the faithful in Christ will walk with Him in purity and righteousness, for they are worthy. We become worthy in the eyes of God only through the redeeming blood of the cross. Our worthiness is not a result of anything we do to gain God's approval.
At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit is sealed within us - guaranteeing our inheritance (2 Cor. 1:21,22; Eph. 1:13,14). We can have absolute assurance of our salvation through the promises God provides for us in His Word. That assurance is described in 1 John 5:13 NKJV, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."
Finally, we have these words of Jesus recorded in John 10:27,28 NKJV, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."
Can you truly claim the promises of God's Word as your own? Do you belong to Him? Is Jesus the Savior, Lord and Master of your life? Are you able to say with absolute confidence and assurance that, "I am His, and He is mine?" If so, then one day soon you will hear Jesus say, "My child, I have redeemed you, your sins once as scarlet are whiter than snow - you are Mine forever!"
Oh, what wonderful words of life...eternal life!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!
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