What Must We Do to Have Eternal Life?

apr20I’ve shown in past posts that surrendering our wills to Jesus is the only way we can spend eternity in Heaven. But what must we do to inherit eternal life?

Jesus gave the answer in John 3:15 (KJV) when he said of himself, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The word “believe” means to have implicit trust in Jesus and his gift of salvation.

We must realize that we are hopeless sinners and ask the Lord for forgiveness of our rebellion against him. Then we must become Christ’s disciples, following and obeying everything he commands. As the Apostle Paul pointed out in Romans 6:23 (KJV), “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
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But merely believing about Jesus isn’t enough. We must be a hundred percent devoted to following him and to do so every day. Look at what Paul wrote to his protege, Timothy. He said in 1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV), “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

We can also see the guarantee of our entrance into heaven in 1 John 5:11 (KJV). “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

And as it says in Jude 1:21 (KJV), “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

We can therefore put our full trust in Christ because he is God. Peter realized this when he said to Jesus in John 6:68 KJV), “Then Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.'”
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There was a time when I thought that just believing about God would get me into heaven. Then I learned at a vacation Bible school meeting that I must repent and place my trust totally in Jesus Christ. This is what I’ll emphasize in my upcoming book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Far too many people claim to be Christians but they haven’t yet placed their lives in his hands. My goal is to let as many people know about true salvation in Christ alone as I can through my writing.

Why Didn’t Christ Save Himself?

apr18Speaking of naive believers, I used to wonder why Jesus didn’t save himself from being crucified. When I was a child, I thought that he was Pilate’s victim. How wonderful it is that the Lord had everything under his sovereign control.

Jesus himself knew that he would die on the cross and rise again. He said to his disciples in Matthew 26:2 (KJV), “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”

As I pointed out in a previous post, he had power to lay down his life and take it up again. He wasn’t the hapless victim of the Romans and Jews as some people believe.

We can see this truth of the Lord’s sovereignty in his answer to Pilate which is recorded in John 19:11 (KJV). “Jesus answered, ‘Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.'”

Jesus could have easily defeated the Romans. He knew it too since he said in Matthew 26:53 (KJV), “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”
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Consider what one angel did in 2 Kings 19:35 (KJV). “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”

Being human as well as divine, the prospect of the cross and taking the filthy sins of his people upon himself terrified Christ. Matthew 26:39 KJV) reads, “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.'”

And because Christ submitted himself to the Father’s will, he suffered physical, psychological, and spiritual agony. Look at what the prophecy in Isaiah 52:14 (KJV) says of him. “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:”
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Because of these scriptural proofs, we can be assured that Jesus was the victor and not the vanquished. He rose on the first day of the week and ascended up to heaven after forty days of instructing his disciples.

I’ll be writing much more about this in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? The resurrection of Christ gives us hope that we too shall rise to live in his kingdom.

Was Judas Substituted for Christ?

apr13Here’s another incorrect doctrine. According to The Bible Answer Man, some Muslims believe that Judas was substituted for Christ and was crucified. They claim that Allah tricked the Roman soldiers and the Jewish officials into crucifying the wrong person.

This is manifestly wrong. The whole plan was for Christ to be the Christian’s substitute on the cross. Jesus himself said in Luke 18:31 (KJV), “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished’.'”

Jesus also described what would happen to him in Mark 10:33 (KJV). “Saying, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles’:”
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One of the clearest prophesies showing that it was Christ who would suffer is Isaiah 53:3 and 4 (KJV). “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Nobody treated Judas like that. In fact, it was he who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 27:5 (KJV) clearly states, “And he (Judas) cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” So how could he be Christ’s substitute if he hung himself?

No, it was Christ who, like the Passover lamb, shed his blood for us who believe in him. Romans 5:11 (KJV) says, “And not only so, but we also joy in God  through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the  atonement.” No mere mortal could have accomplished that.
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Christ’s substitutionary atonement is one of many doctrines I’ll feature in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? As Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV), “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” If Jesus didn’t pay the price for our sin, we would be facing eternity in hell and been found to be liars.

Was Christ really dead for three days?

apr11I wrote in a previous post about scoffers who made fun of the descriptions of hell in the Bible. Just as wrong-headed is the notion that Christ wasn’t crucified on Good Friday. People who hold to that view say that Jesus was in Joseph’s toomb for seventy-two hours. What they don’t realize is that first-century people told time differently than we do.

In all four gospel accounts, Christ was crucified on the day before the sabbath. After the sabbath was the first day of the week. And as you can read in the first chapter of Genesis, sundown was reckoned as the beginning of the new day.

The Jews also were told not to leave a dead body unburried on the sabbath. As John 19:31 and 32 (KJV) explains, “The Jews therefore, because it was the  preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on  the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought  Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken  away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.” Since Jesus was already dead, a soldier shoved a spear into his side to make sure he was deceased.
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These things were done before sundown to fulfil the law. Not yet being the sabbath, the day was claimed as a full day without any fussing about  hours and minutes. This meant that Christ was put into the tomb on that first day, his body was there on the sabbath, and he rose early on the third day.

Assuming that it had to be exactly seventy-two hours and zero minutes is foolish at best and prideful at worst. Misapprehensions like that come from ignorance of the customs, laws, and regulations of the time in which the scriptures were being written. This is why Bible readers must learn all about the times and ways of the folks to whom the books of the Bible were written.
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When I get out of debt and save up enough money, I want to publish my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Many people mistakenly claim various ideas as biblical when they actually arent. Additionally, naive believers fall for these blasphemous lies. My hope is that my writing will prevent them from falling for spiritual scams.

Why Was Christ Crucified?

apr06Continuing on with this month’s theme, I need to explain why Christ was crucified. Jesus himself explained why in John 3:16 (KJV). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

From the beginning, God’s plan of salvation called for his son to be the substitute to take the punishment of those who would put their lives in his hands. He promised this way back in Genesis 3:15. The King James Version reads, “And I (God) will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, (Eve) and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This “seed” is none other than Jesus Christ. The “him” in that passage is the Devil.
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Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)foretold Christ’s atoning work.  “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Furthermore, Jesus was no hapless victim, as some folks believe but a willing saviour who died and rose to save his followers. John 10:18 (KJV) reads, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Being human as well as divine, Jesus still had his qualms about being our spiritual whipping boy. John 12:27 (KJV) records him as saying, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour:’ but for this cause came I unto this hour.”

Jesus could have easily chickened out but he staid the course. John 18:37 (KJV) describes how he was resolute in his purpose. “Pilate therefore said unto him, ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.'”

Christ knew what his sacrifice would eventually accomplish. Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) explains, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

In addition to having all power and authority in heaven and earth, Christ is our go-between, advocating our case to his heavenly Father. As Hebrews 9:15 (KJV) explains, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

Additionally, Christ always had the long view in mind. 1 Corinthians 15:28 (KJV) shows this when Paul wrote, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
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What an awesome truth this is! From before creation, the Trinity agreed on this mighty plan to provide Christ a gift, meaning those who would believe in him, so he could lay us at the Father’s feet as a token of his love.

I hope to write much more on this mind-boggling rescue mission and gift of love in a book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? If people could have even a glimpse of how comprehensive the Lord’s plan is, it would astonish them and even cause them to surrender to Christ’s will.

What About People Who Were “Good” All Their Lives?

mar28In past posts, I’ve established that the Bible says that people who refuse to repent and ask Christ to save them are bound for hell. I’ve also established that we can’t go to heaven on our own merits since no person is without sin. Even so, some folks seem to have lived such righteous lives that they ought to be in heaven after they die.

The Pharisees appeared likely candidates for Heaven. According to their outward show of piety, they must have seemed like extremely holy people to the general public of Christ’s day.

But Jesus wasn’t fooled by their outward religiosity. Look at the parable he gave them in Luke 18:9-15. Here’s how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:

9   And he made this story for some people who were certain that they were good, and had a low opinion of others:
10   Two men went up to the Temple for prayer; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-farmer.
11   The Pharisee, taking up his position, said to himself these words: God, I give you praise because I am not like other men, who take more than their right, who are evil-doers, who are untrue to their wives, or even like this tax-farmer.
12   Twice in the week I go without food; I give a tenth of all I have.mar28a
13   The tax-farmer, on the other hand, keeping far away, and not lifting up even his eyes to heaven, made signs of grief and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
14   I say to you, This man went back to his house with God’s approval, and not the other: for everyone who makes himself high will be made low and whoever makes himself low will be made high.

Tax collectors were the most hated people in Jewish society since they worked for the occupying Roman empire and they extorted extra money for themselves. Pharisees were thought of by the public as being the most holy temple members. Jesus pointed out that it’s penitent sinners who are justified by God, not self-righteous people who place their heavenly hope in what they do.
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Self-righteous attitudes are what condemn people, even ones who seem to be doing many good works. It’s the intent of their hearts which God knows and he’s not fooled by outward acts of charity.

This is why I’m writing my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? No matter how laudable people’s deeds are, they’re only for show if their lives aren’t given over to serving Jesus Christ.

Is Hell Really on Fire?

mar23This is a question which scoffers use to make fun of hell. They do so because the torments described in the Bible seem to contradict each other. For example, the words “fire” and “darkness” are used to depict the way hell is. But how can fire be black? That seems illogical upon the face of it.

What critics of the Bible miss is that these words are metaphors. Additionally, they barely convey the horrific conditions suffered by its occupants.

The most graphic depiction of hell is recorded in Luke 16:19-31. Christ told a parable to show the people listening to him the horrific nature of hell.

This is how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:

19 Now there was a certain man of great wealth, who was dressed in fair clothing of purple and delicate linen, and was shining and glad every day.
20   And a certain poor man, named Lazarus, was stretched out at his door, full of wounds,
21   Desiring the broken bits of food which came from the table of the man of wealth; and even the dogs came and put their tongues on his wounds.
22   And in time the poor man came to his end, and angels took him to Abraham’s breast. And the man of wealth came to his end, and was put in the earth.
23   And in hell, being in great pain, lifting up his eyes he saw Abraham, far away, and Lazarus on his breast.
24   And he gave a cry and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may put the end of his finger in water and put it on my tongue, for I am cruelly burning in this flame.mar23a
25   But Abraham said, Keep in mind, my son, that when you were living, you had your good things, while Lazarus had evil things: but now, he is comforted and you are in pain.
26   And in addition, there is a deep division fixed between us and you, so that those who might go from here to you are not able to do so, and no one may come from you to us.
27   And he said, Father, it is my request that you will send him to my father’s house;
28   For I have five brothers; and let him give them an account of these things, so that they may not come to this place of pain.
29   But Abraham said, They have Moses and the prophets; let them give ear to what they say.
30   And he said, No, father Abraham, but if someone went to them from the dead, their hearts would be changed.
31   And he said to him, If they will not give attention to Moses and the prophets, they will not be moved even if someone comes back from the dead.
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I intend on writing much more about this important subject in my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? Hell is nothing to joke about or to consider it of being no consequence. As the above scriptures show, there’s no escape from hell.