UI – Part 386 – Eternal Life
Is life on earth all there is? That’s all folks! There may be more. If there is, what do you believe? There are two options – Up or Down. Heaven or Hell (Hades, some prefer). Others think just dust. God decides; it is his gift.
Right with God
In considering the options God becomes more than a factor. He is judge. His judgment is plain. You are ‘right’ with God or you are not. Do you have your personal house, your soul, in order? Are you aligned with God, righteous or unrighteous? The Bible informs us that as sinners, as we all are, no one is righteous. When man, Adam, took the bite of the fruit of the tree of good and evil in disobedience to God, all humans became tainted with a dreadful condition causing spiritual death, physical death and eternal death.
“No one is righteous, No not one. No one understands. No one seeks God. All have turned away, become worthless. No one does good, not even one. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10-12, 23).
But be aware, God saves! This is more than a billboard quote.
“God the Father planned our Salvation” (Ephesians 1:3-5).
“The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge” (Psalm 50:6). He has the power.
A good life, a good person, doing good is a good thing, but is it good enough? There are rules to be followed. Spiritual matters, matters of the heart may be fulfilling, may be relaxing, may provide peace and positive feelings, but will they save you? Those rules are laws, guides for proper conduct and fair practices (as an example, see Leviticus). Attempts to unburden oneself with self can provide society with a co-existing partner that is pleasant and not a threat. Treatment of others, male or female, same sex or opposite sex, is proper when humane and equal. But is it sufficiently good or spiritual to be acceptable in God’s eyes? The answer is, No!
How to Be Saved
If righteousness is impossible then how can we be saved, anyone be saved, and have eternal life. Only God can do that, only God (And may I add, not Allah). It is his decision and then it is our acceptance. “No greater love has someone than to lay down their life for a friend” (John 15:13). This is grace and this is what God did. God provides a pathway to salvation. It is not for the sinner, but for those who have been chosen. We can be restored spiritually and eternally. Thanks be to God. It is as only God can do. It is a free gift. We all like free stuff. But it required a sacrifice. It was not your sacrifice, but a sacrifice for you. The sins of the world entered through Adam, one man, and spread to all humans, as all humans are sinners. Do you agree?
“Therefore just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Sin, an inability to resist temptations, we know is not good for us. Sinning is the cause of our unrighteousness, big or small, it matters not, because all sins are crimes against God. Being made perfect, spiritually restored, reconditioned, rebuilt, would be nice, but not possible for any one of us. At least not without help. God can do all things. So as man brought sin into the world and all died, a man was needed to be raised from the dead so all could be made alive.
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
God had a plan. How are we to be saved? God loved the world. After all we are his creation in whom he breathed life, and his likeness.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26a). (Take note of the use of the word “our.” At the beginning this suggests there was more, God and Jesus speaking, and the Holy Spirit included.)
God loved all the people on earth, still does. As a result God begot a son, made to look like man, to live as an example for humankind and to die for us. Jesus Christ became an example and a substitute. He died on the cross in our stead, punished for our sins. This was to make those who believe in Christ so dying right with God, those who believe and repent for their sins. Christ bore the burden of our transgressions. Leave them behind and be made anew, a rebirth, by God’s grace and the goodness of Christ. God provided the righteousness we require to live eternally. It was nothing we did, or do; it was not by following the rules, the laws. It was just God. For by God’s Grace we have been saved, delivered, not by works of the law, but through faith, believing in Christ’s sacrifice, believing in Christ, we are saved. But if you do not believe then God’s grace is for naught.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,” said Paul, “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was Buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) .
We have been saved through faith. It is faith in Jesus Christ, believing Christ died for us, taking the fall for what we deserved, and raised from the dead, overcoming death, and proving his divine nature. God-incarnate, made man, so we could know him and have a relationship with him. This completes the circle of man. Man was born in God’s image, disobedient and fallen, bringing sin and the unrighteousness of man into the world, then made right with God as a result of Christ’s sacrifice for man, overcoming man’s sin and spiritual death. Those who accept Christ’s sacrifice, God’s grace, and repent, may not be perfect, but as a believer in Christ, thankful and born anew as a thankful volunteer following Christ, they are on the pathway to the Kingdom. Christ is a part of us, not just as our example. Those reborn live with the Spirit of the Lord indwelling inside, a reminder of God’s grace. This is God’s gift.
We cannot be saved, made righteous, by following the law. Except for Christ followers, others who desire life after death are instructed to do good deeds, proper works, in effect earning a place next to God, but that can never provide an assurance of being saved.
“For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be the law…” (Galatians 3.21b).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Oft quoted, oft said, and so true, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“…yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we have also believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
The Spirit of the Lord
Being raised, resurrected, Christ was renewed in the spirit, as God, as we who believe are reborn also. Believers have faith in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice made for us. We are restored and given a new spiritual life, as well as an eternal life. We choose to be thankful and believe. We choose to seek God and understand. This all took place. It occurred. It happened. It was real. The facts themselves are compelling. It happened right before the eyes of many. Having faith in Christ, by God’s gracious gift, we are saved, “delivered from the present evil age” (Galatians 1:4), and turn towards God. This is God’s will. We have been made right, the darkness of our soul relit and revived by the Holy Spirt that descended after Christ was risen. We accept that we are sinners. This is the bad news. Recognizing that fact what do we then do about it. We still know we are flawed. We ask forgiveness, aware of the sacrifice, and we strive to be more like Christ. He is the man. He is God. What God did for sinners is the good news. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We just need to read the headlines and accept the facts. We can remain in denial, but why would anyone do so? But they do.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine, therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12-15).
Volunteers for God or Forced to Follow; Faith, Love verses Deeds
Out of love for God, and by God’s grace, having been saved, we are obedient to his commands. We follow the law, God’s law, not manmade laws, and would do so even if they were never recorded. When man’s law is that which governs where we live we are to be obedient to that as well. There may be troubling circumstances when man’s law is in direct conflict with God’s law. That is a topic for another discussion. There is an innate awareness of what is right. We may stumble, but we pick ourselves up and move forward. We are humbled and seek forgiveness. We find ourselves in third place. God and Christ are in first. Our fellow man, our neighbor, our family is in second. We are in third.
We are justified in our faith. We are right with the Lord.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:5).
Contrast that to alternatives where doing good is the answer alone. It cannot provide the eternal life for those who so believe. The leaders they follow, including their god or prophet, can provide no assurance of salvation. They just seek more and more from their constituency. The focus for the individual becomes the works or deeds they do, not trusting God.
God must be our #1. We must keep our eyes on God, in prayer praise him, thank him, be humble before him, but never be afraid to ask him how you can be a better follower. In silence or in verbal prayer, spending quiet time with Him will reveal much. Being saved is the beginning of a new life on earth, as well as a life eternal. The days will be brighter and your purpose, serving God, will become more clear. You will grow each day as the Lord’s light shines upon you.
“And we know for those who love God all things will work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Eternal Life is here for those believing in Christ, those justified by God’s saving grace and having faith.
A Biblical Warning
Every one of us will be accountable to God. You die, once, and you will be judged (Hebrews 9:27).
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).
Believe not in the darkness, the evil in you, but allow the light that has come into this world shine upon you.
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14b).
Grace and Peace