How to Joyfully Anticipate Eternity
Think About Your Eternity
Eternity lasts forever. It begins in the moment of our physical death when our spirit is released into the spiritual realm. What will it be like for you? Will it be joyful or sorrowful? Do you know the answers that you need about this vital question in your future?
What if you were to die right now as you read this? And what if you found yourself standing before God, Who then asked you the following question: “Why should I let you come into My pure and righteous kingdom”? That would place the ball squarely into your court, wouldn’t it?
We hope that this article will prepare you to answer that very question. Youwill stand before God someday and give account for your present life and your eternal soul, so this question is not theoretical. If you want to know how to face this day in your future with joy rather than grief and fear, read on.
Our Physical Birth Will Take Us Into Spiritual Disaster
You should now take your Bible and read Genesis, chapter 2, verses 16-17. Then also read chapter 3 and verses 1-7. Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command because they had rebelled against His authority in their lives. As a result, rebellion became a fact of nature within their fleshly bodies and this nature was then passed on to their children. Subsequently, every other human has inherited that same rebellious, sinful nature from our own parents. That sin nature, with the sins that it produces, will eventually drive every human being into damnation unless their spirit is reborn by the salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
Yes, that means you: “…there is none righteous, no, not one…they areall gone out of the way…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” ( Romans 3:10,12, 23)
There are none righteous because every human being inherits an instinctive sin nature at our physical birth and no amount of education or self improvement plans can ever erase that nature.
Can You Escape This Spiritual Disaster?
Yes you can! All people are born “…dead in trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 1:1), which means that we are born spiritually unrelated to God. But the good news is that God has prepared a way for us to be born again into a family relationship with Him. It is a blood bought relationship because Jesus Christ has provided the blood for the eternal bond. This new birth comes to you only through the flawless merits of Jesus Christ. It is offered by God to each person because He loves all mankind. “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”. (John 3:16)
This is God’s promise to you! God promises that He offers each of us eternal life as the alternative to spiritual death. God has a perfect plan to save your soul. Since God is holy, He cannot overlook our sins but rather must punish them. But God is also merciful and wants to forgive you. How could even God punish sin while at the same time giving mercy? Well, God’s plan was for God the Son to come to earth in a human body, assume the sin guilt of each person, be punished by God as a substitute for sinners, offer his spotless mortal blood as a payment to God for man’s forgiveness, and thereby secure eternal life to be offered to every human being for all time. When the human being responds to this work of God for him or her, then that person receives complete forgiveness, purification from guilt, and adoption into the family of God.
What will eternity be for you? Eternal death or eternal life? God allows you to exercise your own will in this but He holds you responsiblefor the choice that you make. To continually neglect to deal with this issue in your life is to make a choice for your own eternal doom.
What Is Your Part?
Your part is completely inward. There is no outward physical deed that you can perform for your own salvation since Christ offers you eternal life only as a free gift: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8). You will only succeed in offending God if you try to earn what Jesus Christ has purchased for you on the cross!
God first looks for a sinner’s response to a new inward attitude that He creates within that person. This attitude is called repentance and it means to have a change of mind toward God. Repentance is an attitude or desire that says, “I have lived in rebellion against God, insisting on my way for my life, but now I am going to change my thinking and submit to God’s way.” It is a desire created by God but acknowledged and acted upon by the sinner. Hear the Lord on this: “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3). This has nothing to do with the idea of performing works in order to go to heaven. Rather, it is has every thing to do with a new desire to follow God rather than self.
Once repentance is in place within the heart of a person there is only one more consideration. The sinner must believe upon Christ as we see in John 3:16 and scores of other New Testament verses. In Acts 16:31, a convicted sinner fell upon his knees before Paul and Barnabas. God had worked a quick work of repentance in him and he was ready to turn his thinking around to God’s way. With this desire he asked a wise question:“What must I do to be saved?” The answer from the missionaries was immediate: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Notice that they did not counsel him to do any kind of physical act but only to believe upon Christ. What does it mean to believe upon Jesus Christ? This word is exceedingly simple – so simple that most of professing Christianity and the rest of world misses the truth while they try to work their way into heaven by their deeds. To believe, is the same as to trust in Christ. It means to place trust upon Christ to save your eternal soul from hell.
An Illustration: Suppose you were walking on a long journey trying to find eternal life. You come to a deep canyon that must be crossed. Nearby, you notice one single cable stretched across the canyon and a sign that reads, “You must walk across this cable upon your feet if you are to find eternal life.” You are pondering this impossible task when a man emerges out of the shadows and says, “ I can carry you across on my feet. You will have totrust my strength and skill to do this for you.” That would be trust on your part. You would trust this man to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.
God is looking for people who trust the Lord Jesus Christ to carry them across the great eternal canyon. He insists that you literally trust Him to save your eternal soul. We’re not talking about Him helping with some problem in your present life – He does that too – but we’re talking about trusting Him to keep His promises and fulfill His mission to save sinners.
What Is God’s Part?
Salvation of your soul is another of God’s marvelous miracles. You see, we cannot summon a repenting trust from within ourselves. This is created within the sinner by the work of the Holy Spirit. However, God has promised that we can actually ask Him to do a work within us that will first bring us to repentance. Here’s the promise: “Ásk, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) This promise means that when a lost person hears the Word of God and learns of his condemnation, then he can ask God to do the needed work to bring a repenting belief into his own heart. And God promises to respond to this request every time!
Of course, God has already done everything else necessary to offer us eternal life. God (Jesus Christ) came to earth in the body of a man so that He could die for man. God’s plan required a perfect man to die for imperfect man. Only God in human flesh could do this. While on the cross,Jesus Christ took all human sin upon His own body and then accepted Divine punishment against those sins as He bore them in His body. And His blood became the purchase price for God to offer human beings mercy and eternal life. In this way, God did not overlook our sin, but He made a way that He could justly forgive sin and cleanse our soul of it. Consider this beautiful verse: “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
(I Peter 2:24)
You Have God’s Promises
God has promised that whenever a repentant, believing person calls upon God for salvation that He will save that soul. Consider these promises from the Bible:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with themouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)
“For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:11)
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
In these promises we see several things. First, is that when a person believes upon Christ, or places their trust on Him, they are absolutely promised salvation. This believing must come from within the heart where God has already done the work of repentance and then the person confesses his/her heart prayerfully. Why is this verbal part important to God? Probably because if one can’t speak of their belief then it doesn’t really exist in the heart. Second, we see that this is for everyone. There is no such thing as there being some people for which Christ did not die to save. Third, is the absolute certainty of the promise. There is no wiggle room in these promises…no may be, could be, or hope so. It is always…shall be saved!
Dial 911 To Heaven
We dial 911 in an emergency because the problem is too great for us to handle alone. There is no time for delay. So we trust the rescuers who come to our aid.
Look upward! Lift up your heart to trust Jesus Christ. With your mouth ask Him to save your soul while trusting Him to fulfill His great promise of salvation for you right now.
Can you trust Christ? He demonstrated His love and character when he died sacrificially for you on the cross. Prayerfully express your heart like the thief on the cross did (Luke 23:39-43). We hear this dying sinner who couldn’t relive his life, go to church, or be baptized: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” And now hear Jesus Christ giving him an unconditional instantaneous promise: “Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”
You Can Do This
A testimony from the writer: About 27 years ago I was a man who was uncertain about the existence of God. I thought He might exist but then I wasn’t completely sure about it. One evening I decided to challenge God to respond if indeed He existed. So I looked up into the sky and said the following: “Lord, if you are really there then I wish you would show me.”Two years later a missionary came to my town in eastern Washington State . He knocked on my door and invited me to his new church. I reluctantly went. After several weeks, I had heard several sermons on the matter of eternal life. On March 16, 1980, at the end of the morning service, I was left with an overwhelming sense of my own guilt and impending doom. I also experienced an overwhelming sense of the presence of God Who was offering me eternal life for that particular day. I remembered the great salvation promises that I had been taught. So I arose from the folding metal chair and took the two steps needed to approach the preacher and tell him that I wanted to be saved. He knelt with me as I spoke the simple truths that were alive in my heart. I said, “Lord you know all about my sins and I am guilty before you now. But I also know that you died for me and that you offer me salvation this day. I ask you to save me now. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.” In that moment the sense of guilt departed and has never returned. I became the new creature in Christ described in II Corinthians 5:17. As the months passed, I found my philosophies about many things radically changed. I also learned that the Lord Jesus has a still small voice that still calls me relentlessly to live for him.
What If I Can’t Hold Out
This question has been asked by many people as they consider God’s promises of eternal life. The very question indicates an erroneous understanding of God’s plan of salvation. The Bible says that salvation is by grace (God’s favor) and that it is a gift that has been purchased for sinners by Jesus Christ. If we could not do any work to receive it, why would we think that some work would cause its loss?
If we will simply take God’s word on this then we can know that eternal life is eternal, not temporary. There is no condition attached for the keeping of the salvation that God so graciously and powerfully gives us. Consider the following:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand”. John 10:27-28
“He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24
In these great promises for the eternal security of the believer, the Lord says that He holds onto us not the other way around. Just as a parent will not trust the child to hold on to him/her when crossing the street, neither does God depend upon us holding on to Him. He knows that as long as we live in human flesh we will fail Him by sinful actions. But it is our soul, or spirit, that has been cleansed and which will stand before God in eternity.The Lord promises that the believer shall not come into condemnation. There are no conditions or possibilities in this that the believer could ever lose his or her salvation.
The reader is also encouraged to read the magnificent passage of Romans 8:35-39 on this subject where every possible influence of life is analyzed for its power to tear the believer out of the loving relationship with Christ. The apostle concludes that nothing that we can encounter in our physical life can ever destroy this relationship which is established by God’s work in us and purchased by the very blood of Christ.
Need Further Help?
We encourage you to contact us at the phone numbers or e mail address shown on the home page or find a Baptist church and ask for help. We recommend independent, fundamental Baptist churches. You can find them in your yellow pages under, “Baptist, Independent” or “Baptist, Fundamental”. If you have trusted the Lord after reading and considering this message, please let us know so that we may rejoice and be encouraged in the work of the Lord for you.