Facts You Need to Know

Bible reading

 

Do you want to live forever? Do you want your eternal dwelling place to be heaven. . . . where you will find true fulfillment, absolute security, unimagined beauty, breathtaking surroundings, perfect health and vigor, and inexpressible joy? And this will not last for a year, a thousand years, but it will be endless existence—eternal life! What’s more, you will enjoy the presence of God, your Creator, Lord, King, and Friend! You will also have sweet fellowship with Jesus Christ, your crucified, risen, living Lord! What could be greater than this prospect of everlasting joy and blessedness!

But I must be honest with you. I must tell you the truth for this is what God would want. And this truth may not be wanted nor found pleasant by the majority—but it is the truth! It is this: Most people—the overwhelming majority of men and women—will not be in this place of eternal bliss! Rather, nearly all people you know (and maybe you as well) will be in a place of incredible anguish, eternal pain, desperate loneliness, absolute hopelessness, deprivation from all that is good and pleasant, as well as abandonment by God!

Which of these coming scenarios do you really want? Deep in your heart, do you want the former or the latter? Do you wish to be with God or separate from Him? Jesus puts it in this simple way: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Did you see the two possible destinies? The Lord said that “many” will enter through the wide gate and walk the broad way but this leads to eternal destruction (hell). On the other hand, “few” will enter through the small gate and walk the narrow way that leads to eternal life (heaven). If you want to be on that narrow way that avoids hell and goes to heaven, you need to know the following twelve points.

       1.    Your sins have made you guilty before God, the righteous “Judge” of the universe. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means that you and I have disobeyed God and violated His will. Therefore, we have the guilt of sin on our record. We must have this removed through His forgiveness.

       2.    Your sins have brought a spiritual separation from God. Our God is holy and righteous, thus sin cannot remain in His presence. God said, “You shall be holy [separated from sin], for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). “Your iniquities [lawless deeds or sins] have made a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2a). The Bible further says that we are “alienated” from God because of our “evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21). Since you and I have sinned, we have separated ourselves from our loving God! This includes the worst of people, such as Hitler, and it also includes the best of people.

       3.    God hates your sin and rebellion against Him. This is basic to His holy nature. As shocking as it may seem, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18a). When we sin, we are “storing up wrath” that will come upon us “in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (2:5). The Lord Jesus said that God’s wrath (or holy anger) “abides” on the sinful unbeliever as long as he remains in sin (John 3:36). Do you recognize this about your condition before God? You must find a solution to this dreadful, terrifying condition!

       4.    Our sins will bring eternal punishment and prevent us from entering heaven. In a lifetime, people may sin thousands or tens of thousands of times, thus we do deserve such a sentence of hell. God says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). The Bible lists many sins, then says that if we commit such sins, we simply cannot “inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:19-21). The unforgiven sinner will not enter the kingdom of God but “the wrath of God” will come on those who are disobedient (Ephesians 5:5-6). We must escape if we hope to go to heaven!

       5.    The good news is that God still loves you with an incredible love! We’ve never been loved as God loves us! The is the reason for the favorite verse in the Bible: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only . . . Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish [go to hell], but have eternal life [in heaven]” (John 3:16). God’s love (and mercy and grace) is the antidote to His burning wrath against sin! Do you want God’s mercy—or are you content with His wrath?

       6.    By His love, God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for our sins! The only remedy for our sin was given through Christ.  He died on the cross to pay for your sins that you might go free! Christ “Himself bore our sin in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24). “He “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (3:18). Jesus died for sins—and He died for you, personally—that you might be forgiven of sin and be delivered from this present evil age (Galatians 2:20; 1:4).

       7.    Christ Jesus was resurrected from the dead and this was His victory over sin, death and Satan.  When Jesus was raised from the grave after three days (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), he validated the effectiveness of His death for sin and He is able to give eternal, resurrection life to those who come to God through Him.  He said, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18).

       8.    God calls on you to repent of all your sins and turn to Him for full forgiveness of your sins. Since sin is that which separates us from God, we can see how vital it would be that we have a change of heart in regard to those sins—and determine to live differently in the future. Repentance is an entire reorientation of our life so that instead of “self’ reigning on the “throne of our heart,” we allow Jesus to reign there as King and Absolute Ruler. This is why “all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30). We must repent of our sins that we might be forgiven (Acts 2:38). The Bible declares, “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away” (3:19).

       9.    We must believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ (God’s Son). We must trust that Jesus is the only way to God and forgiveness of sin (John 14:6), and rely on Christ’s death on the cross for your sins (John 3:16-17). Thus, we read, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Do you have this inner faith, trust, and reliance on God through Christ?

       10. You must accept Jesus as your Lord and King. God’s Word says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). When you confess Jesus in this way, you are putting your inner faith into outward expression. “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6).

       11. Put your faith and repentance into an act—as you are baptized into Christ. God commands you, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). One convicted sinner was commanded: “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (22:16). When you are baptized into Christ, you renounce your former life and rise (from the waters) to live a new life: “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4; cf. Colossians 2:12-13).

       12. Let Jesus Christ be the very center and purpose of your life. Jesus is to have “first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18b). Paul was able to say, “To live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Is this also the meaning of your life? The Bible explains it in this powerful way: “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Is this a description of your life?

I hope that you can see how essential it is that you settle this matter totally and completely. You stand on the brink of an awesome chasm. Most people are falling into the dreadful pit of destruction called “hell,” whereas only a few are willing to
cross the bridge of Christ to reach the heavenly city of eternal bliss. What will you do? Will you be part of the majority who are content to let life pass them by, as you vainly pursue your earthly pleasures and plans? Or will you be part of the few who will renounce yourself and your sin and embrace Christ Jesus, God’s only solution to your sin problem? (Mark 8:34-38). Be willing to humble yourself and choose life, forgiveness, and eternal blessing!

Richard Hollerman

 

 

 


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