What you believe, matters
Last week, I wrote about our cat chasing after a red laser light that we flash on the floor and the wall and the fact that he couldn’t “catch” it. He’s really funny to watch, but he thinks he can catch the red dot. He’s running after something we would call “elusive.”
I also said, many people are chasing after an “elusive” afterlife in Heaven. It’s not that Heaven doesn’t exist, the Bible is very clear that it does. It’s just that we are so dogmatic in believing that we have to “do” something to be able to spend our eternity in heaven. I believed that for 25 years. I was raised in a religious home. My parents were in church every time the doors were opened. But when I was 25 years old, I stood at a crossroads: I could go on believing what I had been taught, or I could believe what the Bible teaches. I reasoned that since the Bible was God’s written Word to His people, I needed to find out what it said and what the teachings of the Bible were. In over 38 years of studying the Bible, the bottom line teaching is that a person has to be “born again” (born twice in order to spend eternity in Heaven.)
Last week, I shared some Bible verses for you to read and think about. In John Chapter 3, Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews and a very learned man, comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Think about this. If there was something Nicodemus had to “do” wouldn’t Jesus have told him? Well, He did. Jesus told him he needed to be born again of the Spirit. We cannot be born again of the flesh, but because our flesh is carnal and with sin, we cannot enter into Heaven where there is no sin. So, by being born again by the Spirit, we can become a new creation in Christ and have our sins forgiven. Not everyone will go to heaven when they die. (Matthew 7:20-22) Only those who receive Christ as their Savior and receive the gift of eternal life.
What does that mean? It means, not trusting in what you have done for salvation or not trusting in what many believe is popular in order to go to Heaven (church membership, being a good person, treating others right, giving a lot of money to the church, being baptized, etc.) It is asking Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, into your life (heart) and asking Him to save you, and receiving the gift of eternal life. Period. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing that we can do, but everything that He has already done.
Here’s my question to you for this week: Are you willing to “roll the dice of life” and believe what some pastor or priest or religious leader has told you about eternal life, or are you willing to believe what Jesus has to say about the subject? If you are wrong in what you believe, you are dead wrong for all eternity. If I am wrong, I’m still going to Heaven because I have been baptized and take the Lord’s Supper and am a member of a church and give money to it, and treat others nice and live a good life. I am also “born-again” and that is what is going to allow me access to God’s Heaven. And that alone. I really want you to consider what I have written about this week. What you believe in this life, matters in the next life. Be right, or be left behind.
Pastor Thad Gifford can be reached at (740) 852-7800, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.3c-church.org.