It has been said that for those who believe in Jesus this life will be the closest thing to Hell that we will ever experience. But, for those who don’t believe, this life will be the closest thing to Heaven . . .
Jesus died rejected and alone on the Cross. The Bible, God’s Word, tells us that it was not the nails which were driven through His hands and feet that kept Jesus on the Cross, it was His love for you. He willingly and lovingly took the penalty and punishment for all of your sins. Each and every one of them, regardless how big or how small. Your debt, paid in full, by Him. Through God’s grace, you simply need to accept it and believe it. It is free to everybody. It is available to everybody. But, God has given each of us the free will to make our own choice. We must choose to accept it. We must choose to believe it. It has to be a conscious decision made by each of us at some point in our life. If, through prayer, we simply and sincerely admit or confess that we have sinned, ask for God’s forgiveness, and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and His death on the Cross as payment for our sins, regardless of how bad our sins are or how often we have sinned or how long it has been since we have asked for God’s forgiveness (a simple, short prayer) and sincerely believe these things, it is not only His Word and Promise that all of our sins will be forgiven and completely forgotten, but God tells us that it is the only way we can be forgiven and enter into His Kingdom. He will forgive our failures and has compassion. He will help us to change and be strong when we need to be strong and He will be there and help us through all of life’s battles . . . if we ask Him.
The Bible tells us that every man and woman on Earth is already condemned to Hell - “the second death.” We are told the execution of this judgment will take place after this body dies. God also tells us there is an escape for any and all who will simply accept it . . .
God has gone to extraordinary lengths and pain to make it simple for us to escape the judgment of Hell. Jesus completed all of the work for us. We cannot enter Heaven because of the good deeds we have done, or think that we have done.
We cannot enter Heaven because we were baptized as a baby, or were confirmed into a church. There is no other person here on Earth, regardless of their title, affiliation or position who can save us, and there is no ritual or donation of money that can provide entrance into Heaven, or provide an escape from the alternative.
The gospel (good news) is that if we simply believe in our hearts that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), and that Christ died for all of our sins, and that He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ask Him to come into our life as Lord and Savior . . . then, our life after death is certain. For if we acknowledge the King, we shall enter His Kingdom. If we deny the King, we shall be denied entrance into the Kingdom.
The Kingdom of Heaven.
Life, an eternal life, beyond anything we can ever imagine ...
It’s God’s Promise and His Word.
The “all roads and religions lead to heaven” or “I’ve been a good person, so I’ll go to Heaven” philosophies are wrong and deadly. Three times Jesus prayed in the garden just before His Crucifixion, “If it is possible (if there is any other way), then let this cup (His death on the Cross) pass from Me.” “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). There is no other way into the Kingdom other than through Jesus Christ and His righteous blood on the Cross. If there was any other way, then He didn’t have to die in agony on the Cross. He is the only door into Heaven. There is no window. You see it has nothing to do with how good we are (or think we are), or have been, but only through our faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved through His righteousness, not ours. This is God’s grace, His gift to us. All we have to do is make a sincere decision to accept it.
The Bible tells us God loves each of us so much that He thinks about us constantly, day and night. His thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sand. A love so deep for us that He even allowed (and watched, heartbroken) His Son, His only begotten Son, sent forth from Heaven, willingly suffer and die for us (through an act of love, strength, and courage that is beyond our ability to comprehend), so that any who believe in Him will not die, but will enter into His Kingdom, through His righteousness, and will share in His glory and inheritance. But, He has given to each of us the free will to make our own decision to accept or reject His offer. He loves us and His wish is that all would accept His offer. That is why He has made it so simple for us and why it is based on His grace and not our “goodness,” lest any of us should brag, or get a little “puffed up.” All we have to do is accept it and believe it. If we sincerely ask Him into our lives, He will do the rest.
This short period of time which we have on Earth simply gives us the time to choose our own destiny. Where we will spend our eternity is our decision, not His. The moment our soul or spirit is released when this body dies, we will be both conscious and aware of the decision we made, or didn’t make. It is our own decision. God tells us that belief comes through faith, not logic or intellect, and that our acceptance of His gift to us, through Christ, comes through faith (Heb 10-12). Jesus says that “you are either with Me or against Me” . . . there is no in between. He also says that if we call Him Lord, then we should obey Him, follow His commandments, and stop doing those things that are wrong. He will help us and He will forgive us whenever we fail . . .
If we ask Him.
To have some doubts, or to not immediately understand everything is normal. As the Apostle Paul tells us, “We can see or understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at His reflection in a poor mirror, or looking through a glass, darkly. All that we know now is hazy and blurred, but then (after this body dies) we will see everything clearly.” (1 Cor 13:12, paraphrased)
If you sincerely ask Jesus into your life, He will reveal Himself to you, and will welcome you into His everlasting Kingdom. His Kingdom is so beyond our ability to comprehend that Paul tells us that there are no human words that can describe its peace and beauty.
Most of us have a conception that eternity “is just lots of time.” This concept is wrong. Eternity, in God’s Kingdom, is disconnected from our physical property of time (a concept that Einstein and quantum physics have helped us to understand, a little). It will be incredibly beautiful, peaceful, exciting, restful, never ending . . . never boring! It is interesting that science is finally catching up to the incredible accuracy and precision of the Bible, written over thousands of years, yet perfectly consistent. The Bible is God’s proof of His existence and proof of His love for each of us, including His gracious offer of citizenship in His Kingdom, as sons and daughters, as co-heirs. All we have to do is accept His offer, through His Son, Lord Jesus Christ.
He will be there to welcome us . . . it’s God’s promise.
A Final Note . . .
There are some of us (not all) who may be experiencing a difficult trial simply because the Lord wants to get our attention. Many of us might ignore Him for months or years, feeling "too busy" or content. Some of us never thank Him for the good things He has placed in our life. A few of us are living in casual or sinful disobedience, hoping God will ignore it (which He won't). In some cases, we may be "receiving" a little of what we have been "giving" over the years. Sadly, God may often see us filled with selfishness and ingratitude. Through His eyes we are still little children and as any caring parent He would like His children to share their lives with Him. He wants to know us.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,'
shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven ...
Many will say to Me in that Day,
'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (taught) in Your Name,
cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
And then (at the judgment), I (Jesus Christ) will declare to them
'I never knew you ... depart from Me (departing from Heaven, into Hell)
you who practice lawlessness"
(Lawlessness is willfully doing or approving of things that are against God's Law)
(Matthew 7:21-23 NKJ)
The Lord wants to spend time with us (through prayer), both when we need His help and when things are in our lives seem to be okay. As a loving Father He will discipline us for disobedience and will train us (through His word) in those ways which are good.
Our Father in Heaven is the perfect God and Father. There is a purpose behind every trial in the life of the believer, but we may never know what it is until we get to Heaven. Regardless of the circumstances behind the fiery trial you may be going through right now, He cares for you very much. The sincere Christian who faithfully and obediently endures the pain, the suffering, the sorrow, and the grief found in this life will receive a far greater reward of peace, contentment, and rest in His Kingdom of Heaven.
Our time on Earth is short, but the Promise and the rewards for our endurance, patience, faithfulness, love, unselfishness, and obedience will last forever!
"For God so loved the World
that He GAVE His only begotten Son,
that whoever BELIEVES (trusts) in Him
should NOT perish (in Hell)
but have everlasting life (in Heaven).
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through Him might be saved (into Heaven).
He who believes in Him is not condemned (to Hell);
but he who does NOT believe (in Jesus Christ ... Yeshua Ha'Mashiach in Hebrew)
IS condemned (to Hell) ALREADY"
Jesus greatly LOVED us to save us from our sins and from Hell.
All God asks is we love Him for all He has done for us.
Grace and Shalom
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