Today’s post is a continuation of Thursday Thoughts, posted 3 days ago.
Today I was reading 2Peter chapter 1, and these words from v4 jumped out at me: “…He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful Word to guide us!
There are two places we live our lives. The world – ruled by lust, and eternity. How we live in the world determines where we will spend our eternity. (The breakfast we choose to eat determines how well we will get through our day.) What drives a fear of death? Not knowing how we will spend our eternity, where we will go when our time in the world is over, and what it will be like. If we knew we were going to heaven after leaving earth, there would be no fear; we’d all be joyous at that thought! Why?
The world is driven by sin. Each of us are driven by sin. I’m not talking about “sins” here, for we all sin, we all choose sin when given the chance, not one of us is perfect – or without sin. I don’t care which sins you commit, they are no better or worse than those I’ve chosen. We’re all of us in the same world, in this same condition.
After we leave this world there will be a judgment. We will come into the presence of the most holy, perfect God, and He will see deep within us at our condition. Heaven is free of sin – absolutely pure – as is, of course, God. If even one sinner enters heaven…if even one sin gets through the gate…heaven would be forever completely changed, and no longer holy, pure, or perfect.
An analogy that is frequently told is this: What ingredients do you use when you make brownies? Flour, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, cocoa, and a dash of salt, and the result are delicious wonderful tasty brownies that you can enjoy without reservation (unless you’re on a diet 😉). Now let’s put a little dog poop in the mix. Just a little. Just one little tiny piece from the yard your dog uses for his toilet. Do you still have clean, pure brownies? Or are they forever changed into something you wouldn’t want?
And THIS, my friends, explains why not even one sinner – not even one little sin – will be found in heaven, in the presence of the Most High God. And that leaves the only other option…
If we are ALL sinners, then, how can any of us get into heaven when we die?
If I create a debt – let’s say I buy a brand-new Lexus – and then decide not to make my payments, I can be taken to court, fined, and possibly even go to jail! Unless someone who is aware of my plight pays for that car, eliminating my debt and with it, the risk of jail…after which I would owe that person so much that I’d do anything and everything I could for him, wouldn’t I!
That’s what Jesus did. He paid that debt. In choosing sin we make ourselves unfit for heaven; even though we are powerless over sin as we stand, we cannot enter the presence of God in our sinful state. And only God can make a way for us to spend eternity with Him. Because we are His own creation, that He loves, He paid that debt when He became a man – a perfect man, as only He can do – and took the punishment for our sins for us, giving us the choice to accept that payment so that we could go to heaven when we die.
When we choose to accept that payment and live for Jesus, we can know, without doubt, that when we leave this earth we will be with Him; our names are now written in the Book of Life. But there are other changes within us as well! God’s own most Holy Spirit comes into that newly opened door into our very soul and guides us. We are changed into someone that He can use for His kingdom. Some of the changes we will now be within us are a love for others…patience…desire to obey…peace in our soul…a thirst for God’s Word…a craving to be in prayer and fellowship with Him especially, and also other believers…unexplainable joy…the list is so long there’s no way to write it all here, and God gives us each what we need to live for Him. BUT, along with every other wonder and gift and promise from God Himself, are in the words He dictated to others and that we now call the Bible.
So, given all of this, there is no reason to fear death – or anything that may cause it! Once our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, we can be assured that we will joyfully run into His arms once we leave this world behind, and there is nothing at all, ever, that give us more to look forward to than that!
Below are some selections from the Bible that explain the facts I’ve shared above. But these don’t even begin to scratch the surface! Once you choose Jesus’ way of paying off your sin-debt, and once you have God actually living in and with you, He will open your eyes to the wonders and the promises and the great love that He gives us in that holy Book! So please…don’t take my word for it. Take His.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-24)
…as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 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: 14-18)
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. (John 14:23-27)
[Jesus speaking] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:9-11)
[Jesus speaking] Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)
[Jesus speaking] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. (1John 5:11-13)
INDEED, if we use this “breakfast time” in the world wisely, we have nothing to fear from moving onto the next, and final, part of our life; rather we can anticipate it with great joy!
To learn more, read the words of God. A good place to start is the book of John (4th book in the new testament), also good is Romans (6th book in the NT). And the book of Psalms in the old testament has a lot to teach us as well about the character of God, prayer, history, and God’s care for His own!