Tag Archive: Eternal Life


God doesn’t see things our way, and there’s nothing we can do about it. In fact, it seems sometimes to us that God has a huge, mean, dark side to his nature…

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Yet we read in the Book of books, the Bible, that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all”. So how do we reconcile the hard realities of life with what we read?

What we’ve discussed in this little series can be boiled down to the fact that God-and reality-is something other than what we are and what we expect him or even want him to be. God is in no way controllable, tamable, measurable or understandable.

We cannot get a grip on God. And if you think about it, that’s how a God should be. Why should we expect the creator of the universe to be understood or controlled by limited, finite, mortal man? Since this is the case, how do we deal with a God who is apparently unapproachable, who has standards far above what we are able to live out, and who transcends all of time and space? There’s only one answer: God has to provide the way himself, and that’s exactly what he’s done.

God is infinite and perfectly holy, and yet perfectly merciful. The perfect God didn’t create the world and mankind in order to provide himself people to pick on. In fact, when he created the world in its original perfect condition along with mankind, as only a perfect God can do, we’re told that:

“…God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 2:31).

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What could a perfect God do when his created beings began to be imperfect and to rebel against him and to betray each other? He didn’t want to wipe out his own creation, so he provided for himself ways of  reaching out to weak, fallible mankind, and forgiving that imperfection and rebellion. Such provision is seen repeatedly throughout the Bible in many characters.

An early and clear example found in the Old Testament is Moses. Moses was chosen by God to deliver his people from slavery. But it wasn’t just physical deliverance from Egypt that God had in mind for Moses, it was deliverance for the people from his own perfect standards and from his wrath against those who would break them. God’s desire and in fact his natural, perfect compulsion was to punish and destroy those who were rebellious. But there were times when Moses stepped in:

I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you

But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people…?  Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people… And the Lord relented from the disaster… (Exodus 32:9-14).

God provided Moses to protect the Israelites from himself.

Many examples of people who stood between God’s wrath and man can be found in the Bible, but the greatest, and the most important one, is Jesus Christ. The gospel, or the “good news” about Jesus Christ is that he, being the only son of God, was sent by the Father to pay the price of our sin, rebellion and imperfection, which is God’s wrath:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed…and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all…(Isaiah 53:4-6).

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Remember the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, when he knew what was about to happen to him but surrendered to the will of the Father:

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless , not as I will, but as you will… (Matthew 26:39).

Jesus Christ suffered God’s wrath in our place when he was crucified and left to die. This was the Father’s, and the Son’s, ultimate expression of love and mercy to his creation:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through him…he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins… (1 John 4:9-10).

Jesus Christ is our answer to God’s perfection and justice. Our escape from what we may perceive as “the dark side” of God is his own son Jesus Christ. But we have to accept that way of escape. There is no escape from the perfection of God without Jesus Christ:

Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him (John 5:23);

Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die… (John 11: 26).

 

 

 

 

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I recently received some good news, and remarked to several people how uplifting-and rare-good news is for most of us. With everything going on in the world and in our own lives, it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s something worth celebrating every day.

I’ve published this post a few times before-apologies to regular readers- but it has to be done for those who’re searching for some good news and only glance at the home page. So here it is…good news for all of us!

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life with our Creator. We only need to accept God’s son, and to be prepared to try to live God’s way instead of our own way.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ” interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians can be confidently dated to around 55 AD (1).

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in 1st Corinthians, and writes:

“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news we can accept or reject-is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophecied in Old Teatament Scriptures (we can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross);

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

In a soon-coming series of posts I will discuss the significance of the gospel a little more, and also the nature of Jesus Christ: was he just a man, or was he and is he the “Son of God”, the incarnation of God?

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” (Pub. By Zondervan, © 1998) p. 230.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

HOW TO GO TO HEAVEN

The true, original way to heaven is described in the words of Jesus Christ and his apostles as recorded in the Bible. Jesus said:

“…whoever lives and believes in me will never die”  (John 11:26).

It almost sounds too simple doesn’t it? But it is simple. It’s the gospel proclaimed throughout the New Testament, and prophesied in the Old Testament. You can use this statement as a measure of all statements by organizations, churches, groups and missionaries today. Remember that Jesus did NOT say:

“whoever believes in me and joins church X and keeps all the commandments and all of our rules will never die…”

They may tell you that they are the only ones who can teach you how to live and how to follow Jesus: this is intended to draw you into their control. Please note that I am not saying it’s wrong to join a church,  but that it is wrong to join a church which piles burdens onto you, or which teaches a different version of the gospel.

Certain statements made by Jesus have been mistakenly taught to prove that we must keep all the commandments in order to earn eternal life. However, these statements were made to people who were following the law of Moses, and not the gospel of Christ as preached in the New Testament.

Again, Jesus said:

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Heaven is a free gift from God to everyone who will accept his Son.

Paul, one of the apostles of Christ who “turned the world upside down”, wrote these words:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the Biblical “good news” which describes what we are to believe in order to gain eternal life in heaven is this:

1 Christ-the Son of God-died for our sins, as prophesied for hundreds of years in Old Testament scriptures. We can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross;

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood and by certain writers, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. The original gospel, as stated by Paul above, can be dated to the first century. For information documenting this, see my post “What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

https://nickyfisher.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/what-is-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/Dr.

Those of us who believe that salvation comes by believing in Jesus, or to put it another way, that we are saved by faith alone, are often accused of thinking that we have a “license to sin”, meaning that we think we can live in rebellion against God as long as we just claim to believe.  However, many of us know that Jesus said;

“If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15).

John said:

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands” (I John 2:3).

We are saved from our sin and given eternal life when we put our faith in Jesus. We demonstrate and show that we have put our faith in him when we obey his commands. It is faith which saves us, because it is impossible, no matter how hard we try, to be perfect as God requires for us to live with him. God sent his perfect son into the world to be punished in our place. By accepting God’s son and living in him, we are associating ourselves with the one who has paid the penalty for our sin, and for that reason alone, God accepts us and gives us eternal life.

Jesus said “you must be born again” (John 3). By this he meant that we have to be born spiritually. When we take the step of putting our faith and trust in him, we are born spiritually into his kingdom. He comes to live in us and with us. You can take this step with a simple prayer, as long as you mean it.  Tell God that you believe the gospel of his Son as stated above, and that you want to belong to him. Tell him that you want to turn from your sin and live in him. Read what God requires of you in the Bible. Then, if you notice in following days and weeks that you are really changing in the way you live and think, you will know that you are “believing and living in him”.

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