If you’ve been following these blogs over the past several weeks, you might have thought this: “Now what, though? I’m a Christian. I’ve obeyed the gospel and had my sins washed away. What’s next?” Well, as important as naming the name of Jesus is, walking in His way every day is just as important.
Start by asking this question: Where am I spiritually today?
Taking an inventory of where you stand in the faith and being honest about it is a great place to begin. Are you where God wants you to be? Once you have answered that question, a vital follow-up is this: What does God say about that? Do His thoughts on where you are spiritually line up with your opinion on the matter? I pray you are walking in His way every day and growing in your faith.
But here is another important question to ask: Where am I heading?
God’s plan for your life has to be your plan. Naming the name of Jesus alone is not enough. Following in the steps of Jesus, being conformed to His image, and having the mind of Christ is required. You can’t rely on what you’ve done and where you’ve been in the past. You must go forward, guided by God’s desire for the thoughts you think, the decisions you make, and the actions you take.
Dig into His Word and let it change you every day.
The gospel – Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection – is our salvation. However, it is even more
than that. It also is our daily renewal. We walk by faith, inspired by the good news of the Savior every day. It saves us, it sustains us. I can never lose sight of the cross, never lose sight of His grace and mercy. I need this daily. I need Him daily.
So, now what?
If you are seeking His will, and motivated by the salvation of which you are assured through the blood of Christ, continue to press toward the final goal – eternity in heaven. I Corinthians 15:58 encourages us with these words: “…Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Death. It’s inevitable. It’s the moment that no one can avoid. It’s the common denominator among all humans. Death is something we don’t really think about nor talk about, and if we do, it’s usually about someone else.
For some people, the words I am going to die are so terrifying that they will sink into depression or become overwhelmed with anxiety. For others, the idea of their own mortality just never crosses their mind. No matter the reason for not thinking about death, there’s a need to deal with the problem of death and not run away from it, and thankfully, the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides a solution to this problem.
One of the clearest statements of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15, in which it states that the Gospel message is that Jesus died, was buried, was resurrected, and seen by others. It is no coincidence that within this same chapter we find that Jesus provides the answer to a fear of death, and provides us with a healthy perspective of death: Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?... Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. This same message is corroborated by Hebrews 2:14-15 in which we learn that through Jesus defeating death (by resurrecting), he has freed the people enslaved to death through fear. Through these passages, the New Testament writers are showing us how Jesus Christ provides an answer to the fear and anxiety brought about by death. From these two passages we can see that our mighty and loving God has overcome death in Jesus, has provided us victory over death through Jesus, and that our victory is manifested in our own personal resurrection. This personal resurrection is expounded on in 1 Corinthians 15, and the message found there is one of hope. Just as Christ was raised, so will we, and just as Christ put on an imperishable body, so will we. Therefore, just as Christ was victorious over death, so are we.
It is evident in scripture that the Gospel of Jesus Christ provides us with a healthy perspective of death. A perspective that concludes that not even death can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). A perspective in which we can boast of life eternal with our loving Savior (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). A perspective that is intrinsically encouraging, provoking us to live in harmony with our God and so also with one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 15:58; John 13:35).
With the ability to view death in a healthy light, we must be sure to do so—and not to ignore it.
Just because we have a healthy perspective on death doesn’t mean we can now go on ignoring our inevitable death. Jesus tells a story in Luke 12:16-21 that helps us see the need to consider (with some form of regularity) that we will not make it out of this world alive. He tells a story of a man who has a great year in his business, and with his profits he determines to seek greater profits and to ensure that he can live comfortably. The foolish part about this man’s thinking is that he never stops to think about how he will not have this stuff when he dies. He never stops to think about anyone but himself—including God. We can be this foolish man when we are forgetful; when we are blinded by our academic or professional pursuits; when we are blinded by the comfort we enjoy in our air controlled rooms on our comfy couches with our entertaining television. We are the foolish man when we fail to remember that we will one day die and in turn fail to maintain a relationship with Jesus: the only one who can offer us a solution to the problem of death.
We are blessed to have a loving God who never had to experience death yet did experience death to overcome it for us. The question to consider now is this: what will you do about it?
My hope is that you seek Him and wholly trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If your prayers are few and far between because God’s replies feel vague or nonexistent, you are not alone. The perceived lack of answers from God can keep some from praying, and some from believing. Prayer is obviously an innate part of our relationship with the Lord, and probably all mankind. No matter how weak our faith may be, calling on God is like an instinct. Even those who don’t know Christ will drop to their knees and plead for God’s intervention in the darkest moments.
God does answer prayer.
He answers prayer because He is the answer. Sounds cliché, but it is the truth. He is our comforter, provider, teacher, counselor, physician, healer and redeemer, but we often don’t want His kind of answers. Instead we ask God to send specific solutions to remedy our problems. We lose our job, then a new job is the solution. We lose our health; restored health is the solution. It’s not to say He can’t answer these needs if He chooses, but He wants us to call on Him by faith for His name’s sake.
But what about the stormy days when we’re going down with the ship? Surely, we can put aside the just “have faith” solution for a tangible lifeboat? This is the kind of storm so violent that every moment is occupied with turmoil and a moment free from the storm cannot be found, much less a free moment to sit and pray. And if you do pray, it is 100% about getting out of the storm and finding calm waters. Isn’t saving us from the proverbial storm a high enough priority that nothing else matters?
A lame man was brought to Jesus for healing and Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. The crowd around them was not impressed, in fact they were upset with Him for forgiving someone’s sins! But after that, Jesus healed the man and the lame man stood up and walked, and the crowd was in awe. It’s not unlike us today. We call on Jesus for help with an urgent need and all He gave is forgiveness of sins. We’re not impressed. We asked for a new alternator for the truck and got nothing but eternity with the King of Kings. That’s really cool, but how do we get to work in the morning? We want a knee replacement and He gave us eternity in heaven with Him. You see the point? The tangible answers and provisions are wonderful things, but nothing should displace the priority of our salvation. Next time a storm rages, reflect on the reality of your eternal existence, and you’ll see the storm through different eyes.
The greatest answer is Jesus. He offers Himself when we call.
Jesus is the messenger and He is the message. He is the eternal answer. The divine and merciful plan from before creation was to send the Son of God to make atonement for our sins and reconcile mankind and God. Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6). He brought Word from heaven, and He is the Word. He preached salvation and He is salvation. We were in darkness and He is the Light of the world. We call on Him and He always saves us.
Romans says “All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Jesus is the answer to our prayers. We may never appreciate the magnitude of this truth this side of life, but when we stand alone before God on judgement day, we will be glad Jesus was the answer when we called.
A lot of people today have valid questions about the judgement of God. Is there really going to be a judgement? What is judgement like? Who is going to be judged? Can a loving God really condemn people to hell? These are all great questions that the Bible answers for us.
God gives us a picture of judgement in the book of Revelation 20:11-15. Here we are told about a great white throne with God seated upon it. Then we get a look at who is present at judgement. The holy scripture says, “I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God.” So yes, there really is a judgement coming for all of us. Every one of us will stand before God for judgement regardless of our earthly status. It won’t matter if we are wealthy, middle class, or poor as a church mouse, we will all stand before God. Since we are going to stand in judgment before God, then we should want to know what His standard for judgement is going to be.
God is holy and righteous.
His judgement is also holy and righteous according to His standard, not man’s. God as the sovereign being has the right to make the rules and enforce them. We see this principle displayed over and over again in His holy word. God’s righteous judgement means that it is perfect and without flaw. We are told again in Revelation chapter 20 that God will open books at the judgement and that we will be judged according to the things in these books. One of the books at judgement is the Book of Life. This book contains the names of everyone who is saved and who is now adopted into the family of God. We are also told the fate of those who are not children of God and who are not written in the Book of Life – they are cast into the Lake of Fire which is the second death, it is eternal hell. God in His righteous judgement must condemn all those who are disobedient to Him and their final end is eternal hell.
This Book of Life sounds important.
How do I make sure that my name is written in it so that I can go to heaven? Only those who are obedient to God’s word and remain faithful will find their names in the Book of Life at judgement. Revelations 3:5 says that the ones who overcome will have their names in the Book of Life and that Jesus “will confess our names before God and his angels.” We are also told that our obedience to God includes being obedient to His gospel. The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and is embodied in His death, burial, and resurrection. The wise and honest heart asks how one can be obedient to Jesus’ death, His burial and His resurrection.
The answer lies in the sacred and holy act of baptism.
In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul shows us how to walk the “Roman Road” to salvation. In chapter 6 Paul says that when we are baptized, we are baptized into Christ’s death and that we are buried with Christ in baptism. Being immersed in water symbolizes both the death of Christ and His burial. Then as we are raised out of the water, we are likened to Christ being resurrected from the grave. In this manner we are obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ and we have our names written in the Book of Life.
We are told in the Book of Acts that there is going to be a resurrection of the dead. This resurrection of the dead includes those written in the Book of Life and those not found in that book. On that day, when we stand before Him, we will understand what the writer of the book of Hebrews meant when he said, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Friend, you can make sure that when you stand before the Living God and He judges you eternally that you know that you are saved. Simply be obedient with His word by believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, repent of your past sinful life, and live for Jesus. Confess that Jesus is the Son of God and be immersed in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins. Its as easy as that to make sure that your name is written in the Book of Life and that you have a mansion in heaven with your name written on it.