Sunday, March 23, 2008

# 241: Are We Absolutely Certain?

There are many people who believe they will be going to heaven at death, on an assumption that may not be in accordance with the New Testament (NT). This post will bring out Biblical verses which will clarify what is required to know, with certainty, if our presumptions are correct.

While we truly may believe we are living as is required, it would be a devastating occurrence at the last judgment to find ourselves not being accepted for eternal life because we did not actively adhere to the mandatory NT dictations.

This Biblical blog is doing all that is humanly possible to keep as many people as possible out of hell and avoiding the severity of its eternal torment, which no human words can ever describe. It could be that hell is not real to many people who call themselves Christians, except as a place where the other person (non-believer) is going.

I truly believe that every person who is a genuine Christian should do everything in their power to warn as many people as possible that hell is a real place where they may go if they don’t live up to all that the NT teaches. Making every effort to do that is the main focus of my life.

Then, many will mention the absolute importance of grace, in that it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we will be permitted to enter heaven. And that is precisely true because no one, regardless of how many good works anyone does, will ever be qualified for eternity.

The only thing we all must remember is that God’s grace is apportioned only to those who have faith in Jesus Christ and that His death on the cross will remove all our sins when we repent; once we have done that, then we are expected to love God as He requires. That means our obedience to NT commands will be the necessary result showing that we love God and have faith in Jesus Christ. If we say we love God and have faith in Jesus Christ without obedience, that disobedience makes our Christian lives null and void. Does that make sense? Romans 1:5: ". . . to call people from among the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

Repeating, faith saves us, but faith only in word is not saving faith. As the apostle James said several times, "Faith without works is dead." Also, works that don’t spring from faith and love are worthless. The works of love accurately display our faith and love. This Biblical fact cannot be overly stressed. And that is exactly what the majority of Christian churches do not stress. Being lax toward this IMPERATIVE doctrine has become one of the most deadly heresies of the organized church. The reason they are lax is because the laity, in general, is lazy. They take the course of least resistance and don’t care to go out in the world and attempt to convince as many as possible that works are as important as faith and love. God’s grace cannot compensate for shirking our duties. Not many desire to hear this type of gospel, because works are not easy; I can attest to that fact—it is not easy. Romans 2:6. "God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life."

When it comes to the second greatest commandment, “loving our neighbors as ourselves,” which requires effort, we must not forget the spiritual aspects of loving those who have spiritual needs; I mean those who believe they are Christians but are not aware of what the NT commands as to how to live. How can we say we love them if we don’t somehow try to reach them? Trying to help them in this manner is much more challenging than just giving financial help or whatever else many may need.

Jesus said in Matthew 29:19 and 20, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age."

The apostle Paul says in Philemon 6, "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ."

When approaching those who claim to be Christians and believe they are going to heaven, ask them if they are aware of what the NT commands regarding how to live. The NT is the ONLY source which contains the criteria for what our lives should consist of. If we don’t know what the NT contains, most likely, our certainty of eternal life is flawed. Repeating, if we do believe we are living a holy life apart from NT knowledge, chances are, it may be misguided.

Another timely question to ask is whether hell is a real place to them, and what it would be like to live there for eternity. A scary thought. I am not trying to sound like a “hell-fire Baptist” to scare as many as possible to walk the straight and narrow, and thus continue to bilk parishioners’ money and attendance.

Along with evaluating what our status is with God, we must also be concerned with the eternal future of others. That is one of the basic tenants for outreach when approaching those who may be lost without knowing it.

As you know or should know, many of these commands are not popular or easy to implement; therefore, it is a crying shame most churches don’t include them in their sermons. Thus, it is not a good idea to ask church leaders what the requirements are as to being certain our Salvation is secure.

Let us see what the NT says about making our Salvation secure.

Hebrews 11:1. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

1st Corinthians 10:12. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall."

2nd Peter 1:10. "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Hebrews 6:11-12. "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what was promised."

2nd Peter 3:17. "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Hebrews 5:9. "and once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him."

Hebrews 12:14. "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."

This next command sounds so simple and is one of many similar ones throughout the NT. For some, it may be one of the most difficult to obey. James 4:4. "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

This one may be just as difficult: James 4:17. "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins."

If anyone desires a longer, though incomplete list of NT commands, go to the table of contents and click on post # 31. Don’t let that list overwhelm you; just be aware that it exists, and little by little the Holy Spirit will bless those who desire to obey the Lord and love God the Father as He desires. Those who desire to live holy lives will be satisfied. Guaranteed!

I am very aware that most, if not all, people desire to hear pleasant things said about themselves, and like to read literature that is easy to read and gives them a good feeling about themselves. Most people who go to any church will get an earfull of pleasant words, and some of those words may be true.

But at the same time, words of warning are just as appropriate, if not more. As most know, this Biblical blog is concerned with teaching what is in the Bible but not preached in most churches or elsewhere. Therefore, this Biblical blog will never become popular. And yet, there are some who subscribe to it, and take what the NT teaches as gospel truth which is to be obeyed, as pointed out. Therefore, make an active effort to live by what it teaches. God, Jesus Christ and I ask for no more. I pray you are, or will become, one of God’s saints. God will bless and give a certainty for Salvation to everyone who has an active faith, love and obedience.


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