When Christians say they are “saved,” they are talking about their eternal lives. We all know that our lives here are temporary. Even from our youngest ages, we learn that death is ineveitable. A lot of times, our earliest experience with death is that of our pets. Older relatives often pass away when we are young, and accidental deaths jolt our sense of security. I do know of some families that have barely been touched by death, but they are few and far between.
My own mother died shortly after I turned thirteen, in a drunken car accident. She wasn’t the victim of a drunk driver. She was an alcoholic who got into an argument with her equally drunken boyfriend, and she ended up on the side of the road with a severe head injury. I, along with my older sister, (who was fourteen at the time) were brought to the hospital in the middle of the night to find out that our mother was dead. Walking up to the doors of the hospital, we saw her boyfriend crying with blood all over his clothes. We were led into a bright room where we saw our mother. She looked like she had been beaten, and she didn’t move. I don’t remember whether they had already taken her off the respirator at that point or not, but the shock of knowing she was gone for good made the whole situation feel unreal. When I walked, I felt like I was floating, I could barely feel my own body.
I had faced death before, when my cousin Billy died at the age of sixteen. A number of my pets had died, including outdoor cats hit by cars, my pet rabbit who was killed by a wild animal, and my hamster.
I knew that death meant that I would be apart from my mother for the rest of my life. I have always said that the hardest part of having someone you love die is missing them. To be permanently separated from my mom is a pain that still hasn’t ended. I am a grown woman myself, and still cry easily when I think of my mother. This computer screen keeps getting blurry now as I write these things. Sudden, unexpected death is brutal, and so is knowing ahead of time. There is no easy way to be forced apart from the people you love.
Our bodies are mortal, and we are all susceptible to life-threatening diseases, accidents and/or violent crimes. Our physcial bodies are fragile, and though some are stronger and healthier than others, we can’t live forever. That’s a pretty huge burden for us to bear. The uncertainty of our own lives and the lives of the people we love is this life’s greatest sorrow. But God has a plan to save your eternal life.
Your eternal life is forever. It’s not here today and gone tomorrow. Most people would consider 100 years to be a long life in human terms. But compared to eternity, this lifetime is a grain of sand! One hundred years is nothing compared to the unending lifetime that is eternity. God’s plan is to give you an immortal (undying, unaging, disease and illness-free) body that will last forever!
I praise God that this isn’t my only shot at a happy life! I am comforted by knowing that the pain I’ve felt my entire life since my mother died will someday be gone completely. I am grateful that the Lord loves me so much that He sent His own Son to die a torturous death so that my sins could be forgiven, and I could be welcomed as a child of God the Father. The reward God offers us who believe that Jesus is His Son, and that He died as a perfect (without sin) sacrifice to make up for the sins of all people who are willing to believe in Him, is an eternal life that is filled with joy, health, fulfillment and happiness.
Jesus Himself clearly explains what is required to take hold of your eternal life promised by God. In John Chapter 3, verses 16-18, Jesus says, “For God (the Father) so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. [NIV Bible] It is imperative that we understand that God the Father and Jesus the Son are a package deal. You can’t just say, “I believe in the God of the Old Testament, but I don’t believe that Jesus was actually both the Son of God and also a man.” Equally misguided would be to say, “Jesus was a prophet sent from God, but He wasn’t actually God.” Another example of false teaching would be, “Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. He went into a coma and recovered, so He didn’t rise from the dead because He wasn’t dead to begin with.” All such beliefs are false and in direct opposition to the One True God. Any teachings or religions that do not preach that Jesus was both fully human and fully God at the same time; that Jesus was a good man and a prophet of God, but not God Himself, or that Jesus didn’t actually die, but instead was comatose and spontaneously recovered are lies.
In order to be made right with God the Father and to receive forgiveness for our sins, we MUST believe that He sent His Son to be sacrificed for our sins! Rejecting Jesus or diminishing Him in any way will abolish our opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life with God. In John Chapter 5, verses 19-24, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing , because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all He does. Yes, to your amazement He will show Him even greater things than these (healing miracles). For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. (Jesus will judge both the living and the dead when He returns to this world. This is referred to as the Second Coming.) He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. I (Jesus) 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.” [NIV Bible]
So how can you save your eternal life? By believing! You can’t earn your way to heaven. You can’t be perfect or sinless, only God can. You can do good deeds, you can be kind, you can help others, you can be faithful to your husband or wife, you can be a good example to your children, you can give money to charity…but you can’t save yourself. You NEED Jesus! You can’t do it, but He can and He will! Obey God by believing that He sent His only Son into this world, knowing He would be killed in a savage way. In Romans Chapter 5, verses 6-8, it says: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless (unable to save our own eternal lives), Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [NIV Bible] God the Father’s plan to sacrifice His Son to atone for our sins didn’t depend on our good behavior. Jesus willingly experienced the physical and mental anguish of death by crucifixtion to make a way for us to be adopted into God’s family and to live with him for all eternity. Remember, Jesus was fully human as well as fully God, so He experienced the dread of knowing He was going to die and all of the physical pain involved in being crucified.
Understand that this was a great sacrifice in more ways than one–Jesus defeated death by taking all of our sins unto Himself, having His human body killed, and rising up again by the power of God, the highest power that exists. In Romans Chaper 5, verse 17 it states: For if, by the trespass of the one man, (Adam choosing to defy God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. [NIV Bible] God’s abundant provision of grace is the mercy He has on us to forgive us of all of our sins completely. By dying as a sacrifice for our sins, Jesus provides the link for us to connect to God the Father, to have our sins forgiven, and to spend our eternal lives with God. Our ultimate security and hope has to be in God, not in our bodies, our bank accounts, our abilities or our accomplishments.
Invite God into your life by telling Him, in your mind or out loud, “I believe that You are the one and only true God. I believe that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to die so that my sins could be forgiven. I believe that You are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You are the Lord, and I am asking You to forgive all of my sins. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Put it in your own words, be yourself, and remember that no one knows you like God does. He loves you and He wants to save your eternal life! All He asks…is that you believe.