HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE!
I faced death several times and I held on for my dear life; but that is absolutely nothing in comparison to facing God in eternity (Hebrews 10:29-31). Faith has the awesome task of persevering into eternity (II Peter 1:6; Romans 5:3-4; Ephesians 6:18). It is not a matter of enduring or outlasting hardships, illness or even persecutions. Regardless of how severe these may be, they do not last or go beyond the grave. We are living in a time when we are in danger of losing our life, soul or salvation (II Peter 3:17-22). It is not my idea, but the message that Jesus left behind (Luke 18:8). We are not being persecuted in the free world, but we are being restricted to practice our religion indoors. Sin can no longer be denounced. Marriage is a thing of the past. The biggest culprit is the word unconditional. It was a superb invention for sinners that do not and will not let go of their wicked ways. Unconditional love and grace is tailor made for people that do not repent. Too many religious leaders please our itchy ears (II Timopthy 4:3-4). How often do we hear sermons on the wrath of God, on judgment day or on being rewarded for our works rather than our faith? Have we heard anyone suggest that grace may be a reward rather than a gift for those that carry out the will of God or for Christ here on earth (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 7:21-23)? What has become of the fear of God (Matthew 10:28)? Just how Christian are our public prayers without the name of Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33)?
Our faith, in Christ, has been obliterated by sugarcoating it with a form of godliness without power (II Tim.3: 5). Demonic forces, in angelic forms, parade as imposters of Christ (Mt.24: 4-5; II Cor.11: 13-15). They are evil spirits in the air filling our minds with perversion (Eph.3: 10; 6: 12). The leader of these sources of deception is Satan, the ancient serpent that beguiled Eve and is on earth now spreading his fatal venom against Christ and his followers (Gen. 3; Rev.12: 9-13: 1). He is in control of the world and all material things, including our bodies (Mt.4: 8; Lk.4: 5-7). He can inflict and destroy man physically, but he cannot terminate the soul or the breath or the spirit that is the property of God. He can deceive the human mind and take those that believe in his evil ways to hell, but he cannot kill the soul. God alone has that power (Mt.10: 28; Lk.12: 4-5).
The question is what can helpless man do against such overwhelming force? It is as if the devil is fully behind diminishing man’s will and strength to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Jesus has changed that situation. Satan put Jesus on the cross and into the grave, but he could not keep Him there. He became the absolute living proof that there is life after death and that the “soul” is eternal. In fact, He proved that He existed before creation, before Adam was (Jn.8: 58). As a follower of Christ, we too can overcome because of what God has put into us is greater than the one who is in the world (I Jn. 4: 4-6). Our partner, the Holy Spirit, aids us in living the way Jesus lived and that is the surest way to rejoin our Lord the Christ or Son of God in His eternal kingdom (Jn.14: 1-26). By submitting to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee (Ja.4: 7). To keep the devil out, we must keep our house in order and fill it with the message and mission of Christ. If we do not fill our life with godliness, then the evil spirit will re-inhabit us and bring seven of his friends with him that are far worse than he is (Lk.11: 24-26). We are toying with our souls and it is up to us not let Satan deceive us from entering Jesus’ world.
Barely making it into eternity is not what it is all about. God specifically created us, in Christ, to do good works before we were born (Eph.2: 10). Those that serve Christ, unknowingly, have a place with the Lord before the world existed (Mt.24: 34-40). We, again, have been misled by allowing grace to camouflage works or deeds. Much more than that, grace has also done away with judgment. The popular idea that faith in Christ satisfies God is a serious error. Without the fruits of the Spirit or work after, we shall face a serious problem (Gal.5: 22-23). Judgment is based on what we have done and not on what we believed (Mt.12: 36-37; 2 Cor.5: 10). Of course, we need faith to direct us to the kind of deeds that are Christ-like and godly (Jn.14: 11-12). Final justice will be handed out in eternity (Lk.12: 2-7). And it will be based on how we have served our Christ (Jn.12: 47-50).
The judgment scene in “The Book of Revelation” does not place everyone in the same category. Those that died, like their Lord, in this world have a special place and shall share in the first resurrection and in Christ’s reign (Rev.20: 5-6). The second group rests from their labors and is allowed to join Christ when all souls shall be resurrected (Mt.25: 34-36; Rev.14: 13). The third group has a place in Christ’s new world but without rewards. Heaven has kept a record for everyone of our actions and we shall receive what is coming to us (Rev.20: 12; Ro.2: 6-11); but because of Christ’s sacrifice, we may escape by the skin on our teeth (I Cor.5: 5). Christ will come to the aid of those whose bodies the devil tortured in order to obliterate their faith (Jn.10: 28-29). Even those that suffer are not exempt from the Law and the Prophets Christ had come to fulfill. It was because the leaders had failed to obey God’s directions that Jesus declared, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.5: 20). The kingdom would be taken from those that produce no fruit and given to those that do (Mt.21: 42-44). How about this message of Jesus: “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mt.13: 41-43). Paul, the Apostle, had this stern message, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal.6: 7). Well, well is it not what is happening to our beloved land and we keep on refusing to become better persons?