This life is filled with ups and downs.
I understand your struggles.
I understand the fears and doubts that occupy your mind.
Joys and sorrows come and go throughout the lives we live.
But life is short and temporal.
Your life may end by end of day or decades down the road.
But for sure, we know not when, our lives will end.
What happens next, you ask yourself?
Where will I go?
Have I earned the right to enter God’s heavenly Kingdom?
Or is my destiny suffering in hell?
Are you at peace about your fate? Can you be?
For sure! That is why Christ came, descending from His throne.
To give us hope.
To give us peace.
To bring us salvation.
I hope the following is all a reminder of what you already know, but allow scripture to comfort you in your time of need.
Jesus said in John 14, speaking of His departure to His disciples.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
-John 14 :1-3
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
The key is believing, as He stated in that interaction.
Believing in God-in what God says and does- and in what Jesus said and did and is now doing in and for us.
Further instructing them,
Jesus said …
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus, God incarnate, fully God, and fully man, came to seek and save the lost, which is all of us.
In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul tells us,
None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
-Romans 3:10-12, 23
No one can earn salvation individually because we ALWAYS come up short. We all deserve the consequences of sin.
We cannot rely on the Ten Commandments, because in that regard everyone fails. If you have lied once in your life or broken any commandment once, you have not kept the commandments and are guilty of breaking the whole Law of God.
Even the first and greatest commandment, to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, is woefully out of reach,
‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
Our sin renders us hopelessly incapable of such love and of escaping condemnation on our own.
Jesus stated in the Sermon on the Mount that
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Scripture tells us,
…the wages of sin is death
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
But like any gift, you must accept it. God will not force it on you.
The Apostle Paul instructs us that…
if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. …For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
-Romans 10:9-10, 13
What is this instructing us to do?
We must, first of all, admit to ourselves and God that we are sinners and cannot save ourselves.
This admission takes humility.
We must understand that we deserve condemnation and death. We have no goodness that can change our fate and provide an escape.
We must believe Jesus died on the cross to save us individually from sin and death.
We must repent by turning from our life of sin to a new life in Christ and declare Jesus as Lord of our lives.
And receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s free gift of salvation.
Each individual must act and believe of his or her own accord. Each person’s faith is their own.
Growing up in a Bible believing home will not save you. Church attendance, sacrificial giving, and acts of service will not save you, nor will daily prayer and Bible reading, or anything you do. Only faith in the blood of Jesus, shed for you at the cross to cleanse you and wash away your sins, can save you.
Intentionally accepting God’s gift of salvation rights our relationship with God.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The grace of God saves us, but God’s grace and mercy are only available to us because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
By God’s grace, through Jesus Christ, we can receive eternal life.
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Eternal life is about a relationship with God through Jesus. He wants us to know Him.
Scripture attests that we can know that we are saved and have eternal life. In the book of 1 John, the Apostle John tells us,
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
-1 John 5:13
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
No amount of good works can cleanse us of unrighteousness in God’s eyes. But placing one’s faith in Jesus immediately imputes Jesus righteousness to us and God sees us as righteous, forgiving every sin that we ever commit, past, present, and future.
Because it is not dependent on anything that we do or do not do, but solely on the finished work of Jesus on the cross, our salvation is secure by faith alone.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Our works justify our salvation to the world but do not affect our standing with God. As Paul stated above in Romans 5:1, with God, we are justified by faith.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
But to those of the world, who cannot see the thoughts and intentions of our hearts and minds as God can, our works are the only means we have to demonstrate our faith, as James tells us.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!… For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
-James 2:18-19, 26
True saving faith will produce works, as James demonstrates in the life of Abraham, although for some, to only a small degree. But as God credited Abraham’s righteousness by faith prior to any works that he demonstrated, God’s grace that saves us is by faith alone, apart from anything we do. But apart from works, our faith is useless to the world and as good as dead.
Once saved by faith, we can rest secure in the grace of God, who never changes.
We can live a life of hope and encouragement in the peace of God, with eternal security that enables us to endure any trial.
We need not fear death because Jesus’ resurrection defeated the power of Satan, sin, and death.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
-1 Corinthians 15:56-57
For believers, death means entrance into the kingdom and the glory of God for eternity, a time to rejoice and praise God, a time of never-ending satisfaction and peace.
Jesus does not exempt believers from troubled times, however, in the present.
After telling His disciples that in Him they may have peace, He tells them that
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
And because of Christ, we, too, can overcome the world.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
-1 John 5:4-5
Beyond our earthly dwelling place is a heavenly abode more glorious than anything we can imagine, where we will be forever in God’s presence.
All of our worldly trials and triumphs pale in comparison.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
-2 Corinthians 4:13-18
And in that we have more than ample reason to rejoice!
If you read this and believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to take the sins of the world, but are not sure you have a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you may want to pray a simple prayer as your response to God. It does not have to be elaborate. Prayer is simply talking to God, which we can do because of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus rose from the dead and is now enthroned at the right hand of the Father as our great high priest interceding for us. Use your own words. God knows your heart.
Admit to God that you are a sinner and want to turn from your sin
Tell God that you believe Jesus died to take the punishment that you deserve for your sins.
Come to God in faith, declare Jesus as Lord, and be saved.
Know that your sins are forgiven and you are a child of God, adopted into the family of God by the blood of Jesus.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.