Several months ago my husband, Kevin, had lunch with an acquaintance. The subject of spirituality came up. The man sitting across the table from Kevin described himself as someone who believes in a higher power. He also believes all people who believe in a higher power will one day spend eternity in heaven with their higher power.
At one point in the conversation, the man said, “I just wish God would come down here and tell us what the afterlife is like.”
Kevin replied, “He already did.”
My husband went on to share how God became a man when he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and to show us what will happen after our lives on this earth are over.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Despite popular cultural beliefs, there is only one way to eternal life. That is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Just like my husband’s acquaintance, we all long to know what the future holds, what eternity be like. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, “He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” God designed us with a wonder and a desire for eternity. No one can fully understand it, but Jesus Christ gave us enough clues to satisfy our desires and a plan to give us assurance of an eternity spent with Him.
God is holy, perfect, and righteous. Sin cannot reside where God is. That’s why Satan (Lucifer) was cast out of heaven and why Adam and Eve were banned from the Garden of Eden. They sinned. When Adam and Eve sinned, they passed down their sinful nature to all generations after them. (Romans 12:5) Because all humans are born with a sinful nature, we cannot enter into God’s presence through our own efforts of goodness and righteousness. Even committing just one sin in our entire lifetime would prevent us from entering eternal life with God in heaven. We can never attain God’s standard of holiness and perfection. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
So if it’s impossible for humans to meet God’s standard of holiness for eternal life, are we all doomed to eternal death (separation from God)? No. God provided a way for us to be forgiven for our sins.
The apostle Paul tells us in his first letter to his disciple Timothy, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” (I Timothy 2:5) This ransom is the sacrifice I mentioned above. Throughout the Old Testament, God required the blood of a perfect animal to be shed to pay for the sins of His people. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”(Hebrews 9:22 ESV)
In the New Testament, Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for our sins when He shed His blood on the cross and paid the penalty for the sins of mankind. The blood Jesus shed for humans enables God to forgive us and adopt us into His family for eternity.
Think of it this way: Suppose you have a son. Your son committed murder and is facing the possibility of the death penalty. You are devastated at the thought of losing your son and being separated from him. You don’t know how you will live without your beloved son. When the day arrives for sentencing, the judge sees how distraught you are at the possibility of losing your son. He decides to have compassion on you. He declares your son guilty, but instead of sending him away to his death, the judge takes off his robe and says he will sacrifice himself and take your son’s punishment so you won’t have to lose your son.
The judge, who committed no crime, died in your son’s place. Jesus, who committed no sins, died in your place. He experienced separation from God (death) for three days so you will not have to experience it. On the third day, God resurrected His Son, and Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven.* (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
And the best thing is Jesus did this because He loves you. He would rather have died than live without you for all eternity. That is amazing love. If you were the only person on earth, He still would have endured unspeakable torture and death for you.
When, by faith, you admit you have sinned against God, believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, and confess that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, God saves you from eternal darkness. When He looks at you, He only sees the righteousness of Christ. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
This is the message of hope and truth Jesus Christ came to bring to all people. My prayer and hope for you is that you will receive God’s free gift of salvation. If you have made a decision to receive God’s forgiveness and salvation, or if you have any questions about the message of Jesus Christ, contact me at spiritsoulbodyhealth at gmail dot com.
*The illustration of the son and judge is a story that was shared by our former pastor during our wedding ceremony.