The most important question for you to have the answer to in life is knowing where you will spend eternity. One hundred years from now, it will not matter how much money you earned, how much fun you had, how many friends you made, or how successful you were in life. The only thing that will matter after death is whether you knew God while alive on this earth.
Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:3,
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
But this is not just an intellectual assent to knowing God, or knowing any false god (perhaps a god created in your own image to suit your sinful lifestyle). Jesus equated eternal life knowing God, which is to say having eternal life is to have an intimate relationship with the Creator of all things, the one and only true living God – the Lord Jesus Christ.
So the eternally significant question for you is: do you know Him?
The Problem of Sin
Knowing God is not something that comes natural to us. We cannot know God if we are separated from Him. King David confessed in Psalm 51:5,
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
Romans 5:12 explains this is due to the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
This means every man and woman inherits a sinful nature from their parents, including you, and is therefore separated from God from birth.
Every sin that you’ve ever committed, whether lying, stealing, sexual immorality, or not loving God with all of your heart, you’ve done these things because by nature you are a slave to sin, a child of wrath, and a son of disobedience (Romans 6:17; Ephesians 2:3; 5:6). What’s worse, God has been keeping record of every thought, word, and deed you have done that has been contrary to His holy and righteous nature. God will judge you for every crime you have committed against Him if you die in your sins, and He will throw you into the lake of fire where you will physically burn forever (Revelation 20:11-15).
If you do not know God and continue in your rebellion against Him, eternal hell is what you can expect for yourself and there will be no escape from God’s wrath for you. Psalm 7:11 says,
God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Hebrews 10:31 tells us,
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Whether you are rich or poor, the worst of criminals or the Nobel Peace prize winner, you will stand before God and give an account. Does this concern you, dear friend?
While God must punish guilty criminals because He is a righteous judge, He is also rich in grace and mercy and has provided a way of reconciliation, but not at the expense of His justice (Titus 3:4-7). A price had to be paid, and it was very costly. 2,000 years ago, it pleased God the Father to send His only Son to save His people from their sins (John 3:16; Matthew 1:21). Jesus, the Eternal Son, was born through a virgin and became a man (John 1:14; Luke 1:26-38; 2:4-7) . He stepped off of His throne in heaven where everything was perfect, and He entered an imperfect, evil world so sinners just like you could be redeemed (Titus 2:11-14).
Jesus Christ the Redeemer
Jesus lived in perfect obedience to His Father, performed many miracles, healed the brokenhearted, and showed us perfect love, kindness, humility, patience, and compassion. In God’s perfect timing, Jesus sacrificed His own life on the cross so that sinners could be saved from eternal death (Romans 5:6-11). Not only was Jesus punished for crimes He did not commit, and not only did He shed His blood to wash away the sins of His people, but He suffered the furious, eternal wrath of God in the place of all who would believe in Him. That is the perfect, sacrificial love that God demonstrated toward sinners (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10). And not only that, but it pleased the Father to crush and bruise His only Son to satisfy His justice so that He could justify (declare ‘not guilty’) the one who has faith in Jesus (Isaiah 53:10; Romans 3:21-26). After God’s wrath was satisfied, Jesus then victoriously gave up His spirit and died on the cross (Matthew 27:45-54).
On the third day, the most glorious event recorded in history took place when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the grave (John 20:1-18; 1 Corinthians 15). Satisfied with the death of His Son, the Father raised Him up and made Him King and Ruler over all (Philippians 2:5-11). Because Jesus defeated death, those who believe in Him do not need to fear death any longer (Hebrews 2:14-15). Jesus was raised for the pardoning of sinners (Romans 4:25), and because He lives, those who hope in Him will live forever (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
One day, this glorious King will return to earth and judge sinners in righteousness (Romans 2:5). The Lord Jesus Christ will not return as a meek lamb, but as a mighty lion to destroy all who do not know God and who disobey the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). So do not harden your heart to God’s offer of mercy to know Him and receive eternal life through obedience to the Gospel.
God commands you to repent (turn away from your sins), and turn to the Living Christ by putting your complete trust in who He is as God and what He did on the cross. Jesus’ blood is sufficient to cover all of your sins past, present, and future (Hebrews 10:12-14), and He commands you to repent from your sinful lifestyle and your self-righteous good works to follow Him (Mark 8:34-38). There is only one good work that will bring you salvation, and that is the work of Jesus Christ alone. Your righteous works are but filthy rags (Romans 3:10-11), so you need the perfect righteousness of Jesus to meet God’s perfect standard to enter heaven (Matthew 5:20; Romans 5:15-21).
The Great Exchange
You see, the moment a person repents and trusts Jesus, God transfers Christ’s righteousness to their account, because 2,000 years ago their sin was placed on Jesus on the cross. Even though Jesus was innocent, He was punished for the sinner’s crimes against God, so God could give the sinner Jesus’ perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). God now sees this person as sinless, blameless, holy, and perfect because they are now clothed with the righteousness of the perfect Son of God.This is known as the “Great Exchange”, and it is a glorious truth that sinners depend upon for justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
But be warned that 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says,
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
That is why you need the righteousness (or perfect obedience) of Christ to enter heaven, and to those who possess His righteousness by repentant faith, verse 11 promises,
Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Even more important than the question of whether you know Jesus, is the question of whether Christ knows you. Does He know you? Jesus says in John 10:27,
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
Do you hear His voice? Will you follow Christ and be His disciple? If Jesus knows you, you will have ears to hear the voice of the Son of God and you will follow Him as His disciple through the door of life (John 5:25; John 10:1-10).
Come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you can be sure you will never be lost again (John 10:27-30). God makes many promises to and about those He forgives and adopts as His children (Ephesians 1:3-14). Romans 8:39 says nothing in all of creation can separate believers from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus calls for the weary and the burdened to come to Him and they will find rest for their souls. In John 6:35, Jesus promises,
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Finally, Jesus declares in John 11:25-26,
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?
Rejoice in the Lamb
Proverbs 3:7-8 admonishes,
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
Turn from your sins and lay your burdens at the foot of the cross, dear friend, and be healed by the Living Son of God. Cry out for the Spirit of God to set you free from the bondage of your sin (John 8:31-36; Romans 6:20-23). May the Lord be glorified in your salvation, lest He be glorified in your destruction. Do not harden your heart from this free gift of salvation any longer, dear friend, come to Christ and live. Believe in Him, that you would greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, and obtain as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your soul (1 Peter 1:3-9).
In closing, 2 Corinthians 13:5 gives the following warning to all professing Christians:
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
Do not trust in any so-called “sinners prayer” or in a one-time “decision for Christ” for the assurance of your salvation. There is only one way to obtain biblical assurance and that is through the objective Word of God. Jesus warned in Matthew 7:13-14,
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Many people have a false profession of faith because they have never truly come to repentant faith. They have not been truly born again and are still dead in their sins. Sadly, some will wake up in hell one day, completely shocked. You are encouraged to read the book of 1st John to test whether you are truly in the faith.
I invite you to watch the following short video, and contact me if you have questions about what you have read today or would like help finding a biblical church home.
“…Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” ~ Revelation 5:12-13