Jesus provided everything that people need, to live in a relationship with Him:
- Repentance and forgiveness of sins.
- Baptism in water and with the Holy Spirit.
- Sanctification (learning to live holy lives, that is like God’s children will live on the renewed, eternal earth).
- Communication with God, through the Bible and the Holy Spirit (reading and praying).
We should measure our lives against these simple standards. The reason is that it is necessary to make adjustments before we die. After death everything is fixed and final. Nothing can be changed then. After death the opportunity for repentance or improving our relationship with Jesus, is over for ever.
What are the pitfalls to watch out for?
- Some people think, because their parents are believers, they are automatically ‘saved.’
- Others think, because they attend or belong to a church, they are ‘alright.’
- Some ‘good’ Christians think, that God is pleased with them.
- Many people think that all religions lead to heaven.
To determine if these beliefs are right or wrong, let’s measure them against the three standards.
For example, if a person relies on church membership, does this membership guarantee forgiveness of sins, holiness and fellowship with God?
If a person believes that his presence during his parents’ times of communication with God will take him to heaven, does that give him/her forgiveness of sins, holiness and fellowship with God? The answer to both these tests is of course, NO!
- There is no such a thing as automatic forgiveness of sins. Jesus died for the world’s sins, but only those who believe it and accept His suffering and death on their behalf, appropriate it. Repentance causes many changes in a person, like Jeremiah 31:31 describes. The law of God is inscribed on their hearts; the devil’s blindfold to prevent people from seeing and understanding the light of the Gospel, is destroyed; and they are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is necessary to be reconciled to God and to become part of His kingdom.
- Holiness is a process. It takes time to get the ‘world’ out of us, and Jesus in us. Our minds need to be renewed to stop thinking according to the world system and to think God’s way.
- Fellowship or relationship. Where is God, so that a human being can get to know Him and spend time with Him? A child of God finds Him by reading and obeying the Bible and praying.
It is no small thing to miss eternity with God, because we were under a misunderstanding, or too lazy, or careless. Now is the time to investigate our attitudes and love for Jesus with the help of the Holy Spirit and by reading the Bible. Our future destination is still worth billions. Investing in it will prove to be the most worthwhile enterprise we ever engaged in.