“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
2022 is in the books. Another year of life has gone by. 2023 is upon us, a new year with new possibilities, surprises, ups and downs. Before you know it, 365 days will have passed and we will be talking about 2024.
That is, if God wishes us to be here for 2023. James teaches we will never know if tomorrow will come (James 4:13-17). If you were to enter into eternity today, would you know for sure that you would be with God forever? The Bible teaches that we can know for sure. What is written in the Bible is there so that we can know for sure whether we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). How well do you know God’s Word? Since Scripture is our guide to heaven, don’t you think we all should work to know what it says and abide by it as much as we can? Grab a Bible and follow along with me as we see what it says about how to get eternal life.
The good news of the Bible is that God wants to give us eternal life (Romans 6:23). Going to heaven is not something we earn, nor is it something we deserve because of our sins. Sin in a nutshell is disobeying God (1 John 3:4), and everyone has done it (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), the spiritual death which is eternal separation from God in hell (Revelation 21:8). Yet God still offers us hope through His gift of eternal life, made out of love through the death of His Son (Romans 5:8). Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross to take our place, to pay the price for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). What wonderful love God has for us!
Yet how sad it is that so few of us will choose to receive God’s gift. Most of us choose to go down a different road than the one which leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14). We walk this road when we choose to keep on disobeying God. The Bible teaches that those who obey God will go to heaven, while those who do not obey God will be denied heaven…even if they did many good things in Jesus’ name (Matthew 7:21-23).
What is the will of God which we must obey in order to receive eternal life? The Bible teaches that we must believe in Jesus (John 6:28-29, 40). This faith we must have is more than just an academic, philosophical belief in Jesus’ existence. Some in the Bible were said to have believed in Jesus, but they did not confess their faith because they cared more about what others thought of them (John 12:42-43; Romans 10:9-10). Their faith was lacking.
Scripture says that a faith which does not show itself through action – obedience – is dead as far as God is concerned (James 2:14-26). We prove our faith to be alive by repenting of our sins (Acts 17:30), which means that our hearts and minds have been changed (Romans 12:2). When we feel the same grief over our sins that God feels, we will turn away from our sin and decide to live for God (2 Corinthians 7:9-11). That’s repentance.
Yet even though we repent, we still are spiritually stained because of the sins we’ve committed. That’s why God also commands that we wash our sins away by being baptized (Acts 22:16). When we are immersed in water – the literal definition of baptism (see Acts 10:48; 8:35-38; John 3:3-5) – the Bible says we are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27). That’s good, because all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). It is in Christ where we find salvation (2 Timothy 2:10), no condemnation (Romans 8:1), and eternal life (1 John 5:11). Baptism is how we get into Christ.
Study these passages. They’re written down so you can know whether eternal life is yours. Make the choice to start 2023 off in the best way by obeying them. If you’d like to study more, let me know in the comments.
Happy New Year!