It’s easy to believe in justification by death, especially at funerals. We want to assume the deceased, no matter how they lived their life, are in Heaven. To think anything different is uncomfortable and awkward. If we can prove they were a generically decent person, we’ll find a way to get just about anybody into Heaven.
The Bible reveals a drastically different reality about how a person gets to Heaven. The road to Heaven begins and ends with Jesus, who clearly says of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
To reach Heaven, you must embrace Jesus as the only way to Heaven and follow Him by faith.
So, do you trust Jesus? Are you following Him?
The Bible calls those who follow Jesus, Christians. So, are you a Christian?
“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:13-15).
The Christian Has Restored Fellowship to God Through the Spirit.
In this letter, John illuminates the divine relationship that exists for a Christian. We’re assured by the word “know” that we can have certainty and confidence in our relationship with God. We are not left guessing because we know the Father by the gift of His Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity who unites us to God and intertwines our identity with Christ’s.
The fellowship between God and man was severed in Eden when Adam rejected God’s authority by breaking the one negative command God gave him – “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). From that time on, people have constantly rejected God as King, including us. But, God’s plan was always to restore this relationship, and the whole Bible unfolds God’s plan to rescue mankind. Now, that fellowship is restored in the gift of the Holy Spirit when we trust Jesus.
The Christian Tells the truth about Jesus
But, how do we receive the gift of the Spirit? John says we testify, or tell the truth about Jesus. What is the truth about Jesus? He is God’s King.
The Bible reveals this by using the term “Son.” When Scripture refers to Jesus as God’s “Son,” two things are being communicated:
- Jesus is like God, meaning He is of the same nature and essence of the Father.
- Jesus is God’s King. Biblically, the firstborn son is the one who has rights to the father’s kingdom. God the Father has given Jesus the right to rule over everything in the universe.
The Christian Believes Jesus is the Only King Who Saves
If Jesus is God’s King, He is the only one who can save us from our sin and the effects of sin in the world – death. It’s for this reason that God sent Jesus into the world, to be the Savior of the world. Our rejection of God as King and desire to rule ourselves results in sin. Sin brings about death (Romans 6:23). Jesus saves us from our sin because He endured the penalty of our sin on the cross. Because of our sin, we deserve to be separated from God in judgment forever. On the cross, Jesus endured the wrath of God. He was separated from all of God’s goodness and endured only God’s wrath. To unveil that the penalty had been satisfied God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Jesus at His right hand.
The Christian Lives in Love
When we trust Jesus, we’re immediately indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and know that we “abide in Him and He in us” (1 John 4:13). We have the assurance that God’s love is on us, always, because we’re eternally “in Christ,” seated “with him in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6). Our relationship with God is forever secured through Jesus, and so we can confidently live in the love of God.
When you trust in Jesus as King, you’re reconciled by the Spirit to a relationship with God, Himself. Because God is love, in Christ you’ll never be unloved.
A lot rests on answering “are you a Christian?” Do you believe Jesus was forsaken by God for you? Do you believe He was raised from the grave and is now seated at the Father’s side? Do you believe that through trusting in Jesus you have the Spirit and can enjoy eternal fellowship with God? This is more than a religious survey or a Facebook profile status. It’s not something that can be imitated from the outside to cause internal change – even if those actions are something spiritual, like attending a Bible study, going on a mission trip, or getting baptized.
- What do you feel is your greatest need?
- What does the Bible teach is your greatest need?
- How has Jesus met this need on the cross?
- To confess Jesus as King means to agree with God that Jesus is the only King who can save you from your sins. How have you disagreed with God concerning this reality?
- How have you lived as your own king?
- How have you tried to save yourself from your sins?
- How has the love of others failed you? How has your love failed others?
- How does God love never fail?
- What steps will you take to know more about God’s love for you in Jesus?