How can a person really, really live until they understand how long life was intended to last? God created you to not only enjoy the life you’re living now, but true life, eternal life in His presence. He loved you so much that He devised a plan to redeem you; to come not only to forgive your sin, but to renovate your heart, to enter into your life to become your father, protector, savior, defender; the One Who will always be enough and promises always to be there.
How do we know this? Because God has revealed Himself, revealed Himself in what we call the Bible. A lot of people consider the Bible to be an archaic book of rules. The truth is every time you read it, it reads you. It has prevailed through the millennia of protest and attack to remain the best-selling book in all the world. And what does it teach us? It teaches us about life, about God, about what’s gone wrong with us and that what’s gone wrong with us is what has gone wrong with the rest of the world.
The Bible teaches us that we are sinners. Being raised as a kid in a Baptist church, I thought that meant worthless. And that’s certainly not true. The fact that I am a sinner, that I commit sin, that I am broken, that I feel anger, hatred, loneliness, rage; that I prefer to hide than live out in the open, that I tend to feel lonely and isolated, that I tend to think others are against me, that I tend to be suspicious; why I buy into conspiracy theories, and would rather believe a lie than the truth. All of this is part and parcel of what it means to be a sinner in the real world.
And this sin expresses itself best in fear, doubt, and self-loathing. It creates a separation between us and a Holy God. Yet in the Bible this is what we read in 1 John: “God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son, Jesus. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” And John said, “I am writing these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The central theme of the Scripture, from cover-to-cover, is redemption; redemption promised to us by a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. The Old Testament was a covenant of works where we would obey and wait for the coming Messiah. The New Testament is a covenant of grace where we look back and rejoice in the mercy and grace that was purchased for us by Jesus Christ, His love ratified and demonstrated on the cross, eternal life and forgiveness accomplished by His glorious resurrection. All that God has done in Jesus Christ is yours by faith. Reach out and take it. It’s the one thing He absolutely demands, that you trust who He is, what He has done, and His love for you. And yet trusting Him is one of the hardest things there is to do.
But His trust at least initially is intangible. It’s something that we do waiting for the results. But trust begins not in your hands, not in your activities, not in your willingness to keep rules or regulations, not in your compliance to certain holy days, but in your heart. Remember what John said in 1 John 5:11, “so that you may know that you have eternal life.” It’s an internal confidence.
If you recognize that you are broken, sinful, separated from the Holy God; if you have bowed your head, and opened your heart to God in sincerity, confessing your brokenness and your helplessness to do anything about it, the Bible says you can have confidence and know that you have eternal life. And yet many people bow their heads at altars and pray prayers, and yet they still have no confidence.
Why? We’ll talk about that later.
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