What I Believe:
There is a way to know for sure that you have eternal life. John 20:31 tells us that, "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." God wants you to know, believe and experience abundant life on this earth. He does not want you to go through life unaware of the truth. He went through great pain to make sure that you could know and rest assured in Him.
We find the answers to our questions in the Bible. He has written complete volumes documenting His love extended towards you through the person of Jesus Christ. Today as you read this, I pray that you will recognize the truth written below so that you may know without a shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life... God Bless you!
The Basis of My Eternal Life
Many people think the end goal is heaven. They hope that at the end of their lives the amount of good they've done will outweigh the bad. When the tallies come back they will be granted access into heaven based upon works and being good overall.
Even many churches teach that the goal of Salvation is to escape Hell. The most recognized and recited verse in the Bible is John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." A lot of times, we put a period after 'shall not perish', but the verse clearly emphasizes the goal of salvation is having eternal life.
John 17:2-3 tells us what eternal life is, "For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Clearly eternal life is knowing God the father and Jesus Christ the son. The Greek word used for 'know' depicted a very intimate knowledge. The knowledge a husband and wife would experience. So Jesus died for you so that you could experience a deep and intimate knowledge of Him. That is eternal life.
Eternal life also is present tense, Jesus said in John 3:36, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." So we can experience eternal life right now in this present world, which is intimacy with God. Jesus used the present tense form of the word so that we would know we can experience it here and now.
Knowing God also brings us into experiencing the reason that God came to redeem us. In John 10:10 Jesus said, "The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full". God wants us not only to live in eternity with Him, that is part of our salvation and a definitely perk of Salvation, but He came to give us abundant life. That life is meant to be experience here in this world just as much as it will be experience in the next world.
Finally, although it is not the goal of Salvation, it is true that a by-product of Salvation is that we can spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. David said in Psalm 23:6, "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." This is the icing on the cake, by knowing Jesus and experiencing eternal life right here and now, it prepares us for spending an eternity with Him.
Now that you have a working knowledge of the goal of salvation, which is to have eternal life and that you can experience that life here on this earth. It is important to understand that Salvation is a gift. It is not based on anything you have done or can do to obtain it. In fact James 2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." So even if you add up the amount of good you have done your entire life, one bad thing cancels out your chances of obtaining Salvation on your own.
Paul confirms this in Romans 3 when he said, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." ( Romans 3:23-24 ) Denoting that everyone is in the same boat, we have all sinned and that sin has separated us from God. However, we are forgiven based of God's grace and the payment for sin that Jesus provided. He goes onto say in Romans 6 that, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." ( Romans 6:23 ) Meaning that Jesus is the one who took the payment for our sin and in return he has offered us eternal life as a gift of His grace.
That is the Gospel! Trading our sin, our shame and our shortcomings in for Jesus' righteousness and forgiveness. The Gospel is also known as the Good News. The nuance of the Greek for this terminology denotes that this news is 'almost too good to be true'. So even though you are incapable of obtaining this right standing with God by your own merit, God has provided a way for you to come into fellowship with Him. Paul tells us that "God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." ( II Corinthians 5:21 ) In other words Jesus was sent to exchange our sinful state for His righteousness. This righteousness or right standing with God is available to everyone who believes.
To accept this gift of Salvation, we need to realize that it is by God's grace that we obtain mercy, not by anything we can do and that it is a free gift from Him. Titus 3:5 says, "he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" and Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast."
Once we realize that we are sinners and cannot obtain right standing with God on our own, we are free to accept His payment for our sin and obtain eternal life. The way we do this is found in Romans, chapter ten. Paul says, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." ( Romans 10:9-10 ) It is that simple! We are saved by grace by confessing that Jesus is Lord and by believing that He is alive today and victorious over death. That is all it takes to be saved! What a wonderful gift this is.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:20 "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." The Pharisees by human standards were very righteous. They took great pains is observing the letter of the law and in burdening the people with traditions and standards. Yet Jesus said your righteousness has to exceed them in order to be saved. The only way to obtain this level of righteousness is by grace.
Paul said in Romans 3:21-22 "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference" Previously we have maintained that the goal of our salvation is to know God and experience this life here and now. Secondly we have discovered that Salvation comes as a gift of God by His grace and all we have to do is believe and accept this gift. After we've done this, we must realize that the righteousness that Jesus said we must have to enter the kingdom of heaven has been given to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that this righteousness comes through faith in Jesus to everyone who believes.
This is the righteousness to which the Law and the prophets testified about. The righteousness of Christ not by the letter of the Law. Paul also stresses this in Philippians 3:9, "not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith." Therefore we know that we obtain the righteousness needed to see the kingdom of heaven by faith in Jesus.
Righteousness can be defined as right standing with God. Our faith is what brings us into this position with God. Romans 5:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." The gift of God not only brings us into relationship with Him, it also brings us into right standing with him.
II Corinthians 5:17-21 is a powerful passage of scripture pertaining to this very idea. This is speaking to the change that takes place inside of us after our salvation. It says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." this passage is clearly teaching that we exchanged our sin for Christ's righteousness. Because of it we are reconciled to God and God is not counting our sins against us. This is great news!
Because we are reconciled and in right standing with God we are forgiven, presented pure before him and free of any accusation that comes our way. Paul said in Colossians 1:21-22 "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" and again in Hebrews 10:14, "because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." So part of our salvation is knowing that we are already perfected and holy in Christ. Therefore we should live like ones called out and separated unto Christ Jesus. "and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. " ( Ephesians 4:24 ).
Since we are righteous and holy before God, with no trace of sin, we can have boldness to come before Him into a living fellowship with Him. Hebrews 10:22 says, "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." The writer of Hebrews assures us that we can rid yourself of the consciousness of sin and approach God with confidence in full assurance of faith.
Once we internalize what the Bible says about our right standing with God, then we can have great assurance before Him. John tells how to enter into this place, "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God" ( I John 3:19-21 ). By knowing God we can overcome any obstacles our heart throws in the way of that relationship. Because we know that our relationship with Him stems from our faith in Jesus and what He has done for us. By knowing this, we can renew our minds to the truth of His word and put our hearts to rest in His presence.
This is the goal of Salvation! Having relationship with God, knowing his Son, knowing that we are forgiven and righteous in His eyes. Knowing that it is all because of His grace that we obtain this standing. And knowing that by this standing of righteousness we can approach God in full confidence and assurance of faith. Today, I pray that you will recognize the truth of Gods word, so that rest assured in the eternal life purchased for you... God Bless you!