Life is a precious thing.
Without it, nothing else really matters. Yet there is one thing even more valuable than life...it is your soul. Your soul will live on forever, long after this world is gone. How can you know for sure that you will end up in Heaven when you die? What can you trust with your soul?
Some trust in their CHURCH
Some trust in their FAMILY MEMBER'S FAITH
Some trust in their MORAL LIFESTYLE
Some trust in their PASTOR or PRIEST
Some trust in their GOOD DEEDS or GENEROSITY
Some trust in their KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE
Some trust in a PRAYER THEY PRAYED
But is there a way to really know for sure which is the right way? What can we depend on when it comes to our eternal destiny?
Jesus taught that the question isn't what we should trust, but rather who we should trust.
The Bible says that heaven is ours: "...not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of God's mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)
Our "confidence" that we will inherit eternal life doesn't come from the good things we do, but from the grace and power of God.
The Apostle Paul taught that all people have fallen short of God's glory -- they have sinned -- and because of this, no one could ever be "good enough" to get to Heaven.
The 10 Commandments serve as stone-cold reminders of our imperfections as human beings. Who among us could claim that he has always loved God perfectly? That he has always obeyed his authorities? That he has always been 100% honest? That he has never told a lie, has never been bitter, and has never had sexually impure thoughts? Who of us could say that he or she is perfectly good -- like God?
That's the problem, then. We're not worthy. Our attempts at being good can't cover up our guilty hearts.
The biblical prophet Isaiah noted that sin separates us from God -- I think of it like a giant canyon between Him and us. No matter how many good things we do, no matter how hard we try, we can never bridge that gap.
Here's the good news, though: Jesus Christ came into the world to be our "Savior" from sin. He came to build a bridge of forgiveness and restoration. He came to take the penalties of sin upon Himself, so that we could have a new start. He rose from the dead to prove that He alone deserves our trust for eternity.
He is the way to heaven.
What then, must we do, to demonstrate our trust in Him?
Repent. Repentance means to "turn around." A person desiring to trust in Jesus must give up his or her self-focused lifestyle and begin honoring God.
Believe. Faith is believing in and staking your life upon what you cannot see. Anyone who wants to come to God must have faith not only in God's existence, but also in God's Son, Jesus. Romans 10:9 explains: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Faith means that you are willing to stake all that you are -- even your eternal soul -- on what Jesus said and did. Don't make a commitment to this lightly -- consider what trust in Jesus really means.
Follow. Those who put their faith in Jesus for salvation must yield the decision-making of their lives to Him. He is worthy of all our affection, obedience, and loyalty. (Many are willing to "believe" in their minds that Jesus died and rose again, but few are willing to pay the price of following Him forever.) This is the cost you need to consider. Can you trust Jesus enough to dedicate your life to His service? To obeying His commands?
Jesus put it simply: "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
* * * * * *
So what (or who) do you trust?
Bible verses quoted from the NLT.