Jesus Christ, whom John referred to above as "The Word", was with God in the beginning, at the time of the Creation. He came down from Heaven, "became flesh" and lived among us "full of grace and truth." Indeed, as He said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father."
Jesus has returned to be with God in Heaven and will come again some day. We too have the promise of eternal life in Heaven when we pass on from this earth. Sadly, according to Jesus, not all will share this promise because God must condemn those who have sinned and rejected Christ.
But we have all sinned in the eyes of God. We are not perfect as He is - far from it in fact. No matter how many good things we do in our life, we will inevitably fall into sin. So it might seem that God should punish us all and ban us from Heaven. We cannot earn our place there by anything we do ourselves, because our sins separate us from God who sees all, even the very thoughts of our minds.
But, in His love and mercy, God has given us a way out. Did not Jesus say "I am the way" and "No one comes to the Father except through me." What did He mean? Why is He the only way to Heaven? That would be quite a bold statement if Jesus were just a normal human being.
Jesus is speaking the truth because God grants us forgiveness for all our sins on one condition: He sent Jesus down to earth to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Just as lambs were sacrificed in those days, Jesus became the Lamb of God. If, and only if, we accept this fact and believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God, then God promises to forgive us. If we do not accept this then, despite all our good deeds, Jesus has told us that God is unable to forgive us because we continue sinning and rejecting the sacrifice of His very own, one and only Son.
By accepting Jesus into our lives, repenting of our sins and seeking God's forgiveness through the blood of the risen Christ, we can be certain that we will be with Him in eternity. We have His promise and He is always true to His Word. You will be saved from eternal separation from God . "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (NKJV)
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE DOUBTS
I know there will be many reading this site who have doubts about the truth of all this and so I have added this section.
I trust we can start from a common belief that it is a fact recorded by several historians of the time that Jesus did live on earth and was crucified. One of these historians, Josephus, also wrote that the risen Christ appeared to many, and the Bible confirms that on one occasion a crowd of 500 saw Jesus alive again. Many have attempted to prove that this was all a hoax, but not one writer has succeeded in nearly 2,000 years. Some have said that Jesus was not really dead, but modern medicine has confirmed that the blood and water seen flowing from His side were a sure sign of death. You will find more on this in books like "Who Moved the Stone?" When all the evidence is weighed up it is the best attested fact of history that Jesus did rise from the dead.
Few dispute that He taught well. But look more closely at what Jesus said about Himself and why He had come. "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me ... that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6: 38 & 40 - NKJV) Jesus foretold that He would be "lifted up" on the cross to die and that He would rise again on the third day. To help us to believe in His authority He also performed many miracles, turning water into wine, healing people and even bringing back to life others who had died.
Miracles are performed by God when Christians call on the name of Jesus even to this day. Did you know that in the 1980's a young boy was confirmed dead by doctors who, after eight hours, were sending him off to the morgue. Then, as a visiting Evangelist was finishing his talk, he received a message from God that somewhere in the crowd was a man who had lost his son that morning. He announced that the child was coming back to life in the nearby hospital and, to the glory of the only true God, the boy sat up and lives to this day. You may find the full account in "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit" at any Christian bookshop.
Was Jesus deceiving people with His miracles? Was He lying when He stated many times that He was telling the truth? Does this seem likely when you consider the wisdom of all His other teaching? Would He have shared with us God's guidance for living and yet have misled us into false hopes of heaven? Would the early Christians have fabricated all the records of His teaching and then have died for their faith in a hoax? Some say Jesus was just "mistaken" but was He mistaken in predicting that He would rise again on the third day? Please consider the evidence:
Who else but God Himself could have planned everything to the last detail and had so much of it recorded in prophecies written centuries earlier by so many different authors? You may well say that one or two prophecies could have just happened to come true, like the one about Jesus being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), but the probability that literally hundreds would all come true (as they did) is absolutely infinitesimal. So, too, is the probability that life on earth just formed by chance, no matter how "simple" an original life form you may postulate. For more on all this read Josh McDowell's book "Evidence that demands a Verdict" and its sequel.
As it happens, I have a scientific background which perhaps makes it easier for me to accept things as proven fact when the probabilities of them not being true are so remote. Many will believe as a result of personal experience and faith but I know it will be harder for others. In Romans 9:18 we read that "God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." And so it is that many will read all the evidence but still remain hard of heart and not give their lives to Christ. But it's my belief that God will have mercy on those who truly seek and believe the truth which can be found in His Word, the Bible.
So it is my prayer that every non-believing reader will make that effort to find the truth. Please read the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) in modern English and pray that you will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit. When you know in your heart that every word spoken by Jesus is the truth then you will know, as He said, that you have God's promise of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life in heaven.
I can only pass on to you the words of Jesus, some of which you will find on the next page if you click "Verses about Eternal Life" at the left. Please read these passages and then prayerfully consider inviting Christ into your life so that you may walk with Him for the rest of your days.
WHAT CHURCH SHOULD I ATTEND?
There are numerous "churches" associated with other religions and cults. I shall discuss here the Roman Catholic church and some of the Protestant denominations, primarily evangelical ones that base their teaching on the Bible and Pentecostal churches that are rapidly expanding but may have some issues which I will outline. I am not saying that genuine, saved Christians will not be found in all of these churches described below, but in some cases they will believe in other activities and sacraments being necessary in accord with the teaching of the church. So long as they believe in Jesus they will be saved, even if they also think they need to do good works or participate in various sacraments including baptism.
The Roman Catholic Church
In the early centuries since Christ the church in Rome acquired considerable power and property. They claimed authority based on the "Pope" supposedly descended from the Apostle Peter whom they claimed incorrectly to have been called the "rock" on which the church would be founded. But Jesus used the feminine word "petra" which referred to the foundational statement Peter had just uttered, namely that Jesus is the Son of God. The church considered Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be able to hear the prayers of all and refer such to God. They modified the concept of believer's baptism to an act of sprinkling a baby supposedly making the child a Christian and thus able to be a member of their church. They invented the concept of Purgatory assuming those still alive could pray for the recently departed to go up to Heaven from this mezzanine level between Heaven and Hades. But most critically of all, they believe that salvation must be not only by belief in Jesus but also by good deeds. The church teaches that participating in seven sacraments is necessary. Finally the church teaches that the bread and wine in "mass" (Holy Communion) become literally the body and blood of Jesus.
Protestant Churches Practising Infant Baptism
There is no valid basis for infant baptism in the Bible. Baptism is intended to be just a sign (usually made in public) that someone who has come to a saving knowledge of Christ and belief in Him declares such a belief. Such churches often stray from the Bible teaching in other ways also. Protestant churches usually practise just two sacraments: baptism (in some form) and Holy Communion.
Evangelical Protestant Churches
These churches will base their teaching on what they consider a correct interpretation of scripture. Their practice of Believer's Baptism is an indication of their adherence to the Bible teaching. Some such denominations include Baptist, Church of Christ and Presbyterian. I would recommend such churches wherein no other book (or teaching by the church) adding to what is in the Bible is required.
In the 40 days after the resurrection Jesus explained the meaning of the scriptures, showing how the Old Testament prophesies referred to Him. For those who were already believers the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, probably because there was yet to come the ascension to Heaven, thus completing the events when Jesus walked on Earth. But Jesus did tell his disciples that they would receive the Holy Spirit and this happened ten days after the ascension, that is on the 50th day since the Passover, which is why it was called Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was seen to descend as tongues of fire and people heard the preaching in their own languages.
But in the early 1900's a preacher by the name of William Seymour started talking about "Baptism of the Spirit" even though the expression never appears in the Bible. The words "baptism in the Spirit, "baptism with the Spirit" or "baptism by the Spirit" appear seven times, but this is not what Seymour was talking about. Whilst it is true that the early believers (before Pentecost) received the Holy Spirit after their conversion, or when they learned about the Holy Spirit and were immediately baptised in water (as in Acts 19:6) this was because Jesus knew they needed the full story, including the ascension, before they were to start spreading the "Good News" about Jesus, now at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven. Note that there is no indication that the Holy Spirit enters a believer any later than water baptism, not at some subsequent date following such baptism. In present times, when people learn about Jesus they will usually also learn about the Trinity and so, as soon as they believe in Jesus (in the sense of John 3:16) they will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 and Romans 8:9-11 clearly indicate that people receive the Holy Spirit at the moment they believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This does not mean that they will have the gift of speaking in tongues, but they will have the free gift of eternal life.
The problem often seen in Pentecostal churches is that some members make new believers feel inferior and not yet saved because they have not had this subsequent "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" (whatever it means) and cannot speak in tongues. However, in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 Paul explains that only some will receive that gift, but others will receive other gifts. These would not have received any gifts at all if they were not saved. Hence speaking in tongues is not necessary for salvation and sadly many turn from the Pentecostal church because they believe such false teaching that implies they are not saved and perhaps never will be if they don't have this gift.
One final note: Be aware that there are major cults in this world such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses which have been founded by ordinary human beings in recent centuries. These cults differ from Christianity in many ways and their followers lead people astray. You can read about some of the differences by clicking the links at the right.
Doug Cotton (in NSW, Australia)
You are welcome to add a link to
this site SavedbytheLamb.com
Last updated 4 December 2023