"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
The basic message of the Bible is beyond dispute. Consider how these fundamental truths are clearly taught in this passage.
1. The Christian message offers everlasting life. This is the repeated message of the Bible. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
2. If language means anything, everlasting life must mean a life that can never end. "Everlasting" life occurs by way of contrast with our present life, which will come to an end by death. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish" (John 10:28a).
3. "Hath" means believers have eternal life - now - present tense. Man-made religion offers a life pursuing half-promises like a carrot on a stick. Jesus says he offers salvation now. "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2c)
4. The receiving of this represents a fundamental change in condition before God - passing "from death unto life". Evidently, this life is not only different in duration, but in kind. Sin has made man dead spiritually, even before physical death occurs, but Jesus offers to make you made alive unto God.
5. This life is also a sphere of existence outside of the judgment of God ("shall not come into condemnation"). So it brings pardon for the sins of the past and ultimately of all sins.
6. This life is attained by faith alone. It is promised without further conditions to those that hear and believe. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).
7. Faith here is not just an undefined spiritual mystery. It is belief of the revealed Word of God. It matters what you believe. The saving message is about the plan of God to bring salvation through His Son. This is called the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News that God has sent His Son to die for our sins, and rise from the dead. It is if we repent and believe that good news, that we then have everlasting life.
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death" (Revelation. 20:14).
The best minds in the world crack their brains trying unsuccessfully to understand death. The Bible has the explanation. Death came into the world with sin. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men..." (Romans 5:12). That one man who first sinned and brought death to earth was Adam. God had warned him that if he disobeyed his Creator he would "surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Adam sinned, and God's Word was fulfilled. All of us that have come after were born into that sinning, dying race of Adam.
The world is busily trying to deny that there is any such thing as sin, but death shows its hideous face on every hand, and stalks every one of us. Refusing to recognize the reality of sin is madness. We have come to a place where we can rewrite the dictionaries and omit many words of long standing in the English language. Sin, perversion, immorality, depravity, judgement, and a long list of others are no longer regarded as having meaning. But one witness refuses to be silent as to man's spiritual problem, death.
As we study Scripture, we learn that the death that God warned Adam of is far-reaching. Physical death with all its sadness is familiar to most of us. But Revelation. 20:14 tells of the final phase of sin's condemnation - death in its full significance - the second death. Revelation 20 is about the great judgement day when those who die without Jesus Christ stand before God for final sentencing. It tells clearly of people being cast into a fiery lake to spend eternity. This is sober beyond words.
The Bible also tells us that one man's death was different than the rest. Jesus Christ had never committed a single sin. And He was more than a man. He was God incarnate. These two facts should make any enquiring mind meditate deeply on the significance of His cross. It all makes sense when we realize that He died on the cross for OUR sins. All who turn from their sin and receive the Resurrected Saviour by personal faith are promised that heaven awaits them when they die. What a way to go.
"Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love" (II John 1:3).
Two elements are absolutely essential to genuine Christianity, truth and love. The Bible includes these both in fundamental statements about who God is. We read in I John 4:8 that, God is love. In John's Gospel the Lord declared that He is the truth. It is only a problem of human limitation and failure that we think that we can dispense with one or the other or that the two are impossible to reconcile.
With Valentine's Day fresh in our memory, we should be ready to appreciate the love of God that made Him willing to pay the price for our salvation. The broken law of God required the death penalty be paid. What a price to pay so that the sinner could have eternal life. Nevertheless, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16a). The Saviour came down to this earth knowing He would have to die and bear the sins of the world to make a way of eternal life. What love can compare to that? No wonder we read, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). (The word "propitiation" refers to the satisfaction of the just requirements of God's law by Christ's sacrifice for sin.) We can love in gratefulness for this gift, but here is love in a class and measure all by itself, God's love through Jesus Christ.
God's truth is something that many are less disposed to consider. The thought seems to be, "Can't God just shower His love on me without searching out my heart and actions with truth?" But while love paid the price for our salvation, truth prepares the heart to receive the Saviour personally. It cannot be that we can recreate God to be one of love but no longer the God of truth. It cannot be that we can receive God's saving love but refuse God's truth. The Bible tells us that it is the truth that sets us free. The door to heaven was paid for by love, but the invitation to pass through is an offer of the truth.