The namesake of the oldest book in the Bible, Job, asked the question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) The question of life after death has occupied the thoughts of man for all of his history. Just the fact that you are now reading this text bears witness to the fact that this most universal of all questions has occupied your thoughts as well.
Dear friend, allow me to share with you what God’s Word has to teach us about this subject. The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) gives us abundant evidence that man was created by God to live eternally. The sense of eternity is universal; a general belief in man’s mortal present but immortal future can be found in all cultures throughout the world. The question is, then, ‘What happens when I die?’
Most people today believe that if, generally speaking, they are a good person then they will go to Heaven. In other words, if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, or, as long as they sincerely try to live a good life, then God will accept them.
There is actually some truth to this. If a person dies and truly is a good and righteous person, then he is assured of an eternity in Heaven. There’s just one problem, though: the Bible makes it quite clear that there are no inherently good people. Romans 3:10 states, “There is none righteous, no not one.”
I know, I know. It sounds very brash and harsh to claim that there are no good people to be found anywhere. After all, one may wonder, ‘What about people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, or Billy Graham? Weren’t (or in the latter case, aren’t) they good people? Well, by human standards I would be the first to answer that question with a resounding Yes. Though I would disagree with some of them on some theological issues, I would say that all of them were, or are, humble people who consistently placed others above themselves. History will look kindly on all of these individuals as being selfless people with high moral standards and personal integrity.
The problem, though, lies in the fact that God does not judge us by man’s standards, He judges us by His. What exactly are those standards? They are, very simply, the 10 Commandments. If ...(Keep Reading)
What is a Biblical Christian?
There are many matters concerning which total ignorance and complete indifference are neither tragic nor fatal. I am sure that there are few of us who can explain all the processes by which a brown cow eats green grass and gives white milk but we can still enjoy the milk! Many of us are totally ignorant of Einstein’s theory of relativity, and if we were pressed to explain it we would really be in difficulty. And not only are we ignorant of Einstein’s theory but most of us are quite indifferent; yet our ignorance and indifference are neither tragic nor fatal.
There are some matters, however, concerning which ignorance and indifference are both tragic and fatal. One such matter is the answer to the question, “What is a biblical Christian?” In other words, according to the Scriptures, when does a man, woman, boy or girl have the right to the name “Christian”?
One must not make the assumption lightly that he or she is a true Christian. A false conclusion at this point is tragic and fatal. Therefore I want to set before you four strands of the Bible’s answer to the question, “What is a biblical Christian?”
1. According to the Bible, a Christian is a person who has faced realistically the problem of his own personal sin.
One of the many things which distinguishes the Christian faith from the other religions of the world is that Christianity is essentially and fundamentally a sinner’s religion. When the angel announced to Joseph the approaching birth of Jesus Christ, he did so in these words, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” The Lord Jesus Christ himself says in Luke 5:1-32, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” A Christian is one who has faced realistically the problem of his own personal sin. When we turn to the Scriptures, we..... (Keep Reading)
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