“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:13-14 NKJV)
According to that passage above, our life is like a vapor that appears for a moment and then it fades away. You see, life goes by so quickly because we’re here for such a short time. So, if that’s the case, how should we be living our life? Should we be pleasing ourselves with no regard to what’s going to happen tomorrow? Or should we be aware that there is a God who has a standard by which we are to live by? For the bible says: “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV).
So, it makes more sense to know God’s will for our lives instead of seeking our own ways and perish. For the afterlife (whether it be in heaven or hell) is a lot longer than this temporal existence here on earth. Therefore, let’s be those who live our lives with heaven in mind. For God’s word says: “Thou wilt keep [him] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in Jehovah for ever; for in Jehovah, even Jehovah, is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4 ASV) Also, Jesus said: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29)
So, Jesus said that our destiny is determined on how we live. However, we also read that even our best efforts will not get us right before God. For: “We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.” (Isaiah 64:6 NET) But again in Ezekiel 18:20 it says: “the soul who sins shall die.” Now, you may be saying, “if this is the case, what can we do to be saved? For no matter how determined we are to do good, we would still fall short of being right in God’s sight.” Well, Paul the apostle himself said: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:24-25) So, there you go. For we read that there is a way to get right before God. Therefore, I encourage you to continue reading and discover that Jesus is our hope for eternal life.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
Jesus clearly said that he is the only way to God. Also, we read: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ASV) So, God gave up his only begotten son for us. This he did in order for us to have eternal life through faith in Jesus.
Now, I do realize that there are some who may have a limited knowledge of who Jesus is. Or there may be some who never even heard of him. For he existed long before he came to earth. So, let’s first dive into some scriptures. First, we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made.” (John 1:1-3 ASV)
So, before becoming flesh and blood like us, Jesus was referred to as the “Word” who took part in the act of creation. For we read in Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Now, what’s interesting is the word “God” is in the plural form. This is also true in verse 26 where we read: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:26) So again, God said “Let us make man” showing that there was more than one involved in the act of creation.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 NASB)
So, while being the “Word,” Jesus emptied himself and became flesh and blood like us. For we also read: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) All this our Savior Jesus did, not only to show us the way to God our Father, but to take upon himself the sins of the world. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Roman 8:3)
Therefore, let’s thank God for His wonderful mercy toward us. For we all have sinned: “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ESV) Therefore, let’s live our life in such a way that we can truly say: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Yes, Jesus loves us and let’s forever be grateful for that. Amen. Click this link to watch a video message from Pastor Brian Larson on Jesus Emptying himself
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24)
As said before, believing in Jesus is essential for eternal life with God. However, the sad truth is, there are many heading down the wrong path. For Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NASB) So, there is only a few that will take the right path. And what is the reason for all this? “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) Now, I want to be among those few that love the light and embrace Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. And it’s my hope and prayer that you’ll feel the same way as well. For any other way could lead you down that wrong path that leads to hell. And I DO NOT want you to go there.
Now, just to let you know. I myself was one of those who was heading down that wrong path. For I wanted to live life my way and do the things I wanted to do. This I did, even though what I was doing was affecting myself and others in a bad way. However, one day while I was wallowing in my sins and feeling so lost, God reveled his Son Jesus to me in a real way. You see, I heard about Jesus and even went to church now and then. However, I never really had a relationship with him until the day God finally opened my eyes. And for the first time in my life, I understood who God was and realized that I can have eternal life with him through Jesus Christ my Savior. Therefore, I want to be totally in love with him because he loves me and reached out to me. This he did even while I was still a sinner.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 ASV)
This relationship that I have with God is because Jesus suffered and died for my sins. This he did not only through beatings, whippings and being nailed to a cross, but he was afflicted for three days and nights in hell as well. For Jesus said: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40 WEB) And how was it for Jonah? “Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly. And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, and he answered me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2 ASV,KJV) So, we read that Jonah was in affliction and likened it as being in hell. Yes, my friends, hell is a place of torment.
Now, I must say that none of us can earn forgiveness by doing good works. Jesus is our perfect sinless sacrifice who took the penalty for every bad thing that we ever committed. This is true love indeed, for God paid a very high price for our sins by giving his beloved Son for us all. So then, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:18-21 ESV)
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)
Now, we need to understand that being saved is not a license nor an excuse to continue living in sin. For according to that passage above, those who continue living in sin will not be part of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, we must put away all our sins and live a new life by God’s Holy Spirit. And by walking after the Spirit, we can live a life that’s pleasing to God our Father. For true repentance brings forth good fruit, and it’s this good fruit that shows we are truly “Born Again.” For Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)
Therefore, it should be our goal to be sin free. For John the apostle said: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:4-9)
Now, that all being said, we may make a mistake every now and then. That’s why John the apostle also said: “My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ the righteous one. He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 CSB) Therefore, if we do happen to fall into sin, we are to repent before God. For John again said: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
So, it can be a learning and growing process. But again, our aim is to live a perfect sin free life. Therefore, “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.” (1 John 3:2 ASV) May God help us all to be perfect for his glory and praise.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NASB)
God doesn’t want anyone to die in their sins and go to hell. For God himself said: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11 ASV) Yes, it’s true. God desires that all would receive Jesus Christ and spend eternity with him in paradise. “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
Now, if you have not already done so, please repent and turn from your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Turn your life over to God today and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I say this because there is no other way to get us right before God. That’s because all our best efforts and religious acts are based on our own efforts and works which are flawed. However, faith in God’s mercy and grace apart from works is based on the perfect finished work of Jesus Christ. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7 ESV) Click this link to watch a video on being baptized in the name of Jesus
So again, I encourage you to repent and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior today. And by so doing, you will see life in a whole new way. And by receiving God’s Holy Spirit, you can now put to death that old life of sin and live a life that’s pleasing to God. And the beautiful thing is, you’ll be so excited that you’ll want everyone know about this relationship that you have with God. And maybe even sing that song below.
"It only takes a spark to get a fire going, And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing; That's how it is with God's Love, Once you've experienced it, Your spread the love to everyone, You want to pass it on. What a wondrous time is spring, When all the tress are budding, The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming; That's how it is with God's love, Once you've experienced it. You want to sing, it's fresh like spring, You want to pass it on. I wish for you my friend, This happiness that I've found; You can depend on God, It matters not where you're bound, I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD! I want the world to know, The Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on." (By composer and pianist Kurt Kaiser, 1969) *
For more details on the price that was paid for us, click this article link: "Bough at a Price"