Are You Ready for Eternity?
None of us know when our lives will come to an end, which could come suddenly and unexpectedly. We must also recognize that the days in which we live make the Rapture more imminent than it has ever been. The clear choice, therefore, is to ensure you are spiritually ready before it's too late.
For Christians, the idea that the Rapture can happen at any moment is both comforting and exciting. It's described as our “blessed hope” in Titus 2:11-14, where we're taught to deny ourselves of ungodly and worldly passions, "and to live upright and godly lives while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." In 2 Peter 3:9-10 we read that the Lord is patient; but one day, like a thief, a literal end to the world as we know it will happen:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Some people, caught up in "ungodly and wordly passions," think (if only subconsciously) that they will simply wait and become a "tribulation saint". That is, some people think that they will turn to Jesus and begin living righteously after the Rapture happens. That is an extremely risky way to approach eternity! First, as noted previously, there is no guarantee that you will live to see tomorrow. If you do live to the tribulation, it will be very difficult to persevere and live without being subjected to great punishment from the Antichrist, the world in which he'll rule, and the wrath of God that will be unleashed during that period. Moreover, hoping to just be a tribulation saint may not even be a legitimate option...
We read an interesting parable in Matthew 25:1-13 (just after Jesus provided an overview of end-times events) about ten bridesmaids (often used in scripture as a symbol for the Church) and a bridegroom (Jesus). Some had oil (the Holy Spirit) and some did not. Those ready and with oil were taken when the bridegroom returned. The foolish ones that were not prepared, however, were left behind. When they showed up later and wanted admittance into the wedding banquet (heaven), they were told, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." Consequently, that parable strongly indicates that if you had a chance to be saved and chose to live your life as you pleased, you will not get a second chance! If you have put off the decision to make Jesus your Lord and Savior, I urge you not to wait any longer...
How to Become a Christian
If you're not a Christian, then the following information will be the most important information you ever read — if you act upon it. (If you claim to be a Christian but you are not living as one, then you're encouraged to read the section below entitled "What Now", as it especially applies to you.) Jesus said in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Jesus is asking that you have fellowship with Him — even in the last book of the Bible. It's another example of God's desire that nobody perish!
The Bible is very clear: in order to go to heaven
(either after you die or as a result of the Rapture), you must be “born again”. Jesus said in John 3:3,
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
What it means to be “born again” (and, therefore, how you can become a Christian) is
actually quite simple. God’s plan of salvation was designed so that
as many people as possible would turn to Him, as He is a loving Creator and very much
wants an eternal relationship with you. To use an analogy, God has taken 99 steps towards you, but does ask that you take
one step toward Him in order that it may be of your own free will.
The Process is as Easy as These 4 Steps:
1. Acknowledge God is the one and only God of the
very first commandment God gave was: You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20) Also, it is important to realize that the only way to
heaven is through Jesus Christ, God's son.
Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No
one comes to the Father except through me.”
2. Understand that
no sin you have committed will keep you from heaven.
Bible tells us, “For all have sinned,
and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Not accepting God’s plan
of salvation, however, is the one sin that will prevent you from going to heaven.
3. Repent from
your past sins.
Bible explains, “If we claim to be
without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
4. Believe God's plan of salvation was given to us
through Jesus dying on the cross.
said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)
In essence, all the steps above can be followed by
reciting with a sincere heart what is called “the sinner’s prayer”:
God, I acknowledge you are the one, true God. I know that I have sinned against you and
that my sins separate me from you. I am
very sorry and want to turn away from my sinful past. Please forgive me and help me to quit sinning. I believe that Your perfect Son, Jesus
Christ, died for my sins, rose again, and is now alive in heaven. I understand Jesus hears my prayer, and I invite
Him to become my Savior and the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart
from this day forward. Please send your
Holy Spirit to help me obey your commands and convict me when I sin. I pledge to learn more about you. My greatest purpose in life is now to follow
your example and to do Your will for the rest of my life. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
If you recited that prayer and really meant it, then
you are a Christian!!! The following information will help you begin your wonderful journey and to grow in your knowledge and
commitment; just as you recited you would do in the prayer. The four main things I would recommend, described in more detail
- Get Actively Involved In a Good Church
- Spend Time Reading the Bible Every Day
- Develop a Habit of Praying to God
- Fill Your Life With Godly Activities, Friends, and Entertainment
1. Get Actively Involved In a Good Church
Finding a church home is very important because fellowship with other believers can help strengthen your knowledge
and spiritual walk with the Lord. We read these important words in Hebrews 10:25,
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more
as you see the Day approaching.” In other words, your fellowship with other believers is very important!
Baptism is a public acknowledgement of your new commitment to Christ and represents the “washing away”
of your sins; therefore you should find a church that honors that act of faith and commitment. If Christ Himself, being perfect in all ways,
provided an example of being baptized before He began His ministry, then it stands to reason that we should
follow that example. We also read in Luke 12:8, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.”
On a similar note, be sure to find a church that believes the Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God, and
therefore, one that uses the Bible as the underlying foundation of all that is taught. Often times
churches have web sites where you can learn more about them — before you even have to walk in the door. If you can locate their "creedal statement",
or page that outlines their "beliefs", that will help you learn if they believe in the important things a good Christian church should hold dear. It
doesn't have to be worded exactly the same as our creedal statement, but the beliefs of a biblically-sound Church should be the same.
Finding a good church can be a challenge, but your diligence will be rewarded many times over. Also be sure to get
involved in more than just attending Sunday morning services so that you will get “plugged in” and be able to build important,
lasting friendships with fellow believers. Going in at the beginning of church service and slipping out
at the end will not help you get involved.
2. Spend Time Reading the Bible Every Day
The Creator of the universe has left us with words of comfort, instruction,
wisdom, and hope via the Bible; which is an amazing concept! Sadly, it's also well known that the Bible is the least
read best seller that has ever existed. Now that you have the Holy Spirit in you, He will help
you understand the Bible in a way that could not have been possible before. Just as food and water nourishes our physical
body, the Bible nourishes our soul. Therefore, just as one would not neglect feeding their body, we should
not neglect the feeding of our soul. A good study Bible is essential. I can highly recommend
The Full Life Study Bible for both
new Christians and people that have studied the Bible for years and would like to gain further insight. It may help to also find a good daily devotional to help nudge you along each day.
3. Develop a Habit of Praying to God
A Christian's prayer life is extremely important. It is our way to communicate with God (you should feel incredibly honored and loved knowing that the Creator of the entire universe wants an intimate relationship with you!). We read in the Bible that Jesus exemplified prayer to us many times, and if He, being perfect, needed to pray to remain in the Father's will and to keep that important line of communication open, how much more do we need to pray? Indeed, Philippians 4:6-7 commands us to pray, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
When you pray, is not necessary that you always be on your knees, with hands folded and eyes closed (though doing so from time to time can also serve a purpose and help you approach the throne of God humbly and in reverence of Him). God wants to hear from you often, which mean you can silently communicate with God frequently throughout the day (in your car, at work, at school, or wherever you may be). You can pray to give thanks, to praise Him, to ask for wisdom, and to ask for help. Like any relationship, your relationship with God also requires good communication that is done honestly and often!
4. Fill Your Life With Godly Activities, Friends, and
Sadly, many people who call themselves
“Christians” do not follow this important rule. While nobody is perfect (and dying to sin is a daily process), it is
important that Christians make every attempt to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit and, therefore,
live Holy lives. Living righteously (but not "self righteously") is very important and is commanded throughout the Bible.
Old lifestyles, old habits, and sometimes even old friends will have to be given up. The Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to
God— this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing
and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Christians are not sinless people, just forgiven sinners. Yet, as noted in the previous verses and those
cited at the beginning of this web page, we are still instructed to live godly lives. It bears repeating:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Thus, the distinction is
that, while we can not be perfect, we can be godly. If you are a new Christian, then please understand
that the process can take time. It is important that you
ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Notice the preceding verse calls the process a "transformation", which implies
that it is a drawn out process: like when a caterpillar eventually becomes a butterfly. As previously noted,
getting involved in a good church, reading your Bible, and praying will help you with that process.
If you just prayed the "Sinner's Prayer", you probably still have a few questions — and I'd like to help
you. Even if you don't have any questions at this point, I'd really like to hear from you and learn about