September 2005

wooded-pathOur lives pass in a moment compared to the time we will spend in eternity. It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 1 I pray the Lord will remind you how brief your time on earth is. Your days are numbered, and your life is fleeing away. 2 And just as it is destined that each person dies only once; after that, comes judgment. 3

The Fear of Death

The fear of death is common and one of the reasons Jesus came to die. Because God's people are human beings, made of flesh and blood, Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He deliver those who have lived all their lives a slave to the fear of death. 4

I can remember as a boy thinking how short life would be. I was tormented by the thought of dying. I recall my sadness for a friend of the family with cancer having so little time left to live. It didn't seem fair that life had to be so short for him. I wondered how much time I had left?

The thought of dying gripped my heart, but for some reason, I felt my parents would live forever. Maybe it was their faith in Christ that caused me to not fear their death. They have now passed to be with Jesus. While alive, they were fine examples of those who were delivered from the fear of death. They died with dignity, knowing that there was a better life ahead. For our present troubles are relatively small and won't last, yet they can produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 5

Comforting Words

It is comforting to know that I will spend eternity with my parents. I hope to see my children and their mother in heaven as well as my siblings, their families, my friends and all the saints. As the old hymn goes, "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory."

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down [when we die and leave these bodies], we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We are confident, that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. That is why we live by believing, and not by seeing. We are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we would be at home with the Lord. 6

As Christians, our aim is to please God always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body. For we must stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive what we deserve for the good or evil we have done while in our bodies. 7

The Judgment of Sin

God is a God of love and of judgment. The judgment mentioned above is of the believers at the Bema (judgment) seat of Christ. 8 Our works as a Christian will be judged whether good or bad. Every man shall receive His own reward according to his own labor. 9 Later, Jesus will execute judgment upon the unbelievers at the Great White Throne. 10 When speaking of both these judgments, Jesus says to not be surprised. The time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God's Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to judgment. 11 The unbeliever is judged dead in their sin, having rejected Christ and His resurrection life.

The good news is that Jesus assures us that those who believe in Him, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. 12 His message says you must be born of the Spirit of life by believing He took your judgment for sin upon Himself. That He is the sacrifice for the sins of all the world. 13 If you confess you are a sinner in need of a Savior, He is faithful to have already forgiven your sin at the cross and to have cleansed you from all unrighteousness 2000 years ago. 14 And if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved and made right with God. 15

How does this happen? The Holy Spirit regenerates your heart miraculously, giving the life of Christ in the place of your own spiritual death. Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as He raised Christ from the dead, He will give life to your mortal body by this same Spirit living within you. 16

The Mystery of Christ

This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to his own holy people. For it has pleased God to tell His people that the riches and glory of Christ are for all who believe. For this is the secret: Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in His glory. 17

The Apostle Paul said everywhere we go, we should tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. I work very hard at this, as I depend on Christ's mighty power that works within me. 18

Christ desires to live His life through you. We can do nothing without His power flowing forth from within us. His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive His glory and goodness. And by the same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence around you and that you will share in His divine nature. 19

My Dear Friend

My heart goes out to those of you who don't share in God's divine nature through believing in Christ. There is no other sacrifice that will please God. It is impossible to please God without faith in Christ. Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. 20Those who doubt Him have nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God's judgment.

God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves. 21 You may say, "I'm not sinful and wicked!" But God says that all have sinned and come short of His glory. 22 In the same breath, He says the wages of sin is death, but my free gift is eternal life through Christ Jesus My Son. 23

Don't you realize how kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? Don't you care? Can you see how kind He has been in giving you time to turn from your sin? 24 I pray this will be the time that you in faith receive Christ into your heart. The day will surely come when God, Jesus Christ, will judge everyone. This is my message. 25

A Prayer for you ...

Father, I thank You for Jesus, Who died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins and for providing me Your Son's righteousness and resurrected life. I now confess Jesus as Lord and accept by faith Your free gift of Salvation. Through Your Holy Spirit, I pray You teach me how much You love me and about the power of Your resurrection. I want to grow in Your grace and in this new life You have given me. Thank You for Your loving kindness. Amen!

Footnotes:

1) James 4:14b
2) Psa 39:4
3) Heb 9:27
4) Heb 2:14-15
5) 2 Cor 4:17
6) 2 Cor 5:1, 6-8
7) 2 Cor 5:9-10
8) Rom 14:10
9) 1 Cor 3:8-15
10) Rev 20:11-15
11) John 5:28-29
12) John 5:24
13) 1 John 2:2
14) 1 John 1:9
15) Rom 10:9-13
16) Rom 8:10-11
17) Col 1:26-27
18) Col 1:28-29
19) 2 Peter 1:3-4
20) Heb 11:6
21) Rom 1:18
22) Rom 3:23
23) Rom 6:23
24) Rom 2:4
25) Rom 2:16

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