Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
How can we neglect so great a salvation? God has given man a choice to accept eternal life on his terms or death by rejecting him all together. Because God is life, God holds the monopoly on eternal life. Since God created mankind it is easier to understand that human power or expertise cannot obtain eternal life, but it is a gift of God.
On judgment day everyone will come face to face with the fact that God does not think like man. Everyone will be judged by the truth that God has seen about your life and the way you lived. In short your deeds tell the story of your life.
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2
Donít we as men discern the character and trustworthiness of other men? Your relationships with other people will expose the true character of men by the way they handle their lives. In the same way God observes what you have done in the flesh. Your deeds of your life form a mass of evidence that reveals the true nature of your being. God will examine your deeds to decide whether they are good or evil.
The bible says that every man does what is right in his own eyes. Meaning that everyone has a truth of his or her that they believe and live by. It does not mean that the truth is the same for everyone or that the truth can be disputed. We find truth is always disputed in relationships, for example, in the relationship called marriage his way is not her way and the difference of opinion is always as long as your arm.
Truth comes into dispute in every relationship especially when personal beliefs differ. God is aware of this specific condition that men can not understand. When you donít believe the way I do, men often say ďwhatís wrong with you?í ďThe fact is that we are self-righteous, stubborn and demand that other people think as we do. What makes this condition worse is that men refuse to listen to another manís beliefs, especially when it doesnít agree with your belief. Therefore people are often condemned as being stupid.
God is aware that men do not think along the same lines as he does, for he said.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,Ē declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
With in the church there is a common belief that we can learn to agree to disagree with each other. Is this a way to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace? Doesnít agreeing to disagree place a barrier between them?
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3
Do we create an atmosphere of peace when we agree to disagree? Do we honor another man above our own or do we give him a label that separates and makes them different? Are we really teachable when we refuse to listen to completely different thoughts and ideas? It takes two things to listen to opposing ideas, one is humility and the other is prudence. Listening may prove them to be right and you may learn something of value that will change your mind. You may come even into agreement with the other person.
Is it easier to learn to agree to disagree with each other? When I thought about this concept I thought of what I say, that is, ďYou have every right to be as wrong as I am.Ē Do you still respect the other person when you know he is wrong? Regardless of what you think being wrong is a part of the process of overall development of our reasoning. Just as I tend to be self-righteous and can justify the way I live, so can you.
Are your own thoughts any better than Godís thoughts? Why would God say?
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
In our world a college education makes men and women more qualified to make decisions. However, the college education does not keep those who follow their advice or plans from paying the price for the blunders they create. Regardless of the amount of education a man has decisions are based upon how you see life. Still, we have to pay the penalty of our decisions, fortunately decisions improve with experience and age. That being the case we may want to consider the age of God against our own and understand that we will always make immature decisions compared to those of God.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Philippians 3:15
Despite our maturity level, all of our decisions are hinged from our outlook on life. The majority of decisions are self-centered and motivated by what we get in return? From this outlook on life there is only me, my family and those I love. Within this self-motivated disposition there is little or no concern for the people that our decision affects.
God knows that anyone becomes insignificant when you fail to see other people in the same boat and trials of life that we are in. God created everyone with the same human nature without favoring one person over another. However, every human being can become so engrossed in what they are doing that their environment vanishes from their sight. Your carelessness robs the person of his or her dignity and worth. Therefore, you may not consider how your decisions affect the worthiness of other people that may help you later in your life.
Decisions can create conflict between you and other people. For the most part, before others can help you they need specific information that will help them to meet your needs. However, if you fail to cooperate through some sort of agreement, they will not be unable to comply with your needs.
The same principle is true of God, as you must find out what pleases him before God will respond to your needs.
"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20
God is willing to serve your needs when you recognize him on his terms. God is the creator of everything within the universe even though the created things do not recognize his or her creator. As a human being we go to those who have whatever it is we want, but before we can obtain what we desire we must agree with them before there is any exchange. In every relationship there is a standard method of conducting relations with other sovereign beings. Conducting relations with other beings can be liken to a business deal they exchange what you have for the things you want.
When you want a loan you recognize the Bankís need by completing the loan application. In the same way, God requires you to recognize his authority by accepting Jesus Christ by faith as your Lord. Faith is the means of transacting business with God because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 13:6). Faith without accompanying works keeps the exchange from taking place just as not paying at the checkout counter stops you from taking the item you wanted to own home.
The plan of Salvation requires your faith because becoming a Christian is more than a process of saying Jesus Christ is Lord. Living a Christian life requires you to gather information to know what God wants you to do and completing every step of Godís plan to reap the benefits of your faith. Successful people place their confidence in plans with feasible steps that when enacted guarantees the desired goal. Christians place their confidence in God and in the truth of his word. Godís word guarantees that if they do everything written in the book of law that they would prosper and have success. Doing everything written in the plan of Salvation demands that you obey your father in heaven through the exercise of your faith.
The first step God has commanded requires you to forsake your evil thoughts and ways.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:7
Forsaking your thoughts is not easy but it gives you a completely new outlook on life where your thoughts turn to Godís way of thinking. Repenting is the process of turning from an evil life bent on destruction, to God and life eternal. Repenting demands a changed life that everyone can see especially God. Paul wrote,
I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8
Repentance is a lifetime process as is learning what pleases the Lord. If anything repentance works hand in hand with the time we spend with God. Time spent with God builds our personal foundation of knowledge and truth about him. We also learn something happens when God hates what we have done. We become aware that we have sinned and learn to ask to be forgiven.
Our sin leaves a trail of evil deeds that needs to be dealt with. Repentance is turning from sin, but forgiveness is having the evidence and the remembrance of evil, expunged from our record as if what we did Ė never existed. Repentance depends on you turning from your former practices when you learn about them. God loves you and quietly waits for you to repent and reap the benefits of being right with God.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. Colossians 1:21-23
Repentance is not a once in a lifetime deal, but a lifetime experience. Turning back to our wicked ways is easier than you think as we live influenced by a world of evil and deceit. Evil is all around us drawing on our way of thinking and flirting with our minds to entice us to sin one more time. The things (sin) we donít want to do become the things we will do again unless we focus our minds on Christ. Therefore repentance must accompany a steady and planned advance goal of pleasing our father in heaven.
When those in the world say thatís not how the real world works theyíre telling the truth from a personal knowledge of the methods the world employ. They see a corrupted world where crime goes unsolved, people are intimidated to do things they would not do otherwise and angry people inciting others to anger. On the other hand, the world has a double standard that hates those who steal from them but it doesnít stop them from taking their employer's belongings home saying he wonít miss it. No one likes a liar because he canít be trusted to tell the truth, but at the same justify their fibs by saying white lies never hurt anyone. The world approves what they do to others and raises the roof when the same things are done to them.
If Christians are to grow and mature with a life pleasing to God we must develop a singleness of mind and rid our life of double standards. We must have an absolute set of core values that God approves of. We must show our love for one another enough to be concerned about the things we say and do to others.
Ultimately our life on earth is the opportunity to accept an open invitation from God to choose where and whom we want to spend eternity with. If you only hope to go Heaven or Paris, someday there will always be something to stop you from going. Everyone can reach his or her destination with a plan, preparation and the will to do what it takes to get there.
God has given every person on the earth an equal amount of time to consider the things he created. Man has no excuse, the very things God created declare his glory making man aware of his existence and coming wrath. There is a widespread knowledge embedded in the creation that God, heaven and hell are real, leaving mankind without excuse.
Itís common knowledge that God rules the entire universe. However man is not ready to relinquish his part of the universe. Ultimately, men cannot escape the day his life is spent, the day of reckoning, and the reward God will give.
While most men and women prepare for their death, they draw up a last will and testament to divide our possessions among the living. However, most people are better prepared to go to Paris than to meet their maker.
If we are to advance our relationship with God our relationship with God must have a high priority in our daily lives. God has given mankind a glimpse of him through the things he created. Paul writes, what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them (Romans 1:19). We often take for granted the very things God created that tell us about his eternal power and nature. Still, God chose to make sure man had a written record of his dealings with man.
Within the written word of God are his personal instructions to his children. Through the practice of reading and meditating on Godís word you can gain wisdom to develop restraint and acquire foresight for moral behavior. Just as human fathers are to train their children in the instruction of the Lord, Godís word instructs his children into the ways of our Lord and father.
You may think that God does not speak to his children through his word, but nothing is impossible to God. Being weighed down by the pressures of this world, being in a hurry, reading without purpose become hindrances in hearing what God has to say. God will speak to his children when they are willing to listen. So make every effort to hear what God says even if it requires you to force yourself to listen to Godís word.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
Should you listen to the opinions of men you may run into trouble for men can be wrong. Those opinions may not agree with Godís word and hinder you from knowing the truth. If you want to agree with God than you must take a hard look at Godís word to see for yourself what God said exactly. Then ask God questions pertaining to what he said.
As long as man can be tempted to sin he can be deceived.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
You have Godís Holy Spirit within you and the promises of God to keep you safe. At this time we should ask our self, are we fully committed to God? Do we want to hear his voice on a regular basis? Is he our all in all? Do we lean on him constantly?
Being fully committed to God is a dedicated effort over a lifetime to remain in good standing with God. The same is true with every relationship whether it is with a spouse or friends, you have to make an effort to keep good standing with them. If you want them to be your best friend you have to be their best friend.
When man forsook God through disobedience in the garden he suddenly lost his greatest privileges of life, communion with our father. Since then, God developed a plan to restore communion with man. God sent his one and only son to atone for our sins. Whoever chooses to believe in him will not die but will have eternal life in heaven.
Not one person on earth is without excuse for God has made himself absolutely clear to everyone. Everyone knows God created and rules the universe. Everyone knows enough about Hell that they do not want to go there. They consider the gospel of Christ as foolishness, but at the same time refuse to look at the options God has given to all men. If God created and rules the universe then there is no other option.
There are thousands of gods that men worship across the world, but there is only one God that created the heavens and the earth. Do we worship a God that responds to our needs? Every one wants to know that they are loved. God is willing to love you in the same manner as he has asked you to love him.
God demonstrated his love for us in that he sent his son into the world, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us Romans 5:8.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:19-20
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3
"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. John 3:16
We, as men have a choice between life and death. The Lord is your life, and he will give you a life man can not obtain by his knowledge, power or expertise. Everyone knows that there is a day when we will die. We make out our last will and testament to divide our possessions among the living. The problem is that most men and women do not prepare for meeting our maker and father of mankind. On that day God will have the final say and will choose your destination based on what you did with your life. Are you preparing for that day? God asks that you choose life so you and your children will live. The way you live shows God the choice you made to live by.