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Dead or Alive - Ron & Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
God is real. He is our Creator and He is also our Savior. God had no beginning and He has no end. The first words in the Bible declare that His existence is eternal and He was before all things. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1. From this beginning point it goes on to tell us that God spoke all we see into existence in six days. Not surprisingly the New Testament agrees. “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 by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:1-3. Because God created all things, He knows better than we do how everything works. We cause our own problems by choosing not to follow His instructions. Prior to Adam's sin there was no death, sorrow, or disease...no separation from God. Because Adam chose to not follow God's instructions, we live in a fallen world. We consult the owner's manual of an automobile regarding how to keep it running properly, yet for something as important as eternal life we ignore Scripture, which is God's instruction manual.
God gave us the Holy Bible as a guide and sin is clearly defined; it is sin that separates us from God. You may think that God's laws only apply to you if you believe in Him, but that's wrong. For example, it is sin to steal whether you have accepted Christ or not. Sin has condemned you, but only through faith in Jesus Christ are your sins forgiven. Rejecting Christ will forever keep you dead in your sins, but accepting Him will give you eternal life with Him in Heaven. "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. That is simple and straightforward, yet many people say it's unfair. Why? Every day we make simple, straightforward choices that give us life while here on earth. For instance, we must eat nourishing food in order to be healthy. If we choose not to eat (reject Christ) we become very ill and die, but it is a choice we make. Or, if we choose to eat poison (follow the lies of Satan) we will also die. God gives us the right to choose eternal life or eternal death. Most people put more emphasis on buying a new car than where they will spend eternity. The truth is, God Almighty wants to have a relationship with His creation (that’s us). To cultivate an everlasting relationship with Him we must first believe in Him, who He is, and why He chose to enter His creation and die for us. First accept His sacrifice for sin, then follow Him.
There is no other way to spend eternity in Heaven with God than to place your faith in the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. Does that seem like too narrow of a path for you to follow? Do you want to embrace yoga, New Age, spiritualism, or any other false teachings out there? That is like eating poison. If you buy into any teaching not found in God's word, you have made your own decision to follow the path that leads to destruction. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14. According to God’s own words the vast majority of human beings will never come into a saving relationship with His Son. What choice will you make? Which path will you follow? Once we have made the choice to accept Christ's gift of salvation, that is the time to choose to live your life to please Him. When temptations come along, choose to honor God.
God does not change, nor does His word. It is up to us to study His word and make choices based on His truth. What was named as sin when God gave the Law to Moses is still sin today. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." Hebrews 13:8-9. There are many strange doctrines around and some may even sound Christian. The unstudied person can be fooled. If you haven't moved closer to Him in your Christian walk, then something is wrong. God has never changed and if you claim to be a Christian yet choose to follow the broad path that leads to destruction, it just might be that you have not truly accepted Christ. Settle it now before it is too late.
When you accept Christ and by His grace, mercy, and love your sins are forgiven, is it OK for you to continue sinning? Is it OK for you to continue in fornication, drunkenness, pornography, gossip, lying, anger, pride, or any other sin you happen to embrace? "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Romans 6:1-2. If you truly have accepted Christ, all your sin is forgiven and your desire will be to take up your cross, deny yourself (your sin nature), and follow Him. Once you have accepted Jesus, the Holy Spirit is sealed in you and that seal can never be broken, not even by you. It is the Holy Spirit who will help you to understand Scripture and draw you out of sin and into a right relationship with God. When you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, you are then spiritually in tune with the Author of the Bible and He will provide you with the understanding you need. Remember, God's law is above all of man's laws. The governing body of a nation may enact legislation that legalizes sin, but that doesn't validate sin. Be sure you follow God's law rather than man's.
Only our living God could have stepped into His creation to save us from everlasting damnation. Nothing less than the sacrifice of God Himself would be sufficient to accomplish this reconciliation between the perfect God and sinful man. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. God loves you and does not wish for you to choose eternal death by rejecting Him. Eternal life is a free gift from God. It only comes through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly died in your place; He took your place on that cross and He took the sin of the whole world upon Himself. He took the punishment that was rightfully due you and me because of sin; He opened that narrow path that leads to salvation. God gave His Son to cover the payment necessary to take away the sin of the world. All you have to do is accept His free gift, Jesus Christ, into your heart and you will live forever. Believe on Him and follow the narrow way that leads to salvation.
You see, right now if you are a non-believer you are dead. You're dead in your sins. You are basically following the broad path that leads to the second death when you pass from this life into the next. Only faith in Jesus Christ can save you from condemnation. "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18. Born again believers in Christ only die once. That one death is death to sin. Once you say yes to Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven never to be remembered again and you become born again, born from above, from God. When you pass from this life, it will not be to eternal damnation, but to eternal life. As a forgiven sinner you will be seen by God as He sees His Son Jesus, perfect. The only way to show your gratitude to Christ is to turn from your sin and live for Him who died for you.
It is your choice to accept Jesus Christ, put your faith in Him, and receive eternal life. Or you can reject Jesus Christ, put your faith in Satan's lies, and receive eternal damnation. Our human lifespan is short but eternity is forever. If you die without accepting Jesus Christ as the atonement for your sin, you have chosen eternal separation from God. If you don't choose Christ while living in this life, then you have chosen to reject salvation.” I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24. You are a sinner and you must acknowledge that fact before anything else. Then accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. There is no other way of salvation.
The penalty for unbelief is eternal death. In other words, unbelief results in eternal punishment instead of eternal glory. No, it won't be one big eternal party with all your friends who also reject Christ. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:13-15. Is that where you choose to spend eternity? God will not force you to love Him, but He loves you so much that He shed His blood for you. You have no more chances to change your mind after death. Once you die it’s done; you make your decision while you are living in this life. Once in Hell there will be no pardons, no reprieves, no commuting of sentence.
On the other hand, if you’ve chosen to accept Christ, Heaven awaits you and you won’t want to ever leave. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21. Start living your life for Him now. If you claim to have accepted Him but just won't turn from your sin, what makes you think you will want to serve Him for eternity. You will not be able to practice your sin in Heaven. None of us are perfect on this side of Heaven, but we need to strive to be like the One we serve. "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Ephesians 5:14.
The question you need to ask yourself is whether you are dead in your sin or alive in Christ. If you're dead in sin, then you need to seek eternal life through Christ. If you are alive in Christ, then begin to live for Him.
Ron & Nathele Graham
Previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham
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