Friday, February 23, 2018

Life or death Up or down

Heaven and Hell .

 So much could be written about them. It would be a great thing  to survey all the mentions of the afterlife. This blog is not the place for such detail, however  I do encourage you to seek for yourself in the Bible the detail of heaven and hell.
I would like to focus on some New Testament teaching that make this matter relevant to us.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him, will not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3.16

Two destinies are mentioned. – Perishing and eternal life. To perish means hell. Eternal life means heaven. What then is the pivot point for one or the other?
“everyone who believes in Him”

As explained in a previous post, this is not a set of balances weighing good and bad. Rather this is about people deciding to believe the message of Jesus Christ and to trust Him as a living person who is able to save.

The assurance of heaven for the believer is not presumption. It is the promise of God that the believer can claim. So as God is true, His word is true, everlasting life is the gift that God gives to all who receive His Son Jesus.

Perishing in hell is what we all deserve because we have sinned.

The last verse in John chapter 3 is very conclusive:

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

These promises are taught clearly by the Lord Jesus, by John, Peter, Paul. Since then, millions have found peace with God and hope for eternity by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you?

If you have decided to 'believe in Him', send me a email. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Who decides

God’s verdict

According to the Bible,

God is the Judge – He created, He does judge and He will judge, He will have the final word.

God is just – He is impartial, morally perfect, all wise and all knowing.

God is good – His purpose is good. Hell was never the intended destination of humans. Hell was created for the Devil and his angels.

God is gracious  - In His perfect justice He calls people to repent. The opportunity to change is granted, it is not a right. His intention is to show mercy when repentance is real.

God is a redeemer – His offer of pardon and forgiveness is made real by the fact that Jesus Christ the Lord, died for our sins and rose again.
So He as the judge is just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. ( Romans 3)

Many religions present God as judging with a set of scales, weighing out the good deeds against the bad deeds. Then to make the punishment seem just , they limit the time frame of hell  according to the seriousness of the sin. That may suit logic, but the Bible as our compass points in a different direction. God’s judgement is just, but it is only executed on those who reject God, reject His word and reject His Son Jesus Christ.

This may appear to some as strange justice. But it is as old as humanity.
Let me explain – A father relates to a child differently to someone outside the family. A father acts in chastisement in the hope of restoring a lost relationship. A judge without that relationship, judges by a law that is seen as universal and takes no account for relationships.

God’s choice is to know us all as children. But when humans choose not to know Him, His laws then become the benchmark for His judgement. He keeps records and if mercy is refused condemnation  becomes inevitable.

Long ago Abram was justified before God because he responded in faith to God’s call – he believed God . On the basis of God’s promise he looked ahead to hope of being a resident in the city of God – heaven.
The people of Sodom were condemned and judged according to their wickedness because they rejected the visitation of the angels of God.

This principle of justice, is the underlying message of Jesus Christ. His birth, life and death was the very special expression of God as father seeking to reconcile humanity before judgement being implemented. Over and over again, Jesus called the people to ‘repent’(opportunity to change). Many times He called people to “come to Me”, giving an opportunity to connect with God. His repeated invitation to “follow Me” , presented an opportunity for a very different life and eternity with Him in heaven.

At the end of His time of teaching, He pointed to the final day of judgement  - “the words that I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (John 12)

 So as a preliminary answer to the question of who goes to heaven  - all God rejecters have no place in God’s home.
All Christ rejecters likewise have no place in the Father’s house
He said
“If you believe not that I am He, you will die in your sins.” ( John 8.24)

In contrast the promise still holds good:-
“But to all who received Him, He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those that believe in His Name.” (John 1.12)

Again the prospect of heaven and eternal life is based upon His promise, not our good deeds:

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish. “    ( John 10.27 )

J McKee

Friday, February 9, 2018

Is heaven real

For thousands of years, humans have sought to find the key to living forever, or the detail of another life after death. Perhaps the greatest monuments to this endeavour are the pyramids of Egypt.

The concept of life after death, depends on two essentials:
1             God is – He is a supernatural spirit, above and beyond the limitations of time and space. He is in control of both the natural realm and the unseen spiritual.
2            We are more than flesh and blood. We are body, soul and spirit. This gives humans the capacity to live in the natural world, but also to interact with the spiritual. This assumes that the higher part of humans can consciously exist outside of the body.

Are these things verifiable?  So much in the natural realm shows evidence of a greater, yet unseen creator and sustainer.

History records such an one interacting with people in various ways.
We are occupied very much with things we can see, feel and hear, but like the spirit world, so much of our natural world is invisible. For example the air, the wind, light, water , electricity, radio, magnetism, data etc. As for spiritual existence apart from the body, many thousands of people testify to having died , left their bodies and consciously moved into another consciousness. A chap I worked with was totally convinced by his near death experience. He left his body and moved to another room where he could see and hear. Yet another man I met, had been to hell and back again. Many I have talked to, have had such ‘spiritual’ experiences. I do not build my hopes on these varied experiences, except to say they do testify that we are more than just natural, chemical bodies.

The teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.

From the beginning of His teaching e.g. Matthew 5, He taught about heaven and the very real possibility that it could hold enjoyment  for us there. Rewards and riches would be given in heaven to those who faithfully followed Him. He spoke of heaven as the dwelling place of God the Father. It was the place to which He said He would return.
He taught that things would be different there. People would relate to one another as the angels do. Acquaintance with one another would be spiritual, not physical.
His prayer for His disciples was “that they might be with Him, that they might behold His glory” (John 17) . This was more than the splendour of earth or the anticipated kingdom. This was His glory as exalted at the Father’s right hand.

Just as He taught about heaven, so He taught about hell. He described it as a place of outer darkness, a place of torment where weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth prevailed. He described the horror of being  on the outside of a shut door. He spoke of the eternal destruction of the disobedient and the graphic horrors of self gratifying religious leaders. The Old Testament pictured the hopelessness of the grave, but the Lord identified the trauma of hell as a place of torment. Physical words are used to describe spiritual realities.

I recommend you take your Bible and notice, in the teachings of the Son of God, how often He referred to the unseen world, and our connection to it.

Paul put it this way “the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal’ (2 Corinthians 4.18)

If you don’t have a Bible, I may be able to supply one to you free.

The next question to be answered is ‘Who goes to heaven?’  and ‘who goes to hell?’

I hope to answer this in my next post.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Where are we going

The cycle of life seems so futile, so meaningless :-  birth celebrations, childhood excitement, teenage expectations, young adult dreams and skill seeking. The making of money and gathering of ‘things’. The hope of retirement and then, well a nursing home and then a coffin.

Could there be something more after death?

There are many responses, in our world , to this question.

The Bible as our compass, gives us a glimpse of wonderful hope as the prospect of life beyond death. In fact it was the Lord Jesus Christ who clearly spoke of events beyond this life.

Stay tuned for more

John McKee