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14 May, 2014

Why Is "The Eternal Life Of God," So Misunderstood?

We tend to tell people they have eternal life right after we say the sinner's prayer for them, or that we make them repeat those words they do not even understand. But, until God got me alone in the wilderness, I was not sure if indeed I had eternal life or not. I was content to know that someone confirmed it to me and I literally held God accountable to His promises. So, I knew when the time came to appear before God on the day of judgement, I honestly thought if there was any misunderstanding between God and myself, then I was going to remind Him of His promises, for starter. I used to see myself talking to God in the same way I was coached by those Christians whom I thought knew better. For instance, few of the Bible verses were shown to me so that I could understand two things. One was that Salvation was a gift of God, completely free and all that I had to do was to put my hand out to get it, in the same way that I would do if someone I knew handed me a free gift. Secondly, nothing about me being a disgusted sinner was ever a problem and repentance was never mentioned. As far as me not having any inward urges to call upon the name of God, was not a problem at all. The bottom line is, I did what I was led to do. 

So, in my mind, I could see myself explaining things to God in the same way it was explained to me. If He gave me some lip service, I would have told Him that Salvation is so free with no expectations that He cemented it for us in Ephesians 2:6 “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” Furthermore, I intended to remind Him that someone else He put in my path, confirmed things to me. In my heart and mind, I reduced God to be someone like me. I don’t think I need to explain my thinking process more than that because I know most of us rationalize salvation and take His word according to our understanding without thinking twice that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Shame on those who are sharing the Gospel without trying to know Him personally. We learn to live with a minuscule God and we go on with our faulty interpretation of God’s word to recruit people, like the Pharisees Jesus talked about. In Matthew 23:15 Jesus said:"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!”

Through the wilderness, I found out that eternal life is not something that is passed on like a second hand pair of shoes. I found out that I must go on with Him, knowing Him personally to get the assurance through Him and unless this transaction takes place between Him and me directly, I have no rights to claim His promises and demands that He honors His covenant. God is, and will always be the same yesterday, today and forever. Here is one example among several in the Bible. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16 God made a covenant with David, "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me…..Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”

The above covenant was to be fulfilled through Solomon. God did not let Solomon in the dark because He is a JUST God. In order to give Solomon a fighting chance He needed to make this covenant with Solomon also, to make it personal and to hold him accountable. You see, God knows if He does not make things personal for us, then He will not be able to deal with us justly. In the case of Solomon he knew what was at stake when God renewed the covenant He made with David, this time with Solomon.

1 Kings 6:12 "Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David”.

1 Kings 9:5  “I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.”

2 Chronicles 7: 17 "As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations,”

Unfortunately, Solomon walked away from God because he was attracted to sin. He walked away knowing fully all that was at stake. 

When you read John 17:3 the word of God says: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Knowing Him means exactly that. Isn’t it funny, the things in the Bible that we are supposed to take at face value, we truly neglect them and act as if those words were never conveyed to us? Why on earth would we not focus on those words in John 17:3 and make them real in our lives? Why is it so easy for us to hold God accountable for His word in Ephesians 2:6, completely forgetting that He could turn around and do the same with those words we do not like focusing on? This is where the day of judgement is going to be sweet. HE WILL TAKE AWAY OUR BLINDNESS and before we even open our mouths to say we did not see those words or that we did not understand them in this manner, we will be disarmed. The only thing that we will be left with is the knowledge that we did not fulfill our part. I can hear some of you saying, well…. Salvation is by grace so I am not responsible for what He did not do. Are you willing to bet your life that your limited understanding of the full meaning of grace according to God's thoughts is the same as yours? Or are you willing to let Him open your mind and heart to see more and understand that, we are the one refusing the work of grace He is flaunting right in our face?

Honestly, whether you truly understand the full meaning of Grace is not the issue. I read a lot of blogs and sermons, I can see these people are saved, they are going through the sanctification process, and they know God to some extend, yet, they do not fully grasp the full concept of the word "Grace." Sometimes I feel like everybody is repeating the same thing when it comes to define the word grace, as if they have been assimilated. However, as long as these people are growing through the process of sanctification, they do not have stubborn hearts and they are willing to give God His rightful place that's all that matter. An example that I could think of is Billy Graham, he doubted God's word but he was willing to let God be in charge of his life in spite of the lack of understanding and the doubts that plagued Him. When you compare the story of Billy Graham to Charles Templeton, you see the difference. Templeton turned away completely from the word of God. He walked away! Many of us are still in the Church, we go there, not because we care about God, but we enjoy the social club atmosphere and we do not want to leave behind what we have built there. I know that because God showed me how attached my heart was to the little life that I built for myself around the Church people. I did not want to leave that behind and wanted to hang onto it at all cost. Thank God He did not let me be that stupid.

 Christ’s prayer for all believers in John 17:19-22
"And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;  that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;…"

 Second hand Christianity does not guarantee eternal life. This is nowhere to be found in the Bible and it is our own interpretation through our twisted minds. Even if you are not conscious of your unity with Him the evidence of your spiritual growth will always be a dead give away.  If you insist on being just “a fan” of His, then, don’t be surprised of the outcome now and after you die. The gift of Salvation, if it is accepted by the heart, like it should be, it's  a whole new ball game. There will be a triage on the last day, so make sure you make the cut.  If you do not go forward, knowing Him personally, and you are content with your second hand Christianity, then do not be surprised if you find yourself in the pile that belongs to those with "some form of religion." His word made it clear to us there are true and false disciples out there. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

As long as you insist on your own interpretation of grace, you will never see the beauty of His grace with your soul. You cannot capture and comprehend with your heart and soul that “the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” would have never been able to do so without God’s grace. You and I, if we truly received His word in our hearts, we go on through grace alone doing His will.

Without God’s grace we sit on the sideline, we defy Him, we tempt Him, we analyze His word in our own understanding, we refuse to obey, we take Him for granted, we are in it for ourselves, we do not give Him His rightful place, we expect His death on the cross to “do his thing for us” and we act like a petulant child when someone dares to contradict what we have come to accept as truth.


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