Green Pastures. Quiet Waters
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (I John 5:13)
When John worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, one of his duties was to visit those who supported the ministry. His job was to bring them up to date with the work of the Billy Graham Association, as well as to help see to their spiritual needs and pray with them. Many of those he visited were elderly and not always able to attend church. John served as somewhat of a visiting pastor, although that was not his title.
Occasionally the discussion would turn to the other person’s advanced years and John would ask, “Are you ready for heaven?” Most would answer in the affirmative, indicating they were looking forward to eternity with Jesus. Others, however, would sometimes respond “I hope so”. Such remarks were often accompanied by comments of uncertainty, and John would go through the gospel with them and ask them if they believed it. Most replied that yes, they did and had for many years, yet it seemed that a note of doubt had crept into the reply.
That is not unusual. Satan, the great deceiver, will try to cause one to question the truth of their salvation. “What if it isn’t real? What if I’m not good enough?” Satan is very good at planting seeds of doubt in people’s minds, even in seniors who have been believers for years. His purpose is to cause discouragement, to bring doubt about the truth of God’s word and negate His grace - to cause feelings of defeat and hopelessness, taking away the joy that God means us to have as His children.
Have you ever been uncertain? If someone asked you if you were certain that when you die you would be with Jesus for all eternity, how would answer? Based on what? We know that our own “goodness” would never qualify us for an eternity in heaven. All the good characteristics and fine deeds would not do it. Not even coming from a good, Christian family would be enough. The only thing that would guarantee one’s place in heaven is to genuinely acknowledge one’s sin and ask God’s forgiveness. Based on what the bible teaches, we can then know without a doubt that our place in heaven is guaranteed.
“…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 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 3:15b, 16)
Then God sends His Spirit to live within each believer to teach us God’s ways and to help us live the kind of life that pleases God. God’s acceptance of us is not based on how perfectly we live the Christian life, but on what Christ did to pay the penalty for our sins.
Then scripture tells us that we can know without a doubt that our place in heaven is secured. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27, 28)
No more “I hope I am ready”, but “I know I am ready”.