By John Larkins
We often use a convention to warn our listener that the subject is of great urgency by saying, “It’s a matter of life or death.” I suggest, that even more important is the matter of eternal salvation. Your personal policy of risk-taking may not include this possibility but I believe it should. The ingredients for agreeing on its importance include the firm belief that God exists. If He does, the written record – the Bible’s Old and New Testaments – are purported to be written at His direction.
In these documents, we are told of God’s love for us and that He created us to be His companions forever. We as a group sullied this relationship with disobedience. God responded by showing us His plan, which provided for a sacrifice that compensated for the grievous insult and established an institution for training, nurturing and dispensing His grace through His son Jesus Christ. Eternal salvation is an individual responsibility for accepting His institution and conforming to His teachings inspired by Jesus Christ dwelling within this institution – the one, Holy, Apostolic Catholic Church. The alternative to eternal life in the home of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (that constitute God) is eternal life in the kingdom of God’s enemy, Satan.
You may reject the ideas of God, eternal life and the Church. Suppose you believe that when you die there will be no further existence. You are then at odds with a great many people from ancient times to the present. You can easily educate yourself on te-levision and the internet, as well as books and teachers. Some spark is found within us as a group that ignites our imagination to see that eternal future after worldly death.
But you might be right to disbelieve. In that case, when you die, the case is closed. Just for a moment, suppose to your surprise, Jesus appears to you for your judgement. If you are prepared, you will be joyful. If not, you will probably be horrified. God’s supreme gift to us is The Way to live happily, allow Him to forgive our sins and join Him!
There are two points that must be dealt with before we go forward. First, God – if He exists (as I do declare) – is the supreme force in the universe and will do as He pleases. Just because I provide the in-formation known to me, there is no requirement for God to follow my human knowledge of Him.
Second, even though God charged His personally selected founding Church leaders and their future delegated teachers 2,000 years ago, there could be some defect in His Church. Jesus said that “the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church,” some-thing might have gone wrong. Sadly, Jesus states that many will come before Him in judgement saying, “Lord, Lord, we are your followers.” But because they have chosen another WAY, He will respond, “Get thee away from Me.”
When asked if all would be saved, Jesus said, The way to perdition is broad but the Way to the Kingdom is narrow, and some will not find it.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will follow my Commandments.” A good starting point!
If there is no eternal life, following the rules and guidance in the Bible and in His Church (or The Way) will be of no concern. Per-haps one would find the life without God’s rules is more appealing than a Christian life. If, on the other hand, there is an afterlife, as so many humans have spe-culated, we would have an exceedingly long time to regret our insult of rejecting Him and His Way.
For the past 15 years, John Larkins has evan-gelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.