If I live my life to the best of my ability, when I die, I’ll be going to heaven, right? Unfortunately, that’s not right.
None of us can live perfect lives. We can never be good enough to enter heaven. We read in the Bible that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) So while good works are important, “Works, through faith, are good and profitable for all people” (Titus 3:8), it is only through faith in Christ Jesus (John 14:16) and His sacrifice for us that we are saved, not by our works, otherwise we might think too highly of ourselves and devalue Jesus and His life.
Getting to heaven demands atonement for our sins–a sacrifice that is great and costly. That sacrifice is beyond anything that we can do, that’s why God did it for us. He sent his son, Jesus to earth to become that sacrifice. In John 3:16 we read, “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.”
Does that mean that good works are worthless? Absolutely not. Faith in Jesus Christ is what saves us, but faith without works is dead (James 2:20-24). Works are the fruit of our faith and obediently done for the glory of God (Matthew 5:16). God wants us to good. Within the Bible we read, “…what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
This is a very profound question and deals with both Christ’s purposes and integrates into Jewish traditions and Pharisee beliefs.
As background, the incident takes place in John11:1-43 and should be very carefully read. Jesus had two previous occasions where He brought dead people back to life; Darius daughter in Mark 5:35-43 and the widow of Nain’s son in Luke 7:11-17.
In each of these cases the dead person had been dead for a short period, one day or less. Hence, the Pharisees were saying they were only ‘sleeping’ or in a coma or such and were not really dead. Most significantly however is the Jewish tradition and teaching that a dead person’s spirit remains over the body for a period of three days after death and then departs.
Now with Lazarus, Jesus was across the Jordan, a two days walk to Bethany where Lazarus’s body lay. When the messengers came reporting all to Him, Jesus deliberately remained and did NOT begin his return to Bethany. When He finally did arrive FOUR days after burial, not three, to negate any doubts by the Pharisees, Lazarus was already embalmed with spices and wrapped with burial strips and in his tomb. It was then He called him out of the tomb and Lazarus was returned to life, with his burial wrappings still on him. Lazarus, alive again, became a part of the Jerusalem believers’ group.
This incontrovertible miracle so marveled and infuriated the Pharisees that that they now began their plan to have Jesus killed. Read about it in John 11:45-54.
Perhaps the best answer to your question is that stated by Jesus, as recorded in John 11:42, in His reply to His previous statement, John 11:11, “…I am going there to wake him up” which is “…I said this for the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that You [the Father] sent Me.”
Do you have the joy of being committed to Jesus as your Savior and know for certain that you have eternal life? You can. Just invite Him into your life today. He is waiting. None of us know if we have tomorrow!
This is another most intriguing and somewhat perplexing question. It has been considered many times down through the ages by Christians and non-Christians alike. Back in 1320 AD Dante wrote the book, Divine Comedy, and it was published finally in 1472 AD. It describes his view of what torment might be like in various levels of Inferno or Hell. It is of course fictional but worth reading to get one perspective on torment in Hell for body and soul.
We, however, always look to see what God has said in His inspired Word, the Bible. First, in many references it says that Hell is a real place, a place that was initially created for Satan and the fallen angels. (Jude 1:6) It is also a place for all those who have rejected God’s free gift of redemption and salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are very clear that there is no condemnation or punishment or torment for those who have trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Romans 8:1) That’s the good news! Jesus, who spoke more about Hell than heaven, described Hell as a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In other words, a body.
In the book of Revelation there is reference to the resurrection of the dead nonbelievers with bodies as it says every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. (Philippians 2:9-11) Unfortunately, it will be too late for those to enter heaven as they made their choice while on earth to say no to God. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed onto man once to die and then judgment.” Again in the book of Revelation 20:11-15 we learn that the unsaved will stand before God in judgment and be cast into hell or the lake of fire for all eternity.
Finally their unsaved souls will be in constant torment and anguish. They will forever regret the choice that was made to reject Jesus. They will lament over thoughts like, if I had only listened, or if I hadn’t been so stubborn, or if I had only believed, or if I only trusted in Jesus. God gives everyone an equal chance to have eternal life and be forever with Him in heaven. So choose wisely while there is yet time. Jesus is calling. We trust that you will say yes.
Some religions suggest that evil is just an illusion. That it is a condition of the mortal mind. Others have said it is a result of ignorance and superstitions and if you don’t think about it evil will go away.
Our life experiences argue otherwise. We lock our cars and houses. We have security systems. We have laws against murder, rape, child abduction, lying under oath, etc. Yes evil is real.
It came about when Adam and Eve used their gift of free will to disobey God. There was only one commandment and they chose not to keep it. At that moment the human race and the earth began to experience the opposite of God’s goodness, evil.
Evil is the absence of God. We see it expressed in pain, suffering, discord, war and death. The ‘good news’ is that God reigns and one day evil will be overthrown. All those who put their trust in him will live eternally where there is no pain, no suffering and no death.
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These are two of the greatest mysteries of life. The answer to the first question is partly based on medical evidence or the lack of it as the soul cannot be found within the physical body. We get some clues as to what faculties or components of a person could be eternal and reside in the soul from Jesus’ words in Luke 10:27.
When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He answered, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind.” These components are what appear to constitute the total you. Simply stated, you are your soul and have a body.
It is therefore most likely that at least your mind and heart (your personality/emotions) are distinct parts of your being and components of your soul. Other elements of the soul are believed to be the will, conscience, intuition, beliefs and perhaps sense of curiosity. The soul uses the senses to experience the external world. Some people who have had out of body experiences have reported to have the senses of both sight and hearing.
The Bible states that when your body dies, as all will, those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior will never die (John 11:26). In fact, believers are promised a new glorious body suited for eternity that will never die. The implication is that your eternal soul with it’s timeless components will survive physical death and be placed into that new glorious body. (Philippians 3:21). Sounds pretty exciting but only if Jesus is your Savior. Is He? If not, why not?