Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
I was an active church member prior to June of 1977, but I was still walking in darkness because my trust was in my church (and my good works) — not in the Jesus of the Bible.
My husband was also an avid church attendee who yet needed to place his faith in Christ.
This goes for anyone in any church.
For, you see, it is not the church that saves us from Hell. It is Jesus.
It is not religion that saves us from eternal torment. It is Jesus.
In fact, Jesus had more trouble with the high-and-mighty folks of His day — the piously religious folks — than He did with the down-and-outer folks — the brazen-and-overt-sinner folks.
The truth is, salvation does not come by prescribing to a set of rules and regulations, by helping our neighbor, by reciting words from a prayer book, or by trying to live the perfect life.
(Newsflash: We CAN’T!)
Oh, how I rue the fact that no one had told me these things prior to 1977! But how grateful I am to the one who shared the Good News of free salvation with me!
That is why I’m telling you now.
Do you want to spend eternity in Heaven in God’s presence?
Do you want to escape the never-ending sufferings of Hell, separated from Him and all your loved ones forever?
(Admittedly, Hell is not a popular or pleasant topic, but I am compelled to write about it. Why on earth would I risk offending people I love if I didn’t believe every word that is written in the Bible about how to avoid that place of eternal torment?)
My heart shatters into a thousand pieces at the thought of any of the “good” people in my life ending up there because I didn’t love them enough (and wasn’t courageous enough) to offer the Antidote.
Friends, all of the “goodness” we can muster … will. never. be. good. enough, for the Bible says that we are all like an unclean thing — that all our so-called righteousnesses are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Mark 10:18 says there is no one good but God (a rebuke to the rich young ruler who did not yet believe that Jesus was God).
And Romans 3:10 says there is none righteous, no, not one.
So it is crystal clear that each one of us is desperately in need of a Savior, no matter how “good” we might seem to others, and it would behoove us to examine the object of our faith — works, church, or Jesus (or a combination of two or more of these)?
Do you, like the pre-’77 me, think you will be saved …
…by doing all the “good” works you can drum up?
…by following a set of rules?
…by rote recitations of repetitive readings?
Are you placing your faith in being a member of the “right” church? (A litmus test for this would be to ask yourself: Can I change churches today and still be in good standing with God?)
Think hard and deep about where you have placed your faith in terms of your destiny after you die — then compare the object of your faith to the words of Jesus in the New Testament.
When you read through the New Testament, you will be barraged with passages explaining that salvation comes only by placing one’s hope and trust in Christ and Christ alone.
Not in “Jesus plus something.”
The disciples once asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work God requires is that you believe in the one whom He has sent” (John 6:28-29).
Beloved reader, for the sake of your eternal destination, I beg you to set aside what you have been told by others.
Set aside all other books …
… and simply read the New Testament like a child. Pay particular attention to verses like John 1:12, John 3:16, Romans 6:23, and all other verses pertaining to the means of eternal life.
Attending a Bible-teaching church is a good thing. We are even encouraged to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together with other believers (Hebrews 10:25)…
… HOWEVER, church attendance is not the key to Heaven!
There is no “correct” church, other than the Body of Christ, which is made up of believers all over the world from a variety of Christ-centered churches.
This bears repeating. The “one true church” is made up of followers of the Jesus of the Bible …
…those who are trusting in Him alone
…the Jesus of the Bible who is God in the flesh (John 1:1-5, John 1:14, among a myriad of other verses).
I’m not talking about the man-made “jesus” conjured up by someone’s active imagination.
I’m talking about Jesus, the God-man who is revealed to us in the New Testament.
He who is the only Key to Heaven (John 14:6).
Oh, my dear friends! There is no greater tragedy than to miss Heaven by 18″ …
…the distance from the head to the heart.
I urge you to move from the taskmaster of law and religion to a living, breathing, and vital relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
Somewhere deep inside of you is a little boy or little girl who is looking for a personal and intimate connection with the Lover of your soul.
You have a God-shaped vacuum in the depths of your being that longs for something more than the cold, dead religion that you have, up to this point, experienced.
No matter what church you attend, I encourage you to read the New Testament as a child — with fresh eyes — starting with the Gospel of John…
…and find indisputable truths that will change your life and destiny.
Come out of the darkness and into His marvelous light!