A respected friend who does not yet know Christ or the Bible recently asked me what he was missing. These four gracEmails repeat what I shared with him in response.
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Jesus invites every person to come to him, to believe on him, and to enjoy eternal life. “Eternal” life basically means life in fellowship with the Living God. It begins even now, when we believe on Jesus. But it goes beyond our present death, into the Age to Come for all eternity. It is “eternal” in a qualitative sense and also in a quantitative sense. The bottom line, however, is life in conscious fellowship with the Creator God himself, the Father of Jesus Christ, the only living God who wishes to be gracious and rich in mercy and kindness to sinners.
Jesus once said, “If anyone would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” This is not a cheap grace. Jesus calls us to “repent” (to make a mental U-turn, and to give ourself over to God and to his leading). He calls us to “believe” (to accept Jesus as God’s Son and to trust in his sacrifice on the Cross as sufficient to set us right with God). Perhaps the best-known Gospel summary is this: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
This is the beginning of a transformed life. It is not principally a matter of rules and regulations, but of joyfully following one who has died and risen from the dead to be our eternal Savior and friend. It is not a matter of denomination, but of fellowship with other believers for mutual encouragment. We cannot buy our way in, bargain our way in or rationalize our way in. All we can do is to accept what Jesus has done for us and to rely on that. God already demonstrated his approval of Jesus’ sacrifice by raising Jesus from the dead and receiving him back into heaven.
You can approach God about this matter for yourself. Tell him where you are coming from. Tell him your fears and doubts and reservations. (He knows them all anyway.) Ask him to make known to you whether these things are true. If you are willing to believe, ask God to give you faith. I encourage you to read (in a modern translation such as the New International Version, or The Message) the Gospel for yourself. You might begin with the Gospel of John, the fourth book of the New Testament.
No earthly joy — whether gained through possessions, sensation or power — can compare with the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and God his Father. Nothing gives purpose and meaning to life like serving the Creator who made this universe and put us in it. I am happy to share with you more, if, when and as you might be ready. I have nothing of which to boast myself. I make no personal claims. I am only a sinner, saved by God’s marvelous grace, dependent on him every moment for life, and a grateful recipient of his kindness each new day that comes. I wish you nothing else, and nothing less!