IT’S UP TO YOU

February 27, 2020

Do you know if you’re saved? How do you know? Most people think they’re good, so when they die, they will “go to a better place”. Well, that’s not the way things work. There will be a lot of “good” people in Hell because only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will allow you to spend eternity in that better place. That decision is up to you, and you alone. When you make that decision, it means you’ve understood that you’re a sinner and that sin separates you from God. Then, you’ve repented. Repent means you’ve changed your mind about sin and know that only the shed blood of Jesus can take your sin away. On the night of Jesus’ arrest, He had gone to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed. He knew what He would face, and prayed for another way to bring salvation to this fallen world.  He would be tortured and then crucified, but He also would take the sin of the world upon Himself. God the Father could not look at Him. “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. There was no other way. Only His pure, sinless blood could be the permanent sacrifice to take sin away. He loved us enough to willingly make that sacrifice.

Sin has been around for a long time. Paul explains where sin and death began. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned Romans 5:12. It’s important to understand where this separation from God began. Adam brought sin and death upon the entire creation when he chose to eat the forbidden fruit. Every person born from Adam to the present day has been born into sin. There is no righteousness by our own works. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19. Righteousness only comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Unless you accept that gift you cannot be forgiven. Nobody can make the decision for you. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10. If you ever watch Bible-based movies, many times an actor will say words that proclaim Jesus as their Lord. Does the actor mean those words? The words might be right but if they only follow a script and don’t believe in their heart what they’ve said with their mouth then there is no salvation. What about you? Did you merely mouth words that meant nothing to you, or do you believe in your heart that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has saved you from eternity in the burning lake of fire? If you have any questions as to whether or not you meant the words, you need to make a heartfelt confession of faith in Jesus right away. Everyone is just one heartbeat away from death, and there’s no second chance.

There are many false teachings that lead people straight to Hell. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1. Infant baptism is one of those falsehoods. First of all, baptism does not save anyone. It’s an act of obedience that follows a profession of faith. Secondly, a baby is unable to understand that he’s a sinner and needs to repent, so it isn’t a choice that the baby made. Nobody can make the decision for another person. The only thing that will save that baby is for that little one to grow and become aware of their own sin, repent, and ask Jesus for forgiveness. If the parents are Christians, then that baby should grow up knowing Jesus and when he or she understands about sin and the need for forgiveness through Jesus, then that child will have to make a confession of faith by their own choice.

It’s important to read Scripture for yourself. There are false teachers who preach false doctrine. It’s up to you to find the only path to salvation. Doctrines such as “all roads lead to heaven” are pure lies. Jesus explained it to His disciples by saying “Jesus sayeth unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. There is only one way to live eternally in Heaven, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. You can’t work to earn it, but you have to decide to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation by your own confession of faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. You cannot follow Mormon lies or even Catholicism with its false teachings that aren’t found in Scripture and think you’re OK. In this day and age when many preachers like to tickle the ears of the congregation rather than preach the truth, sin and the need for repentance is not taught. You need to search Scripture for yourself and be sure that you aren’t being taught lies.

Another false teaching is that since Jesus died for the sins of the world then everybody in the world is going to heaven whether they accept Him or not. Wrong. Salvation is a free gift from God, but like any gift it has to be accepted. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17. You have to believe. God doesn’t want anyone to perish and has done everything He can to allow us to have eternal life with Him. Many people know this verse but miss the part about having to believe. They think that because God loves the world and Jesus died on the cross, nothing more is required. God loves the world, but not the ways of the world, which is the way of Satan. When you recognize you’re a sinner and repent of sin, if your profession of faith was real then sin should be repugnant to you. Salvation is a free gift. Jesus paid the full price, but it’s up to you to accept it or reject it. If you don’t accept it then you’ve condemned yourself.  “He that believeth on him Is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18. You can only blame yourself if you fail to accept Christ’s give of salvation.

Something that you need to consider when trying to decide whether or not to accept Christ for salvation, is the fact that time is running out. We are in the very last days and Christ will soon call all Christians Home in the Rapture. If you haven’t given your life to Jesus, then you’ll be left on earth to face God’s wrath and the judgments that are poured out upon the earth. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. Does it seem unfair that God should send a delusion? It isn’t. If you’ve read this commentary you know that God provided the only way of salvation through Jesus Christ and that you have to make your own decision to accept His gift. You cannot plead ignorance for not choosing to follow Christ. You have the facts. If you haven’t made that decision for yourself, choose now. Choose wisely and avoid condemning yourself.

It makes no difference where you live, what ethnic group you belong to, or what family you were born to. Salvation is offered to everyone. Paul and Silas traveled on missionary trips to spread the Gospel. On more than one occasion their faith landed them in prison. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31. These words were spoken to a jailer who had seen the integrity of Paul and Silas, who had been jailed for their faith. An earthquake opened the doors of the prison which would have allowed escape, but Paul and Silas chose not to run. They had sung and prayed all night, so the jailer knew of their faith. Even though he was told that faith would save him and his household, the jailer could only make the choice for himself. His household would have to make their own decision, but because the jailer believed his household was given the opportunity to also believe. “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.” Acts 16:32. The result was all who heard did believe “…and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” Acts 16:33b. They heard the Gospel, believed what they heard, and were saved. Then, they were baptized in obedience. The jailer couldn’t make the decision for his family and servants, but his belief allowed for them to also hear and believe. Each one made their own decision.

Can you be sure you’re saved? Yes. First, did you make the decision or did someone else make it for you? If it wasn’t your choice then no decision was made. Make that all-important confession of faith now. If you did make the decision then your life should be changed. At least your attitude toward your sin should change. Don’t look for loopholes. Sin is sin and God’s view of sin is the only one that matters. If you accept Jesus but keep struggling against sin that doesn’t mean you aren’t saved. If you’re struggling then you’re trying to overcome it. Be sure to ask God for help in your struggle. If you say you believe but have no brokenness over your sin, then you need to consider whether or not your faith is real. If you have realized you’re a sinner and asked Jesus to be your Saviour then start living for Him. It’s up to you. If you’re unsure if you’ve truly believed in your heart, don’t delay. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth today.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.

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