Answering the Question About Eternal Life
What a person decides to believe in this lifetime does, in fact, determine his or her eternal destiny. Yet many ignore the issue of what happens after death. Others choose to believe that there is a Heaven but no Hell. The Bible is quite clear on this issue. Consider, if you will, these Scriptures:
In Daniel 12:2 we are told that multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
In Mark 9:46-48, Jesus Himself warns, “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”
In Luke 16:19-31, Yeshua tells His disciples this story: “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
One cannot selectively choose to believe in parts of the Bible and discard others. To believe only in the reality of Heaven, while choosing to deny the existence of Hell—a place of total separation from God for eternity—does not line up with Scripture, which is full of references to Hell, and is a great gamble at best! And to decide to make no decision is actually in itself a decision against.
Anyone who chooses to ignore the issue of eternity is taking a serious risk. In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul said that if what he had preached was not true, then he had wasted nothing, but if it was, then those who failed to believe would be risking everything.
I always believed there must be something more to this life after we died. As a child of nine or ten years of age, I remember asking my rabbi the question of what happens after we die. His only answer was that we are climbing up a mountain and cannot see what is on the other side. Only God sits on top of the mountain and knows what lies beyond. In truth, he had no idea what happened after death! But as a true follower of Yeshua who now “has eyes to see,” I now can see over the mountain, and I know that there is more to life than just living, breathing, eating, and dying. There is an eternity ahead! Where we spend it is determined by the decisions we make in this life now.
How Can I Have Eternal Life?
The simple process of receiving eternal life begins with the realization and the admission that all of us have sinned against God’s law, and therefore, all of us are guilty and separated from a holy, righteous God. This is why Yeshua came into the world. He came to pay the penalty for our sin once and for all and to make us righteous with God. Here is a wonderful Scripture that says this very thing:
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus [the Messiah] to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by the Messiah Jesus. God presented [Yeshua HaMaschiach] as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. —Romans 3:22-25
This passage in Romans makes it abundantly clear that forgiveness and justification for being made right before God can happen only when a person accepts Yeshua’s sacrifice through faith. How can one do that? Again, the answer is found in the book of Romans:
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus [Yeshua] and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same LORD over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” —Romans 10:9-13 NKJV
It always amazes me just how simple all of this is. All one has to do is recognize that they are a sinner, ask God for forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life found in Jesus, the Messiah. That’s it, He will do the rest!
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