We all understand that in order to receive the crown (reward, wreath), we must complete the race as a winner. A winner can also be called a conqueror, a victor, or an overcomer. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Cor 9:25 ESV)We are called by the Lord to complete the “race of life” as a conqueror who will receive an eternal reward. One factor that is required, even as it is required of athletes, is self-control in all things. But we are able. Let’s remember that Romans 8:37 tells us: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.We are “more than conquerors” because the true Conqueror, Jesus Christ, has shared His victory with each one of us through the gift of salvation.Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. (2 Tim 2:5 NIV)Obviously, every race has rules that must be obeyed. In order to receive the victor’s crown spoken about in the Bible, we must obey the Word of God. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12 NKJV)The battle in which we must engage is the battle for our very own souls, and the only way to win this battle is by FAITH. This is emphatically taught in Scripture:For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 Joh 5:4 NKJV)Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 Joh 5:5 NASB)But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57 NIV)If we stay on the path of obedience to God and to His Word, we shall surely win the race and receive the crown! Glory to God most High!
Everything Is Possible for a Believer
While Jesus was on the earth, He made many bold and challenging statements. At least, many of His statements challenge human beings in this day and age. However, His disciples, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, didn’t seem to have any trouble in taking Jesus at His word.
They had listened to the Words of our Savior:
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mk 9:23 NIV) Jesus says that EVERYTHING is possible for the person who believes. But believes what, exactly? We need to place our faith in God and in His Word.
And he saith unto them, Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Mt 17:20 ASV) We must use the faith that we have. Remember that faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8); it’s not something that we need to TRY to have or to whip up. It is a matter of taking God at His Word, and trusting Him to fulfill His Word.
I tell all of you with certainty, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ if he doesn’t doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. (Mk 11:23 ISV) Here, Jesus has given us an instruction for how to use the faith that we’ve been given.
Romans 12:3 reminds us that each one of us has been given a measure of faith.
The Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Lk 17:6 MEV) A grain of mustard seed is a very tiny, round seed. It would be easy to lose and easy to miss if it was in your hand. But Jesus says that even so small an amount of faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to uproot, move and plant a mulberry tree in the sea! What an astonishing image of faith!
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” (Mt 21:21-22 NASB) In this passage of Scripture, Jesus teaches us that pure, unwavering faith is able to move mountains and cast them into the sea. And He added that WHATEVER we ask for in prayer, believing that we have already received it, will be done. This demonstrates to us that pure faith that has no doubt or fear mixed into it will bring results that are unstoppable, inevitable, and unalterable. This faith is the gift of our good, loving and merciful God. Praise God!
Don’t Be Ashamed
The Lord tells us in His word that we should not be ashamed of Him or of His words. The apostle Paul teaches us the right attitude with his declaration in the book of Romans:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Ro 1:16)
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8:38)
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Lk 9:26)
We should never feel embarrassed or uncomfortable that we are Christians. Additionally, we should never be ashamed to share testimonies of our answered prayers, or of our salvation experience and the blessings of God.
For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Rom 10:11 ESV)
The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the POWER OF GOD to everyone who believes. Let us rejoice in this truth and praise the name of the Lord!
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22)
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Rom 5:15-17)
Because all humanity is descended from Adam, we are all going to experience death someday. In a similar way, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will one day be made alive.
What does that really mean to us?
It means that we, upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, have been born into the family of God. Having accepted Jesus as our Savior and keeping our relationship with Him alive throughout our lives means that:
- We belong to Jesus;
- We are His seed and offspring;
- We serve Jesus because He is our covenant Head and Representative; and
- We shall be raised [resurrected] to immortal life in and by Jesus Christ.
One day, we will have eternity to spend in the presence of our living God who is love. We will eternally be surrounded by perfect, unfailing, unending Love. This is a blessing of our salvation for which we may continuously praise and thank God!
Choose Boldness & Endurance
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. (2 Tim 2:12) We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.
But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:33) Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ. It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Lk 9:26)
To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him. This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ. To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23. (Source: http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)
We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world. One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mt 5:14-16)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Rom 1:16)
Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ. We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus. (See Acts 4:13)
For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus. (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)
Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.
The Resurrection & the Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Joh 11:25-26)
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus claims to be the Resurrection and the Life. The reason for this is that without Christ, there is no resurrection. Without Christ, there is no eternal life. Because Jesus IS life, death has no power over Him.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (Joh 5:24) All who accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, pass from death into eternal life.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:44) Jesus, the Resurrection, will raise up His followers at the end of time.
This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (Joh 6:50-51) In the ceremony of Communion, which remembers and honors Jesus’ sacrifice, we symbolically eat the Bread of Heaven, Jesus’ flesh. (Represented by bread or a small cracker.)
Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death. (Joh 8:51) Jesus powerful atoning blood covering each obedient believer will usher us into eternal life; we shall not see death.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Joh 10:28) Jesus says that we are safe in His hand, and no one has the power to take us out of His hand.
. . . and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. (Act 3:15 ESV) In this verse, Jesus is called the “Author of life.”
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:3-4) Upon accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we become hidden with Christ in God; and immediately, we enter into life. This passage says that Christ is our life.
Let us appreciate and honor the quality and characteristics of the life that Jesus gives to us. Glory to God!
How Can I Go to Heaven? Part 2
We are continuing with our topic from the last article.
Here are various Bible passages that tell us what we need to do in order to go to heaven when our physical body dies.
- Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:32) Jesus is speaking in this verse.
- For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16)
- And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:40)
- And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Joh 10:28) Jesus is speaking here.
- But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lor (Rom 6:23)
- . . . that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Cor 5:19)
- For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)
- In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 Joh 4:9-10)
In order to enter into heaven, all of these Scriptures point us to the person of Jesus Christ. Once we believe the truth of these verses and accept Jesus as our own, personal Savior and Redeemer, we are born again or “born anew.” In fact, we become a new creation in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10; Rom 6:3-4)
Once we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we’re qualified to enter into heaven. We also become eligible to receiving the benefit of every promise of blessing that is shown in the Bible! Knowing that this is true prepares each one of us to lead lives of significance in the here and now. Choose living for Jesus right now, and an eternity in Heaven for yourself today!