Looking for the Truth?
Are you asking any of these questions?
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What is all this talk about needing to be saved?
It is the idea that no person can make it to Heaven without the saving grace of God through His Son – Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to be saved? Saved from what?
Saved means to be taken from the road to eternal death and placed on the road to eternal life. It is to be taken from being out of God’s grace or favor and being put safely into God’s grace and favor.
Who or what does this saving? It is God Himself who does this. The how and the why are a bit more complicated but you know the idea if you know the idea of Christmas and Easter. God is one but exists in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They have existed together for all eternity. I know, if you think too deeply on what eternity in the past means it will begin to hurt your mind. If it helps, just think of God existing outside of time.
God knew when He created man that man would sin. God knew that, because of this, man would need a Savior. So, the plan was, that in time, God the Son, would become a man (while still being God) and die on the cross in order that the price for all sin could be paid by God Himself. Christmas tells the facts of the birth of God becoming a man and Easter tells the facts about the death on the cross (and resurrection) of the God-Man.
There are some, perhaps you, who think it is too simple of a story? Too simple for today’s minds? Some call it a fairy tale. Some say man created God in order to rule him by fear.
Answer: volumes have been written by far greater minds than yours (and ours) that delve into these matters. Galileo was a devout believer. As was Copernicus and Kepler. Newton, who some say may have been the greatest genius, wrote much on the subject of God and Christianity. Theologians have meditated on the nature of the Triune God and written deep works on what it must be like to be God – His nature, His purity, His love, His judgment.
But, you might say, hasn’t “modern science” disproven the existence of God? My friend, every age has its believers and its doubters. Every age’s doubters bring forth their ideas trying to disprove God. Their ideas are almost always couched in prideful terms attempting to dismiss what has come before as “simple.” You see, they will tell you, their age is the enlightened age.
It is safe to say that if you want there to be no God you will find many people happy to agree with you and to tell you you are right. They may even be okay with you believing in God as long as you don’t spend too much time thinking about salvation and Heaven.
Many have died, we call them martyrs, to preserve the faith so that you have the chance to choose God’s way.
How much of a sinner do I need to be to deserve Hell?
Let’s face it, we all wish the dividing line was drawn somewhere far from us. It is a tempting thought, isn’t it?
Wouldn’t it be great, we seem to say, if only the really bad among us had to face Hell? Like Hitler, Stalin and Mao? Or, those who abuse children. Or, mass murderers.
Yet, in reading the Bible, we are left with the overwhelming conviction that many more crimes, actions and, even thoughts, place us under God’s judgment. Often, too, we forget the many sins of omission we have committed – i.e., not doing all the things we should.
You may say you don’t believe in the Bible. Fine, but it is Bible that brings us the Judeo-Christian worldview. Without the Bible we would get our idea of God or no-God from still another source or sources. I.e., these ideas don’t just materialize out of thin air.
What are we saying? That, like it or not, we all must have some worldview as it relates to eternity or no-eternity, judgment or no-judgment, being created in God’s image or being a product of evolution. We think it is wise to know where our worldview comes from and if it can be defended. I.e., are you prepared to go to your death (natural or accidental) holding that worldview; that view of God or no-God; and who that God might be if you believe in God.
If your worldview on these matters is difficult to even define; if you spend only a small fraction of your time even thinking on these vital issues; we implore to think more deeply. As Jesus said, Seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking, ask and keep on asking.
Is my life really eternal?
Yes, we believe it is. We also believe there is the thought in nearly everyone’s heart that eternal life is real. What is crucial is getting the details about eternal life right. Of course, eternal means never ending. Never ending means that our 30, 50, 80 or a 100 years on earth are less than a point on a straight line extending into infinity.
Let us ask you a question, “How many hours have you deeply thought about “the crucial details?” “How seriously have you looked into this issue?”
So, the question, “What must I do to be saved?”, becomes “What must I do to have an eternal life (an unending good life)?” Isn’t this a question worthy of all your focussed attention? Shouldn’t you get right to it?
Is Heaven real? Isn't it boring in Heaven?
We believe Heaven is real and the most ideal place to spend eternity. If God is good, and we believe He is, then Heaven is where we will experience Him in the fullest sense.
That silly idea of sitting on a cloud playing a harp all day long and saying how boring that would be is just that – a silly caricature. A key Christian in the early days of Christianity said, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”
It was Jesus himself who said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
You might also ask, if it isn’t boring for God, why would God allow it to be boring for us?
I am a good person. At least, that's what many say about me. Isn't this enough to get into Heaven?
We hear you and understand the question. Another way to put it is, “I’ve done more good than bad. Yes, maybe I have done a lot of bad things but all in all I think I’ve done more good things. Isn’t this enough?”
Trouble is when we think like this, we are using our standards of good and bad – and that each is weighed against the other. We are saying a good cancels out a bad. But, what if a good deed or action doesn’t cancel out a bad deed or action? Or, what if the standard is perfection? Let’s look at the Bible to see what it says.
I can hear some now. The Bible was written by fallible men so how can we really trust it? We don’t have the time with this question to go into detail of why and how the Bible is trustworthy for these questions. Let us just say, for now, that it is the Bible that gave us the idea of God in the first place and started all these questions rolling.
How would we know so much about God without the Bible? It’s where we first get the idea that God is good and holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present. It also gives us the idea of the Son of God coming to earth for a specific purpose – to be the Savior of fallen men and women.
If we can’t trust the Bible EXACTLY to tell us how one makes it into Heaven because it was written by fallible men, how can you trust what you believe that tells of a different way? Didn’t you learn your belief from fallible people? Aren’t you fallible?
So, let’s look quickly at what the Bible says so we can compare its idea with your idea. Paul, one of the close followers of Christ, said the following in a book of the Bible called Romans:
“There is none righteous, not even one. There in none who understands, there is none who seeks for God. . . . There is none who does good, there is not even one.”
A little later Paul writes, “. . . for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Here is another quote from Paul, “. . . just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— . . .”
Also, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Here is Paul’s message from God, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Isn't Hell reserved only for people like Hitler and Stalin?
It can be a comforting thought to think of Hell as only reserved for really evil people like Hitler, Stalin, and mass murderers. But, there isn’t any proof that that is the case.
A better way to think of it is that Hell is a prison reserved for criminals and that all of us have been criminals at one time or another. Criminals from God’s rules and laws not just men’s. Crriminals, perhaps in deeds, more often in thought or in failing to do what we should do. The only way “out” of Hell is to never have to go there in the first place. How? By the saving power of Jesus!
For further thoughts on this question, please see “How much of a sinner do I need to be to deserve Hell?,” listed above.
Challenging Questions . . .
How would you answer these questions?
How much time in your adult life have you spent thinking about eternal life?
Are you thinking the issue of your eternal life is “out of my hands” so it doesn’t do much good to think about it? If the answer is yes, why do you think that is?
If your thinking about eternal life was wrong or incomplete would you want someone to tell you? If so, do you think it more likely or less likely that the “someone” may first have to approach you and challenge your thinking?
How much time did Jesus spend thinking and acting about YOUR eternal life?
What is stopping you from dealing with this issue right now until you get a peace about it? What is stopping you from making it THE most important issue in your life?
Is there anything in you that looks at these issues as embarrassing to think about? Is there anything about them that would make you feel weak or foolish if you publicly pursued them?
Talking to God . . .
Here are Some Questions or Thoughts You Could Bring to God
(Feel free to talk to God out loud or in your heart and mind)
God, I am not even sure if you are real. If you are, please show me. And, if you are real, please show me how I should act toward you.
God, I’ve lived a pretty good life. Is my standard enough or is it your standard I must meet? If it is your standard, which is impossible to meet without divine help, why am I resisting accepting your offer through Jesus?
Lord Jesus, my relationship with you is not very strong. I believe you exist but I am not sure what is real about Christmas and Easter and Judgment and Heaven. Isn’t it mostly people making things up here and there in order to make money or get control? Please show me what is real about you and what I need to do about you?
God, is my sin still keeping me from eternal life? The people on this website say the punishment for my sin was paid for by Jesus. Is your forgiveness based on me doing nothing or is there something I must do? Must I confess my sin and ask forgiveness? Must I believe in my heart that Jesus died for my sins and that you raised him from the dead? Must I accept his being my Lord?
God, I think I am not thinking deeply enough about my past sins. It would seem that if my sins and the sins of others caused you to die on the cross to pay for them, that I should have a deeper sense of how bad they are. I am guessing my sins are not a surprise to you. Help me know the depth of my sins, not to shame me, but to show how much I am in need of a savior.
God, these issues are not fun to think about. They make me uneasy. Would you please help me sort this all out?
Get in Touch . . .
Wayside Harvesters, Inc.
P.O. Box 4307
Palm Springs, CA 92263