Thought for the Week - 25th AugustPastor Gareth Watkins
1 John 5: 11-12
11 And this is what God has testified:
He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
I met a few people this week who are millionaires. They had everything that money could buy, but they didn’t have God. We started to talk about God and they opened up to me about the things of God.
One man told me how he can only get peace in life by doing something monotonous like cutting the grass. He has every single thing you can think of, but has to cut the grass if he wants any peace from this life. The other man told me how he enjoys listening to Christian Welsh rugby player Garin Jenkins, and that he spoke something into his life that he was not familiar with. This man found these eternal things quite uncomfortable, but found himself attracted to them. Both these men needed to find the salvation of God.
Salvation is about being saved from something, to something else. We’re saved something from something dangerous to something safe. It’s a transition. It’s a process where we’re taken from spiritual death from spiritual life. The bible’s full of big words like salvation and redemption, and we may wonder what they actually mean. Salvation means a transaction where we’re taken from spiritual death into spiritual life.
It’s something we need to consider as we go along our spiritual path. We can be brand new to church life, or many years down the line, but salvation is something that speaks of an action and is for every Christian in Christian life. Saved from something to something else.
We are saved into eternity, a new world, and a new life. That eternity begins now. We don’t hear much of this in Christian circles, where we’re part of an eternal life. We’re not just part of the here and now, but we’re part of something far greater which goes on from these days unto the day where our natural body has gone and our spiritual life goes on in God.
We can’t change our own nature. We can’t change the way we think. But God can change us. We can be a new person that He will make. Jesus Himself said “He who believes in me will live even though he dies” (John 11: 25) and “my sheep follow me and I give them eternal life” (John 10: 27-28).
We’re being saved not just for the sake of being saved. It’s not just for now. It’s a process that goes on unto eternity. We’re talking about something eternal! We’re saved from the evil and sin of this life, to a new life that begins now, and an eternal life that is with God in heaven! This is for you and me.
The men I met last week had everything, but they didn’t have this. And this was the very thing they both needed. This is something that money cannot buy. This is the substance of life itself. This world is in total disarray, and I want us as Christians to have total confidence in God. Have a new confidence in that which lays ahead. People can let you down, churches can let you down, but Christ is there – His words are true, and they are eternal. Have confidence in that.
In 1 John above, John writes that what God has Himself testified. It’s not John’s witness, it’s what God Himself has said. God has given you and me eternal life, a life that does not end. When we pass away, and end up in our coffins, it is not the end of our life. Our bodies are in that box, but we are not. The body is the outer thing that perishes, but it’s what’s inside of that body is who we are. And it’s that part that God has given the opportunity for eternal life. This life can be found in His son.
People can make Christian life very complicated and hard. You have to know this and that, you have to go on a course, you have to be dedicated etc. But here’s the basic, simple fact of it all… God has said He’s given to us the opportunity for eternal life, and this is found through His son Jesus. Whoever has does not have God’s son, does not have life. Eternal life is in Jesus.
God has a plan for us, and that plan includes having an eternal life. We can’t do it on our own. We need His son, who is Jesus Christ. That person of Jesus Christ takes us from a place of being in chaos, sin, destruction, and turmoil into a new life where God sorts out the chaos, sin, and all the things that make us a bit of a mess and hold us in chains. It starts now and it’s called eternal life. That is something God has promised us. We can hold onto that forever. There’s no need to make it complicated – God has made a way for us called eternal life.
Hand everything over to Him. He’s the one that will save you, for we can’t save ourselves. He knows all things. See eternity as something that belongs to you.
Can you think of God being outside of time? Outside of time He created our lives inside of time. He made the stars and knows each one by name. Not one sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge. God is far bigger than we can comprehend. He’s created something for us called eternity. We can go into it because He made a way for us. Before time began He made a way for us to go into this place because of Jesus Christ.
The initiative is with God, not with us doing marvellous things. We may be ordinary, we may have made a bit of a mess of it, but God has made this initiative that before time began He made a way for you to get to eternity. He did it before time even started! He’s made a way for you. He’s testified of it! That way includes eternal life. That way comes to us because of Jesus Christ.
God wants people to be born again. How do we be born again? Turn to God, don’t try to do it yourself. God has made a way for you. Whoever has His son has eternal life. God has made a way.
In Titus 3: 5-7 we read:
5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.
7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
We’re saved, not because of the righteous things we’ve done. He’s saved us because of His mercy. His mercy means He loves you. His mercy means He cares for you and wants the best for you. He doesn’t give you the things that belong to you by way of punishment, because of Jesus Christ. He loves you. He’s spoken it. He wants it to be this way. He wants you to come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, for salvation and for a new life.
He generously pours out His Spirit upon us. How does God know about each one of us across the world at one time? Through the Spirit. We’re in one place. Christ when He was on the earth, was in one place. But when the Holy Spirit came, He was all over the world at the same time. By the Spirit of God, all these things are known. We can be saved because of His mercy. A new life through the Holy Spirit. We will inherit eternal life.
Because of Christ we can get to somewhere we wouldn’t have been able to in our own right. Without Him we would be in a place where we would belong because of our own sins. When Jesus Christ comes into our world, He can change us into this new person. A person who’s saved. That person has an inheritance called eternal life.
Are we locked into this life? No, we’re not. Where we are now is only temporal. This life is only for a certain number of years. Eternity is forever. We’re not locked into this natural life. Our lives are headed for something else, that’s begun now. There are those who have accepted Jesus Christ and have begun their eternal lives, and there are those who have not received Jesus Christ who are not stepping forward in their eternal life.
Are you unsure of where you stand? How do you know if you’re saved and on the pathway to eternity.
In Romans 10:9 we read:
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
It doesn’t matter if you can recite the first ten books of the Bible or don’t know where Job is, if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you will be saved. It’s that simple. God has made a way for us to have eternal life. Be excited by it! God has made it nice and simple – if you believe with your heart, and confess it with your mouth, we will be saved. There is no need for any doubts.
We don’t need to have had a Christian upbringing, read the Bible three times, or read the Koran once – we just need to confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead.
And if we’re saved, everything else above will happen. There’s no need for any doubts. He saves us. He washes away our sins. He gives us eternal life. He takes us on this road to eternity from the time we believe.
Your life is not bound in this time. God has made eternity as a place for us to go. Heaven is there for us, laying ahead of us. It’s exciting. Beyond us is this eternity that God has prepared for us to walk in.