Here is the deal. We are all going to live forever.
To have eternal life means that you are going to live forever in the presence of God. The Bible calls that heaven. No, you did not earn it. You cannot buy a ticket. It is God’s gift to you if you are willing to accept it.
1. What is the Gift?
Very simply, the gift is His Son Jesus Christ.
Because God is perfect, nothing imperfect can enter into His presence. It would not be safe. God’s holiness shines too bright and His glory burns too hot and our imperfect condition simply cannot stand in His presence – we wouldn’t survive.
One strategy is self-improvement. We all know areas of our life that can be cleaned up, made right and changed. But, the reality is that even our best renovation efforts will not produce perfection. The best we can hope for is a better version of our imperfection. And that is still not sufficient for the perfection of God.
What makes Jesus Christ such a valuable gift is the fact that He is God’s Son, and He is perfect. He is perfect in everything He does… He is perfect in everything He is. He is God. The gift of God, is God Himself in the Person of the Son – Jesus.
The gift is actually an exchange. Something of eternal value for something of eternal slavery. He takes our sin from us, onto Himself. He gives us His perfection. The balance in our account changes to reflect not our worth, but the worth of the Son.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says:
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2. Why must I accept God’s gift to be able to live in His presence forever?
In saying that it is not safe for us to be in God’s presence because of our imperfection is another way of saying that our sin does not make is safe for us to stand before God.
The New Testament says three very important things about God:
1. He is Love (1 John 4:8)
2. He is Light (1 John 1:5)
3. He is a Consuming Fire (Hebrews 12:29)
All three of these descriptions speak to God’s Holiness. To say that He is a Consuming Fire is to speak about the purifying effect of His Presence. Like the blazing heat is a fire is to gold, it burns away every impurity.
To say He is Light is to speak about the uncovering effect of His Presence. There is nothing hidden in the presence of God. He sees all, knows all, and shines His Light into the darkness of our life. That is why John goes on to say that we are not able to say we are without sin… God’s Light reveals all.
To say He is Love is to speak of God’s great desire to give to mankind what He desperately needs the most – Himself. We were created for God and our sin has kept us from Him. But, our sin, while keeping us from Him, cannot take our need for Him away.
In 1 John chapter 4, John tells us that Gods Love looks like this:
1. He loved us… we didn’t love Him.
2. We were dying, so He sent His Son to rescue us.
3. The way Jesus rescues us is by dying in our place, so that we can live in Him.
The reason we are dying is because of sin. The reason we don’t have hope is because in our sinful condition, we only interact with the Anger of God.
Anger? I thought He was Love… He is. The reason we are not safe in His presence however, is because our sin is an offense to His Glory – His Perfection. We have offended the Perfect and Holy God and the only just response from God to our sin is Holy Wrath. Anger.
But God says His love is like this: Instead of pouring out my wrath on you, I have decided to pour out my wrath on my Son. He took your sin. He actually became your sin. He died for it. He bore my entire wrath so you could experience all of my Love. (1 John 4:8-10)
Christ took our place… and by doing so, he absorbed the wrath of God that was meant for us.
This is so important because mankind is not able to absorb the wrath of God. We would not be able to bear it. But, Christ, who was both God and man, was able to bear that wrath for us. He became our substitute. He took God’s wrath on himself, so that we would not have to. He suffered the consequence for our sin, because we would have been unable to suffer it. He satisfied what we are unable to satisfy. There is nothing that we could sacrifice that would have been great enough. So, Christ himself became our sacrifice.
The sacrifice cost Jesus His life. He died on a cross. And if that is all that Jesus had done, He would be our hero. He would be a man above all men. He would be a man we would revere and celebrate and even commemorate. But, if all He did was die for us… He would only have been a man. Still dead. Laying in a grave. And we would still be in our sinful condition.
Jesus did more than die. He rose from the dead. He is Resurrected. That means He is not merely a hero – He is our Savior. He is our Conqueror. He is our Victory. He is our Life!
He took our sin to the cross and then to the grave. He defeated it. And after the great defeat, He rose from the dead in victory. He rose with a new body, a resurrected body… a body that will live forever. Incorruptible, Immortal, Perfect, Glorious and created for eternity in the presence of God. And He offers us that same Resurrection.
That is the Gift of God!
You cannot earn this gift. You can only receive it. And it is offered to you this very moment.
To speak to someone about your relationship with Christ feel free to contact Ross Strader at firstname.lastname@example.org