What About Eternal Life ?
By Evangelist Paul J. Levin
"This is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that bath the Son bath life; and he that bath not the Son of God, bath not life." (I John 5:11-12)
An old gentleman lay on his death bed. He had been a church member since childhood. All his life he faithfully worked in the church. He thought he was saved and ready to meet God.
He had just learned that salvation cannot be earned or merited by good character and religion, but that it is a gift, and that to have it one must receive the Lord Jesus Christ. And now, when the light dawned upon the old gentleman, he realized that his lifetime of religious activity availed him nothing, and that in spite of it, he was not ready to die. He had religion, but, he didn't have eternal life.
With trembling lips he spoke of the dreadful fact that he was a good church member-but lost. Friend, are you religious---but lost?
Eternal life does not mean everlasting existence. All have that, including the devil, demons, and fallen angels. You do not have eternal life unless you have received the Lord Jesus Christ, but you do have endless existence, which means you will live on forever, in Heaven or in Hell.
When you receive the Son of God as your Lord and Saviour, your sins are forgiven, you are saved from Hell, and you have a promise of a home in Heaven. But eternal life means more than all this; it means you become a "partaker of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:4), you become a child of God. Eternal life is the new life that God gives to all who are willing to receive His Son. It is the life of God imparted to man.
Eternal Life is Presented As a Gift
"This is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life." You cannot buy it, for "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," (Romans 6:23).
You say, "I think if I behave myself and am faithful to my religion, I'll go to Heaven." But God says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us," (Titus 3:5).
It is bad manners to insist on paying for a gift. Suppose you invite me to a delicious steak dinner. Now if I insisted on paying the bill (which I wouldn't), you would tell me to take a course in etiquette.
God is offering you His salvation as a gift. Yet some of you dear readers who pride yourselves on your fine education, your perfect manners, your polish and culture, are positively rude to God. You are very careful to be courteous to your fellowman, but instead of receiving the gift of eternal life from the hands of a merciful God, you insult Him by trying to pay, with your good deeds, for the salvation He so graciously offers. It is the height of ill manners!
An old man with whom I was dealing said to me, "I'm afraid ... I'm afraid that my bad deeds have outweighed my good deeds." I said "Mister, even if your good deeds had outweighed your bad deeds, you would not have the slightest chance of going to Heaven."
That startled him. He looked at me in utter amazement. He thought if his good deeds outweighed his bad deeds, all would be well. Multiplied thousands believe the same thing. He thought he could earn, or buy, or merit eternal life by his goodness. After I showed him that salvation is a gift, he bowed his head and received the Lord Jesus Christ.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast". (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Eternal Life Is Presented In A Person
"And this life is in His Son," not in religion, not in a lodge, not in your morality, but in a Person, in God's Son! ... the One who died for your sins and rose again and is now seated at God's right hand, exalted as Lord of all. "He that hath the Son hath life."
"He that hath not the Son of God hath not life." You may belong to a church and enter into all the ceremonies of religion, you may be a decent, respectable citizen, you may believe in God, but the solemn truth is this: If you do not have God's Son, if you have never received Him, you do not have eternal life, and you are still lost and headed for judgment and Hell.
Make sure you have the Son; without Him there is no hope, no matter how good and religious you may be.
"He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him," (John 3:36). You can settle this most important matter now by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. Tell Him you trust Him now. God will give you eternal life when you by faith receive His Son, but not before. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God," (John 1:12).
During the second series of meetings we were conducting in a certain church, a lady said to me, "I had been a member of this church for twenty-six years, and I thought I was on my way to Heaven, but during the meetings you had here last year, my eyes were opened. I realized I had never been saved, and shortly after the meetings closed, I asked our pastor to lead me to Christ." A baptized church member, believing in God, going through the forms of religion, and on her way to Hell!
Thank God she saw the truth, admitted she was lost, and received the Lord Jesus Christ. Had she died during those twenty-six years, she would have gone to Hell as surely as if she had never gone to a church. And this is also true of you, if you have not been born again. She was a church member and had religion, but she didn't have the Son. There will be thousands of baptized church members in Hell. What about you?
Eternal Life Is The Present Possession of All Who Have the Son
"He that hath the Son hath life." Notice that verse does not say you will get eternal life when you die, or at the judgment, or in Heaven, but right now. "Hath" means that you have eternal life the moment you have the Lord Jesus Christ.
God does not put you on probation when you receive His Son--He gives you eternal life!
There is no such thing as having eternal life apart from the Son. Neither is it possible to have the Son without having eternal life. If you have the Son, you have eternal life. If you have eternal life, it is because you have the Son.
If you will receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, God will blot out your sins, save you from coming judgment, and you will become His child. You will be on your way to Heaven, ready to die, ready to live, and ready should the Lord return for His own before you die.
Settle this important matter now, friend, while your heart is tender and the Spirit of God is striving with you Now is the accepted time . Today is the day of salvation. Tomorrow may be too late.
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