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people of praise

Let scripture end confusion about eternal destiny


“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word, and believes in him who sent me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” – John 5:24

Someone once asked Billy Graham, “Isn’t Christianity just a list of do’s and don’ts?” He replied, “No, not at all. Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ – that brings forgiveness, peace, joy and assurance of eternal life.”

There’s a question that’s been bugging me for years, and it involves the subject of salvation that leads to eternal life. The Bible speaks volumes on this subject, and yet surveys clearly show that confusion reigns.

For example, Barna Research Group surveyed a large group of Americans asking their beliefs about eternity and eternal life. Here’s what they found out:

•81 percent of those surveyed believe in some sort of an afterlife.

•Almost two-thirds (64 percent) believe they will go to heaven.

•24 percent said they have no idea what happens to them after they die.

•50 percent believe that a person can earn his or her way to heaven.

•16 percent believe there is no afterlife.

Now, if you happen to be one of those who question your eternal destiny and are not sure where you may be headed, perhaps the following four steps will help you.

The “how” of salvation. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name.” It all begins with that initial step of receiving Christ as one’s savior and Lord.

The source of salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul clearly tells us that salvation is a gift of God and not a result of our works. All we need to do is to receive his gift.

The challenge of salvation. In 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul reminds us that we are to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” The Christian’s life is a life of servanthood, no matter where that might lead one.

The proof of salvation. John 14:21 tells us that “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me …” We prove our allegiance to Christ by our obedience in serving his causes.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus challenges us to “enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”

But then in verse 21, he challenges us further by stating, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven.”

How long is eternity? Dip a cup into the ocean. The water in the cup represents the length of one’s life compared with eternity.

Sovereign Lord, you’ve placed the hope of eternity in our hearts. We are grateful for the comfort it brings and the assurance that, in Christ, we will live forever with you.

Dick Honig and his wife, Ann, have led Bible studies at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email Include your name, religious organization and a phone number where you can be reached. For more information, call 461-8304.