Tuesday 22 October 2013

When Did I Receive The Gift of Eternal Life?

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When Did I Receive The Gift of Eternal Life?

When I Accepted and Believed the Gospel as True

The Reward Is Eternal
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:42
In this commentary, I will share with you my personal life experience it took to become born again and consequently receive the “free” gift of eternal life. Here are the sequences of events that took place in my life that brought me to understand the simplicity of the gospel.

My parents raised me in the Roman Catholic faith. I attended a catholic school. I was an altar boy, regularly scheduled to assist the priest serving mass. It was all in Latin then. There were a lot of rituals, ceremonies and strict observances. On each first Friday of the month, a priest would come to school to receive confession and then we would go to church service at 11 am. The month of May was specially consecrated to Mary, Jesus’ mother in daily prayers by reciting the rosary kneeling in front of her statue holding baby Jesus and at the same time crushing the head of a serpent with her heal.   Lent was a special time when we gave up something, mostly sweet for forty days. Was it then that I received the gift of eternal life? If I would have died then as a good catholic, would I've received eternal life? After all, I burned candles for those who were stuck in purgatory and I confessed my sins regularly. No. I would have gone to hell. God forbids us to pray to the dead to intercede on our behalf. Only Jesus is our intercessor. He also forbids calling anyone father. That is reserved for God, the Father only. Jesus instructed us to avoid repetitive prayer and to pray in the privacy of our room.  No, I did not receive the gift of eternal life by following my parent's tradition and religious custom of the Roman Catholic Church.

I stopped going to Sunday mass during my mid-teens. I slowly got interested in the New Age trend. I was more interested in girls than in religion. Gradually, I got more involved in the new age movement and proceeded to study the paranormal phenomenon. If you want more detail of what is behind this read my commentary on the subject: PARANORMAL PHENOMENA, WHAT REALLY BEHIND THIS?

Paranormal consisted of ESP, clairvoyance, mind over matter, communicating with a guide (angel) and many more. I finished college and got a job. A co-worker was also very involved in the paranormal. Actually, he was so much involved, as to let a demon take control over him. He would allow it. He informed me that Satan wanted to see me. It was then that I realized who was behind the New Age movement. Satan wanted to use me as he used my co-worker.  It was then that I asked God the Father to protect me. God did protect me. Satan and his demons were unable to enter my body and unable to use me to achieve their agenda.  I eventually quit my job and moved on. Was it then that I received the gift of eternal life? After all, God answered my prayer to protect me from demons. No. If I would have died then I would end up in hell. 

One rainy morning on my way to work, I was driving up a small winding curve on a hill. My car lost control and I was heading toward two young boys who were on their way to school.  My foot was on the brake pedal and unable to stop, I could see their face in fear of my coming. I asked God to take my life in exchange for theirs... immediately the car swerved and crashed on the opposite side of the road in a rocky ditch. The boys were unharmed. My car was totalled.  Was it then that I received the gift of eternal life? After all, I gave my life to God in exchange for the lives of the two young boys. No, I did not receive the gift of eternal life then, either. If I wound had died then I still would have ended up in hell. 

A door-to-door salesman knocked at my door. Without any hesitation, I asked if he had a bible.   That is when I became curious to search for the truth.  In those days it was forbidden to own a bible, especially with the full Old Testament version. A good friend invited me to a weekend retreat.  It was a gathering of young men for the purpose of getting to know Jesus. All through the weekend, I've listened to testimonies of how Jesus affected their lives, and how Jesus helped them overcome huge obstacles in their lives. It emotionally moved me. I asked Jesus to come into my life. It changed me, it helped me to reconcile with my father, and express my love to my mother, brother and sister.  Was it then that I received the gift of eternal life? No,  if I would have died then, I would have ended up in hell.  

I got interested in attending and being a part of a Christian denomination. I got involved with the Worldwide Church of God.  To become a member, I had to go to a series of interviews. I was even told that I must stop smoking before being baptized. So I quit smoking, got baptized submerged in water, hands were laid on my head and elders prayed for me. This particular denomination observed the Sabbath day of rest, which was from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

We also observed all the Jewish feast days, which took part in the Spring and Fall season.  I paid tithe, plus a special tithe set aside for the observance of the Feast of Tabernacle, and every third year a special tithe dedicated to the needy in the church.  I also keep the special dietary ordinance, staying away from eating unclean food as prescribed in the Book of the Law of Moses. It required a lot of discipline to set aside half an hour minimum of prayer in the morning and at bedtime, and one hour of Bible study minimum each day. Surely, at this time you would conclude that I received the gift of eternal life. No. If I would have died then, I would have ended up in hell. 

So, what does it take to receive the "free" gift of eternal life? Is it by going to church every Saturday or Sunday? Is it by giving one's heart to Jesus? Is it by being part of a congregation? Is it by swearing an oath? Is it by keeping the 613 commandments? Is it by sinning no more? Is it by walking down to the front of the congregation stage to accept Jesus as my Lord? Is it by serving in the community? Is it by giving to the poor? Is it by having good conduct and a good reputation? Is it by stopping smoking and drinking? No, none of the above will do. Therefore, what should we do to receive the “free” gift of eternal life?

Some of you would probably argue that God is not that finicky and that He sees the heart. Is God that difficult? It is the opposite; God had made receiving the gift of eternal life so simple and so easy that it makes it hard to see.

What must we do? What is the work that we must do to receive the gift of eternal life? The circumstances in my life made me leave the Worldwide Church of God. I did not attend any other denomination. I took it upon myself to find the truth by reading the Bible and not to take anyone's church version to explain the truth. Something was just not right. There are so many denominations and all claim to have the truth. Yet, why are Christians divided?  Right then are signs that something is drastically wrong. I find that they all have some truth mixed up with confusing theology. I decided to go back to the basics by questioning everything that I was taught.

I started to read the bible again but this time I took it, as is, and took Jesus by His word. What makes God's word difficult to understand? We tend to view the Bible from the secular point of view, the world vantage view that is. We conclude that it is too difficult to understand therefore, it is better to leave it to the theologians. 

I came across an important verse that encouraged my research:
 "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day," John 6:44.
God definitely was drawing me to His Son Jesus. All these past experiences of God present in my past reveal that He wanted me to understand something very important, and who would guess that it would pertain to the gift of eternal life.

I read many commentaries. I eventually narrowed my sources to three authors: Lambert Dolphin, Ray Stedman, Jack Kelley and recently Andy Woods. They also provided YouTube and MP3 bible study.  You will find the link below. They all agree that to receive the "free" gift of eternal life is to ... believe that the Son Of God is the Lord and in His resurrection. In all its simplicity, all it takes to receive eternal life is to make a choice to believe in our Lord and King Jesus.
 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.
We tend to associate this verse with the problems we face in our lives. Yes, Jesus will help us face life’s troubles, but this verse is directed to a Jewish audience. The Jews are burdened by observing all the laws and ordinances described in the Book of Leviticus. The Pharisees and the Sadducees only made matters worse by adding more to the laws. The Jews are the ones Jesus was addressing; hey, I know by experience, I lived it. Working for my salvation, meaning working to receive eternal life is a heavy-laden burden and it is tough labour to keep our salvation. Jesus is explaining to learn from Him, meaning to take Him by His word and you will find rest, which in turn means to stop working. Take the example of God who rests on the seven days, He stopped creating, and He stopped working.

What is Jesus' yoke that is so easy, what is Jesus' burden that is so light?  It is to BELIEVE. Is it that simple? To believe in what? Believe that He is the one who did all the work so that you may receive eternal life and He is the one responsible for seeing that you keep it.
 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand," John 10:28.
In addition, if that did not convince you, this verse should:
 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand," John 10:29
Take the example of Naaman, commander of the king of Syria’s army found in the Book of 2 Kings Chapter 5.  He had leprosy. He heard from a young Jewish girl servant of his wife that, there was a prophet in Samaria named Elisha that could heal him. He brought it to the attention of his king. His king told him to go seek the prophet, get healed, and bring with him silver, gold and clothing. Therefore, Naaman did so. When he got to Elisha's house, Elisha sent his servant to meet Naaman at the door to give instructions to wash in the Jordan River seven times. 

Naaman was furious that Elisha did not make a special ritual and prayer to heal him. He left, fuming. However, one of Naaman's servants asked him, "Would you not follow Elisha's instruction if he would ask you to do something great to show that you are worthy to receive healing?  But, instead, he asked you to do something simple as to dip seven times in the Jordan River." This convinced Naaman so he followed Elisha's instructions to find his flesh restored like the flesh of a little child.

Naaman was very happy and wanted to reward Elisha with silver, gold and clothing. Elisha refused to receive anything. The purpose of God's healing of Naaman an enemy of Israel was to prove that there is no other God on all the earth except in Israel.

Are we not all like Naaman? We refused to consider that the gift of eternal life is so simple to receive. Moreover, there is nothing we can do or give to keep it? Therefore, why are you persisting to disobey His instruction to believe in His Son who did it all for us and promised that nothing will ever take it away? Recognize God's mercy and grace and testify that there is no other God on all the earth except in Israel and His name is Jesus.
 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23:19


By Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone!
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

 What is the Gospel? 

Jesus Son of God, shed His blood on the cross, died, was buried for 3 days, and was resurrected. 


Word of advice...when in doubt, take Jesus by His word.

c u @ d rapture... soon

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work." Revelation 22:12
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29

The Reward Is Eternal

Andy Woods - https://www.youtube.com/user/kristuskommt/playlists
Lambert Dolphin - http://www.ldolphin.org/

Supplementary Verses

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand, John 10:27-28

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:37-40

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

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