We read in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (NKJV)
I frequently quote this verse at the end of a sermon as a way to let people know that they don’t have to live in doubt regarding their own salvation. We don’t have to guess; we can KNOW for sure whether or not we are in a right relationship with God!
I have found that many people feel like they are going to heaven. Some members of the Lord’s church have expressed that sentiment as well: they believe they are going to heaven, they feel like they are, but if you press them it is obvious that they still harbor doubts. Either their faith is weak or their understanding of what the Bible teaches is cloudy.
What a shame it is to have such doubts! God gave us the blueprint for salvation in His Word. If we believe the Scriptures, if we have obeyed the gospel, culminating in having our sins washed away in baptism (Acts 22:16) and if we continue to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7), then we have no reason to doubt! As John said, we can know for sure that we have eternal life.
Still others have confidence in their final destination but they aren’t so sure of exactly how they will arrive there. That is certainly understandable given that there are so many different beliefs about what happens to us when we die and, to be honest about it, there is so little teaching from the pulpit or in the classroom about what the Bible says on the subject. It is easy to be confused about it and, let’s face it, that uncertainty can erode our faith and confidence if we aren’t careful.
The writer of Hebrews said that we are all destined to die (Hebrews 9:27). The truth is that, unless the Lord comes back first, every single one of us will experience physical death. Since all men face that same certainty, it makes sense that all men are extremely interested in the process. Many are terrified of death. Others are resigned to it but don’t really want to talk about it. A few are even looking forward to it. No matter how you feel about it, one thing is for sure: everyone is curious about death and what will happen to us when we depart this world.
The reason for this curiosity is because of the way that God wired us. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God put eternity in the hearts of all men. It doesn’t matter how righteous or unrighteous a person is, all want to know about eternity and the journey that will take us from this life to the next. Even if we really don’t want to talk about it!
On Sunday morning, October 19, we will look at how the Bible answers the question, “What happens when we die?” Our lesson that day will seek to explain in the clearest possible way “The Journey of the Soul”. I believe that this lesson will help us to better understand the process that all of us will go through; from before we were born all the way through the passage from physical life to eternal life. I believe that better understanding that process will strengthen our faith by more clearly seeing God’s great eternal plan.
“The Journey of the Soul” will be a lesson sure to generate many questions from those who are not members of the Lord’s church. Therefore, it is my prayer that we all make the most this opportunity and invite family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow students to come to worship with us on October 19. I pray that a lesson on a subject so personal will encourage many to examine their spiritual condition and seek the answer to the most important question that any of us will ever ask, “What will happen to me when I die?”
Paul wrote, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” (Colossians 4:5). The implication in the Greek words is to “make the best use of the opportunity”. Please make every effort to bring someone with you to worship on October 19, someone whose soul you care about, and be in prayer that something will be said that morning that will bring about the opportunity to share with them the gospel message of Jesus.