It was “hell.” I’d returned from speaking at a church one night when I was a summer missionary during my college years. The evening had been wonderful – all one could want. The church receptive. God’s Word shared with those attending. Then why did the thought return? The thought that haunted me at different times? The thought that scared the ever lovin dickens out of me.
“What if you’re not really a Christian, Debbie? What if when you die, you spend eternity in the black, fiery pit of demons and torment with no way out for eternity? What if you thought you were a Christian and you’re not? What if you are one of the people who does things in Jesus’s name but when you die, He looks at you and says, “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” (Matthew 7:23)
The Condemnation of “Depart from Me”
Perhaps we don’t understand Christ’s role and purpose in our lives. He did not come to earth to judge and condemn us. (John 3:17) He came to save us. He’s on our side. He knew we needed saving before we did. He sees our heart and knows our thoughts are not always heavenly minded. It is our words and actions that condemn us. Matthew 12:37 makes that clear. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” So when we show up in heaven, Jesus isn’t a judge who randomly pardons some and sends the rest of us to hell. But, how can we be sure we’re on the saved list in God’s Book of Life, the book that lists the names of Christians who have entrance into heaven? (Revelation 20:15, Revelation 21:26)
The Book of Life
What is the “Book of Life“? Apparently, the names of everyone are written in the Book of Life because the psalmist refers to the names of those who sin as having their names “blotted out” of the Book of Life. (Psalm 69:27-28) Revelation 3:5 refers to our names not being erased from the Book of Life. Revelation 20:12 refers to books being opened in addition to the Book of Life; to the dead being judged according to their deeds that were recorded in the books. Revelation 21:10-27 describes the glory of the New Jerusalem and that nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying will ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
If we think about it, it makes sense that God is not going to greet with open arms those who have chosen to practice a life apart from Him and who are practicing liars. That describes our current world. Heaven is our hope of peace, truthfulness, and love. Of course there has to be a door in heaven (Jesus – John 10:9) that says, “Enter those who want Me. Enter those who have chosen Me.” We can’t help but acknowledge that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that Jesus died for us so we could be forgiven our sins.
Choose “Yes!” to God’s Offer of Forgiveness and Cleansing of Your Sins
God has already chosen to save us. How? First Peter 3:18 explains, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God,…” God doesn’t want any of us to die in our sins. (2 Peter 3:9) He wants us to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. (Acts 2:37-38) and receive His Holy Spirit who makes us new creations, (2 Corinthians 5:17) sealed for eternity. (Ephesians 1:13)
Examine Yourself to See If You Are A Christian
It may sound strange, but 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?”
Am I A Christian
Yes, I acknowledge that…
- I am a sinner. I fall short of God’s glory.
- I believe that Jesus is God’s Son, sent to die on the cross for my sins.
- I believe Jesus lived on earth to show us God’s glory so we would believe in Him, repent of our sins, and confess Him as Lord.
- I confess Jesus is Lord and my Savior.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit and that the Father sent Him to live in me and seal me for heaven.
- I know that because Jesus’s Holy Spirit is in me that I am a new creature set apart by God and destined for heaven.
- I want to learn Christ’s ways and follow Him through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
That night, when I was tormented with the thought that I might not be a Christian and might spend eternity in hell was horrible. God did something for me that night. He gave me the assurance that I was a Christian and that I need not ever battle the question again. Since then, if the thought ever starts to slip into my mind, I quickly remember the night He assured me that I was His.
If you are a seeker who is exploring what you believe, you are welcome here. There can be lots of questions when contemplating the many religions. Please check out the following links:
Are you a Christian, but have people on your heart who are not? If so, following are resources to help you:
Prayers of My Heart journal Week at a Glance section has a column to record your prayers for unsaved friends and family. Keep a record of your prayers so you can easily go back and date your thanks to God as He draws your unbelieving friend to Himself. Prayers of My Heart Journal. Buy now.
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Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus, thank You for giving Your life so that we might live eternally in Your glorious presence. Stir each of our hearts to share the good news of salvation with others. Quicken the hearts of those who have not yet come to salvation to repent of their sin and call on You.