UNDERSTANDING MAN’S RELATIONSHIP TO GOD
In the first part of this study we examined the nature of man’s circumstances from birth to the final judgment. In this part of our study, let us look at the consequences that will result from our decision while we live upon this earth. We will discover that there is one of two places that we will go, either to heaven or to gehenna (i.e. the lake of fire – hell). Yes, when the Righteous Judge (i.e. Jesus Christ – John 12:48) judges mankind after the resurrection He will assign us to either heaven or to gehenna (i.e. translated HELL in the K.J.V.) forever.
MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES
Today is the acceptable time to make the right choice about Divine and eternal things. The Bible teaches us this fact very clearly in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “(for he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee, And in a day of salvation did I succor thee: behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation):” (ASV) My decisions now, while I am able to make them will determine my eternal destiny after I am resurrected at the last day. Because I understand that my righteous decision today will determine my eternal destiny, I want to make the right decision (i.e. choices) so that I can be assured of going to heaven rather than to Hell.
There are occasions in my life whenever I pause and consider the options that I do have when I am considering some action that involves right and wrong. Should I choose the right because I know that my decision will be seen and recorded by God or do I choose the questionable; or perhaps the wrong without consideration of future consequence? If I choose the right I have made the righteous choice if on the other hand, I choose the wrong, I have consciously made the unrighteous choice knowing that it will condemn me in God’s sight. Therefore, it is imperative that I consider each choice that is presented to me in the light of God’s instructions and choose the righteous over the unrighteous for the sake of my eternal soul’s future welfare.
There are a number of Scriptural references that teach clearly the above concept, please note some of them:
2 Timothy 2:21, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.” (ASV)
2 Timothy 3:16-17, “16 Every scripture inspired of God (is) also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. 17 That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” (ASV)
Acts 5:23, “saying, The prison-house we found shut in all safety, and the keepers standing at the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.” (ASV)
Romans 2:3-11, “And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practise such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, (shall be) wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God.” (ASV)
THE FIRST CHOICE:
For everyone there comes a time in life when a decision about obeying our impulse to seek God’s way comes over us. This impulse comes over us whenever we hear and understand that our sin can be forgiven by God predicated upon some action on our part to comply with His instruction (i.e. obey Him). Our response to this calling of God (i.e., the impulse to choose) by the gospel message is the most important decision that we will ever make in our earthly life. You see, if we make the decision to immediately rush into the out-stretched arms of Christ and obey Him – cf., Hebrews 5:8-9, “8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation;” (ASV) we will then be in possession of that hope of heaven that will become our heritage after a lifetime of faithfulness – cf.,
To those that overcome in Smyrna – Revelation 2:10, “Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.” (ASV)
The apostle Paul’s hope – 2 Timothy 4:5-8, “But be thou sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing.” (ASV)
IF THE CHOICE IS; “Yes Lord!”
If your choice is right, you will rush to Christ and fulfill whatever instruction that is required so that you will be saved from your sins. We have Biblical example that inspires many to follow their action in
Acts 2:36-40, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. Now when they heard (this,) they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter (said) unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, (even) as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” (ASV).
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE YOUR LIFE RIGHT WITH GOD?
The final decision about serving the Lord and becoming a Christian is a decision that only the individual can make. There is no possibility of someone else making it possible for a person to be saved from sin but Jesus Christ. You should make that decision while you are still able to do so; the time may come when you will no longer be able to change your relationship to God. If you know that you have a bad relationship with God because of your sins or because you are part of a religion that is not approved by God you need to make a decision about it today. Remember this; no one can become a part of the Lord’s church today for you – you must make that decision.
READ THIS: 2 Peter 1:10, “Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble:” (ASV)