Some say, “We are all trying to get to the same place – some by one route, others by a different one, it makes no difference which road we take.” So some take the road of pleasure and amusement; some the road of accumulating money; others that of a living, painful penance, living a life of gloom and morbid unhappiness; some the road of utter indifference. Where do these roads lead? What is the right one?
“As I see it,” reasoned a prominent attorney, “All there is to religion is just treating your fellow-man right and going on about your own business. It’s like going to California. One party goes by train, another by plane, another by car, they all reach the same destination.”
This attorney sees no further than man’s relation to man. That is morality. The Devil himself has set up a standard of morals and ethics with which he is deceiving the whole world today.
Religion has to do with man’s relation to his God and Creator. The very first duty of a created being is to be under subjection to, and in yielded harmony with his Creator. The world has become blind in this age of materialistic science, invention, convenience, luxury and humanism. All we can see or conceive of is our own selves and the material world that surrounds us. Either we have lost all concept of Almighty God or we have removed Him so far off as to be impossible of access or approach.
How true are God’s words where He says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” God is not a cold, indifferent Being so far removed that he knows nothing and cares less about His created beings upon this earth. He is above all a God of love and desires to bring us into a closer knowledge of Himself and of communion with Him.
Where is this place we are all trying to reach? Some will say Heaven, but perhaps we will be nearer the truth if we say eternal life in the Kingdom of God, and happiness, joy and peace during this present life. Happiness – peace and joy! Not hereafter, but here and now! Do you have it, in its fullness? Be honest, do you? Are you happy? Is your mind and soul at rest, at peace with yourself, your fellow-man and your God? Your Creator gave you the very breath of life. He loves you so much he sent His only Son to die for you that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
After death then what? God has revealed the truth, but a heedless, foolish world interested only in the restless strife for self-gain has not listened. You think you’re immortal? That you will live forever! That, whatever road you may be traveling now will lead into eternal life and peace?
My friend, do not be deceived. Do not take chances lightly on the most serious question you ever did or ever will have to face. You didn’t put yourself here. You cannot determine your eternal fate by your own reasoning. You did not give yourself the life you now possess. You had nothing to do with it. You cannot give eternal life in the Kingdom to come, or have one whit more to do with it, of yourself, than you had with giving yourself the life you now have. The same God who gave you the life that is in you today offers you freely eternal life in His Kingdom to come, and He plainly tells you how you may inherit it. The question for you to decide is, will you listen to God and heed what He says?
God has laid down the terms and conditions. We have no power to alter them. Unless we get on the road the great Road-builder has laid out, and follow faithfully the sign boards along the way which point out the true destination, we are certain to be led astray on some attractive looking by-road which comes to a dead-end. There is but one road that leads to life. Every other road leads to destruction.
God is a God of love, who “so loved the world,” including you and me, “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Will you listen to fables of deluded men, who tell you that you are immortal and shall live forever? Or will you believe God when He tells you that you are only mortal (Rom 6:12; Job 4:17; Ezk. 18:4; James 5:20). God says, “the wages of sin is death – death not life (Rom. 6:23), and the time is soon coming when millions of guilty unforgiven sinners will be paid their justly deserved wages.
So often people will say, “I haven’t sinned much. I’ve always tried to do what was right. I really haven’t anything to repent of.” But if you say that, God says you are a liar. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8). “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The death penalty hangs as surely over your head as the rising and setting of the sun. You have sinned. You have brought upon yourself the penalty, eternal death, damnation and destruction. There is no escaping the penalty. It must always be paid. That is the law of the Universe, instituted by God. God cannot compromise with sin. Yet God loves you and me, so, in His infinitely tender love and mercy He Himself gave His all that the penalty might be paid for us, that His might spare us from paying it, that He might, instead, give us the gift of eternal joyous life. His Son Jesus Christ paid the penalty for us. He came to give us life, more abundant life. In Him we have redemption from sin. He, Jesus, is our life. Christ “only hath immortality” (I Tim. 6:16).
You must choose. Either you shall soon perish, or receive the gift of eternal life. There is no middle ground. God freely offers you the latter. He wants you to choose life, not death, but you must decide. God wants to save every guilty sinner, but He cannot save us without our consent.
Are there several roads to happiness and eternal life? Turn from foolish fables and listen to God!
“Repent ye, therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 3:9; 16:34; I John 1:7; Acts 4:12) God says only this one road leads to life and joy.
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that enters not by the door into the sheep-fold, but climbes up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber (John 10:1) Do thieves and robbers inherit eternal life? If we are to enter eternal life, we must enter in by the door. There is but one door, and Jesus said, I am the Door” (John 10:7).
Again Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the straight gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way which leads to destruction, and many there be who go in there at: because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
When will we listen to God? When will we open our eyes and quit deceiving ourselves into eternal damnation? In the very next verse Jesus warns us, “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
But you ask, “How can I know who to believe? One preacher has it one way and another a different way. Whom shall I believe?
Believe God. Quit listening to man and believe God. The Bible is God’s Word and revelation to man. (I Tim. 3:16; II Peter 1:21). When anyone tells you what to believe, you go to your Bible and see whether or not he tells the truth. Do that when you read these articles and listen to our sermons. Do it no matter who claims to be giving you truth. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” What is truth? Jesus, praying to His Father in heaven said, “Thy Word is Truth.”
“But I can’t understand it,” you say. Oh yes, you can, if you want to understand and will trust God to help you. If you lack wisdom to understand, turn to James 1:5. Ask God to open your understanding. He has promised to do it. But you must first be willing to receive what He reveals. The Word of God is a sharp, two-edged sword. It gives reproof and correction, it convicts of sin. Most people are not willing to understand and receive such a message.
The time has come when people will not endure sound doctrine and truth. “After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). That time has come. This is the day foretold by Isaiah, when he said our church congregations would be saying to their preachers, “Preach not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, preach deceits; get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isa. 30:10-11).
Today, men and women are doing and saying these very things that God foretold through Isaiah some 2,500 years ago. They have done away with the law, the need of the blood of Christ for salvation from sin, thus turning aside, out of the only path or road to salvation. They have rejected many of the fundamental truths of the gospel, substituting smooth things to lull the people to sleep. Will you listen to these corrupt fables, or will listen to God?
Christ says you cannot see eternal life unless you are “born again” (John 3:3). Born of the Holy Spirit of God, verse 5. Unless you have received God’s Holy Spirit, and He dwells and abides within you, you are lost and you do not have eternal life (Rom. 8:9) no matter what men please to think or say or teach.
And God’s Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17) who is to guide us into all Truth. This Spirit of Life and of Truth God promises, if we repent, accept Christ, are baptized and ask for the Spirit (Acts. 2:38-39; Luke 11:33). If we thus conform to God’s terms and conditions, He promised to bestow upon us the most blessed and precious gift in all the universe. If not we shall be damned (Mark 16:15-16).
If saved we must be washed by the Word – by the words of the Bible (Eph. 5:26). If we are to live, we must live by every word of God – not part of the words of Scripture (Luke 4:4). The Truth, the Words of Scriptures are to make us free, and any teaching contrary to the Scriptures is not Truth but fables and lies. We must be sanctified and purified by the Word (Eph. 5:26; John 17:17; I Peter 1:22) and it is these same words of God which shall judge us in the last day (John 12:49; John 8:47). “He that is of God hears God’s Words.”
Is it enough to just treat your fellow man right and ignore God? Another lawyer once came to Christ and asked Him what he must do be gain eternal life, Christ told him his very first duty if he would inherit eternal life, is to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And then, following that, to treat his neighbor right.
God loved you and me enough to give His All to save us. Do we love Him enough to get out our Bibles, blow off the dust, and spend a little more of our time studying God’s Words?
There is but one road, one way that leads to eternal life. Most of humanity is not going that way. Most human beings are fluttering heedlessly around the bright lights of modern amusements, entertainment, and sports like millions of insects fluttering heedlessly tonight around a street lamp, but gone and destroyed tomorrow. “Lovers of pleasure more than of God” (II Tim. 3:1-5). Love of the world and all its false, cheap, tawdry, perishable allurements. And whosoever loves the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4; John 2:15).
There is but one way, and Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6). These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).