WHY LIVE ETERNALLY NOW?

Why should you be living eternally now? All believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and whilst our eternal destiny is safe what we have done will affect our rewards. For Christians that are raised in the first resurrection and are raptured with the living Saints, it is generally agreed that we will face the judgment seat of Christ during the time (Isaiah 34:8, Isaiah 61:2, Isaiah 63:4) we are in heaven before returning to earth with Jesus. If you disagree, keep in mind that these are not my words, but God’s. Jesus, speaking to both believers and unbelievers, said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37. Also, Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” 2 Corinthians 5:10

There are two different judgments in God’s Word: the judgment of faith, and the judgment of works. The judgment of faith relates to our eternal salvation, while the judgment of works relates to our eternal rewards.

For Christians, salvation took place in a moment in the past. It was free, it can’t be lost, it is the same for all Christians, and it is solely based on a faith that is ours by the grace of God alone. By contrast, future rewards are earned (by God’s grace), can be lost, differ among Christians, and are based on our efforts.

Salvation is about God’s work for us. Conversely, rewards are a matter of our work for God. When it comes to salvation, our work for God is no substitute for God’s work for us. God saves us because of Christ’s work, not ours. Likewise, when it comes to rewards, God rewards us for our work, not Christ’s. (Our good works are empowered by the Holy Spirit; nevertheless, we need to submit to Him so God refers to it as our work.)

Let me be sure this is perfectly clear. Christ paid the price for all of our sins, once and for all (Hebrews 10:12-18). If we have trusted Him for that provision, we will not pay the eternal price, the second death. He has fully forgiven our sins, and we are completely secure in Christ’s love (Psalm 103:8-18; Romans 8:31-39). Our salvation is sure, and we will not undergo the judgment of condemnation (John 5:24; Romans 8:1).

But although the forgiveness of our sins has every bearing on our eternal destination, it has no automatic and effortless effect on our eternal rewards, apart from the fact that God’s sanctifying work comes out of our salvation, and therefore we should expect that the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives should lead us to do good works that God will reward. But we must choose to do the works He prompts us to do. Neither does it mean our choices have no consequences in eternity. Forgiven people can still lose their rewards or forfeit eternal positions of responsibility they could have had if they’d served Christ consistently and faithfully before death.

Trust in Christ, lean on Him, and draw upon Him for power, for apart from Him we can do nothing. But if we hope to receive a reward, we must still do the necessary work. As our forefathers put it, to wear the crown we must first bear the cross.

Just as there are eternal consequences to our faith, so there are eternal consequences to our works.

What we do with our resources—including our time, money, and possessions—will matter not just twenty minutes, twenty days, or twenty years from now. It will matter twenty trillion years from now.

Though Paul insists we are saved by faith, not works (Titus 3:5), he also clearly states that the choices we make and the things we do have eternal implications, and that we will each answer to God for the works we have done in this life:

If anyone builds on this foundation [Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

Those believers who have been less faithful and obedient in their walk with Christ will not suffer loss of salvation! But they will suffer loss of the reward that would have been theirs had they been more Christ-centered and faithful in their service to Jesus.

What 1 Corinthians 3 says is so sobering that a temporary loss doesn’t seem likely.  This loss of rewards appears permanent, for while we will all serve God in our resurrected bodies on His New Earth, there appears to be a finality to the fact that after death comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). If there are any future judgments for our service to God on the New Earth, we are not told about them in Scripture. Of course, we should anticipate for our future service He will say to all of his children, “Well done!” And yet, despite Scripture’s silence on this, I think it’s very possible that God, who is by nature a rewarder ( ), may continue to reward His people for faithful service on the New Earth. That resonates with me, and I don’t see anything unbiblical about it. It fully fits His nature as a Father who takes joy in saying “Well done” to His devoted children.

Earning Our Full Reward

First Corinthians isn’t the only passage that speaks of losing reward. The apostle John wrote, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward” (2 John 1:8, ESV).

To win a full reward would be glorious, wouldn’t it?  But surely all of us will regret some of our decisions on that day when we “suffer loss” or “lose what we have worked for.” Anticipating standing before the judgment seat of Christ should motivate us to follow Him wholeheartedly and generate in us a proper fear of God.

All of us will be full of joy in Heaven, but those who served Him faithfully, particularly in the midst of adversity, will have been made, by God’s grace, into larger vessels. They won’t be fuller of joy, but they will have a greater capacity, and their fullness will accordingly contain even more joy. (Hence the special place in Revelation given to the martyrs.) There won’t be envy or regret, because of our new natures, and all will be full of joy, yet there will be true continuity and eternal consequence so that what we do—not just what we believe—in this life affects the next.

Maybe one way to say it is that the “loss” of rewards is in some sense permanent, but the “suffering” of that loss will be temporary. God will do away with the suffering (Revelation 21:4), but that is after the judgment, after we give an account to the Lord. The suffering of regret will be there at the judgment (how could it not be?) before entrance to the eternal state, but then comes the learning and purifying and eternal rejoicing. Perhaps we’ll offer a short, entirely sincere, “I regret my lack of faith and faithfulness,” expressing this to our God who graciously forgives. Then, with that forever behind us, we move on to eternal joy.

But there will be no ongoing suffering, for all our regrets about our past will be overshadowed by God’s grace. Yet if there were no reckoning, no “suffering loss” then the 1 Corinthians 3 passage would be meaningless (which is exactly what most teaching on the subject reduces it to). Some will object that this is a sort of Protestant purgatory, just shorter in duration than languishing in the flames of Catholic purgatory. But the suffering is not in the eternal state, only in a temporal judgment, and judgment must involve the negative as well as positive or it too is meaningless. The biblical statements of “giving an account” and that include “works done in the body, whether good or evil” are unmistakable in that regard. (Doing the evil will clearly have taken away from the rewards that would have come from doing good.)

Consequences without Condemnation

Since all who know Jesus go to the intermediate Heaven immediately when we die, it appears that whenever this judgment happens, it will be after we get there. So, while God will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4), it seems likely that when we must give an account for our lives, there will be, for a time, some regrets and tears and a sense of that loss Scripture speaks of.

I realize this is hard to grasp. I am just trying to be true to all God’s Word says, instead of choosing only parts of it. This may sound like a sort of condemnation and punishment, but we are assured this isn’t the case, for “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. The Bible teaches not only forgiveness of our sins but also consequences for our choices. These consequences apply despite our forgiveness. Forgiveness means that God eliminates our eternal condemnation; we will not be ultimately punished for our sins, but there may be immediate consequences in this world due to our sins. Forgiven people can still contract AIDS, go to jail for drunk driving, or suffer the death penalty, for example. A murderer or drug dealer can be fully redeemed and forgiven, and may still spend the rest of his life in prison. He may lose his family as well as his freedom. After all, the thief on the cross remained there despite his confession of faith.

In Heaven, God appears to say that while all our sins will be forgiven and there will be no ongoing shame or regrets, nevertheless at the judgment seat an initial and temporary sense of shame, regret and sorrow seems likely, though one that will soon be swallowed up by eternal grace and joy.

Prepared for Good Works

One of the most often quoted passages in Scripture states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

It’s a wonderful truth, but verse 10 immediately follows with more truth about works: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has prepared a lifetime of good works and we will give an account to Him for whether or not we have done them.

Surely each of these passages and others like them implies that while we will be fully forgiven in Christ and be forever totally cleansed and purified by His redemptive work, we will nonetheless be held accountable for what we have and haven’t done in this life.

It seems reasonable we won’t be joyful at the very moment we have to give an account for our sins, the careless words we have spoken, and all the wood, hay, and straw of our lives that will be consumed in the fire, that could have instead been gold and silver and precious stones. And at the same time, we will find great pleasure in the rewards God has given us, and we will celebrate the rewards He gives to others.

Embracing Paradox

But how does this all fit with the truth about the forgiveness of our sins? I think of the example of Charles Spurgeon, who didn’t try to reconcile every paradox or apparent contradiction in the Bible. Speaking of the truths of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility—which I also believe to be applicable to the truths of complete forgiveness and accountability at the judgment Spurgeon said this:

These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.

Spurgeon also wrote, “Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation.” Our desire for logical consistency, as we understand it, can become our God. Then we, not Scripture and not God, become our own ultimate authority. We end up ignoring, rejecting or twisting Scripture that doesn’t fit our chosen theology.

On the contrary, our theology should reflect Scripture itself, and wherever Scripture teaches apparently contradictory ideas, our theology should embrace those same ideas, rather than resort to a consistency that rejects part of God’s revealed Word.

Certainly, any and all of our regrets about our past will be overshadowed by God’s grace, which is the good news of the Gospel. There is comfort in 1 Corinthians 4:5, which says God “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” God will apparently find something to reward “each one” for. This makes sense, for no one can truly be born again without having demonstrated some fruit for which God can reward us.

Let’s Live in Light of Eternity Now

All of this argues for cultivating an eternal perspective in which we seek to live each day in light of eternity—not out of dread, yet with the right kind of fear of God and heartfelt love that desires to please our Lord and Savior.

In his book When Christ Comes, Max Lucado writes, “You can be certain you won’t regret any sacrifice you made for the kingdom. The hours of service for Christ? You won’t regret them. The money you gave? You’d give it a thousand times over. The times you helped the poor and loved the lost? You’d do it again. . . . You’d change the diapers, fix the cars, prepare the lessons, repair the roofs. One look into the faces of the ones you love, and you’d do it all again.”

An eternal perspective isn’t something we have to wait until Heaven to have. So I’ve often given readers and listeners this advice: live now the way that you will one day wish you would have. Don’t postpone obedience, holiness, purity, drawing close to God, and serving others.

Five minutes after we die, we’ll know exactly how we should have lived—it will be too late to go back and change anything. God has given us His Word so we don’t have to wait until we die to know how we should have lived. There’s no second chance for the unbeliever—but also no second chance for the believer! Just as missionary C. T. Studd said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

You and I have one life on this fallen earth in which to follow Jesus and invest in Heaven. Let’s not miss the opportunity. God will one day take away all our sorrows, but why go into eternity with regrets? Here’s a prayer for us: May what will be most important to us five minutes after we die become most important to us now.

Let me add KNOW YOUR WHY:

  1. To bring glory to God
  2. To know God’s will for your life
  3. God wants to use me to bring people into His Kingdom

Adapted from the article: “Will We Have Regrets at the Judgment Seat of Christ?”  December 5, 2022 by  Randy Alcorn http://www.patheos.com

Living Eternally Now is available o Amazon or from me direct: ron@bakb.com.au

MANY BELIEVE THEY ARE SAVED BUT ARE NOT

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:22-23

How come many will be ignorant of what is necessary to gain eternal life? Sadly, many people are selective about what they want from God and it invariably relates to improving their experience in this life, e.g. prosperity gospel.

David Clarkson, author of The Conviction of Hypocrites (1622–1686) lists spiritual things that many are ignorant of. He writes: “They consider not that there must be regeneration…that there must be a new creation…There must be a universal change in every part of the soul…There must be holiness in life… A renouncing of the world… Mortification… A taking up the cross.”

These can only be achieved by repentance, accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour thereby receiving the Holy Spirit to enable the believer to live a Christian life.

Those who are born again of the Holy Spirit will know what is needed. However, countless people who consider themselves Christians are closed to these truths and are ignorant about what God requires for salvation. These kinds of people will think far too highly of themselves. “Self-love will not suffer them to deal impartially with their souls,” says Clarkson. This self-love deceives the hypocrite and causes him to flatter himself with only positive opinions. Truly, God must open their eyes and remove their blindness if they are to be saved.

If someone is able to rightly judge himself to be a sinner, there is still one final hurdle to be faced. Being able to see oneself as he is, he must now see God clearly. Clarkson says that many fall victim to “misapprehensions of God.” People will often mistakenly suppose that God is more merciful than He actually is. They think that God will neglect justice in order to issue forgiveness, which He will not.

Clarkson characterized such a thought process like this: “Though I allow myself in this or that sin, and fall into it now and then, why it is but a little one, and God is gracious, he is not so strict and rigid as some would make him.”

People will often assume what God is like based on what they want Him to be like, instead of how the Bible describes Him. Is the Bible false? Is God a liar? When Jesus said: “I am the way,” was He mistaken? We can confidently answer these questions with a “No.” Therefore, God will not make an exception for anyone (and make Himself a liar) in order to pardon an unbeliever. People must know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and be born again by the Holy Spirit to receive eternal life.

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

How do we live in the light of eternity and see beyond the moment in a world of increasing darkness?

God has enabled us to look beyond today to see what lies ahead. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. Our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. All believers have received the Holy Spirit to be their counselor, comforter, and teacher. We are Holy Spirit enabled.

We have a spiritual lens through which to view the world from God’s perspective.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.1 Corinthians 2:9-10

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Considering we are living in the “last days” when persecution of Christians will increase. It is essential we live Holy Spirit-enabled lives. He may not reveal what immediately lies ahead but we live our lives knowing He is in control of coming events. Moreover, we will not be taken by surprise, His Word tells us exactly how the “last days” play out before Jesus returns.

Living eternal nowis a way of travelling in the here and now, with our spiritual vision fixed on God and eternity so we are submitted to His will.

Remember, our days are numbered. The psalmist says, “So teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Psalm 90:12 Hopefully, this admonition, will affect how we use our time, and how we decide our priorities, so we don’t waste time.

Paul also tells us, that we are now alive to the spiritual realm, we see what is important from an eternal perspective, and we don’t dwell on earthly matters which are temporary:while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18

The preceding verses tell us how being Holt Spirit enabled, we know that whatever God allows into our lives, we will be able to see it as “light affliction” because we know it is for His glory.

Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

If we are living Holy Spirit-enabled lives then the fruit of the Spirit (9) will be evident in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and self-control. The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates how far along we are in the sanctification process, submitted to God’s will.

As well, we will be operating in the gifts of the Spirit (9). The gifts of the spirit are the ammunition that the Holy Spirit provides for our use as we walk Holy Spirit-enabled lives. The miraculous will truly be evident.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Note the counsel Paul gives concerning neglecting and quenching the Holy Spirits work in our lives.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Do not neglect the gift that is in you… Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:14

Are you living eternal now? If not why not?

One aspect of living eternally now is based on our expectation of the hereafter. Where will you be, and what will you be doing? Sadly, most people’s view of eternal life is not that appealing. They view it as an eternity in heaven but have no idea of what they will be doing there e.g. plucking harps and praising God. As a result, not too many are anxious to leave this life and go there. If you would like to know more about what Christians who are raised from the dead will be doing next then I suggest you go to my website http://www.millennialkingdom.net

LIVING ETERNAL NOW TRUSTING GOD

If you invest in the right treasury (eternal, not temporal), adopt the right perspective, and serve the right Master you have nothing to worry about. In contrast, those who invest in the wrong treasury (temporal, not eternal), adopt a here-and-now perspective, and serve the wrong master (money, not God) have every reason to worry.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

Since we cannot serve two masters, our fear of not having enough reveals our true master.

Jesus specifically tells us not to worry about life’s necessities—food, drink, and clothes. Then He says,

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to youMatthew 6:33

According to our Lord, giving isn’t what leaves us short of material provision. Jesus promises to provide for givers in full measure.

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

How about this promise in Malachi?

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.Malachi 3:10

When we give away our treasures, we are seeking God’s Kingdom first. And therefore, “all these [material needs] will be added to” us.

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Paul told the Philippians, “I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” Philippians 4:18, CSB

Their financial gifts were gifts to God. Since they gave so generously to provide for him and his work, Paul was confident God would provide the same for them: “My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, CSB). This is a familiar promise, but most people don’t realize that in context, it is specifically for givers who have stretched themselves to become sacrificial partners in Kingdom ministry. “For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times” (v.16).

RANDY & NANCI ALCORN’S TESTIMONY

In some cases, God’s provision is obvious—we get an unexpected check in the mail or are given something we thought we’d have to buy. One time Nanci and I discovered an error we’d made in our bank balance, finding we had significantly more money than we realized.

In other cases, God’s provision is less obvious but equally generous. A washing machine that should have broken down a decade ago keeps working. A car with more than two hundred thousand miles runs for three years needing no repairs. A checking account that should have dried up long before the end of the month somehow makes it through. As God miraculously stretched the widow’s oil supply in Elisha’s day (2 Kings 4:1-7), and as He made the Israelites’ clothes and sandals last forty years in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:4), I’m convinced He sometimes graciously extends the life of things that would normally need replacement.

The God who fed a million-member family in the wilderness for forty years, fed five thousand with one boy’s lunch, and who is perfectly capable of turning water into wine and stones into bread, will not have any trouble providing whatever He knows you need.

Adapted from the article by Randy Alcorn, “If We Fear God, We Can Trust His Provision” August 8th, 2022 http://www.patheos.com

ETERNAL LIFE OR ETERNAL DEATH YOU CHOOSE

If God exists and He created all things, it brings incredible responsibility upon the life of every man, woman, and child. Every individual under the sun has the responsibility to not only acknowledge their Creator but to give Him thanks for this magnificent universe. Moreover, they have an obligation to order their life around their Creator’s desires rather than their own—and this is the point where the bristling starts to happen. If God exists and He is the Creator of all things, this needs to inform the whole of one’s life. One must not only acknowledge Him as Creator and give Him thanks but we must live according to His rules. Every aspect of our lives must come under total surrender to the One who is the Author of life—and the one who rejects God surely does so on the basis of their desire to reject His authority.

It is all good and fine if there is a Creator who doesn’t impose His will upon the masses of His creation. However, the Creator has already judged the whole world on one previous occasion with a worldwide flood with only eight survivors. Moreover, His Word warns us that He intends to eventually destroy this fallen world with fire but beforehand there is Jesus’ Millennial Kingdom. He will rule and reign on this earth with resurrected and transformed believers for one thousand years. Check out, http://www.millennialkingdom.net

Atheists and agnostics for that matter stand on borrowed ground. They eat and drink borrowed food. They breathe in borrowed air and ultimately—live on borrowed time. They can no more diminish God’s glory and authority than if they were to try and blot out the light of the sun by standing before it. This is why many tend to go the route of dismissal of God’s existence to conceal their hatred of God, yet in the end, it will prove just as fruitless as an open hatred of God.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me… I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:1,6

Remember our Creator has gone to exceptional lengths to make Himself and the condition of the Cosmos (spiritual and physical) known to mankind and to enable us to get back into a right relationship with Him. Can we ask any more of God than He sends His Son to pay the price for our rebellion against Him and then to send the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer’s spirit to enable us to live the Christian life?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23

If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.John 8:42-45

At the end of all days, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. There is no hope for the one who dies under the consuming wrath of God, but just as there remains no hope for those who do not believe in Christ prior to their death, there will be no lingering skepticism. There will be no doubt. There will be no unbelief. All will believe and will either go away to eternal death or eternal life. Which do you choose?

THE GOSPEL CHANGES LIVES FOR ETERNITY

These three men started 33 churches despite persecution.  Brahim, his son Wararni and his cousin Usaden, who serves as chief of his village.

Soon after hearing the gospel and witnessing the love of Jesus Christ in the lives of Christians, Brahim decided to leave Islam and put his faith in Christ. After doing so, he felt compelled to share the Good News with others in his Tuareg tribe, starting with his family.

Brahim first led his wife and seven adult children to Christ. Then he shared the gospel with other relatives, most of whom came to faith in Christ immediately.

When he shared the gospel with a tribal leader in his region, the man refused to leave Islam. However, he gave Brahim permission to continue sharing his faith in the more than 100 villages the leader oversaw. After telling a large gathering of Tuareg villagers that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life,” Brahim and another pastor led more than 400 of them to Christ in a single day.

Two of Brahim’s family members — his son Wararni and his cousin Usaden, who serves as chief of his village — soon joined him in his ministry work. Like Brahim, they both had a strong desire to share the gospel with other Tuaregs.

“The understanding I got on the day I accepted Jesus is that this work has to be my life,” Wararni said. “The work is not for me only; the work is for more people to hear.”

Since 2018, when the three men began sharing the gospel, they have seen hundreds of people come to faith in Christ each time they preach. And together, they have helped start 33 churches. VOM supports the evangelists by providing them with print and audio Bibles as well as other ministry tools.

The reason so many are coming to Christ at once, a front-line worker explained, is that the tribe has the characteristics of a close family. When members of a tribe see a leader accept Christ, they don’t question his decision.

But as word spread that hundreds of people in multiple villages were leaving Islam for Christ, local Islamic leaders grew angry. Once, a group of men came to Brahim’s house threatening to kill him and his family if he didn’t stop his ministry work. Their threats didn’t faze him, however, because he knows where he’s going when he dies. “I know if you touch me, you are declaring war with heaven,” Brahim said.

Brahim hopes to share the gospel with each member of the Tuareg tribe in his region of Niger, which covers hundreds of miles. His goal is to complete this by 2025, no matter the cost. “I am looking for 100 percent,” he said. “The objective is to take the gospel to everybody, not just a few.”

You can partner with front-line workers like Brahim as they work to advance God’s kingdom. And with any monthly gift, you will receive VOM’s Global Prayer Journal.

BEING SAVED AND BEING A CHRISTIAN

Who will live with God on the new earth and heaven that He creates for His children? This is a valid question and we know it is not only Christians. Some will be taken back, as I was when I first read this statement. However, I quickly realised that Abraham, Moses, Job, David would not strictly come into the category Christian.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1

Think about the one thief upon the cross that simply asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, What was Jesus’ response?

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

I think therefore that the thief put his heartfelt trust in Jesus as the Messiah of God and that was enough to get him saved.

Roger Olson in his excellent article “Answer to the Question: What must a person know/believe to be saved or to be a Christian” raises the story of Paul and Silas and the time God opened up the prison doors for them. Paul stopped the jailor from killing himself as he thought the prisoners had escaped. The jailor knew there was something different about these men who had been praising God in their chains and were now free of those chains. He asked them this question.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe on (trust) the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31

Roger makes the point that from this statement, for the jailer and his family to be saved they had to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and they must put their trust/faith in Him. This is the simple rule of faith for salvation.

To be a Christian there is more and Roger points out that Paul and Silas then went on to say:

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.Acts 16:32

Roger’s interpretation and I have to agree with him, is that the jailer, like the thief on the cross, was saved the moment he believed on (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord. However, to be a Christian there is more, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission; repent, be baptised, and receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables believers to comprehend the Word of the Lord. He sanctifies us over time and produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. He will guide our every step if we allow Him. Therefore, He enables us to live the Christian life.

SAVED

God knows the condition of our heart and it is a heart issue that gets us saved. This Scripture from Exodus reinforces the issue of having a heart/spirit for God.

“And they came, every one whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.Exodus 35:21-22

CHRISTIAN

To live the Christian life you must have the Holy Spirit which is given once you repent of your sins (prepared to die to your old life) be baptised (signifying death to the old life and arising as alive in Christ) at which time God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, the enabler, to be your counsellor, your teacher, and comforter. He enables you to live a Christian life.

ETERNITY

For me, this understanding gives me comfort in knowing that there will be many people who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ who will be saved because they had a heart after God. Moreover, I am sure you like me have heard of many stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims and they have come to saving faith in Him. Jesus answered their heart cries. We can trust God to ensure that all those that should be in His Kingdom will be there.

THE HUMAN WILL

Are you saved and have eternal life? If so, it is entirely of God’s grace. Are you lost and destined for a second death? It is entirely of your own will.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40

The following Scripture makes God’s position clear, He desires that all would be saved.

I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4

The human will must ever be taken into account, and never must we place the God of all grace, whose very name is Love, in the position of being the unwilling One. and we the willing.

You decide your fate: eternal life with your Saviour and Creator or a second death in the Lake of Fire.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,… Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

All that is not eternal is eternally out of date,’ said C. S. Lewis. It is one of those fresh and startling comments from Lewis that made him notable.

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However, we live in a world that is increasingly moving away from God and His Instruction Manual, His Commandments. A world controlled by unbelievers that have no concept or interest in eternity. The here and now is all that matters. It appears that the Prince of the World is reigning supreme. Thankfully, God has revealed in His history book, the Bible, that He allows mankind to be dysfunctional for a time, but He calls His children to be part of the Kingdom of God and to pray that His will may eventually be done on earth as it is in heaven. Even the smallest acts of kindness that we do here on earth has eternal significance.

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Matthew 10:42

It is God’s bigger picture which enables us to live better in our own little picture. This is how John Wesley pictured the world: “I seek another country, and therefore am content to be a wanderer upon earth. More graphically, he wrote: ‘I desire to have both heaven and hell ever in my eye, while I stand on this isthmus of life, between these two boundless oceans’.

The Bible reveals that indeed God’s will, will be done on earth when Jesus returns to earth to fulfill the covenants He made with the nation Israel. The nation He established for His purposes. Jesus will rule and reign the nations on this earth for one thousand years. It is only after His Millennial reign that this earth will pass away. Then, after the second resurrection and the White Throne judgement God creates a new heaven and earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.Revelation 21:1-3

Since the Fall, this world has always been in a state of rebellion and dislocation. The result: Hitler, Marx and Mao to name a few of the madmen in my lifetime. Augustine of Hippo described unbelievers as those who are left to ‘wander in a circuitous maze finding neither entrance nor exit.’ To the lost unbeliever, Utopia is always elusive – one problem is replaced by another and yet another.

In many places there is near-panic about Covid-19 and the possibility of death. God uses catastrophes such as this to challenge unbelievers and provide Saints with opportunities to give them the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

WHICH DO YOU WALK IN AND WHAT IS YOUR DESTINATION?

Only new life in Christ equips believers to walk in the Spirit. Which do you walk in, the flesh or the Spirit? The difference on this earth is stark and even greater for eternity.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other,Galatians 5:17

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24

WORKS OF THE FLESH

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21

WORKS OF THE SPIRIT

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the Spirit leads to true happiness in this life and of course it leads to eternal life in the Kingdom of God, first during the transitional Millennial Kingdom and then on the new earth and heaven after the White Throne judgement for eternity.

“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” Rev.20:4-5

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… Rev. 21:1-