I was talking with a friend a little while back and we were discussing the Bible and that it is the word of God for us and, as such, it should guide our footsteps in life and that it is our authority and basis for the things we believe.
Among other things, we talked about how the Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about heaven and hell or much about life after death – the very thing that a lot of people want to know about.
We all know that one day each one of us will die – provided Christ’s return doesn’t prevent that. Talking of that return, that’s another thing the Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about: The second coming of Christ. The subject is raised often enough in the Bible but there is not a lot of detail as to what life will be for us after Jesus’ return other than that it will be very good.
A definite route to travel
I likened the Bible to a road map of a state or province. In such a map there is marked definite route to the neighbouring state to which we are travelling but the road map doesn’t give us a lot of detail of the neighbouring state to where we are headed.
The details in our map are with regard to the present state we are in and how to get to the border of the state to which we are headed. Thereafter the map is short on detail of the state where we are going but is long on detail for the state we are in and directions are there as to how to get to the next state.
The Bible is a lot like that. There are definite statements regarding what we are headed for but most of what it teaches us is how to live here and now and how to prepare for the next state we are headed for: after death and the second coming of Christ.
What then is it that God wants of us in order to be prepared for the next ‘state’ for which we are headed?
As God is Spirit, he is invisible to the eyes of flesh but faith tells us that he exists. How can one know this? To those who do not believe, no amount of proof is enough and to those who do believe, no proof is necessary. Faith is its own evidence.
That’s not to say there is no proof of God’s existence but just a statement of fact: To the unbeliever no amount of proof is enough and to the believer, no proof is needed. ‘He who comes to God, must believe that he is…’ (Hebrews 11:6).
- People can say, ‘Except I see, I won’t believe.’
- But God says, ‘Except you believe, you will not see.’
Besides being people of faith, God requires that we be repentant about the ways in which we have lived life. The whole tenor of scripture is that people acknowledge their sin before God and turn away from them. God is looking for people to walk righteously before him.
Major road blockage
The Bible tells us that God is not pleased with pride. The Lord seeks people who are humble.
‘He has shown you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8) and Jesus said, ‘Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18: 3-4).
The Bible teaches us that pride is the sin of the devil. He rose up to withstand God saying, ‘I shall be like the Most High.’ It is no wonder pride is called the most prominent of ‘the seven deadly sins’ for it is the progenitor of all sins.
I have found the Bible to contain two main areas of teaching…
- Firstly it teaches us those things we are to believe.
This I call doctrine or the tenets of The Faith (although, strictly speaking, the word ‘doctrine’ – ‘teaching’ – applies equally suitably to teaching on how we should live).
- Secondly, the Bible deals with is how we should live.
The Old Testament dealt with what people should believe and how they should live under the terms God laid down under the Old Covenant and the New Testament tells us what we need to believe and how we should live under the terms of the New Covenant.
The apostle Paul said, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’ (2Timothy 3:16).
Are you ready for the day Christ returns?
As I’ve often said before, one needs to be just as ready to die as for Christ’s second coming for death seals the state of readiness or ‘unreadiness’ we will be in when Christ comes again and we meet him in our resurrected bodies to be judged on Judgment Day.
There will be no more opportunity after death to believe the gospel, to repent of our sins and to receive God’s forgiveness.
The Christian life begins when we accept the one who died at Calvary for our sins as our Saviour and life’s guide.
Indeed life really begins then and we travel scripture’s road map that ultimately takes us to heaven.
Harold Harvey, Koongamia, WA, has ministered in Foursquare Church and Christian Revival Crusade churches and is currently a minister in the Australian Christian Churches. Now retired – though not believing in ministerial retirement – he continues ministry with weekly write-ups (Beams of Light), link: firstname.lastname@example.org