The Gospel Message
The Gospel Message is the most important piece of information that one can ever receive during his appointed time here on Earth.How so?
As of the Church Age it is one’s chosen response to the Gospel Message that determines where one will spend all of Eternity. It doesn't get any more important than that!
There are differences between the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the Gospel Message itself. The Gospels begin with documenting the relevant events that preceded the birth of Jesus and concludes with His Ascension. The Gospel Message, found within the Gospels, documents the need (e.g. John 3: 7), the means (e.g. John 3: 18) and the significance of being born again, as it pertains to salvation.
Many individuals did and do accurately quote Old Testament Scripture (Acts 15: 21/Acts 18:4). Many Church Age individuals and organizations can and do accurately quote New Testament Scripture. Never-the-less, many such religious persons, past and present, have stumbled over the chief corner stone (Matt. 21: 45/Romans 10: 2-2).
One can be able to quote the Bible from cover to cover and yet still fall short of identifying and/or understanding the Gospel Message. This is but one of the differences between being educated in Christian Religion and being a disciple, that is a student and applier of Word of God under the teaching ministry of a Biblically qualified pastor teacher.
The devil himself has a history of being able to accurately quote Scripture (Matthew 4/Luke 4). In truth, the devil has a better understanding of the Gospel Message than many who claim to be Christians. Having this understanding in mind, he does all he can do to propose and to promote alternative Gospel Messages.
Paul wrote of believers being presented with a different gospel than the one he preached (Gal. 1: 8/2Cor. 11: 4).
John 3: 16, 18 cut to the chase.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3: 16 NASB).” He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, (Why?) because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3: 18 NASB italics mine.”
With the pre-salvation ministry of God the Holy Spirit (Acts 16: 14/1Cor. 3: 7), God makes his plan of salvation so plain that it can be understood by even a child after he has reached the age or stage of moral accountability. Accordingly, there will be no excuse that is going to hold up in the Court of Heaven for choosing to reject it.
***God created Man in His own likeness (Gen.1:26), but this likeness has not got anything to do with His or our overt appearance. Common sense tells us that God in His appearance cannot be both tall and short, fat and skinny, old and young, male and female or any of the many, many different characteristics that each one of us have that distinguishes us as individuals or groups.
The likeness of God in which Man was created refers to the "everlasting" life that wilnever end. Being like someone is not the same as being that someone. Man is like God in that like God, the soul of Man will never die. Man is unlike God, in that there never was a time when God did not exist.
One must learn to distinguish the all important difference between the everlasting life that every created soul possesses, and the eternal life that one receives only if he is born again. Everlasting life means that one’s soul will never die. Eternal life means that as one lives on, he does so in fellowship with God.
For the souls that find themselves in Heaven, the everlasting life of the soul is a blessing. For the souls that find themselves in the agony (Luke 16: 24) of the fire of Hades, only to later be thrown into the never-ending lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15), the everlasting (and therefore never ending) life of the soul can hardly be called a blessing.
If God had not denied Man access to the tree of life, the members of the human could have lived on indefinitely here on Earth (Gen. 3: 22-24). What to some appears to have been a negative event was actually blessing. As long as fallen Man remains here on Earth, he will never be free from battles with the sin nature (Romans 7) that takes place at the moment of physical death.
It is the soul that has been born again that has received eternal life. It is the eternal life that the soul with everlasting life receives that qualifies him/her to spend eternity with God.
On the other hand,”… He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come (John 8 :21).”
Q.: Why couldn’t they come?
A.: Because unless they are born again, they die in their sin and cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
There were (and are) those who seek God through the products and practices of religion, but not having been born again, they cannot and therefore will not go where (Acts 1: 11) He has gone.
All roads may have led to Rome, but not all roads lead to Heaven.
We do NOT all worship the same God (Psalms 96: 5).
There are NOT “other paths” to the same God/god (John 14: 6).
As a result of the many different so-called Christian religions, all so-called Christians do NOT worship God as He desires to be worshiped (John 4: 23).
The truth is, one cannot worship God nor do anything else as long as he/she is “apart from God (John 15: 5).” Fallen Man comes into this world “apart from God,” and remains “apart from God” until he/she is born again!
As a result of the everlasting life of the soul, every soul that God has ever or will ever create is as much alive and conscious as he/she was the day God (not the parent) created it and placed it in the body of His choosing. Rather or not any given departed soul has gone or will go where He has gone (Acts 1: 11) depends on rather or not he/she was or will be born again.
Our biological parents (John 3: 6), by way of the function that God designed, reproduces and provided us with a body. Such bodies do NOT have everlasting life. Each body has an appointed life span with a beginning and an end time, in accordance with the individual plan that God has in mind for the soul that He placed in each body.
Our soul, that God created (John 3: 6) and that God placed in the body of His choosing, will live on forever.
Life after the death is not a question of if, but of where and how it will be experienced by the departed soul.
Fallen Man comes into this world physically alive, but spiritually dead. Spiritual death is not a state of non-existence, but existing while separated from God.
Unless one is born again (John 3: 5, 7) he remains spiritually dead. Those who choose to reject the Gospel Message leave this world in their sins (John 8: 21) and will eventually spend all of eternity in what the Bible has labeled the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15).
This lake of fire is NOT a place of extermination, but one of never-ending torment, separated from God.
Being born again means to have one's dead human spirit regenerated (Titus 3: 5). This regeneration immediately takes place if and when one is born again.
This regeneration is the Work of God the Holy Spirit.
It is then that the believer receives the "eternal life." It is by receiving this eternal life that qualifies and enables the soul to experience fellowship with God, now and in Heaven.
In the event that the body of any given soul dies before the soul reaches the age or stage of moral accountability, the soul continues to live.
(To be continued in Part Two)
END Part ONE