PART 2 RICHES BEYOND MEASURE
Where Does God’s Abundant Life Come From?
How does someone get this abundant life?
This is for many a very difficult question to answer. For those who don’t believe in God and are controlled by the dictates of the sin nature, this spiritual reality has no awareness to them and does not reside within them. Many who don’t know God will conclude that when they die that’s it, their existence is over. There are others who don’t know God that might say if there is one, then He will prepare a better place for all humans. As far as hell is concerned, it would probably be dismissed as being a fictitious place.
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
If one of them were to be inclined to want to find God and see if He truly exists, what would be the spiritual remedy or prescription for their need? According to Scripture, this abundant or eternal life can only be received by them if they confess to God the Father that they are a sinner and believe in His Son Jesus Christ as to who He is and what He has accomplished. If they were to respond as such, then they will receive the indwelling Spirit along with additional benefits, one of which is eternal or abundant life. So, the answer to the first question, how does someone get this abundant life; this is accomplished by responding to the gospel of Christ?
What about those who believe in God and are religious? Do they have God’s abundant life? This a difficult question to answer. There are many people, who believe in God, however, their perspective as to how they get to heaven is not based on the gospel, but on either one of three avenues.
The first is water baptism. Some have been taught that if a person is baptized in water, then their sins are forgiven and at this time they will receive the indwelling Spirit. I will admit that there are verses that appear to support this conjecture. I personally don’t believe that any of us can perform any ritual to receive God’s favor. Do you remember the Jewish Christians in Acts 15:1, who proclaimed that unless someone was circumcised, they couldn’t be saved? If receiving abundant life is based on observing a ritual, then which ritual is the one that will cause someone to receive it?
The second is by doing good works. Many believe that if they follow the tenets of their faith in respect to doing such and such that God will look favorably on them and grant them entrance into heaven, when they die. Do they have abundant life? Remember what we said what abundant life is all about. God’s abundant life is divine grace, peace (regulating, ruling, and harmonizing the heart), joy (inner rejoicing without any kind of mental agony or fear), rest (refreshment and rejuvenation; freedom from works, anxiety, and cares), resurrection life (motivating energy), and a surplus of spiritual refreshment for one self. At sporadic times, I would expect that if they have received it, then they would have also experienced it.
I can remember attending an ecumenical Bible study years ago in which the discussion was about how someone could get to know God in a personal way by responding to the Gospel (repentance and belief) of Christ. One of the attendees, who had been involved in a particular faith proclaimed that they knew God, because they had been a member of their church for many years. I proceeded to ask her if she had ever experienced God’s divine peace or joy in her life, and she said no. This was a foreign concept to her.
The third reason given for the way to get to heaven is in believing there are many roads. In other words, there are many gods to heaven. The gospel of Christ is not the only way to get there. If you read the Bible, I remember hearing about the trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but of whomsoever other god or gods were mentioned was clearly stated as being fictitious, simply being that of an idol.
It is true that there are other writings of a spiritual inclination that are not affiliated with the 66 books of the Bible. And they do offer some explanation as to how someone would get to a better place at death. But in most cases what they offer is some type of works program that will get someone there. There is no mention of the need for a Messiah/savior to pay a debt. Therefore, resurrection from the dead would have no meaning. And there would be no need to experience abundant life, because good works performed in the name of some god is the chief basis or requirement for entrance into a place of spiritual serenity. Those who aspire to this pathway if asked where would they go at death would say that they have a hope of a better place, but unfortunately not an assurance of going to a better place.
Do you want assurance of going to a better place, when you die? Would you like to experience a new life, God’s abundant life for however many years you have left on earth?
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:11-13)
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:12-13)
As mentioned earlier, two conditions need to be met in order to receive eternal life. I will restate them again albeit more fully. One has to do with repentance and the other has to do with belief in a certain someone. Repentance has to do with an acknowledgement of oneself as a sinner, and as such a desire to want a change of heart, a new nature. Belief has to do with believing in a particular someone, this someone whose name happens to be Jesus Christ, as to whom He is and what He has accomplished.
If you would like to receive God’s abundant life right now, then I will leave you with words that you can read either silently or out loud.
God the Father I acknowledge that I have sinned in many areas such as: not telling the truth; slandering others; having sexual relations outside of marriage; being jealous; having participated in alcohol or drug abuse; having sex with others of the same gender; having committed adultery; taking money from others in a deceitful manner; having committed rape; having engaged in pedophilia; etc. I don’t want to continue in these mental, verbal, and overt sins. I need a new nature.
I believe in you Jesus Christ as one of the members of the trinity, who as God pre-existed time; came to the earth and took on the form of a man, being born of a virgin (no sin nature); lived a sinless life; listened to and obeyed the directives of his Father; went to the cross and paid for the penalty of and forgave the sins of the whole world; rose from the dead after 3 days never to die again, walked the earth in his resurrection body for 40 days witnessing to over 500 people; and ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father.
If you said these words, Scripture tells us that you have received the indwelling Holy Spirit along with many additional benefits, one of which is eternal (abundant) life.
Congratulations, you have been made anew. You are a child of God!
If you remember what was said by Jesus about eternal life from the previous chapter, that His desire for His disciples or followers was that they not only would have eternal life, but that they would have it more abundantly (to have an overflow; to have a surplus; to have eternal life in all its fulness). This brings us to the next question.
How can I experience God’s eternal life on a consistent basis?
What we should initially do is determine what it is that inhibits this from happening. We’ll find this out in the next chapter. See you there.
F.Y.I. By the way, my new book was just published entitled THE SPIRITUALITY PUZZLE. This is being sold on Amazon. This focuses in depth on Salvation (God’s abundant life) and would provide additional information if you would like to study this topic in depth.