Life Or Death, Bliss Or Torment –Our Eternal Choice

July 2, 2013

Friends,
To choose Life or to choose Death –these are our two choices during our existence on earth. What we choose here determines our eternal existence –where we live and how, for eternity. Where we live –in Heaven or in Hell, and how we live –in bliss or in torment. It is our choice.

This choice has been presented to us throughout God’s Word. We have been invited to believe what God says –what He commands, warns, and promises– and to act accordingly. To believe entails repentance, which means a renunciation of sin and idols, a turn from them, a pledge to God to live obedient to Him, and then conduct that proves our repentance and pledge were genuine.

The eternal existence (bliss or torment) begins on earth. The beginning and growth of which one we choose begins here. The man who chooses not to submit to God (the Leader-King), will walk the path of increasing torment, even if he is too dead to feel it or know he is doing so. The man who chooses to make Christ his Leader will walk the path of increasing bliss –unless of course, false teachers (of which there is no shortage) drag him down or off the Path by teaching him that the “abundant life” (John 10:10) in which we “have been given fullness in Christ” (see Col. 2:10), just isn’t so.

But it is so. To choose Christ, the Lord God, is to choose Life, Real Life, for He Himself is Life. (Dt. 30:20 // John 6:48 & 14:6) He is Eternal Life. (1 John 5:20) Therefore, if we live in Him, we live in Eternal Life already (v. 11,12), remaining there by nourishing ourselves with His Spirit and Word (John 6:63 & 15:4-7) and by obeying what He instructs. (14:23 & 15:10)

Jesus tells us in John 7:17, “If anyone choose to do God’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on My own.” In other words, by making the choice to obey God (His will / His instructions / His Word), a man will be further instructed by the Spirit and learn more and more Truth. (Luke 8:18 // John 16:13) But what is the main determinant? It’s choice. Our choice.

So, our choice absolutely does determine whether we receive Life (Jesus / Eternal Life) or whether we remain in the realm of Death. We ourselves must choose to “cross over from Death to Life” (see John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14), doing so through our decision to believe, submit, love, and obey. These are actions as well as attitudes of the heart.

When we do cross over, we are submitting to a circumcision of the heart by the Spirit of YHWH and Christ. (Dt. 30:6 // Rom. 2:29 // Col. 2:11) What is cut off is the sinful nature within us (Col. 2:11) and we are baptized into Him, forgiven of sin, cleansed of sin, and freed from sin (Rom. 6:1-7,18 // Col. 2:11-13 // Heb. 9:26 // Rev. 1:5), all so that we can walk a new path, the Way of Life, as new creations. (John 14:6 // Rom. 6:4 // 2 Cor. 5:17)

God gives us the same two choices (Life or Death) which He gave to the Israelites through Moses: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” (Dt. 30:15) And again: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life… For the LORD is your life…” (v. 19,20) The whole passage shows that by choosing God, a man will walk in good things, but that by choosing disobedience to God and choosing to walk one’s own way, a man will be destroyed. (v. 18) Both the Old and the New Testaments consistently uphold and teach this eternal Truth. (Just a few of these verses are: Ezek. 33:7-20 // Mt. 18:7-9 & 19:17 & 24:45-51 // John 5:29 // 2 Thes. 1:8,9 // Heb. 5:9 & 10:26-31 & 12:14 // Ja. 2:24 // Rev. 20:11-15)

The man who does not choose God makes that choice because he does not want to submit his life to God. He is wanting to “save his life” (Mark 8:35), meaning he wants to hold onto it for himself. This means he wants what HE wants during life, and does not want to give up his life for the benefit of others or the furtherance of Christ’s Gospel. He does not want to give his life up to the control of God because HE wants to control his life. He wants to decide what to pursue, whether that be fame, fortune, power, or pleasure, and he wants to pursue them by the methods he chooses, even if they be unethical, immoral, deceitful, or unjust. This is what Jesus calls “wanting to save one’s life.” (See Mt. 16:25 and Mark 8:35 and Luke 9:24) However, as Jesus asks, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) The answer is, “There is no good; only despair and anguish forever.”

Jesus then asks, “Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:37) The answer to this is “Nothing.” Nothing except loosing one’s life –loosing it for the sake of Christ and the Gospel (v. 35)– will give a man back true life (meaning Life, eternal life, and his eternal soul). Because the only way that is done is for the man to choose, as Jesus says, to “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) In short, to choose the Lord, not himself.

The man who chooses this true Life will never walk in Death, but will instead walk in increasing peace and power, comfort and contentment, love and strength, happiness and joy, blessing and bliss. This man will walk in this (True / Abundant / Eternal) Life, not because of circumstances, but simply because, no matter what is going on, he makes the immediate and daily choice to remain firmly planted in Christ’s love (John 15:10) where he is continually surrounded by the beautiful presence of God. As Ps. 16:11 exults, “You [Lord] have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” And He does. –Through Jesus, and through our choice of choosing Him, the Life. (John 15:9-11 // 1 John 1:1-4)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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