There are two kinds of people; those who choose to obey God and those who choose to obey themselves.
The Bible is very clear about what will happen to people after they die. Those who chose to obey God and do His will will spend a glorious eternity with Him. Those who chose to follow their own will, or live in sin, will spend unbearable agonizing eternity without Him. Sin is any action that hurts you, someone else or goes against God. Actually any action that hurts you or someone else is an action that goes against God because you and everyone else is created by God.
In life ALL mankind shares God's blessings to one degree or another no matter how evil they are. God makes the sun shine, the rain fall, supplies food to eat, energy to keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer and uncountable other physical blessings available to all. After earthly death, those who chose to follow their own will won't even have those blessings because they will be separated from God and His blessings for all eternity.
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:19-27 NKJV)
Separated from God, tormented for eternity, what a terrible, terrible fate!
Remember what Abraham said to the Rich man? "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."
Even the good things of life become torment when separated from God. They will be unbearably missed.
How long is eternity? It is never ending. You can take the largest blackboard you can imagine and fill it with tiny little marks with each mark representing a billion, trillion years and you are still not even be close to eternity.
If eternity had an end, no matter how far away the end was, one would always be able to say, "One more second, minute, day, month, year or whatever, closer to the end of eternity!" But eternity has no end, therefore, it has no hope for those separated from God. By the same token there is no fear of eternity ending for those who have chosen to be with God.
It is very widely taught in the religious world that in order to be saved from this fate all you have to do to escape eternity separated from God is to simply recite some form of the "Sinner's Prayer," no matter where you are, and mean it and you will be saved.
The "Sinner's Prayer" goes something like this...
"God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!"
The "Sinner's Prayer" is direct and to the point. The person praying acknowledges they are a sinner, accepts the consequences of sin, affirms belief in Christ for forgiveness of those sins and acknowledges God's gift or geace. Simple, trusting, all covering.
There is just one problem with the Sinner's Prayer.
It isn't in the Bible.
There isn't one example in the New Testament of anyone being saved as a result of simply reciting any form of "Sinner's Prayer" after Jesus rose from the dead and gave the Great Commission in Mark 16:15-16. Not One time was ANY creature ever told to say the Sinner's Prayer to be saved.
There are, however, a number of other examples of salvation recorded in the Bible. Since the Bible is God's word we can be sure what appears there is God directed. When God tells us what to do He is also telling us what NOT to do. Probably the best example in scripture of this is the story of Nadab and Abihu. God didn't tell them not to use the fire they used, He simply told them what fire to use. Their use of "strange fire" brought about their death.
In Numbers 3:29-31 we read...
"The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward.
And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.
And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof." (KJV)
Here God is specifically saying who is to take care of the ark of the Covenant.
In 2 Samuel 6:3-7 we read the story of Uzzah...
"And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart.
And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God." (KJV)
When God says what He wants, He is also saying what He doesn't want. Uzzah's error was in doing what God specifically told the families of the sons of Kohath to do, care for the ark.
"According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left." (Deuteronomy 17:11 KJV)
"That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel." (Deuteronomy 17:20 KJV)
"And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them." (Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV)
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Revelation 22:19 KJV)
In Galatians 1:8-9 Christ's Apostle and servant Paul says...
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (KJV)
God warns us not to go beyond what He says. By telling us not to go beyond what He says He completely eliminates the need to tell us what He doesn't want.
When we use a salvation process other than the one God has set forth we are going our own way. Since there is no example of the Sinner's Prayer saving any Christian in the scriptures we go beyond what God has commanded when we rely on one the "Sinner's Prayer" for salvation.
The "Sinner's Prayer" is a man mandated plan of salvation.
Here is God's mandated plan of salvation taken from the scriptures...
Step one, Romans 10:17, is hearing.
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
We hear the word of God from verses found in the Bible, verses such as John 3:16, Mark 16:16 and others.
Step two, John 8:24, is believing what we hear...
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
Step three and step four, Acts 2:38, is turning from your sins AND being baptized for the remission of sins.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (washing away) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
That was Peter's answer to the question posed to the Apostles in Acts 2:37 by those who were convicted of crucifying Christ...
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Step five, Romans 8:1, is walking after the Spirit (seeking God's will)...
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
My friend, our little study has shown it is not enough simply believe in Christ for everlasting life. One must believe in Christ, repent of one's sins, confess him, be buried with him in baptism for the remission of sins and walk after the Spirit.
Are you in Christ?
Romans 6:3"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Have you put on Christ?
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27)
Are your sins washed away? Here's what Ananias said to Saul the former persecutor of the Christ's church...
"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)
Here are the plain words of Jesus...
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. " (John 3:5)
I have had people tell me that the water mentioned in John 3:5 is not regular water but the water that makes up our bodies. The word translated water in John 3:5 from the original New Testament Greek is the same word translated water in every other place where water is mentioned in the New Testament.
My friend, if you have not put on Christ according to the New Testament pattern please do so. To rely on the Sinner's Prayer devised by man is risking your eternal destination.
If we can assist you in this matter please call on us if I can be of service or if you have any questions or comments or you would like to discuss this further.
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