Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I "Hope So" or "Think So"

Having the knowledge that you have Eternal Life is one of the characteristics of having eternal life. If you are in a “hope so” or “think so” position, then it is a real possibility that you do not have eternal life. Here are two real situations.

A woman once came to me for advice about her 18-year-old son. She told me a story of how her son had been president of the youth group in church and was very active in church. He was also breaking into houses. The more she talked, the more I realized that she was a major part of the problem. I asked her what she believed religiously. She replied very strongly that she believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He had died for the sins of the world, that He rose from the dead and that salvation was by faith alone. With this answer I then asked if she knew what would happen to her if she died that instant. She said she thought she would go to Heaven. Why did she think so? Because, was her answer, she never missed church and she sang in the choir. When I pointed out to her the incongruity of her two answers she saw that her first answer was a catechism answer, the right answer. Her second answer was what she really believed, where she really put her trust. She did not trust Jesus Christ at all; she trusted in her own good works. That is why she “thought” she would go to Heaven.

Sometime later I managed a textbook store at a Christian college where they had daily chapel as a requirement. One day I asked a student what he thought of the college. His reply was that he had not been to chapel since he had been there. It was all a fake. There ought to be one big church and no denominations. I replied that God would probably agree with him. One of the problems, I explained, was that some of the major leaders in the ecumenical movement did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, His death for our sins, or his bodily resurrection from the dead. This was a shock to him. His reply went something like this. “Then they are not even Christian.” I asked him where he stood on the basics of the Christian life. His reply was very complete. He believed in the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, and salvation was by faith alone. I think he even mentioned the “second coming.” When I asked where he would go if he died that instant, he replied that he had not the faintest idea where he would go. Why did he not know? He did not know how good you had to be to go to Heaven. He also would fight for his catechism answers, the right answers, but personally, privately he did not trust them. He trusted in his own goodness, and he knew that he was not good enough.

Both of these people, the same day, saw the difference in their own answers and put their trust in Jesus Christ. From then on they were sure of their own eternal life.

Questions? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org/.

(From Good News/Bad News)

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