Ask people on the street for their opinion about the Bible and you’ll probably hear four very different answers. One response will likely state that the Bible is a good history book but not to be applied to modern life. A second group discounts the veracity of the Bible because it contains accounts of miracles, which puts the Bible in the same category as fairy tales. A third group of people thinks the Bible is only a rule book, giving moral advice that may be unrealistic for today. And a fourth group believes the Bible to be God’s love letter to every person of every generation in every culture. Do any of these responses sound like yours?
If I was asked today, I’d be among this fourth group. But this hasn’t always been the case. Until I was nearly twenty I lived as though the Bible was completely irrelevant to my life. I had absolutely no interest in its content. What changed? One night I heard that after I died, I would stand before God and be judged for my sin. With a flash of understanding deep in my soul, I was certain that I wasn’t good enough to go to heaven; instead, I deserved hell. Hearing also that Jesus’ death on the cross was to pay the penalty for my sins, I asked Jesus to forgive me, to come into my life, and to be the Leader of the rest of my life. I can’t explain it, but the following day I couldn’t wait to get off work to go buy a Bible. Since that day, it has become the most important book in my life. Even if you don’t believe as I do, I hope you’ll read on and consider my reflections.
Have you ever thought about the question, “If God wanted to clearly communicate His presence and thoughts to people, how would He do that?” I don’t think nature would be His primary means. Even though we all see the same beauty and complexity of nature around us, we still draw very different conclusions about God, some even denying His existence or involvement. I think God would choose a clearer method to reveal His love, compassion, mercy, grace, faithfulness, holiness, salvation, and judgement. I believe He’d place a book in our hands; thus, the Bible. Also, without a written record, we’d know nothing about the Person and work of Jesus Christ, the central character of the Bible.
The Bible not only teaches us how to enjoy this life, but also to prepare us for the next, after we die. Some people suggest we get reincarnated. Others assert that we simply cease to exist. Still others say that everyone will enjoy a type of utopia. Some think that we are absorbed into oneness with the universe. These views are widely divergent. They can’t all be right! Who can back up their claims with solid evidence? Who are you going to believe? You don’t want to be wrong on this. Too much is at stake.
There is only one person who, days after His death, came back to life, never to die again. After His crucifixion, Jesus Christ’s body was placed in a solid rock tomb, and the entrance was sealed shut with a huge rock. But three days later He came back to life. He wasn’t just resuscitated; He was resurrected! Therefore, I’ve chosen to believe what Jesus says about what happens beyond the grave. So, what does Jesus have to say? He warns us that there is a Day of Judgement awaiting each of us. A day when every one of us will stand before God entirely alone to give an account of his or her life to Him. But Jesus also reveals that His followers bypass this Judgement and go directly into Heaven to be with Him. This is the message I referred to that changed my life many, many years ago.
Now, some may say I’m too narrow-minded and arrogant to think only Jesus’ followers are guaranteed entrance into Heaven, but I’m just communicating that this is what the Bible teaches. You may not like what I’ve said, but my intention was only to suggest that God has given us the Bible to clearly say that He loves us and has provided a way for us to be at peace with Him. I encourage you to take the time to investigate these things yourself. If you don’t agree with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts (firstname.lastname@example.org).