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Matthew 19:16. Eternal Life

Jan 28 Matthew 19 16 NKJVThere is a story that in an Indiana cemetery, there is a tombstone that is over one hundred years old and bears the following epitaph:

“Pause Stranger, when you pass me by. As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. So prepare for death and follow me.”

An unknown passerby read those words and underneath scratched this reply:

“To follow you I’m not content, Until I know which way you went.”

After death there is only two destinations: Heaven or Hell. Heaven – the place of eternally worshiping and praising God where there is no sickness, death, or sorrow. Or Hell – being eternally separated from God where the fire is never quenched, the worm never dies, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth in eternal torment. You can’t decide once your gone which path you’ll take. That decision is made now – while you are still alive. But the choice you make will be the same for all eternity.

The rich young ruler wanted to know what good deed he could do to earn eternal life. Jesus’ first response was: “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” This response was to point out that eternal life cannot be earned through good deeds and the point of the Jesus’ question was to shatter the man’s incorrect assumption of attaining a personal goodness that could merit salvation. Romans 3:10 says: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” There is absolutely nothing we can do that is good enough to earn salvation. Because of our sin, the only thing we’ve earned is death and eternal separation from God. Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord..” Salvation is God’s gift to those who come to Him by faith through Jesus‘ life, death, and resurrection as the payment for our sin debt. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.” Gifts are not earned, they are given out of love and because of God’s love for us, He sent His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).

Salvation and eternal life are only obtained by admitting that we are sinners, believing in Christ, confessing our sins and that Jesus is Lord, and asking Him to save us from our sins. We then surrender our lives to Him and allow Him to be Lord, willingly following Him and obey as He commands. It is an act of faith and that is the only way to eternal life.

The passerby in the Indians cemetery was wise to want to know which direction the already deceased had taken: Heaven or Hell. Which path have you chosen?




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