How to Live with God Forever!

By Royce Frederick

We are sinful. A person “sins” when he disobeys God (1 Jn. 3:4). No person, except Jesus, has ever lived a totally sinless life, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

God is completely righteous. Therefore He cannot have fellowship with sinful persons, and He must punish sin. “But your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God...” (Isaiah 59:2). The “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23; see Ezek. 18:20). “Death” means “separation.” Physical death is separation of our spirit from our body (Jas. 2:26). Spiritual death is separation of our spirit from our God (Eph. 2:1, 5; 4:18; 1 Tim. 5:6). As long as we continue in sin, we remain separated from God. All of our opportunities for salvation end at our physical death (Heb. 9:27). If we reject salvation during our lifetime on earth, we will remain separated from God forever, without any escape from the punishment for our sins (Matt. 25:46; Jn 5:29; 8:21, 24; Mk. 9:43-48).

We needed someone to take our death penalty for us. Jesus Christ lived a totally sinless life (Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). He did not deserve to die. Therefore, He was the only one who had an innocent life to give for our sins. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just [righteous] for the unjust [unrighteous], that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18; see Rom. 5:8; Jn. 3:16; Matt. 27:45-46; Ps. 22:1, 16-18, 24, 27-28). He was also the only one who had the power to return to life after suffering the agonizing death penalty (Jn. 5:26; 10:17-18; Rev. 1:18). Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God is able to remain righteous and make us righteous (Rom. 3:26).

Christ died for all people (1 Tim. 2:6). God desires that all people be saved (2 Peter 3:9). But He does not force anyone to accept salvation. You can choose to remain separated from God, or you can allow the death of Jesus Christ to be applied to your sins.

How can a sinner receive the saving benefits of the death of Jesus Christ? The sinner must first HEAR the “gospel” (Rom. 10:17; Jn. 5:25). The “gospel” is the “good news” of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and how to obtain salvation through Him. He “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10)!

The sinner must BELIEVE the gospel (Mk. 16:15-16). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). In this verse, “believes” does not mean merely believing facts in our mind. “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (Jn. 12:42-43). “Even the demons believe — and tremble!” (Jas. 2:19; see Mk. 1:23-24). To save us from our sins, our faith (belief) must be obedient faith (Jas. 2:17-26; Gal. 5:6; Rom. 1:5; 6:17-18; 16:26; 1 Peter 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:8).

The sinner must REPENT of his sins. “Repentance” is a decision to turn from sin and turn toward righteousness. The Lord “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). The goodness of God leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4), and godly sorrow for our sins helps produce repentance (1 Cor. 7:10).

The sinner must CONFESS that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. In the very first gospel sermon after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Peter said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). We should confess our faith in Christ, “For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Rom. 10:10). The Ethiopian confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37; see Matt. 10:32-33; Phil. 2:11).

The sinner must then BE BAPTIZED in water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:36; 10:47-48; 22:16; Eph. 5:26). Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). The apostle Peter told the multitudes, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

“Baptized” means “immersed.” It is a burial in water. Writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul reminded them of what he and they had done in obeying the gospel: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4; see Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When a sinner is buried in the water of baptism, he is then united together with Christ “in the likeness of His death” (Rom. 6:5). At baptism, a sinner enters into the death of Christ and receives the benefits of His death — forgiveness of sins and newness of life! A sinner is saved by faith in Christ when he or she is baptized in water for the forgiveness of sins (Rom. 6:17-18; Eph. 2:1-9; Col. 2:12; I Peter 3:21).

When our sins have been removed, we then have fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son (1 Jn. 5:11-12; 2 Jn. 9; Jn. 14:23). After baptism, a Christian will sometimes stumble and sin. But when the Christian continues walking in the light of God’s word, the blood of Christ continues cleansing him of sin (1 Jn. 1:7, 9). The Christian must serve the Lord in His church and remain faithful, even unto death (Acts 2:42, 47; 4:32-33; 11:23; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:1-6, 14-16; 5:22-32; 1 Cor. 9:27; Heb. 3:12-14). Jesus promises, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10)!

Do you choose to remain separated from God? Or do you choose to let God apply the saving blood of Christ to your sins by obeying the gospel? There is danger and death in delay. But there is life and joy in obeying!