ONE STEP BEYOND
Prepare for your future! Plan your retirement now! Superannuation! Such terms are so familiar to us. Monetary institutions encourage us to plan for our retirement, to save our money and invest in our future, to enter into superannuation plans which promise so much and yet often deliver so little. With so much emphasis being placed on our future, with so much being stressed about our being comfortable in our ‘retirement years’, there is one thing that man seems to have forgotten. Something to which he gives little or no thought: ETERNITY! It would be remiss of anyone, when talking about the future, to limit it to one’s future life on earth and to leave out our future in eternity.
Not even the first step beyond this life is being planned for by most it would seem, for they are all busy with their lives here on earth and with all the thoughts and cares that go with it. Everyone is in money-chase mode: they want it now and they are planning to have much more of it for the future. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting money. Money is necessary, for without it we cannot eat or drink or purchase what we need. And yes it is a good and wise thing to plan for the future, to save our hard-earned money, invest it in the right superannuation plans etc., but our existence does not end with our lives on this earth. There is a future beyond this life for all of us and the time to plan for that future is right now!
Yes, there is a God. God is out there and there is a heaven and a hell. We cannot see God nor can we see heaven or hell. And for many, this is enough to leave them comfortable in the belief that God does not exist and that there is ‘no hell below us’ and ‘above us only sky’, as the song goes. That life is merely a brief sojourn upon this mortal coil and then there is nothing. Millions who have thought this way have found out all too late that there is much more to our existence than some silly money-grabbing, material-worshipping earthly existence in which we are consumed with getting as much as we can get and being as well off as we can be. But how can anyone convince anyone else of the existence of God; that there is a heaven and a hell and both places exist in eternity; that they have no end and that those in heaven are eternally at peace and those in hell are in eternal misery and torment?
All this writer can do is tell you that God does exist, that heaven and hell are very real and very real people go there. Why am I so convinced? What makes me so sure that God is there? His Holy Word tells me so. The Bible is God’s Word. It is not the combined writings of several men but the word of God given to men who were made faithful in writing down every Word God wanted recorded. The Bible is filled with amazing prophecies, some made thousands of years ago which have all come true in every minute detail. Other so-called ‘holy’ books have alleged prophecies but many of these have not come to pass in the time frame predicted and others were only partly fulfilled. Any person on earth is capable of such hit and miss ‘prophecies’, but EVERY ONE of God’s prophecies come to pass in EVERY DETAIL EVERY TIME!
The Bible mentions certain cities which the world at one time knew nothing about and so this world’s scientists and scholars and archeologists assumed that the Bible was wrong and laughed at its mention of such places they had never seen any evidence of, and therefore ‘reasoned’ that there is no God. But several hundred years later the world learned a painful lesson. Archeologists discovered artifacts and ruins, some as recently as last century, of those cities the Bible spoke about and had to confess that they were the ones who had gotten it all wrong and that the Bible was, far from being in error, absolutely right about these cities. No Bible prophecy has ever been wrong in the minutest detail, thus proving that they came from God and not from men. No human can make predictions about the future and have every detail of every prediction come true. Man cannot even predict what will happen tomorrow let alone thousands of years from now.
Several people who have set out to disprove the Bible have found, after much rigorous study and determined effort, that it was they and not the Holy Scriptures who were wrong. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the single most provable historical fact. Man, by nature, is filled with a powerful prejudice against the truth, against what the Scriptures say, and is intrinsically blind to it. The Bible says that man does not want to know the true God, that he does not seek Him or understand Him (Rom 3:11), so it stands to reason that many simply do not even believe in the existence of God let alone in the right and only God. Scripture says, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts" (Psa. 10:4).
The Bible says that without God man has no hope (Eph. 2:12). All, or at least some, of man’s plans for his temporal earthly comfort may come to fruition. His plans and hopes for a long and lasting life may well come to pass, but what will he do at the end of it all? The rich man in Luke chapter 12 was well pleased with the fruit of his labor and his barns were overflowing to the point he had to build bigger ones to contain all that he had. How many people strive to have as much as this man had? How many of us today envy those who have abundant material wealth, those who have financial security and yet no eternal security in Christ? The rich man had no thought of God but only what was his saying to himself: "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." But God said unto him ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Lk. 12:19-21). Everything you can see and touch will one day be gone. Like ourselves, all that we can see and touch will not last forever. It is all, as we speak, fading away. But unlike the material things we tend to cling to in this life, we shall all live on after we die and wherever we go we shall be there forever. This is of the utmost importance and to ignore the seriousness of the matter is to have no thought or care for our souls. The Lord Jesus said: "Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Lk. 12:15). In other words, what you have or what you are striving for, in the material sense, is not what life is all about. The Lord asked: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul" (Matt. 16:26). What can a man, who has never planned for eternity, never even seriously contemplated the possibility that he is wrong and that there really is a God who demands punishment for sin, say to God when he stands before Him? Nothing! Once this life is over, once a person takes that first step beyond his earthly existence, he begins an eternal journey on only one of two paths. He can never change his course but will forever be in heaven or hell. When you take that first step beyond this life, you will never travel another road than the road upon which your first footstep falls. Hell is a place for those who do not believe—for those who believe in false gods of false gospels and for those who believe in no God at all. Those who chose to not have God in any of their thoughts will have all of eternity in torment and flames to ponder the fact that they were, of all people, the biggest of fools: "The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good" (Psa. 14:1).
"The righteous (those who believe God’s Gospel) also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness (substance)" (Psa. 52:6,7). Hell is a place where the truth is known too late!
TO SUCCESSFULLY PLAN FOR YOUR ETERNAL FUTURE IS TO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!
For those who do not believe in God, or those who are not sure they believe in the true God, but have been moved by this article to investigate further, please see the article entitled 'God’s Good News' for an introduction to the Gospel of God, the Good News He has for mankind that those who will believe in Him shall have everlasting life.
This article is also available on request in the Philippino 'Tagalog' language.