How do you know for sure?
Pastor Kevin – July 16, 2004
In a combination of humor and fact many will say that there are two things we can be sure of in this world. One is that we will die, and the other is that we will have to pay our taxes.
Scientists of the world are franticly trying to discover the secrets of the human genome in order to understand and break the cursed aging process. If they were to succeed, then the age-old pursuit of the fountain of youth will have been attained. The Bible declares that man will not discover the secret cure to the aging process until God again allows access to the tree of life (Revelation 22). Until then, access to the tree of life is guarded by a sword-wielding angel (Gen 3:24). Therefore (except for those who will be raptured) we can all be sure that we will certainly die.
But what happens when we die, where will we go? And how can we know for sure? We have already answered “Where Will you Go When you Die” in a separate answer on the Taste and See web page; where the simple summary is: we will all go to heaven or to hell.
But how can we know for sure that these are the only two options, or how can we know for sure we will go to heaven? If one bases their answer on the sacred writings of all the religions except Christianity, then the answer is, “You cannot know.”
The Buddhist does not KNOW they have reached the state of Nirvana in this life, thus they cannot know they have finally broken the depressing cycle of reincarnated life/death.
The Mormon does not know if they have tithed enough, worn their special underwear long enough or accomplished the secret rituals correct enough to become the god of another planet when they die.
The Jehovah Witness does not know if they have pounded on enough doors to be worthy of the heavenly calling (only allowed for the top 144,000 corporate employees) and they can’t even be sure their works have sealed a place in the earthly calling.
The modern day Muslim is told there is one way they can be sure of eternal life with 72 virgins at their disposal. All they must do is die in the act of killing the infidel for the cause of Allah and their future is assured. I agree their future is assured according to the Bible, but it won’t be in heaven with 72 virgins, instead it will be in the lake of fire with the devil that deceived them.
Rev 21:8 "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (NKJ)
The bottom line is that NONE of the religions of the world advertise that their adherents can KNOW what happens when they die, except Christianity.
Christianity alone promises the believer in Jesus that they can have an assurance of everlasting life.
John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
I Jn 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (NKJ)
From these verses it can be seen that eternal life is contingent on having a personal relationship with God through belief in His Son, Jesus.
If one has embraced Jesus as their savior, then they have a promise of eternal life in heaven. If not, then when physical death occurs, spiritual death follows, called the second death.
John 3:35 "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NKJ)
Rev 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.(NKJ)
This leaves the remaining question. How can we be sure the Bible is telling us the truth? If the Bible promises assurance of heaven, provided the gift of salvation is received on God’s terms, then we still can’t KNOW unless we can also know the Bible is the truth.
There are many arguments that can be made to PROVE the reliability and validity of the Bible, but lets take just a couple in light of topics in the news today.
If the law of God found in the Bible pertaining human sexuality were followed by everyone on the earth, then AIDS would be gone in 15 years (with very few exceptions as a result of transfusions and health care accidents – which may take a generation to be completely gone) and all other sexually transmitted diseases in one generation. God said He is the God of life and Love and that if you followed His law you would not come down with the diseases of the nations that committed sexual immorality.
Deut 28:15 "But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: -------- 21 "The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 "The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. ---------------- 27 "The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. ------------ 35 "The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
These are symptoms of many diseases suffered by those who have broken God’s laws pertaining to sexual immorality. In the 1950’s and 60’s doctors were scoffing at these laws saying antibiotics would rid the world of sexual diseases. History has now shown man to be a liar, and the God of the Bible to be trustworthy.
Secondly, the Bible alone predicts the future with authority. It gave dozens of prophecies pertaining to the first coming of the Messiah of Israel, Jesus. It predicted which city he would be born in, how he would be betrayed, how much money he would be betrayed for, how he would die, etc. All literally fulfilled with exacting detail.
It doesn’t stop there. The Bible also predicts that the Jews will return to the land of Israel in the last days after being scattered to all the nations of the world (Ezekiel 36-37 – as one of dozens of examples). God said the entire world would be in a heated debate over the city of Jerusalem in the last days (Zechariah 12:1-3). Can anyone debate that this is being fulfilled nearly every day on our nightly news?
And finally, God stated the moral and spiritual condition of man prior to the second coming of Jesus:
2 Tim 3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
This nearly 2,000-year-old prophecy is clearly describing the condition of the world today. If someone wanted to escape the moral decay, where would they go? For the first time in history it is global. We cannot run to another “New World.” This ship is sinking into the ocean of the Tribulation period described in the Bible.
In summary, you can be sure that your soul will spend eternity with God if you have embraced Jesus as your Lord and Savior because the Bible promises forgiveness and everlasting life to those who do, and the Bible is proven to be a trustworthy letter from God.
If you reject Jesus as your savior, then you can be equally assured you will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, as part of your second death, because the Bible promises it to all who hate God as demonstrated by their rejecting His Son, Jesus.
Which will you choose?