We saw in the last article that God’s hope sustains those who are serving the Lord. But there is another group of people who need the lifeline of hope—those who are searching for answers regarding eternity.
God’s Word offers true hope—you can know, based on God’s promises, that you have a home in Heaven. First John 5:13 says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
To find the hope God provides, we must first acknowledge our position—separated from God through sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.…But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6). We so easily try to justify and excuse our sin. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Sin is not weakness, it is a disease; it is red-handed rebellion against God, and the magnitude of that rebellion is expressed by Calvary’s cross.”
The payment for sin is death: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). This death includes both a spiritual death and an eternal death. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they did not die physically at that moment, but they died spiritually—they were separated from fellowship with God. Eternal death is mentioned in Revelation as the final and everlasting separation from God of all the unsaved in the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14–15 describes this lake: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
If this were the extent of truth on the matter of eternity, our future wouldn’t be very hopeful! But thankfully, God has provided hope through His sacrifice for our sins. “But God commendeth [proved or demonstrated] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What did Romans 6:23 give as the payment for sin? Death. And what does Romans 5:8 tell us Christ did to prove His love for us? He died—He suffered the penalty we deserved. Three days later Jesus rose from the dead, and now He offers us salvation as a free gift: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Some people believe the way to be accepted by God is to earn eternal life by their own goodness. They think that maybe if their good outweighs their bad, they will find eternal life. But Scripture makes it clear that salvation from sin is a gift, offered through God’s grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works…” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Hope for eternity is not a matter of our goodness, but of faith trusting only in the payment Christ made for us. First John 5:12 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Charles Spurgeon pointed out, “One might better try to sail the Atlantic in a paper boat than to get to heaven in good works.”
The hope that God offers for those who are searching for eternal life is a sure hope. He promises, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13). If you have never trusted Christ’s payment for your sins, do so today. Those who trust Christ as their Saviour have an eternal hope, for God promises, “… him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).