I'm wondering if you have been taught that to overcome the world you have to become a member of this or that church or that you have to speak in tongues or be baptized in the Holy Ghost or maybe that you have to tithe or do good works until you die. If we (pastors) were to tell the truth, we would simply point people to Jesus and then tell them, that, after they gave their heart to Jesus Christ, by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, they have already overcome the world.
It was just yesterday that I asked this really nice older guy about his faith. I said to him, after we had dug his car out of the snow, "how's your relationship with God?" He said to me, "I'll find out when it's all over." I remarked. I already know and I don't agree that you have to wait until you die to find out if you had faith in Jesus enough to get to heaven." He then went on to tell me a long story about how God intervened in his life many times through his wife and his children. He admitted that God had been working with him all along, but he still didn't understand that he could have peace in his heart about the end of it all.
That's the way it is for many people who have been taught in their denomination that they have to work and worry all through this life in hopes that at the end they will somehow slip in under the wire, in hopes that they will have asked forgiveness for the last of their sins prior to dying or they will not get in; as if to get to heaven was based on all kinds of things except the vicarious work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
If you are counting on you to get to heaven, you might very well be disappointed. The entire Bible points to Jesus as the Saviour, not you. You can't save yourself, nor can you do anything that will make up for your sin. You are lost until you accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and nothing you did or will do can earn you a place in heaven. Give it up if that is your philosophy. God does the work of saving you from yourself by calling you out into His kingdom. You come by simple faith in Jesus. Nothing else will do and nothing else works.
Why does it matter whether we believe that we get to heaven by being good or by believing in Jesus? The reason is that you can be good on your own. You were born with enough godlikeness to do good things to other people, but salvation is not found in doing good things. God sent His Son to die in your place because you have sinned against God. In essence you forfeited any rights that you thought you had the first time you sinned against God and prior to that you were born into the race of Adam, which has already fallen. You were born into a fallen race and of your own volition you have sinned against God. The only way that God could save you so that you could overcome the world was to impute into you the righteousness of God by faith in His Son. God designed every soul with the answer to the sin problem. It was to come and die for you. Faith is the connector and the Resurrection from death unto life. Faith in what Jesus did for you outweighs anything you could ever do, even in ten thousand lifetimes of working hard to be good.
You get saved by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, by faith.
You overcome evil with that same faith.
You live out your life with that same faith.
You come to the end of life with that same faith.
In between while you are living out your life, faith is what draws you closer to God to find out more about your purpose and to get to know God better; to learn His ways and to follow them; to receive from God all that is rightfully yours by faith as heir to the kingdom, now, today, not just when you die.
- Doesn't it make sense that if you overcome by faith, that you would want to find out everything you could about your faith?
- Isn't it likely that you will enjoy life more and have better success in life if you trust Jesus for more than just getting you a ticket into heaven?
- Isn't it likely that the same Jesus that saved you from you sins has a plan for you for this life?
- Isn't it likely that if you were to discuss this with Jesus that He would fill in the blanks and open your eyes to all that He is doing on your behalf.
- Isn't it also likely that if Jesus saved you it was for a purpose greater than to know where you are going when you die?
Please seek His face today and get things on track. You were saved to co-create with God while on the journey. Give up this idea of holding on to your ticket to heaven with clinched fists, hoping all will end well and enter into His rest right now. That's what salvation is really about; Living with God right now.