Friday, January 7, 2011

Will You Go to a 'Better Place'?

“We know that he/she is in a better place.” People often say this after a loved one dies, and it provides comfort in the midst of bewilderment and grief. Tuesday’s Salt Lake Tribune had the phrase twice, quoting people whose friends had died due to tragic car crashes.

But how can we know we will depart to a better place? The Bible answers that decisively. It says, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 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” (1 John 5:11-13).

The key to having eternal life is to have the Son of God, Jesus Christ. But what is eternal life? The best-known verse in the Bible, John 3:16, tells us it is the opposite of perishing. “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:15-16). [Note: everlasting and eternal are the same Greek word.]

Jesus illustrated both eternal life and perishing when He told about the rich man and Lazarus. Read the thought-provoking account in Luke 16:19-31.

In their earth-life, the rich man was blessed and comfortable every day while Lazarus, hungry and full of sores, begged at the rich man’s gate.

Both died. They went to opposite places. In their after-life, the rich man was begging for relief from torment, while Lazarus was comfortable in Abraham’s bosom. Lazarus had eternal life while the rich man was perishing. One was in a better place; one was not.

As a biblical truths examiner ( I will not impose a certain religion or church on my readers. My approach will always be non-denominational but will regard the Bible as truth for all people of all times.

So how does the Bible say we can live eternally in a “better place” after we die? Simply by believing in God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We learn who He was and what He taught and did for us by reading the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

What does “believing in” Jesus mean? Many people believe He was a true prophet, good teacher, great example, or at least—a historical person. The Greek word for believing means to be persuaded of, place confidence in, to trust and rely upon, not mere credence. When we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, we stop putting our faith in our own logic, our good works, our church membership, or in human religious leaders.

Jesus Christ guarantees eternal life to all who believe in Him by faith. Do you trust in Him alone? Then you will go to the “Better Place.”

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