The Most Important Question Ever Asked – Requiring an answer
“What then shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ?” – “Matthew 27:22”
I was reminded just recently by a good friend of mine, and I quote “if the recent statistics on religious belief tell us anything it’s not that “sin is unpopular” it’s simply an irrelevant concept for the secular society we live in. Jesus said I am come that you might have life” That’s the message we should be concentrating on and not continually playing the sin card” I gave this some thought and found myself re-assured by the undeniable fact of God’s Word that the – “Life flowing out of us like rivers of living water” – “John 7:38” cannot be experienced without a true acknowledgement of the foundational sin problem that we all have from birth right up until “dust becomes dust” – “Genesis 3:19” once again.
True life in all its fullness is only possible as the outcome of a saving faith experience with Christ in which He deals with sin by the impartation of His forgiveness and liberation from its enslavement. The cry today from the multitudes is that of “Free Will” however outside of the salvation offered by Jesus Christ there is no free will only “Human Will” and that is a will enslaved to its base foundational sinful nature.
This message which I feel I should share provides us with some extremely important questions that must be answered and even if ignored the ignoring is in itself an answer.
The question being asked now as it was by Pilate we discover in “Matthew 27:22” where it is asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” the full verse reads as – “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”
I declare today and say that this is probably the most profound and life-affecting question that any man or woman has been asked or answered. Why? Because if we do the right thing in respect of Jesus Christ, we become the partakers of everything worth having for time and eternity, but if we do the wrong thing in respect of Jesus Christ, we shall lose everything worth having for time and eternity.
I’m in the following going to ask you to engage with me as I call your attention to some of the things that depend entirely upon what we respond and do with Jesus Christ.
There are three things I want to declare. These three things are what we receive in the recognition of Christ’s Lordship and His Saviourhood.
- The Success That We’ve Had in Achieving Peace of Conscience.
- The Success That We’ve Had in Discovering a Joy that is Deep and Lasting.
- The Success That We’ve Had in Obtaining Eternal Life.
Let me, however, before we get into things further lay down for us some foundational concepts.
The first of these foundational concepts is that our acceptance before God depends entirely upon what we do with Jesus Christ. The plain truth is that if we accept Jesus Christ then God will accept us, no matter who we are, what we have been or what we may have done in the past. On the other hand, if we reject Jesus Christ, God will reject us, no matter what else we may do, no matter who we are, no matter what we have been or what we may have done in the past. This is what the Bible clearly states in respect of this: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” – The Message
Our acceptance, our approval and our eternal destiny before God depend solely and entirely upon what we do with Jesus Christ.
The second of these foundational concepts is that our acceptance before God is totally and absolutely separated and does not depend upon our good works. God is a perfect God and nothing, but perfect works can satisfy a perfect God. Thus, if we were foolish enough to consider that “Good Works” on our part would make us accepted before God then those works must be absolutely perfect – Can any of us say that this is true of us? Of course, not – Why? Because outside of the aforementioned work of salvation found only in Jesus Christ – every single thing is tainted by our foundational sinful nature.
If this is a concept, we find hard to both believe or swallow then we should then consider the following two Scriptures:
- “Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it.” – “Ephesians 2:8-9” – The Living Bible
- “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” – “Isaiah 64:6.”
- I appreciate that I have taken this verse out of context, but the concept remains true in respect of our acceptance before God.
- None of our skills, knowledge, foresightful decisions, unique personalities, or selfless deeds contribute in any way to our salvation. But we Christians are “created in Christ Jesus for good deeds,” which means we are here to aid and serve others. Even if we can’t accomplish anything to merit God’s forgiveness, He nevertheless expects us to serve Him after we’re saved. When we are saved, it is not just so that we can enjoy eternal life, but so that we might serve Christ and grow his church “Ephesians 4:12.” This resolves the seeming tension between faith and deeds. “James 1:22” and “James 2:14-26” make clear that our good deeds do not earn us salvation but rather serve as proof of our salvation.
- In the end, we must acknowledge that even our good deeds are the consequence of God working through us, not of our own doing. Our own “righteousness” is really self-righteousness, and hypocritical, vain religion and only results in “filthy rags,” as the saying goes.
- I appreciate that I have taken this verse out of context, but the concept remains true in respect of our acceptance before God.
When I have talked to people about their eternal destiny, a common response I get from them is something along the lines of, “Oh, my life is just as good as that of any Christian, and so if he is saved, I ought to be as well.” However, neither a Christian nor a non-Christian is saved by his works, and even if what is said is true and those works and deeds and style of living were just as good as those of the Christian, they would not save, because an individual is saved not by his works but rather through his acceptance of Jesus Christ, and this is the only way that we can receive salvation.
Only by Jesus Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross of Calvary can our sins be permanently forgiven, and we are granted eternal life. The only thing required for a person to be saved is faith in the One who made a full atonement for sins on the cross at Calvary.
This is what we read in “Romans 3:25-26” – “God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it’s now this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.” – The Message
So, now with some foundational perspectives declared let’s consider further the “Most Important Question that there was ever asked and requires an answer.”
1. The Success That We’ve Had in Achieving Peace of Conscience.
The world is filled with men and women who want peace of conscience, yet the vast majority of humanity seeks peace of conscience in ways in which it has never been found. Many have sought peace of conscience by turning over a new leaf and living a better life, but no one has ever attained it in this manner.
- Many seek peace of conscience by saying numerous prayers and performing numerous penances, but no man or woman in the history of the world has ever attained true peace of conscience in this manner.
- Many seek peace of mind by performing good deeds, such as donating to the impoverished or the church’s activities.
Let me recount a story to you at this time to emphasise further. Years ago, there was a brilliant student of philosophy at a German university, but he was living a worldly, reckless life. When he was riding through the woods with another student, a thunderstorm blew up, and a flash of lightning instantly killed his companion. That got him thinking, but he didn’t give up his carefree lifestyle just yet. Sometime later, as he was walking through the forest again, his sword hanging by his side as the students did at the time, the sword pierced an artery in his leg, and he nearly died before help arrived. That prompted him to think even more deeply. He gave up his wild lifestyle. He began his religious life.
Following the custom of the day, he entered a monastery to live a “religious” way of life as a monk. He subjected himself to various forms of austerity. He would keep vigil and fast for long periods of time. His fellow monks would occasionally find him unconscious on the stone floor of his cell, overcome by the severities to which he subjected himself, but he never found peace and his conscience still plagued him. He began a long foot pilgrimage from Germany to Rome, but still, he did not find peace. In Rome, he began to climb the Scala Pilati on his knees, hoping to find peace through penance. Wearily he toiled up the long stairway, but before he reached the top a verse in the chained Bible that he had read in the monastery came to his mind, which says, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” – “Habakkuk 2:4” he realised for the first time that Jesus Christ on the cross bore all his sins, trusted Him as his personal Saviour, sprang to his feet and came bounding down the steps with a heart full of peace, and shook all Europe and the world by preaching Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ. Martin Luther was this, Monk.
I’ve recounted this true story because our Success in Achieving Peace of Conscience if we have it entirely on what we have done with Jesus Christ.
There is only one circumstance under which any man or woman has ever discovered profound and long-lasting peace of conscience, and that circumstance is the condition of believing on and accepting as their own personal Saviour the One Who bore their sins in His Own Body on the cross at Calvary. This is the only condition under which any man or woman has ever found peace of conscience.
There is only one basis upon which any man has ever discovered genuine and long-lasting peace of conscience, and that basis is the atoning death of Jesus Christ that took place on the cross of Calvary.
Peace eternal peace with God and enjoyed in this earthly life are attained by a person only when they believe in Jesus Christ with all of their heart; yet, if a person refuses to believe in Jesus Christ, there is nothing else that person can do that will bring themselves true, lasting and eternal peace of conscience.
It’s possible that as you are engaging in this message memories of past transgressions are tormenting your conscience and making it difficult for you to engage. What wouldn’t you give up to have peace in the world? Listen! It’s possible that you can find serenity right now. Even if your sin is really heinous or very serious, there is still peace to find right now. But there is only one way to obtain it, and that is to believe the testimony that God has given about Jesus Christ, which states that the punishment for all of your sins was given to Jesus Christ to be finished once and for all and to trust that God will forgive you because Jesus Christ died in your place.
The moment you will thus put your trust in Jesus Christ, that moment you will find peace. And there is no other way in which you can find peace.
2. The Success That We’ve Had in Discovering a Joy that is Deep and Lasting.
As is the case with our conscience so it is with the Success in discovering a Joy that is Deep and Lasting – It depends entirely on what we do with Jesus Christ.
There is a wonderful verse of Scripture that is found in the first Epistle of Peter – “1 Peter 1:8” it states, “You love him (speaking of Jesus Christ) even though you have never seen him; though not seeing him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself.” – The Message
Every man and woman in this world is seeking the same thing. They are all seeking joy. But the great mass of men and women are seeking joy in ways in which joy was never found. Not one single man or woman in all this world’s history ever found joy that was deep and satisfying and lasting in any or all the pleasures this world has to offer.
The Bible tells us in respect of this search – “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” – “Jeremiah 2:13” NIV
The anonymous Hymn writer says: “I tried the broken cisterns, Lord, But, ah, the waters failed! E’en as I stooped to drink, they fled, and mocked me as I wailed.”
So, so many are living lives of thirst and hunger when all the time Jesus says – “I Am the bread of Life” – “John 6:35” – Jesus stated on several occasions that He was the fountain of living water for all who believed in Him and He invited souls to draw near this spring because, as He said to the Samaritan woman, “He that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst forever” – “John 4:13.”
Today, as you are reading this article you may in reality be declaring and honestly evaluating once again your life thus far. It could be that in your honesty you are saying “I’ve been looking for real joy – BUT”
- Money and possessions were not where I discovered it.
- I tried finding it in material luxuries but came up empty.
- I tried to locate it in drunkenness and vice, but they came up empty.
- I tried to find it in different forms of art and music, but I was unsuccessful.
- I tried scouring the study of history and literature, but these left me still empty.
- I tried to locate it in the research of philosophic and scientific principles but was still unable to be satisfied.
- I tried to discover it in travel but alas unsuccessfully.
Others however have found the elusive joy in accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour, in total submission to Him as their Lord and Master, in a public declaration of Him before the world, and daily compliance to His revealed will in the Bible. Every person who has pursued happiness in this manner has found it, along with “pleasure indescribable and full of splendour.”
Yes, there is just one way to find the joy that is deep, satisfying, and lasting, and that is by accepting Jesus Christ. No matter how great our poverty or our sorrows or our misfortunes may be, we can find the joy that is deep and satisfying and lasting by simple faith in the crucified and risen Son of God.
Anyone can find it in Him. Your finding joy that is deep, satisfying, and lasting depends entirely on what you do with Jesus Christ.
3. The Success That We’ve Had in Obtaining Eternal Life
If today as you are engaging with this article you are a “Child of God” then you can truly rejoice that there was a day when the Son of God Jesus Christ gave thanks to His Father saying – “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” – “John 17:24” NASB
Before all of creation the Father, Son & Holy Spirit entered a covenant together to provide a means of “Redemption from the Slavery of Sin, “Atonement for the Penalty of Sin” and “Reconciliation from the Separation of Sin,” and at a time in yours and my history in the judicial courts of Heaven – God gave you and me to Jesus the Son and by a work of the Holy Spirit gave us “Life, the Gift of Faith to then Believe and then the Enabling to persevere in our new found walk of faith.”
We can truly rejoice that our names have been written in the “Lambs Book of Life” with the indelible ink of the blood of Christ shed at Calvary. Where the Lamb’s book of life is mentioned, it refers to the register of those who have been chosen for salvation from eternity past. It is not temporal or earthly blessings that are in view, but participation in the eternal kingdom of God as recipients of eternal life.
- “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect” – “Hebrews 12:22-23.”
- “But nothing unclean will ever enter it – referring to the New Jerusalem on the New Earth – nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” – “Revelation 21:27.”
You don’t believe in Jesus so that your name can be written in the book; you believe in Jesus because your name is already in the book.
As an Evangelist, Teacher and former Pastor I am in my mission activities invariably asked two questions in various forms – “what must be done in order for their names to appear in the Lamb’s book of life? Also, can someone who has not yet had their name entered into the book of life do something, like come to faith in Jesus, to have their name entered into the book?
In response to this common question, the answers are simple and unambiguous.
- Absolutely nothing, to answer your first question.
- No, that’s not the case, to address your second enquiry.
Before the foundation of the world, names were written down in a book of life. This is due to the completely free and merciful will of our heavenly Father.
Others ask, “What must a person do to obtain eternal life?” Some, including some Christians, would respond as follows: “
- It’s gained by fighting hard against temptation and overcoming it.
- It’s gained by working every day to live a life that pleases God, by reading the Bible daily and praying constantly.
- It’s gained by joining the church and being baptised.
- It’s gained by regularly partaking in the Lord’s Supper and labouring to lead others to Christ; then, at the end of a long life of fight and victory, Bible study, and loyal performance of church obligations, we may obtain eternal life.
How very, incredibly sad if this is our conclusion today.
No one today deserves to have their name written in God’s book. This is a fact that can’t be denied. We all deserve eternal agony. The only reason why the name of a sinner who should have gone to hell was written in the Lamb’s book of life before the world was made is that God is loving and merciful and wants to give his Son a bride who will spend all of eternity in his magnificent presence and love.
Many will say I guess – “Oh! That’s not fair” but I have to declare right now that if God chose not to inscribe anyone’s name in the Book of Life, he would have done no one an injustice.
Having one’s name written in the book of life results in, rather than causes, faith in Jesus. The truth is that “Life is Imparted before Faith is Expressed” which is why “We are saved by grace alone and not by any expression of belief on our part.”
There is something profound and so important that I need to ask and state at this point. It is the responsibility of every individual to repent and believe the gospel, as revealed by him. If someone does not believe the gospel, he has only himself to blame. If he or she believes the gospel, he or she has no one but God to praise.
Today, if you are not currently a believer in Jesus, you are urged to reconsider and put your confidence in Him.
Our attainment of eternal life is entirely contingent on our relationship with Jesus Christ. “1 John 5:11-12” states, “This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.” The Message
The Christians Assurance.
There is no denying the fact that life is difficult and converting to Christianity does not guarantee an end to the challenges that people face in their everyday lives. For those of us who have been given the gift of God’s life, however, there is one thing that can be said with absolute certainty: “We are secure.” The declaration that Jesus made was a promise that nothing will ever, by any means (Jesus uses a double negative here), prevent those who are true Children of God from possessing eternally the eternal inheritance to which they have been ordained.
This promise was made to those who are true Children of God. To put it another way, we need to be mindful of what it is that Jesus does not say. He never indicates that anyone’s name will be crossed out of the book of life. Instead, he asserts that those who prevail will not be forgotten. His word is not a threat of insecurity to those who fall short; rather, it is a guarantee of security to those who prevail. To reiterate, Jesus does not state anywhere that he will remove names that have already been written in the book of life.
In the context of “Revelation 3:5,” this makes perfect sense, which says, “He who conquers… I will not wipe his name from the book of life.” The victory that is necessary in “Revelation 3:5” is certain to occur in “Revelation 13:8” and “Revelation 17:8.” This is not a contradiction in the same way as Paul’s statement that “Work out your salvation… for God is at work in you to desire and to do his good pleasure” is not a contradiction – “Philippians 2:12-13.”
The people who are “written down” by God absolutely have to win, and they absolutely will win. One side places emphasis on our responsibility, while the other side places emphasis on God’s sovereignty.
What joy! What comfort! What incentive to love him, praise him, and serve him. Jesus will never blot my name out of the book of life!
However, On the other hand, if you do not accept Jesus Christ there is nothing else that you can do that will bring you eternal life. Your obtaining eternal life depends entirely upon what you do with Jesus Christ.
I’ve called the heading utilised in the three sections above – Success – but I want to make it so very, very clear that any success is all the result of God’s work in us by the Holy Spirit and the success of the work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary.
I could go on and on about how everything hinges on how we treat Jesus Christ, but I think I’ve already said enough to prove my opening statement: “if you do the right thing with Jesus Christ, you will get everything that’s worth having for time and eternity; if you do the wrong thing with Jesus Christ, you will lose everything that’s worth having for time and eternity.”
- If you accept Jesus Christ God will accept you, but if you reject Jesus Christ God will reject you.
- If you accept Jesus Christ, you will have peace of conscience; but if you reject Jesus Christ there is nothing else you can do that will bring you peace of conscience.
- If you accept Jesus Christ, you will have joy that is deep, satisfying, and lasting; but if you reject Jesus Christ there is nothing else you can do that will bring you joy that is deep and satisfying and lasting.
- If you accept Jesus Christ, you will get eternal life at once, but if you reject Jesus Christ there is nothing else you can do that will bring you eternal life.
- If you accept Jesus Christ, in an instant you will become a child of God; but if you reject Jesus Christ there is nothing else you can do that will make you a child of God.
Today you have a wonderful offer made to you and it is declared in “John 1:12-13” where it says “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – BRG Bible
I thank God, that one can become a child of God by the simple act of accepting Jesus Christ and wonderfully God at this moment is able and willing to give you both the “Will and Ability” to do just that.
You can try to live as good a life as you know how, go to church regularly, fight hard against temptation, join the church, be baptised, attend the Lord’s Supper regularly, give a tenth of your income to the church, and try to bring others to Christ, but it will all be for nought unless you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and surrendered to Him as your Lord and Master.
Will you accept Jesus Christ right now? Will you accept Jesus Christ tonight as your personal Saviour and surrender to Him as your Lord and Master and confess Him as such before the world and live from this time on to please Him in everything day by day?
If so, then please let me know.
For additional resources to help you in your new journey of faith go to:
God Bless You.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW GOD
Starting With God
If today, as a result of what you have read you have decided to ask Jesus Christ into your life then congratulations, it’s great to know you have joined the family of God.
If this were a religion, you could expect someone to give you all sorts of Rules, Rituals and Requirements. And maybe a lot of stuff to buy!
But when you asked Jesus into your life, you did not join a religion. Instead, you began a relationship with God. And that’s pretty amazing.
You might be wondering; how do you get to know God better? How do you get to know God personally? If that is true, then don’t hesitate to contact us.