By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
Sometimes people have a negative attitude toward Christianity. They focus on what you can’t do rather than on what you can do. The word, Gospel, means good news. The Bible tells us that we have new birth when we believe in Jesus Christ.
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12,13)
“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (I Peter 1:23)
New birth is definitely a positive, not a negative. New life in Jesus Christ is to be preferred to old life without him. When we believe in Jesus, we recognize that we have been given much. We have been adopted into God’s family. We have become joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and are promised a wonderful destiny. We find the assurances of heaven in many places.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” I Peter 1:3,4
The Bible assures us that when we depart from this life, we will be with our Lord in heaven.
“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
Last week, we had the privilege of attending the Presbyterian Fellowship meeting in San Diego. One of the messages that we heard was from the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Damascus, Syria. His message was quiet and soft spoken. It was based on I Peter, chapter one. I had to listen carefully to hear him. The message was good, but what especially caught me was his demeanor. He is living and working in one of the most dangerous places in the world–especially for Christians—and his peace and confidence that he would carry on his ministry whether it be life or death was amazing.
The new life, when we are joined with our Savior in heaven, will be marvelous beyond our comprehension. We should celebrate this, but we should also celebrate the transforming work God does in our lives now. We are not only to love God, we are to love our neighbor, and to seek his well being as we would seek our own well being. Our patterns of life are changed for the best. Jesus Christ becomes our leader and our guide. We do not lie. We do not seek revenge. We become students of the Bible. We accept the Ten Commandments as a chief guide for our lives. We have a desire that others believe in Jesus as we have believed in him. In the realm of marriage, we learn to give up our selfishness and seek the well being of our husband or wife. To believe in Jesus Christ is to live forever!