Last updated: August 29. 2014 5:30AM - 251 Views
By Robert Oliver Contributing columnist

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Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Later in the book of John we read where, after Jesus had spoken of truth, “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?” (John 18:38). The short answer to that question could well be to just cite the words of Jesus in His prayer to the Father; “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Some times it helps us to simplify things a bit into a few simple truths. Let us consider a few.

God does exist! The Bible begins with the words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). That statement shows that God existed prior to the creating of this physical world in which we live. Moses referred to God saying, “The eternal God is thy refuge…” (Deut. 33:27). Many are the passages that provide testimony to the existence of God. Space would not allow all the arguments outside of the scriptures that prove the existence of God. Since the reader is reading a religious article, no doubt the reader already believes in the existence of God. Therefore, we will move on to another simple truth.

Man is of dual nature, physical and spiritual! Man has both a physical and temporal body and an eternal soul. Solomon said concerning death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7). In fact, death is the separation of the spirit and the body. James wrote, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

We shall stand and be judged in the last day! The wise man, Solomon said, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccl. 12:14). The Hebrew writer stated, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). And, standing upon Mars hill, Paul told those of Athens, “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). So much more could be said of this simple truth, but at least note that the judgment is certain, your presence at the judgment is certain, no secrets will be hidden from the Judge and that Christ Jesus will be the judge. Just the simple truth of the matter.

Not everyone that stands and is judged will go to heaven! In the judgment day scene portrayed by Jesus, He said, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). That one statement by the Lord proves this simple truth. But, note what He had said earlier. He said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). One might notice that “many” will go to destruction, while “few” will find life. Paul wrote, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9-10).

It is our actions in this life that will determine whether we go to heaven or hell when we are judged! A simple truth, but a truth nevertheless. Remember what Paul said to the Corinthians? “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10). It all will boil down to whether one has been obedient to the gospel of Christ. Paul said, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). The writer of the book of Hebrews said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

Our last simple truth is that you can only know if you are living according to the requirements of the gospel by studying the gospel for yourself. Those of Berea were said to be more noble because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: rcoliver@centurylink.net

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