No doubts! No prevarications! None of this, “You can’t really be sure,” stuff! The “God in a Box” crowd want nothing to do with this sort of language. It’s too certain! It’s too “Black and White!” It’s far too definite to be the way most people “like” their Christianity. God forbid that God should say anything that we cannot quite cope with! It takes us too far out of our comfort zone. In fact it is downright uncomfortable for many. However! Here it is, straight out of the Bible! This is Paul the Apostle speaking, the man that wrote half of the books in the New Testament. This is the man whose thoughts and teachings and thinking processes have brought academics and theologians to their intellectual and conceptual knees for two thousand years as they have been struggling to qualify, quantify and systematise everything he ever wrote. Get your hard hat on your head, and kneel down under the table in your atomic bomb shelter and strap your life belt on as I give you one of the greatest premises for faith in scripture.
“Every promise that God ever made is “Yes!” in Christ “(2 Corinthians 1:20).
Paul was an ex Pharisee, steeped in the Old Testament. The Old Testament was the only writings that he could open and “proof text” his addresses with. He was exhuberantly positive in the midst of some of the deepest negatives that life could immerse human beings in. The positive was seen in the promises of God – promises that he personally revelled in. Promises that seemed far-fetched, so far into the future, or even so wonderful and “too good to be literally true” as to be diluted into some kind of spiritual allegory or metaphor, Paul teaches them as being literally true.
Then Christ came and stopped him in his tracks. This single verse of scripture becomes one of the greatest rocks upon which to premise our faith in God’s promises. Swallow it whole! Allow its meaning to be engrafted into your psyche! Let your entire mind marinade in the sentiment. If God made a promise, it is “Yes!” and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God’s promises are to be fulfilled in you! Believe it!
Everything about Jesus Christ goes beyond the grave. Everything about our connection with Christ interfaces what we are with death, the grave and eternity. We have no connection with Christ apart from faith. Our belief is our connection. I am not talking of believing in the same way that I believe the moon at night reflects the sun. That is a belief empirically arrived out by our own vision and the explanation that science feeds us with. I am talking about a living faith in somebody who came to redirect your eternal future. Promise #1 is this:
“whosoever believes in Him (Christ) shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16b). Now that’s the mother of all promises.
All we need to do is put our faith actively in Christ. Your background, your present situation or your history is no hindrance. The word is “whosoever.” I am told that the word was invented as part of the English language because there was no word in English that covered the entire population of humanity. “Whosoever” includes anybody who is reading these words – literally anybody.
Because God is God, He can see things with crystal clarity that to us are simply invisible mental or spiritual concepts. He can see your beliefs. He can see what you believe. “The Lord knows them that are His (2 Timothy 2:19). He simply cannot be fooled. John 3:16 has the divine presupposition embedded in its thought that if one does not believe in Christ, one will perish. To mortal human beings it is a presupposition of an unknown state –that is why we call it a presupposition. God, however does not have any presuppositions. God lives outside of time. He knows the beginning from the end. If one commits one’s trust and total welfare into the hands of Christ wilfully and intelligently, that person will not perish but have eternal life. We may discuss what “perish” means in some other premise and promise in the future, but for this moment we suggest that common sense and intelligence should lead us all into a vital faith that declares, “I believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life.”