What will become of you when you die?


Easter conjures images of Easter egg hunts, decorative baskets filled with all sorts of goodies, cool new clothes, church services, and families and friends gathering together for a feast. It’s all about….what? Is the reason we observe Easter Sunday to celebrate the coming of the Easter Bunny? To usher in springtime? Or is it an excuse for a parade?

As you might have already surmised, it is none of the above. The significance of Easter is to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For many professing Christians, Easter isn’t about Jesus — it’s about binging on sweets! There’s nothing wrong with Easter festivities per se; but to be sure, the reason we celebrate is Christ’s triumph over death. A little more than two thousand years ago the Son of God experienced a humiliating horrific death to atone for the sins of humankind. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The Son of God condescended to take on human flesh and come to Earth to die, not because He had some sort of social or political agenda that weighed heavy on His heart. Jesus was not concerned with “social justice.” He came to Earth to die for our sins.

The Bible is clear that God’s hates sin — yet He went to great lengths to save us!  Pastor and author John MacArthur explains it thusly:

When we say God hates sin and doesn’t hate the sinner, you’re really drawing a fine line. God looked on all His creation and said that it was good, so that basically what God created He adores, He considers the work of His hand, and man, though the image of God is marred is none the less made in the image of God. So, the New Testament says God loves the world, God loves all men. It even says that we are to do good unto all men especially of the household of faith, so we are to do good to all men for they are made in the image of God. There is a sense in which no matter what we do in our lives, God still loves what we are as the expression of His creation. But He hates the sin.

The thing most people fail to understand is that God is holy. (Isaiah 6:3, Rev 4:8) And because God is holy He is repelled by evil. All sin is evil — even those “little white lies” we tell. Washing away our sins (cleaning us up) is the sole purpose for Jesus’ death on the cross. He died for one and all, and that includes those we think aren’t worth a plug nickel.

My point is that the person who truly BELIEVES that Jesus shed His blood for his sins and realizes his need for repentance and forgiveness will be saved from eternal damnation. Yes, Jesus died for the worst of the worst, the scum of the earth, the reprobate, the smelly homeless guy, the ugly girl in your math class, Bashful, Dopey, Doc and, yes, even Grumpy. So if an outlaw like Billy the Kid comes to faith in Christ, that outlaw is heaven bound! The blood of Christ has washed away his sins.  From the moment the Kid repents and places his faith in Christ, he is no longer that outlaw; he has become a son of the King.

Christ’s death on the cross is God’s way of saving humans from being sent to hell for all eternity. Every sinner is destined for hell — and hell is a real place! How do I know that? Because Jesus gave us fair warning when He spoke these words:  “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). He also spoke of hell to the Pharisees: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matthew 23:33). Again: “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades” (Luke 10:15). Christ’s words were not just hyperbole!  If hell is nonexistent, the Lord Jesus wouldn’t have warned people about it. Those who reject Him will be sentenced to hell!

But never fear! There is a way to avoid being sentenced to that terrible place. The Apostle Paul tells us how to avoid it: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved [from hell]” (Romans 10:9).

Now, those who think they know better than God who should enter the Highway to Heaven or be thrown into hell will no doubt reject what Paul said. But they cannot ignore the fact that the scriptures teach that God, no one else, will decide who ultimately goes up…and who goes into the pit.

There are those who believe that “good people” go to heaven. Au contraire! By God’s standard of “good” the Bible says a person’s good deeds are “filthy rags.” No Good person, no good Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Mormon will ever see the Kingdom of Heaven. Why? For the simple reason that “good people” will not be invited into God’s kingdom. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) So no matter how good an individual appears to be, he/she will never be “good enough” to stand in the presence of Holiness unless he/she is cleansed of all sin by the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

It’s going to be a huge shock when those in the “me” generation find themselves in the courtroom of the One who will judge the world and are handed a one way ticket to hell. After all, they think God created the sun just to light up their lives. Hell isn’t a real place anyway, they say. So why should anyone have to worry about going there? And if there is a hell, only murders, rapists, pedophiles and Adolph Hitler will go there. It’s indeed true that unrepentant murders and so forth will go to hell; likewise, anyone else who rejects Christ will spend eternity “where the worm never turns…”  Including “good people.”

Warning to the unbeliever! Jesus Christ is the CEO (Chief Executive Over-all) of Heaven.   So – if you have little or no interest in getting to know the Lord Jesus while residing on this planet, why would you want to live in the kingdom He rules for all eternity?  Moreover, if you have no use for biblical Christianity and its “outdated confessions, creeds and dogmas,” then would you really want to bow to and worship the Son of God for all eternity?

One last thing.  There are a large number of professing Christians who claim to love Jesus yet they’re too embarrassed–or proud–to bend a knee to Him.  They embrace Him as their Savior but they’ll not allow Him to be their Lord and Master.  They disobey His commands and live by their own rules…and they believe they’re saved.  Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) So are these people saved?  Really?

Not judging, just saying.

Note: This is a revised version of a piece entitled “I’d Rather Have Jesus than a Chocolate Easter Bunny.”

© Marsha West, 2017

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8 Responses to What will become of you when you die?

  1. Joel April 17, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    I enjoy your wed site and find it very useful in negotiating the minefield of sneaky evil practices/people that are working to destroy the church, however, I am less then pleased by the works/lordship salvation bias. Whether works, as a Salvation Requirement, rears it head loudly through the front door or quietly through the back door, makes no difference.

    Works with pure Godly motives are utterly important, but are separate from the qualification of being saved. What I have found, is that the majority of churches/pastors/teachers that I have been exposed to – almost or even totally ignore dealing with the BEMA Seat judgment for Christians; and rewards and loss of reward. I like what Jack Kinsella said. He stated something like – the BEMA Seat judgment will be an awesomely big deal, much more than we think, for this we should tremble. Why this message is so hidden is baffling.

    Many take the simple Salvation message and make is so complex – with a bunch of pre and post qualifiers. Jack Kelley rightly stated that people will be surprised how many of their works are burned up because of wrong motives. Works Salvation taints the motive and leads one to believe that they can contribute to their own Salvation, when in fact only God 100% fills that roll. Just Sayin

    • rascott247 April 17, 2017 at 9:30 am #

      I’m with you Joel concerning works/lordship salvation. Words like, people who “truly believe” are usually a tip off that works are looked to identify “authentic” faith.

    • Marinus L April 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm #

      Joel I don’t believe in works salvation, you can’t work your way into heaven, But when one is saved he will love Jesus, and he will do good works. We do good works not to get saved, but because we are saved.

      Jesus says in John 13:13 Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am.
      Romans 10:13 For whoever shall call upon the name of The Lord shall be saved.

    • Manny1962 April 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

      Amen, amen,amen!!!!!! Thank you!

    • berlorac April 18, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      Right on, Amy. By grace through faith. Period.

  2. Sola Scriptura April 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    James makes it clear that even demons “believe,” so a mere intellectual belief that Jesus is God obviously doesn’t save. God is a God of the heart and Paul clears up the confusion nicely by saying this in Romans 10:

    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    If we believe, not just with our minds but with our hearts, then we are saved…and works will flow like a river. Those works don’t save us per Ephesians 2:8-9, but verse 10 makes the point that if we truly accept that free gift with our hearts, fruit will be there as well.

    • rascott247 April 18, 2017 at 4:20 am #

      In Ephesians 2:10 the “we” is both groups, Jewish believers and gentile believers who have been made alive together, raised together and seated together with Christ. His ‘workmanship” is singular. The Church has been created in Christ not the individual. Should Christians bear fruit and walk in the Spirit? Absolutely! The epistles are written to exhort us to do so and warn us of consequences for failing to do so but the epistles never conflate justification by faith alone and experiencial sanctification that comes from growing in the Spirit (which we are called to do). You haven’t separated works from justification if you say justification never happened if there is no works.

      Paul doesn’t use the word salvation in the book of Romans when he means justification. He uses the word justification when he means justification. Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Much more having been justified (past tense) will be saved (future tense). This holds true in Romans 10:10 “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Believes unto righteousness, confess unto salvation: Two different things, no conflation.

      It is written in James that demons believe God is one, but James did not say it an objector he is using to demonstrate his point said it and James calls him a foolish man. “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble” is part of the objection to James’ argument that faith can be demonstrated through works. The examples James gives to prove his point are Abraham and Rahab and the only explanation for what those two did is that they believed God’s promises. That’s the fruit, belief in action but that action did not justify them in the sight of God it justified them in the sight of men. James 2:24 “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only”. It’s not: Man is justified by faith and works or faith that works it is man is justified by faith and man is justified by works. Two separate things.

      The demon argument failed because believing God is one does not save and even if it did Jesus did not take on the form of an angel and die for them. Jesus came to save men who simply believe in His promise for the gift of eternal life. Adding works to the equation either before or after belief conflates justification before god and justification before men. It is what is believed that justifies before God not what we do.
      One more thing: there is no other kind of belief then intellectual belief. Intellectual ascent i.e. merely knowing the facts and is not belief. Knowing the facts to be true is belief.

      Do you believe anything you don’t know the facts about? I don’t. But I know the facts about many things that I don’t believe to be true. The facts are that Jesus, God in the flesh, took away the sin of the world at the cross, He died was buried and rose again on the third day and He offers life to anyone who believes on Him for life. No work of ours involved ever!

  3. Sola Scriptura April 18, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    I agree with your core points entirely and I think much of this is semantics. One thing is certain – Paul states that we believe unto salvationwith our hears, which I believe is far different than a mere fact-based, intellectual belief. Works don’t and can’t possibly save. Only the blood of Christ, freely shed for our sins can accomplish that. But we must believe the gospel not just in our brains but in a deeper place…our heart. It seems evident that Paul uses the word heart instead of mind in Romans 10 because he knows the difference between them.