Do you really have to believe in Jesus to get to Heaven?
If you have read my blog for long, you know I’m passionate about sharing the importance of reading scripture for yourself so that you will know and trust the promises and truths God has for us. I’ve said many times before, I was late in my understanding and faith in these promises because I listened to what everyone else said about God and His Word and didn’t dig into for myself until later in life. It’s difficult to gain the trust of a friend of a friend, but not a personal friend. This is one huge benefit of reading/studying scripture for ourselves. We get to know God, our trust grows deeper and we realize who we are in Him.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
HOWEVER, God revealed a very big thing to me the other night at my small group as we entered into one of our thoughtful conversations.
Reading scripture doesn’t just solidify our faith and help us recognize Him. Reading scripture clarifies all the things the worlds does such a great job muddying up for us. I will admit to once having wavering and fence-sitting opinions on many issues such as abortion, marriage, eternal life, creation, etc. until I opened the Word of God and read it myself.
When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.” John 10:4-5
The best part of knowing and reading God’s Word is that there is truth and clarity in it. With truth and clarity comes a clear path to travel. Not an easy path, but a clear path. To read His word is to know Him, His laws and His ways. It is very easy to be deceived by others, this world and Satan when we are not clear on who God is and what He calls sin. I fell victim to this gray watered-down syndrome for years because I only listened to what others said about God.
One Sabbath, when He went to eat at the house of one of the leading Pharisees, they were watching Him closely. 2 There in front of Him was a man whose body was swollen with fluid. 3 In response, Jesus asked the law experts and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they kept silent. He took the man, healed him, and sent him away. 5 And to them, He said, “Which of you whose son or ox falls into a well, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” 6 To this they could find no answer. Luke 14:1-6
It’s vital to know and understand God’s ways and laws. Just as the Pharisees where watching Jesus closely to see what He would do – others are watching us each and every day. When we call ourselves Christians, others are looking at us more closely than anyone else to see how we respond, what we believe and how we react. We don’t have to live in the gray of this world that will ebb and flow like the tides. The strength, clarity, peace, strength and truth we desire are all sitting on the bookshelf in the book we call the Bible. The question is, will we pick it up?