I Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven!

My desire to share Jesus with you is much stronger than my ability right now and I apologize for the length of time between posts. I have many health concerns and for some reason the past few months have been more difficult than usual. My life is one of daily pain, sometimes to the point that I am not able to do much of anything but bask in God’s love. It’s times like this that I cling to God’s promises, and I share some of those promises with you today.

Very few days go by that I don’t feel some kind of longing for death. It isn’t that I don’t love my life; it’s just that through death I will actually receive many of the promises that right now, I can only long for. I can’t wait to throw my arms around my Savior Jesus and personally thank Him for saving me. When I die I will dwell forever in the presence of my Savior and the Almighty God of Heaven and earth. On this earth, God dwells in my heart, but when I die, I will live with Him eternally. This is not because of anything I have ever done, but because I trust that Jesus is my substitute! The moment I came to faith, Christ gave me His robe of righteousness and in God’s sight, I am as perfect as God himself. I know how often I sin so this gift is truly an undeserved one. The more I recognize the seriousness of my sin, the more I value the Gift of my Savior. It is only through faith in my Savior that I will dwell in the very presence of Heavenly Father and live with Him eternally.

John the Beloved, in the book of Revelation, tells us what eternal life will be like:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Wow, no more pain! Today, I especially long for the fulfillment of that promise from God! But, because I still live, I know that God desires for me to continue with what He has called me to do here on earth. My purpose, the reason I breathe; is to give all glory to my Savior Jesus and to share His Word with you. Another promise from God is one found in Isaiah 55: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” This promise assures me that whenever I share God’s Word with you, it will accomplish exactly what God desires. If you come to faith through the hearing of this Word of God, you also will live eternally with Him! But, if you reject your Savior, when you die you will still be in your sins and on Judgment Day, you will be without excuse.

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The Testimony of Three Witnesses: Faith Without Works is Dead!

I once had a testimony that the Mormon Church was true. When I discovered that my testimony was false I went searching to find the true church. I spent almost nine years between Mormonism and Christianity and met people from all different kinds of faiths. I discovered many people with a strong testimony in their church. I even met Atheists, Shamans and Agnostics with strongly held “faith” that what they believed was true. What I quickly realized is that the sincerity of a person’s “testimony” doesn’t necessarily mean that what they testify is true. It just means they have “faith” in something.

Through all my searching one thing I clearly believed was that I had to do something to live eternally with Heavenly Father. In the back of my head I always remembered that “faith without works was dead”. What I never knew is that these two teachings aren’t the same thing. It was exciting when I discovered that James’ point isn’t “how” we are saved, but how to identify real faith when we see it. He claims that what uniquely identifies a “faith” in the one true God is that it is alive! Faith is a gift from God placed in a person’s heart by the Holy Spirit. At that moment a person crosses over from spiritual death to being born again into a new spiritual life (John 5:24). Just as a newborn baby moves and breathes, someone with faith in God will do works—they just can’t help it! James emphasizes his point by saying that faith without works is like a dead body without a spirit. Even if someone claims to have a testimony of faith, if works are absent, that faith isn’t a true faith, its dead.

James uses three witnesses to make his point—himself, Abraham and Rahab. He uses the actions of these three witnesses as proof that a living faith always produces works. His first witness is himself. He contrasts his own life of both faith and works with that of a man who claims to have faith, yet has no works. His outward visible actions prove his testimony of faith.

Through Abraham’s witness, James gives us the vital key that faith comes first, and then works automatically follow. Because faith is living, like a living creature; it naturally produces the “fruit” of works. Similar to an apple tree bearing the fruit of an apple, a living faith will bear the fruit of good works, naturally and without being forced. Good works are merely proof that faith is present. Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac on the altar was one of many actions that evidenced his faith. His actions were the “fruit” of his faith and proved his faith true. Because his faith was alive, his works followed. It was not his works that made his faith alive.

We read that Abraham’s actions fulfilled a scripture from Genesis: “Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him as righteousness”. Here James clarifies that a person’s faith gains him righteousness and not his works. Abraham had been declared righteous by God many years before he proved his faith by his works, even long before Isaac was born! Abraham’s works did not make him righteous; his faith had already done that. Abraham’s works were merely evidence that he had already been made righteous by God.

The third witness is Rahab the harlot (who hid the spies at Jericho). Her strong faith and written testimony are found in Joshua: “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath”. Her life is a vivid example of how a woman had faith and then acted on it. Not only did she risk her life by rescuing Joshua’s spies, she lived the remainder of her life in Israel; got married and became the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s Grandfather and King David’s Great Grandmother.

In the Book of Mormon (Ether) we read about the testimony of a different group of three witnesses. These men were prophesied to one day declare to the world the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But these three men all left Mormonism. Their lack of action is evidence that their faith was dead, their testimony false.

But, this was not all they claimed in their testimony. They also testified that one day they could be found spotless because of their own works. They testified: “And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ.” This testimony shows that they didn’t know what James knew and taught about Abraham: a person is found spotless in Gods eyes through their faith, and not their works!