Slogan on a wheelchair:
“I believe in LIFE BEFORE DEATH.”
Excerpt of Victor’s comments (Issue: “Life Before Death”):
That wheelchair has much truth on it. However, I do not believe in life after death. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is HERE, NOW.
Hi, can you clarify what you are saying when you said, “However, I do not believe in life after death.”
If in fact you do not believe there is life for you after you die, then what is it you do believe?
It is not that I do not believe in an existence once one sheds his or her body and leaves this world. I purposely was making the point that Jesus made when He said to Martha (and to all):
“I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 MKJV)
True life is not so much before or after death as above death. The Scriptures testify, by the Lord’s words themselves, that He is the Resurrection and the Life. “In Him was life,” John says in the first chapter. He also said that whoever had the Son, had life. Being that the Son existed before all things, He existed before death, and of course, above it, because He is above all things, being God.
Many who profess faith in Christ do not now have the life He promised they could have here and now. They await “life after death,” referring to their physical departure at the end of their existence in this world. Referring to the Lord’s words quoted above, how can one “never” die unless one is first alive? Therefore we can have life here, in this world, before we leave this world. How does one receive that life here and now, that life that never dies? One receives it when believing, truly believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many believe, but James says in his letter that devils too believe and tremble (James 2:19). There is therefore a belief that is of no value. So what does it therefore mean, “to believe?” It is not something we do (our faith is of no value) but what God does (His gift of holy faith alone prevails and transforms our natures, here, in this present realm). As it says:
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10 MKJV).
And: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13 MKJV).
Jesus said, “And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He Who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man Who is in Heaven” (John 3:13 MKJV).
Jesus was in heaven, in the spiritual realm, in union with His Father, even as He walked on the earth. He told Nicodemus that such is possible by a new, second birth. I say that I do not believe in life after death because I have it now. As Jesus, I now am in heaven, in the spiritual realm, in union with Him, because I am born again. Those who do not have it now, but expect to get it immediately after they die, are mistaken if they think that by dying, they will enter the Kingdom. It is often preached that one should believe in Christ so that when one dies, one “will go to heaven.” Heaven is here, now, and when one believes, one enters heaven here and now. That is what Paul was speaking of in many instances, such as:
“…for us to be to the praise of His glory, who previously had trusted in Christ; in Whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, in Whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12-14 MKJV).
And: “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins) has made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:4-6 MKJV).
Charmaine, when one receives a down payment, it is quite real, and quite representative of the whole. Let’s say you sell your car to somebody for $5000. They give you $1000 as a deposit to prove their intention and to hold the car for them. That $1000 is real, as real as the rest. Therefore, when God gives us the “earnest” or the down payment, we get a genuine portion here and now of that life to come in the next world. One gets a piece of heaven here and now. Most people have never experienced heaven, though they think to believe and to be “saved.” If saved, there is substantial evidence that true faith has worked its work.
Having said that, Charmaine, I will now appear to contradict myself, though the meaning is quite different. I do believe in “life after death” because truly, one must die before one can live. I had to die before I could be born again. I had to deny myself, forsake all, take up the cross and follow the Lord to His death, so that I could partake of His resurrection life that He promised to all that believe. That goes for you too. When James spoke to expose the false faith, he said:
“You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete?” (James 2:19-22 MKJV)
The true faith, that gift from God, will be manifest in one’s life by obedience to the personal commands of God. It will be His life lived out in His vessel. The world is not pleased with the fruits of that faith. That is why Jesus said that the world hated Him, and that if it hated Him, it would also hate those who believed on Him (Matthew 10). False faith can be full of works, but they are religious works, lived out not in, but by, the vessel itself. This is the faith of devils, as beautiful as they may appear to men. Only those who truly believe can know the essential difference.
I have given more than was asked. It is my pleasure and joy to do so. If you have any more questions, don’t be afraid to ask.