Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Apeirophobia is the technical term meaning the fear of eternity. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, many people suffer from this fear. I don’t know, but I’m assuming most who suffer with apeirophobia don’t have a Christian worldview or a clear understanding of eternal life with God.
On the topic of eternity, the Apostle John quoted Jesus who said, “And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me” ( John 12:50, ESV).
I, for one, am looking forward to the eternal future. Most people I hang with are as well. And I believe it’s nothing to be afraid of. Eternal life is a good thing. Where you spend it may not be.
But how can you know that you are going to heaven or not? That you have eternal life as opposed to eternal death?
A few years ago I heard about a pastor who, in his Sunday sermon, said something to the effect, “Wouldn’t it be nice if God would tell us exactly what we need to do to make it to heaven? But He doesn't so we just have to do the best we can.”
What an amazingly sad sentiment for a pastor to express! It isn’t accurate.
The Bible offers very clear insight, instruction, and guidance on what we have to do to ensure our spiritual destiny.
Early in the New Testament, Christ states in Matthew 4:17, “Turn from sin and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ provides more insight into what it takes to get to heaven. But in the simplest sense, those who willfully turn away from sin and actively turn to God are headed in a heavenly direction.
That most famous of verses, John 3:16, is even more straightforward: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned....”
Paul declares in Romans 10:9-11 (ESV) “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. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”’
These are only a few of the dozens of scripture verses to which we can turn to be assured, without any doubt, that we are saved and on a heavenly trajectory.
Certainly, there may be some ambiguities about exactly how to live out the Christian faith in our lifetimes, and even some disagreements on the finer points. But overall, anyone who (1) sincerely confesses Jesus to be Lord, (2) acknowledges and turns away from their sin, (3) accepts Christ and His gift of grace into their life, and (4) intentionally seeks to live a Holy Spirit empowered life of purity and holiness in Christ, can rest assured that heaven is in their future.
If you have any doubts, just start reading through the New Testament and you will encounter passage after passage that will reassure your heart and your soul.
Here are a few verses for you to look at now: Acts 3:19; Romans 3:21-26; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 3:1.
You don’t have to be afraid of eternity. But you do have to make a choice now where you will spend it.
I choose heaven. And you?
Do you believe there is life after death? Why or why not? Do you believe you can know for sure where you’re headed after death, as I’ve indicated above? Why or why not? What do you believe heaven or hell will be like? Or do you believe neither exists? Please share your thoughts in the comments.