“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”
Wait a minute, there is my loophole! ”Those who listen to my message…”
What if I have never heard the message of Jesus? What if I come from a country that forbids the Bible and outlaws the teaching of Christianity, officially, if not in practice? What if my parents are atheists and teach me from a very early age that God and Jesus are fairy tales?
OK, so let’s say you are an adult and you have never heard of Jesus and have no way of finding out about him in any way. This is extremely unlikely in this age of information, but let’s say you don’t know anything about him. Then the Bible does address this.
If a person cannot reasonably trust in Jesus because there is no way to know about him, then according to the Bible, there is a way.
When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman.
But, instead of considering those who don’t know Jesus let’s consider those of us who do know him. Jesus is amazing! His special love for us changes everything!
If we trust in Jesus as our Lord and respond to him as our Savior, then we will live forever from that point on with him! We have been born into the new creation when we Jesus takes us into God’s family. Through Jesus we are dead to the old creation and the old ways, and now we are living in the new creation. Already. Our physical bodies don’t last forever but we do. We will never die out. And when Jesus raises us from the dead, when he comes again at the end of time, on that day we will continue to live out our lives, only at that time we will be given a new body that lasts forever.
What was your view of heaven when you were a child? How has this changed?