Several people come to the Lord and become Christians, but later they fall away. They either later deny Jesus or just do not live the life of a believer. Why is that? It is primarily because, even though they want to be Christians and go to Heaven, they do not want to follow Jesus as Lord and be obedient to Him. Obedience is an important next step to truly becoming a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and making it to Heaven.
It is important to read the Bible regularly so we can know what God wants of us, then be obedient to follow it. It is said the word Bible can be taken as an acrostic; Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. God has not left us ignorant of Himself, but He entrusted to several people to write down His word so they we can have it today. Of all of the books that have been handed down from antiquity, this is the one that has been tested the most. It has the most copies in several languages, some of which can be traced down to within a few hundred years after it was written. Since we have so many copies passed down from antiquity in many different languages, scholars have been able to go through them to piece together what the original would have been. As they have done this, they have discovered that the Bible we have today is 97.5% accurate to the original, with the 2.5% being differences in spelling or grammar, but nothing that has any significance in doctrine. So we know that we have a trustworthy book that has been passed down.
God only wants the best for us, that is why Jesus came to die for us, so that we can go to heaven. But God also wants everything to go well for us while we are here upon this earth. God created everything, and the laws that He gave us were given to us for our benefit, not for our lack of having fun. We are told through Moses in Deuteronomy Chapter 4:39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. 40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time. So we see here that if the children of Israel do well, they will do well in the new land that they were being given. God also warns in another place that if they are disobedient to His commands, then they will suffer many problems. In the Old Testament, there are many examples of when the people of Israel were disobedient, then much harm came to them. But when they lived as commanded, they were able to live in peace. God knows the way He created the earth, and He knows the harm that will come if we do not do what is proper. It is like buying a new bicycle that is in the crate that must be built before it can be ridden. The manufacturer gives specific instructions as to how to put it together, otherwise there will be problems with it. Similarly with God, He has given us instructions as to how to live well on this earth. If we do not, then we have problems.
In the New Testament, the standard has not changed, we must be obedient to God’s word. Jesus gave this instruction at the end of His longest recorded teaching, the Sermon on the Mount. It is recorded in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Again, the simple message is to be obedient to the teachings we get from the Lord. Jesus did not come to change the law, but to fulfill it. So we cannot just become Christians and expect to get everything that we want and that everything will be well. We still must obey Him for things for our faith to stay strong and for life to go better for us. If we want to be blessed in the Lord, then we must be obedient to Him. But we cannot be obedient if we don’t know what to obey. God will hold us accountable for what we know. He has given us faithful men and women who have faithfully translated the Bible into many different languages and at least in English, many different versions. There are several churches for us to attend. We have many ministers who have radio and television programs to bring the Word of God to us at our homes, in our cars and other places where we are at. So in many places in this world, including the U.S., we are without excuse to not read the Bible and know what God has commanded.
Therefore we need to spend time with God, reading His word and praying to him. One of the greatest Evangelists of the early part of the last century, Billy Sunday, was given some advice after he came to faith when he was a professional baseball player. He was told to do 3 things every day so he would never backslide away from his faith in God: Spend 15 minutes listening to God (read the Bible); Spend 15 minutes talking to God (pray); Spend 15 minutes talking to someone else about the Lord. He went on to become the best known Evangelist of his time. He never did walk away from his faith in the Lord. He stayed true to his faith and his calling until the end.
We may never be a Billy Sunday, but if we stay obedient to God, always wanting learn more about God and being obedient to Him, we will never fall away from God. That is very important in this day and age, because if these are the End Times, right before the Lord Jesus comes back, we will need to hold our faith very dear. The Bible mentions a great falling away, when very many ‘Christians’ will deny their faith and walk away from God. There will be temptations to make them deny their faith, they will give in to them and so they will not make it to Heaven for eternity. Let us be a people who are faithful and true to God, strong in our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, and obedient to Him. We also need to be knowledgeable and thinking, because Revelation Chapter 13 talks about the mark of the beast, the infamous 666. If someone takes that number, they will not make it to Heaven. We do not know what that number will look like, so we need to be equipped in God’s word and ready to recognize that symbol when it arises, and warn other people not to take it too.
We might not be in the End Times, but life will still give other challenges and temptations. Let us be found ready to meet our Lord, so that we can hear Him tell us, ‘Well done, though good and faithful steward.’