Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let’s review what we have learned so far:
- Possibility – Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
- Remission of sins – Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (NKJV)
What extraordinary words! Jesus declares in this verse that He is God, and that He imparts eternal life. So much for the common claim that Jesus “never said he was God” (a claim uttered even by some well known Christian teachers today). “I AM” is an unequivocal, and unmistakable claim to be God. I don’t have the opportunity in this message to teach a lesson on that, but Jesus makes His 5th of seven “I AM” claims in this verse.
The scenario is remarkable. Lazarus was dead and in the grave. Martha, his sister, had sought out Jesus and in her sadness told Jesus that if only He would have been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died (not a rebuke, but a testimony of her trust in Jesus). Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would rise again. Martha responded by saying that she knew Lazarus would be resurrected on the last day. Jesus follows with this incredible statement:
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (NKJV)
Whoever believes in Jesus will never die. Even though they die physically, they never die. Besides being a clear statement that Jesus is God, and holds the keys to life and death, it is also a clear statement that this body of flesh we are housed in is NOT the real us. It is a shell, a tent, a temporary dwelling. The shell may die, but YOU never will (if you are genuinely saved).
Believers will never die.
The shell will change,
the house will be rebuilt,
the flesh will be replaced…
but YOU will never die.
Can you stop and meditate with me for a moment on that concept. Oh, how our lives would be transformed if we were to truly grasp that, and focus on it. How much less grip on us would sickness have? Poverty? Materialism? How much less stressed would we get over most things in life if we truly had an ETERNAL mindset rather than “I’ve got 70-80 years, and then my life is over”; “I’m only young once”; or “I’m too old”? How much more would we do for the Lord if we realized that we are ALREADY in “eternal life”?
We tend to think that eternal life starts when we get to heaven, and shed this flesh. Newsflash…. eternal life started the moment God supernaturally recreated you and saved your soul from hell (Titus 3.5). You began your new, eternal life the moment you were reborn (“born again”).
Think about it. YOU WILL NEVER DIE. You will exchange your “clothes”, your tent, your house, your temple someday (corruptible sin-cursed flesh for a new incorruptible eternal body):
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (NKJV)
No matter how much we study those verses, read them and intellectually give ascent to them, the truth of our immortality won’t affect our daily lives until that truth moves 18 inches from our head to our heart. When it does, then we will truly get to a point in our lives where the stresses, trials, peaks and valleys, disappointments and sadness of this life will no longer have a stranglehold on our emotions, choices and thinking.
The fact of our immortality will not change
our lives until that truth has descended
from our heads, into our hearts.
Jesus then gave us proof of His words in a miracle that left no doubt that He truly was the source of eternal life. Even after being in the grave several days, when his body would have already begun to decompose, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead definitely demonstrating once and for all to see and believe, that Jesus The Christ was God in human form, and that the universal power of death held no power over Him.
Can you imagine how Martha’s life (and the other witnesses) was changed? Can you think of any circumstance that would shake her belief, or faith, from that moment on? Only Jesus’ crucifixion and death caused a temporary question in their minds which was erased forever upon His resurrection.
Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (NKJV)
Regardless of your doctrinal position on eschatology (“end times”), these verses still clearly speak of our immortality and leave with us, in the last book of the Bible, our promise of eternal life. We shall NEVER die. When does that start? Just for Believers, it started in fact the day you were saved, and it starts in a practical way the second you come to understand and believe this great truth.
Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. No death: for Believers only.
Lord God, Help us to grasp the truth of eternal life. Thank you for Jesus who gave Himself so that we would never have to face true death. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. You will never die. That should change everything about how you deal with this temporary existence on earth.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?