© Mark Bohland, M.Photog., M.Ed.
Life’s most important question doesn’t have anything to do with photography (literally “light writing”) but it does have everything to do with The Light. If you’re not interested in what the person who claimed to be The Light has to say & to offer you, now is a good time to click on another menu item. No one here (Especialy not the person who claimed to be The Light) is going to be pushy.
But Hey! Stick around, What’s it gonna cost you? You’ve got nothing to lose, and…… You’re probably just surfing now anyway.
In addition to answering life’s most important question, we’ll share some encouragement and some interesting links where you can check out for yourself what we say. We may even have some fun while we’re at it. But before we ask life’s most important question, we should mention that we will be including some hyperlinks along the way. You don’t have to go to all the links. We’ll just put them in so you can check up on us & see if we’re telling it like it is, or if we’re just a couple of “right wing wackos” saying things that really aren’t so.
So who is this person who claimed to be The Light anyway? (You can click here to read his claim for yourself.) Not only did Jesus (yes, the one in the Bible) claim to be The Light of the world, he also claimed to be the only way to God. (Really??? Check it out.) Now in a “politically correct” and politely “inclusive” world, it can be a bit surprising that the answer that Jesus gives to life’s most important question is so “narrow minded”.
WAIT A MINUTE. I’ve seen bumper stickers that say “Jesus is the Answer”.
But what is the question?
The most important question each of us will ever hear, could be phrased several ways, one of which might be heard in a situation like this: Let’s suppose you were standing just outside the gates of Heaven, and instead of meeting St. Peter, God Himself is standing right there at the gates. As you approach, God asks you matter of factly, “Why should I let you into My Heaven ?” Life’s Most Important Question — What Would You Say?
Wow!!! This is no cyber trivia game!!! And you only get one chance at the right answer. To know the answer to a question like that, it helps to know something about the one doing the asking. God is not some big tyrant, just waiting to say “Ha, ha, you can’t come in.” On the other hand, He’s no wimp, who’ll say “It’s OK. Your answer doesn’t really matter. Just come on in.” God loves us & wants to spend eternity with us, but He is also Holy and He has a standard for admission. (He doesn’t mince words about what that standard is.) Some people see God only as a god of vengeance; others as only a god of love. Actually Hisprimary characteristic is that He is Holy. Within that Holiness we can see perfect love, perfect vengeance, perfect righteousness and perfect “everything else” that God can be. But since God is Holy, He expects us to be holy too. (Me too?) That’s the standard for admission. Well…I guess that leaves me out. Yeah, it does. It leaves me out. It leaves you out. It leaves everybody out. (Everybody?) We’ve all missed the mark. If you’re an archery fan, especially one who likes history, you might already know that the word the ancient Greeks used for missing the mark, or missing the bulls-eye in archery, is the same word they used for sin. They understood the simple concept of what sin is. It’s anything that isn’t perfect. That covers a lot of territory, and the righteous part of God’s Holiness won’t allow any bit of sin to enter Heaven. Sin must be paid for, and what we’ve earned for our sin is eternal separation from God. (Earned for sin?) The “vengeance part” of God’s Holiness demands that there be punishment for sin, and that the punishment fit the crime. God knows that for us, punishment for sin means Absolute Separation from Himself, forever. (That’s what sin does.) Now that’s Hell.
Don’t panic yet. Here’s the Good News (“Good news” is actually what the word “gospel” means!!!)
The “love part” of God’s Holiness still wants us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. God loves us so much that He sent his only son, Jesus to take the punishment for our sin so that we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven. (He loves us how much?) “I don’t think so. There’s no way God could love me. I’m still a sinner. Right?” You’re partially right, you are a sinner – we all are. But even though we are sinners God still loves us. (No way? – Yes Way!!!) Since God’s Holiness demands payment for sin, and since we can’t pay for it ourselves, even with our good deeds (really?), God sent Jesus to live a perfect sinless life, which qualified Him to pay for the sin of all of the rest of us. That’s exactly what He did by offering himself as a sacrifice in our place, when he was crucified. It’s not a pretty picture, the Holy One dying in the place of sinners, but it’s what Jesus was willing to do for us because of love. (Now that’s love!!!)
So everything is cool right? Jesus died for everybody, so we’re all going to make it to Heaven. Right? Well, no. I’m afraid not. I know there is nothing I can do in the way of good deeds to earn my way into heaven. But there is one thing that God requires me to “do” in order for Him to apply Jesus’ payment for sin to my life – to my sin.
He requires that we believe.
Believe what? What do we have to believe for God to allow us into Heaven? And how can just “believing” be all there is to it?
Whoa!!! One question at a time. What do we have to believe? I seems only right that we would have to believe that God exists. (That’s His idea not mine.) He also expects us to believe that we really are sinners & that we can’t pay for the sin ourselves. We need to believe that Jesus lived a sinless live & chose to die on the cross as the means of paying for our sin. And finally, we need to believe that God wants to give us this forgiveness as a free gift because of our belief in Him. (A gift?) This gift of salvation (forgiveness & entrance into Heaven), like any other gift, that may be available to us, isn’t ours until we take it. (Take it?)It is only the people who believe what God says, and choose to receive by faith – by belief- the free gift of forgiveness, who will be allowed into Heaven.
Can “believing” be enough to be forgiven by God? While the English language has a lot of words, it sometimes comes up a little short when you need it. “Believing” has so many levels that to just say, “Believe and everything will be OK” is really quite dangerous. Most people “believe in God” or at least believe that there is some kind of god somewhere. However that “belief” has no effect on their day-to-day life or on their hope for forgiveness. That’s not the kind of belief that is acceptable to God. Even devils/demons ‘believe” on that level. To “believe” God, is to believe what He says about you & your sin – to trust it – to count on it to the extent that you’re willing to bet your life on it. In fact, to be willing to bet your eternal life in Heaven on it. That means no safety net! It means that we don’t say, “I’m going to trust God plus my good works.” It means that we don’t say, “I’m going to trust God plus going to church. It means that we don’t say, “I’m going to trust God plus being baptized. It means we don’t trust God plus “anything.” True belief -true faith- means trusting God at His word, plus nothing. That’s the way God is. He loves us and wants to spend eternity with us in Heaven. Our sins have separated us from Him. Those sins must be paid for. He knows that we can’t pay for them ourselves, and that we’re headed for Hell. He provided for the payment of those sins through the death of Jesus on the cross. He wants to give us forgiveness & eternal life with Himself, as a gift.
There it is.
Will you accept that free gift of eternal life? Will you trust God, regarding all that He has said about you and done for you? If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven ?”, would you be able to say:
“Because while I was alive, I believed You, and trusted that You provided for my forgiveness through the death of Jesus”
There are no magic words or prayers, but sometimes it helps to know where you’re going if you want to tell God that you believe Him and want to receive the gift of eternal life. 1. Tell God you believe He exists. 2. Tell Him you know you are a sinner. 3. Tell Him you know there is nothing you can do on your own to pay for your sins. 4. Tell Him you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins. 5. Ask Him to give you forgiveness & eternal life based on what Jesus did for you. 6. Couldn’t hurt to say “Thanks”.
We’re not going to tell you that making a decision like this is going to make everything go smoothly in your life. Of course, not many of us who are trusting God in this way have been eaten by lions, or burned at the stake lately, at least not here in the U.S.. But we’re going to tell you right up front that, while making this decision is the most important thing you could do in this life, things may actually seem to get tougher for you when you do. “Friends” may ridicule you; co-workers may think you’ve become a fanatic. That’s especially true if you tell someone else about this “Good News”. Regardless of what some may say about you, sharing the good news with others is precisely what you will probably want to do. That’s a pretty sure sign that you meant it when you asked God to forgive you & give you eternal life. (In fact it’s a really good sign.) If you’ve made the decision to trust God & receive His gift of forgiveness & eternal life, you’re more than welcome to let us know. We’d be happy to send you some links to internet resources that can help and encourage you in your faith. In fact we could be the first people you tell about your decision. We aren’t going to ridicule you, we’re going to be happy for you. Click here to e-mail us or feel free to call our business 800 # if you have questions about God’s gift, or if you just need someone to talk with. (The answering machine is often on even when we’re here, especially at certain times of the year, or if we’re here after normal business hours. Go ahead and talk. Mention what you’re calling about, and if we are here & there is ANY way we can pick up the phone, we will. Otherwise we’ll call back as soon as possible.) Let us know how we can help. Keep Trusting In God. He Is Faithful. Yours, Deborah & Mark Bohland