The question, “How do you know Jesus loves you?” was recently asked me by someone at my fitness center. At the time, I was wearing a work-out shirt boldly printed with the words JESUS LOVES YOU centered within a large Star of David. While the design was obviously meant for Jews who don’t know Jesus, it also speaks to Gentiles. And while it is true that God loves everyone, and arguable that everyone knows of Jesus, far fewer actually know Jesus; that is, have a personal relationship with Him.
Is the distinction important? When I surrendered my life to Christ at the late-bloomer age of fifty-eight, believing that He died for my sins, Jesus not only became my Savior, but the LORD of my life. Jesus clearly taught that believing in Him is the only way to heaven. But what makes this statement truth? He alone died for our sins to make us right before God.
Why will so many never get to heaven? How did Christ put it? You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow, and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Building on a solid foundation versus on sand: Of this, Jesus said: Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord! Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. Anyonw who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crush. (Matthew 7:24, 26, 27)
Most people do not deliberately seek to build with faulty materials on an inferior foundation, instead, they just don’t think about either life’s purposes or the consequences of ignoring Christ’s message. So it was with me for more than the first half of my life.
What is the bottom line here? The answer has to do with Judgment Day: What happens then, long after it is too late? First of all, “too late” means there is no second chance for salvation beyond death. Acceptance of Christ as Savior and our obedience to Him will matter on Judgment Day. Many people think that if they are “good” people they will be rewarded with eternal life.
By whose authority would that be true? On the contrary, the Father in heaven will say to those who do not truly know Him at the final day of reckoning–when God will settle all accounts, judge sin, and reward faith–I never knew you. (Matthew 7:23a)
What keeps you from Christ? Put another way, what keeps you from everlasting life in the presence of God? It is only a person’s pride that keeps him or her from Christ. To this point, Jesus said, Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. If anyone seeks Truth–and Truth is a Person, and that Person is Jesus, the Christ; the Messiah–he will find it.
How can we be certain of that? Again, Jesus words: Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find . Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
God’s love knows no bounds. Hear God’s words on this very subject:
I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me. Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall. (Hosea 14:8-9)