JESUS TOOK OUR PLACE

For you

On the cross, Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sin. He did not deserve to die, but He willingly took our place and experienced death for us. Jesus’ death was a substitution, “the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18), the innocent for the guilty, the perfect for the corrupt.

The doctrine of the substitutionary atonement teaches that Christ suffered vicariously, being substituted for the sinner, and that His sufferings were expiatory (that is, His sufferings made amends). On the cross, Jesus took our place in several ways:

Jesus took our place in that He was made sin for us. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB). As Jesus was hanging on the cross, suspended between earth and heaven, the sins of the world were placed on Him (1 Peter 2:24). The perfect Son of Man carried our guilt.

Jesus took our place in that He experienced physical death—not just any death, but the death of a lawbreaker. Everyone dies, but there is a difference between dying a “natural” death and being executed for one’s crimes. Sin is the violation of God’s law (1 John 3:4), and “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, ESV). Since we have all sinned, we all deserve death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Jesus releases us from that penalty. Although He had committed no crime (see Luke 23:15), Jesus was executed as a criminal; in fact, it is because He was sinless that His death avails to us. He had no personal sin to pay for, so His death pays for ours. Our legal debt has been paid in full (John 19:30). As the old gospel song says, “He paid a debt He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay.”

So, Jesus took our place judicially, bearing the penalty of sin and dying in our place. “When you were dead in your sins . . . , God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13–14). In other words, God nailed all the accusations against us to the cross. God will never see believers in Christ as deserving the death penalty because our crimes have already been punished in the physical body of Jesus (see Romans 8:1).

God’s Law says, “You are guilty of sin against a holy God. Justice demands your life.” Jesus answers, “Take My life instead.” The fact that Jesus took our place shows God’s great love: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

But the penalty for sin extends beyond physical death to include a spiritual separation from God. Again, in this matter, Jesus took our place. Part of Christ’s agony on the cross was a feeling of separation from the Father. After three hours of supernatural darkness in the land, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, we need never experience that sense of abandonment (Hebrews 13:5). We can never fathom, at least in this life, how much God the Son suffered in taking our place.

We know Jesus’ suffering was intense. In the days leading up to the crucifixion, Jesus expressed distress about what was coming (John 12:27). But those who tried to dissuade Him from going to the cross were sharply rebuked—the offer to avoid the ordeal was a temptation from Satan himself (Matthew 16:21–23), and Jesus had not come to take the easy way out. On the night of His arrest, Jesus was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). Even with having an angel to strengthen Him, Jesus actually sweated blood (Luke 22:43–44).

In order for us to be saved, Jesus had to take our place and die for sin. He had to lay down His life as a sacrifice, because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). His sacrifice was perfect in holiness, in worth, and in power to save. After His resurrection, Jesus showed His scars to the apostles (John 20:26–27). As long as our salvation lasts (forever), the marks of our Savior’s suffering will be visible (Revelation 5:6)—an eternal reminder that He took our place.

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering. . . .
He was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. . . .
The Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all”
(Isaiah 53:4–6).

Prophet Nathan Emol

NOT GOING TO HELL:

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Not going to hell is easier than you think. Some people believe they have to obey the Ten Commandments for their entire lives to not go to hell. Some people believe they must observe certain rites and rituals in order to not go to hell. Some people believe there is no way we can know for sure whether or not we will go to hell. None of these views are correct. The Bible is very clear on how a person can avoid going to hell after death.

The Bible describes hell as a terrifying and horrible place. Hell is described as “eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41), “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12), “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), a place where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-49), and “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Revelation 20:10 describes hell as a “lake of burning sulfur” where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever.” Obviously, hell is a place we should avoid.

Why does hell even exist, and why does God send some people there? The Bible tells us that God “prepared” hell for the devil and the fallen angels after they rebelled against Him (Matthew 25:41). Those who refuse God’s offer of forgiveness will suffer the same eternal destiny of the devil and the fallen angels. Why is hell necessary? All sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), and since God is an infinite and eternal being, only an infinite and eternal penalty is sufficient. Hell is the place where God’s holy and righteous demands of justice are carried out. Hell is where God condemns sin and all those who reject Him. The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-23), so, as a result, we all deserve to go to hell.

So, how can we not go to hell? Since only an infinite and eternal penalty is sufficient, an infinite and eternal price must be paid. God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14). In Jesus Christ, God lived among us, taught us, and healed us—but those things were not His ultimate mission. God became a human being so that He could die for us. Jesus, God in human form, died on the cross. As God, His death was infinite and eternal in value, paying the full price for sin (1 John 2:2). God invites us to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, accepting His death as the full and just payment for our sins. God promises that anyone who believes in Jesus (John 3:16), trusting Him alone as the Savior (John 14:6), will be saved, i.e., not go to hell.

God does not want anyone to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9). That is why God made the ultimate, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice on our behalf. If you want to not go to hell, receive Jesus as your Savior. It is as simple as that. Tell God that you recognize that you are a sinner and that you deserve to go to hell. Declare to God that you are trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Thank God for providing for your salvation and deliverance from hell. Simple faith, trusting in Jesus Christ as the Savior, is how you can avoid going to hell!

Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please, leave a comment below so that we can help you with prayers.

Prophet Nathan Emol

DESTINATION AFTER DEATH:

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The Bible is absolutely clear that, ultimately, there are only two options for where you go when you die: heaven or hell. The Bible also makes it abundantly clear that you can determine where you go when you die. How? Read on.

First, the problem. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). We have all done things that are wrong, evil, or immoral (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Our sin separates us from God, and, if left unresolved, our sin will result in us being eternally separated from God (Matthew 25:46; Romans 6:23a). This eternal separation from God is hell, described in the Bible as an eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:14–15).

Now, the solution. God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14; 8:58; 10:30). He lived a sinless life (1 Peter 3:22; 1 John 3:5) and willingly sacrificed His life on our behalf (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 1:18–19). His death paid the penalty for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). God now offers us salvation and forgiveness as a gift (Romans 6:23b) that we must receive by faith (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8–9). “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Trust in Jesus alone as your Savior, relying on His sacrifice alone as the payment for your sins, and, according to the Word of God, you are promised eternal life in heaven.

Where do you go when you die? It is up to you. God offers you the choice. God invites you to come to Him. It is your call.

If you feel God drawing you to faith in Christ (John 6:44), come to the Savior. If God is lifting the veil and removing your spiritual blindness (2 Corinthians 4:4), look to the Savior. If you are experiencing a spark of life in what has always been dead (Ephesians 2:1), come to life through the Savior.

Where do you go when you die? Heaven or hell. Through Jesus Christ, hell is avoidable. Receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, and heaven will be your eternal destination. Make any other decision, and eternal separation from God in hell will be the result (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

If you now understand the two possibilities of where do you go when you die, and you want to trust Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, make sure you understand and believe the following, and as an act of faith, communicate the following to God: “God, I know that I am a sinner, and I know that because of my sin I deserve to be eternally separated from you. Even though I do not deserve it, thank you for loving me and providing the sacrifice for my sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I trust in Him alone to save me. From this point forward, help me to live my life for you instead of for sin. Help me to live the rest of my life in gratitude for the wonderful salvation you have provided. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!”

Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please comment below so that we can help you with prayers.

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH?

After Death

Within the Christian faith, there is a significant amount of confusion regarding what happens after death. Some hold that after death, everyone “sleeps” until the final judgment, after which everyone will be sent to heaven or hell. Others believe that at the moment of death, people are instantly judged and sent to their eternal destinations. Still others claim that when people die, their souls/spirits are sent to a “temporary” heaven or hell, to await the final resurrection, the final judgment, and then the finality of their eternal destination. So, what exactly does the Bible say happens after death?
First, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death believers’ souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16, 18, 36). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies. If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22).

Second, for those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Savior, death means everlasting punishment. However, similar to the destiny of believers, unbelievers also seem to be sent immediately to a temporary holding place, to await their final resurrection, judgment, and eternal destiny. Luke 16:22-23 describes a rich man being tormented immediately after death. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all the unbelieving dead being resurrected, judged at the great white throne, and then being cast into the lake of fire. Unbelievers, then, are not sent to hell (the lake of fire) immediately after death, but rather are in a temporary realm of judgment and condemnation. However, even though unbelievers are not instantly sent to the lake of fire, their immediate fate after death is not a pleasant one. The rich man cried out, “I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24).

Therefore, after death, a person resides in a “temporary” heaven or hell. After this temporary realm, at the final resurrection, a person’s eternal destiny will not change. The precise “location” of that eternal destiny is what changes. Believers will ultimately be granted entrance into the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1). Unbelievers will ultimately be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people—based entirely on whether or not they had trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36).

Prophet Nathan Emol

LIFE AFTER DEATH:

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The existence of life after death is a universal question. Job speaks for all of us by stating, “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure….If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:1-2, 14). Like Job, all of us have been challenged by this question. Exactly what happens to us after we die? Do we simply cease to exist? Is life a revolving door of departing and returning to earth in order to eventually achieve personal greatness? Does everyone go to the same place, or do we go to different places? Is there really a heaven and hell?
The Bible tells us that there is not only life after death, but eternal life so glorious that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to the earth to give us this gift of eternal life. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus took on the punishment that all of us deserve and sacrificed His life to pay the penalty for our sin. Three days later, He proved Himself victorious over death by rising from the grave. He remained on the earth for forty days and was witnessed by hundreds before ascending to heaven. Romans 4:25 says, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

The resurrection of the Christ is a well-documented event. The apostle Paul challenged people to question eyewitnesses for its validity, and no one was able to contest its truth. The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Because Christ was raised from the dead, we can have faith that we, too, will be resurrected. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate proof of life after death. Christ was only the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. Physical death came through one man, Adam, to whom we are all related. But all who have been adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ will be given new life (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). Just as God raised up Jesus’ body, so will our bodies be resurrected upon Jesus’ return (1 Corinthians 6:14).

Although we will all be eventually resurrected, not everyone will go to heaven. A choice must be made by each person in this life, and this choice will determine one’s eternal destination. The Bible says that it is appointed for us to die only once, and after that will come judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Those who have been made righteous by faith in Christ will go into eternal life in heaven, but those who reject Christ as Savior will be sent to eternal punishment in hell (Matthew 25:46). Hell, like heaven, is not simply a state of existence, but a literal place. It is a place where the unrighteous will experience never-ending, eternal wrath from God. Hell is described as a bottomless pit (Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:1) and a lake of fire, burning with sulfur, where the inhabitants will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10). In hell, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, indicating intense grief and anger (Matthew 13:42).

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but desires them to turn from their wicked ways so that they can live (Ezekiel 33:11). But He will not force us into submission; if we choose to reject Him, He accepts our decision to live eternally apart from Him. Life on earth is a test, a preparation for what is to come. For believers, life after death is eternal life in heaven with God. For unbelievers, life after death is eternity in the lake of fire. How can we receive eternal life after death and avoid an eternity in the lake of fire? There is only one way—through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…” (John 11:25-26).

The free gift of eternal life is available to all. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). We will not be given the opportunity to accept God’s gift of salvation after death. Our eternal destination is determined in our earthly lifetimes by our reception or rejection of Jesus Christ. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). If we trust the death of Jesus Christ as the full payment for our sin against God, we are guaranteed not only a meaningful life on earth, but also eternal life after death, in the glorious presence of Christ.

Have you made a decision to receive Jesus Christ as Savior because of what you have read here? If so, please, leave your comment below so that we can help you with prayers.

Prophet Nathan Emol