If we all are to die, what, if anything, happens afterwards? Scripture tells us that after death we are to face judgment, where God will evaluate our lives and we will be judged on our sinfulness. Those found sinful are destined to eternal punishment, while those found righteous and sinless are destined to eternal reward. Yet scripture also tells us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), no one is worthy of eternal reward, not even one of us (Revelation 5:4). There is not a single one of us that is blameless, sinless. NONE!
Well that seems rather hopeless you might be thinking and your right. Sin, rebellion against and rejection of God, requires punishment just like anything from cheating on a test to murder requires punishment. But how can God do that? Doesn’t He love us, being that He created us and all? How can He just throw us out and not forgive us? He is required to, by His very nature, just as a judge is required by the commitment he chose to take, to punish all those who are found guilty, including those he loves.
Well this seems hopeless you might be thinking, but that’s where your wrong. There is one man who was found righteous and sinless after His death. He lived a completely blameless life in a way that we are unable to do, because He is as much God as He is man. God became man, lived through all the circumstances we deal with, yet did so without sinning, in order to take our punishment upon Himself. Because He loves us, God made a way for our guilt to be paid for, without losing us for eternity. That way is Jesus Christ. Jesus took the punishment for all of us and all He asks in return is for our love and devotion. He made a way for us to live rebellion free and in union with God, without us having to pay the penalty for our own sin.
But this gift is not universal, it is for all those that believe in Christ Jesus (John 3:16) and have a relationship with Him. Sin is rebellion against and rejection of God. That rebellion and rejection is what put us in need of someone to save us from punishment, so in order to be granted that salvation, one must choose to stop rebelling against God, to stop rejecting God. One must choose to live in communion with God, to have a relationship with Him.
That’s the part that people seem to get hung up on. I too had difficulty understanding what it meant to have a relationship with God for a long time, but it’s rather simple. It’s just like any other relationship in your life. Think of friends, family, significant others. The more time you spend with that person, the more you get to know that person, the more you listen to what they say and try to understand the way they think and feel, the deeper your relationship with them grows. It’s the same thing with God. Sure you can’t see Him physically, but you can see His hand work in your life if you choose to open your eyes. Sure you can’t hear Him audibly, but you can hear His words if you open your heart and read His word to you, the Bible. Sure you can’t feel Him physically, but you can feel His touch if you open your heart and mind to His love. He is there. No matter where you are, He is there. All you have to do is seek Him.