What is Most Important?
While this blog is mainly chess focussed, I feel it would be good to share what matters the most. What happens eternally after we die in this life? The following is a note a friend and I wrote explaining this. I would rather be the worst chess player ever and spend eternity with God than to be the world champion and spend eternity seperated from God forever.
To start, it's in His name. Jesus or Y'shua means: Jehovah is salvation.
It can go without saying that there are many religions and spiritual philosophies in this world. Many claim to be the right way and many claim that all ways are right.
Yet there was a man two thousand years ago who claimed that He Himself was, "the way, the truth, and the life," and that, "no one comes to the Father but through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also..." (John 14:6-7).
Why would this one man, Jesus, make the bold and exclusive statement that His own person was the key to accessing the Creator?
To answer this, it is necessary to take an accounting of one's status before God. His Ten Commandments, which are the central rules of the entire Law that Jesus and his fellow Jews were to obey, state the following:
* "You shall have no other gods before me" Have you made anything in your life more important than God?
* "You shall not make for yourself an idol" Even creating a "God" or "Goddess" in your mind that you are comfortable with, rather than recognizing the one true God, is idolatry. For example, "God would never send anyone to Hell. He couldn't." This is A God that you've created in your mind.
* "Your shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" The Bible says that using God's name in vain is blasphemy.
* "Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy" Have you made the Lord's day a priority?
* "Honor your father and mother" Have you always been obedient and respectful to your parents?
* "You shall not murder" Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to those of old 'You shall not murder,' and whoever murders will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' [you empty headed!] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matthew 5:21-22).
* "You shall not commit adultery" Jesus said, ""You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).
* "You shall not steal" Was there ever a time in your life that you took something that didn't belong to you, regardless of the value?
* "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" Have you ever told a lie?
* "You shall not covet" Have you looked at what some one else has with envy?
If you're being honest with yourself, it's easy to see you've broken every one of these Ten Commandments at some point in your life. Even if you feel that you haven't broken all of them, it does not matter; in his epistle James elaborates, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all" (2:10). And because God is just, He must punish the heinous crimes that have been committed against Him, and that punishment is Hell for all eternity: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
Hell is a disturbing prospect as it is not one big party where you will be with all your friends. The Bible describes it as the "outer darkness," a burning lake of sulfur, painful, a place of unquenchable thirst, and full of weeping and gnashing of teeth for the rest of infinity, in a final separation from all that is good. Yet this is what our perfect and holy God says is the penalty for sin. To anyone with some sense of self preservation, this is a terrifying thought. Even more terrifying, there is nothing we can do to get out of it. No amount of "good works" will pay off the debt of our sin.
(If you do not feel you have committed any crimes against God, you need read no further. If however, you are weighed down by the truth of what you have just read and are concerned, please read on because there is provision for your salvation! .....)
But God, though being perfectly justified in letting humanity perish, knew we could not save ourselves. And out of His love for us He acted on a plan that had been in the works since before the creation of the world. God Himself became a human being, a man named Jesus, who lived a perfect life, obeying perfectly all the commandments of God, who ultimately gave His life for the sins of all the world on the cross. The Apostle Paul explains, "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:4-5) also saying, "For He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Having paid our debt, Jesus defeated death and rose from the grave, ascending back to God from whom He'll come again to receive His own and to judge the world.
Thus God our Creator, through Jesus His Son, paid the penalty for our sins, so that we may escape the punishment of Hell and be reunited with Him, whether that's after we die or He comes back before then.
It makes sense then that Jesus would make the exclusive statement that He is the only way, for it is only by His sacrifice that we can escape the judgment of Hell.
How does one know they can have this salvation?
To start, admit to God that you are a sinner and have broken His Commandments. Repent by asking for His forgiveness and put your faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who paid your debt that you may go free. Repentance is not just believing and trusting. It is a military term that means to go the other direction; so Scripture is saying to turn away from sin and follow God by his grace. Pray that He fills you with the Holy Spirit, making you born again (this means He will give you a new heart with new desires) read your Bible everyday, obey what you read, and find a good church that teaches you about God's word (the Bible).
Why Jesus? Now this shouldn't be so hard to know, after all, his name means "Jehovah is salvation."
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
These things I command you, that you love one another.
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before [it hated] you.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.