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Tag Archives: eternal life

The State of Disembodied Existence

Every time I complete studying the entire Old or New Testament, I like to begin a new one with a different version of the Bible. The first church that I served in as a Youth Director was in Rising Sun, Maryland. At the time I worked there, this conservative Methodist Church was using the Amplified Bible. While this version is great for studying, it’s hard to read out loud as it gives all the possible translations of the Bible.

And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades ([c]the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works], Revelation 20:13.

As I read the final chapter of the Bible, I’m using the Classic Edition of the Amplified Version. This might explain why John hints at the state of disembodied existence. It appears that John is referring to eternal life where our spirit and soul will reside, the essence of who you are. My spiritual mental in high school, Coach Ken, explained this to me that others will recognize us in heaven beyond our physical body.

Then death and Hades ([d]the state of death or disembodied existence) were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14.

The apostle Paul uses this concept in a closing prayer for members at the Church at Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-23. While the term soul appears just under 500 times in the Bible, Jesus spoke about loving God with all your heart, soul and mind, Matthew 22:47. While the concept of your state of disembodied existence is interesting, it’s not what’s important. The key is making sure you enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11. This is my prayer for all who read this blog.

by Jay Mankus

The Sum of Christian Belief

Who Are You by the Who is one of those classic rock songs that make you think about life. Pete Townshend’s inspiration behind this song comes from personal experiences with Wino’s, Alcoholic’s, Drug addict’s and the homeless. This quest to figure what led to this lowly position in life is a good lesson for Christians. Who we are and who we can become in a new found faith is the sum of Christian belief.

Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all [a]handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered [b]verbally to the holy people of God], Jude 1:3.

Heresy is a belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religion. From a Christian perspective, there were numerous New Age ideas presented in the first century. As the original disciples of Jesus passed away, there weren’t many eyewitnesses remaining to refute these false claims. Subsequently, Jude was inspired by the Holy Spirit to address the sum of Christian belief.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

While theology is the science of God. some theologians make the Bible more complex and confuse young Christians searching for answers to questions in life. My spiritual mentor and high school swim coach encouraged me to start with John’s Gospel as well as 1 John. The passage above serves as the sum of Christian belief. The situation is human beings are fallen creatures. The task is who will save us from this condition. The action is to trust in Jesus, Romans 10:9-11. The result is eternal life, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

The Greatest Gift of All

At the end of every year, talk shows reflect upon the current one to ascertain the best and greatest moments. Political programs focus on accomplishments and failures while sports talk tends to debate the greatest of all time. As another Christmas Day arrives, your mind may wander to consider the greatest gift you have ever received. Yet, there is one gift found in the Bible that claims to be eternal.

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 6:23.

Comparing gifts and presents from year to year may uplift a generous giver in your family. Yet, the older I become, a gift may simply be having your entire family present for Christmas. While it’s hard to fathom the greatest gift I’ve ever received over the past 52 years, my favorite was a letter from a friend in college. After going an entire semester without hearing from them, opening this card brought tears of joy to me.

And this is that testimony (that evidence): God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life. 13 I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God [in [c]the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men], so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, [d]yes, eternal life, 1 John 5:11-13.

The New Testament of the Bible mentions the greatest spiritual gift ever provided to mankind. A Pharisee named Nicodemus was the first to hear about this future offering in John 3:16-17. The apostle Paul eludes to this in a letter to the Church at Rome. Meanwhile, the earthly brother of Jesus refers to an assurance of this eternal gift. All you have to do is accept Jesus into your life as a personal Lord and Savior. While you may receive many gifts this Christmas, eternal life in heaven is the greatest gift of all.

by Jay Mankus

Finding Jesus in a Skeptical World

When the world was worried about Y2K in 1999, an obscure Christian group named Send the Beggar released an album to inspire believers to find Jesus in a skeptical world. Entitled Closer to Complete, this collection of ballads and rock n roll encourages believers to leave Jesus wherever you go. Leave in the sense of a legacy of faith, not abandoning or turning on and off your faith like many do today.

And Jesus said to him, Today is [[b]Messianic and spiritual] salvation come to [all the members of] this household, since Zacchaeus too is a [real spiritual] son of Abraham; 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost, Luke 19:9-10.

When you read the Bible, first impressions of the Gospels tend to be like a sales pitch that sounds too good to be true. When Jesus stops to have a meal at the house of corrupt tax collector, this doesn’t seem fair or just. Yet, as Jesus spoke to Zacchaeus, an overwhelming sense of conviction struck his heart. Instead of trying to find a way to write this off, Zacchaeus confessed and vowed to give back more than what he had stolen from hard working citizens.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. 18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation—he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name,] John 3:16-18.

In the passage above, this time a Jewish leader seeks Jesus out at night. Likely afraid of what the other Pharisees would think if seen associating with Jesus, Nicodemus chooses the cover of darkness to ask Him about eternal life. Unfortunately, Nick couldn’t comprehend the concept of being born again. After a sarcastic comment, Nick shuts up and listens to one of the most famous verses in the Bible. The key to finding Jesus is a skeptical world is letting go of control and let Jesus to the wheel, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

Maintaining a Clear Perspective While Coping with Grief

I’ve never dealt well with funerals. I have a hard enough time of thinking of what to say on a normal day let alone trying to console grieving family members. One of the best words of advice I’ve ever received is to never say “I know how you feel..” Rather, the best thing you can do for a grieving individual is give them a hug and reply “when you’re ready to talk, I’m all ears.” Yet, no human advice can replace the wisdom found in the Bible,

The Lord is building up Jerusalem; He is gathering together the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows], Psalm 147:2-3.

The Psalmist refers to dark times in the history of Israel. Due to a lack of disobedience, God allowed this nation to be conquered by the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Old Testament speaks of these periods as living in exile as many were taken from and forced to live in these two different countries. In the passage above, the exile lead to a broken heart as the Psalmist struggled to accept why God let this happen.

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away, Revelation 21:3-4.

Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples provides an eternal perspective of the future. Dealing with adversity, hardship and pain is not a pleasant experience. The best way to maintain a clear perspective while coping with grief is to see life on earth as temporary. According to John, when Christians enter eternal life in heaven, God will wipe away all of our tears. Therefore, while the present may be filled with disappointment and pain, lean on the Holy Spirit to get you through the grieving process of death.

by Jay Mankus

When I Ran out of that Grave

According to the apostle Paul, more than 500 people witnessed Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Sometime before Passion Week, Jesus performed a miracle, raising his good friend Lazarus from the dead. While Jesus was dead for three days, Lazarus had been dead for four days. An eye witness of this amazing feat writes about the stench from Lazarus’ decaying body. Nonetheless, moments later Lazarus ran of this grave to embrace friends and family.

Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! 40 Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and [a]promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger], John 11:39-42.

In one of the apostle Paul’s letters, he refers to Jesus’ resurrection as swallowing up death, 1 Corinthians 15:53-58. This one event has changed the course of history. While Jewish religious leaders bribed Roman soldiers to claim that Jesus’ disciples stole and hid his body, Matthew 28:12-15, those who saw Jesus ascend into heaven quickly disposed of this lie, Acts 1:8-11. When Jesus cancelled the written code of death, Colossians 2:13-15, this one miracle opened the door for eternal life.

When He had said this, He shouted with a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! 44 And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go, John 11:43-44.

In John 21, Jesus appears before his disciples for a third time in his resurrected body. Yet, the scars of the nails that held Jesus to a cross could be felt by a doubting Thomas. While 99.9% of human beings will never experience or see a modern resurrection, for those who pass away on earth, your grave clothes are temporary. For as soon as Jesus returns for His second coming, the dead will arise, run out of their graves and then lifted up to heaven for eternity.

by Jay Mankus

The Best Day of Your Life

Desirable, excellent, and the preeminent quality are words used to describe best. Yet, in every crowd, there is a skeptic,  an individual inclined to question and or doubt all accepted opinions. Thus, what you consider to be the best day of your life, another spectator sees things differently. Unless you exhibit emotion and passion, overflowing to everyone in attendance, others won’t be motivated to celebrate with you.

And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me, John 14:4-6.

After introducing the concept of eternal life to his disciples, a doubting Thomas isn’t convinced. This news should have been life altering, but one unbelieving soul brought down the entire group. In an instant, Jesus changed the momentum, revealing a spiritual truth. Jesus is the answer to Thomas’ concern, the way to conquer fear and prevail over death. Making a decision to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior could be the best day of your life.

Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation. 11 The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed, Romans 10:9-11.

If you had to rank your best 10 days on earth, the birth of child, a wedding day, or a life altering promotion will likely make this list. However, news of friends making a decision to follow Jesus are some of the most memorable days of my life. Obtaining and reaching life long goals has been satisfying, but the greatest news that any parent hears is the sound of their children dedicating their lives to Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Filling Up Your Cup to the Brim

In this age of calorie counting and weight watching, favorite drinks vary. Whether it’s alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, specialty coffees or a glass of water, the amount of calories will dictate what you decide and how many you will drink. Depending upon how well your New Year Resolutions are going so far, good choices and self-control will shape your beverage of choice. Yet, the Bible refers to filling up a different kind of cup.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over, Psalm 23:5.

The context of the passage above refers to what David as a shepherd had to do daily to meet the needs of his sheep. Since sheep don’t eat or drink when they are stressed, oil is applied by shepherds to each sheep, serving as a bug repellent. Once sheep feel safe and comfortably, water containers are filled to the brim, overflowing so that their noses don’t get stuck. Like a glass of milk before going to bed, drinking this water was the last thing sheep did before falling asleep for David.

Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life, John 4:13-14.

In a conversation with a Samaritan woman, Jesus brings up the concept of living water. On a hot summer day, in the middle of a desert, a drink of water is refreshing. However, Jesus is talking about eternal life, a living water that will extend far beyond your life on earth. To individuals who enter a personal relationship with Jesus, John 14:6, reading the Bible is like filling your spiritual cup up to the brim, Psalm 1:3. If you want to experience the abundant life, John 10:10, take time daily to drink God’s Word.

by Jay Mankus

The Process of Discovery

Discovery is the action of finding, learning, and unearthing information. When a specific topic peaks an interest, individuals often go through an exploratory phase. This initial process of discovery either quenches your thirst, fuels a greater passion or overwhelms souls with the amount of knowledge necessary to continue this pursuit. At the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, a Pharisee named Nicodemus requested a with meeting at night, likely afraid that his peers would make fun of him for seeking the advice from this controversial Rabbi.

Then Nicodemus, who came to Jesus before at night and was one of them, asked, 51 Does our Law convict a man without giving him a hearing and finding out what he has done? 52 They answered him, Are you too from Galilee? Search [the Scriptures yourself], and you will see that no prophet comes (will rise to prominence) from Galilee, John 7:50-52.

Apparently, the concept of becoming born again struck a nerve within Nicodemus, John 3:1-17. Then again, maybe Jesus’ comments on eternal life, John 3:16-17, might have sparked additional interest. While John does not highlight what persuaded Nicodemus to begin his spiritual process of discovery, two different updates are provided by this gospel author. While the chief priests and Pharisees sent guards to arrest Jesus, Nicodemus sticks up for Jesus by reminding his peers the Law requires a man to have a hearing before being convicted.

And Nicodemus also, who first had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, [weighing] about a hundred pounds. 40 So they took Jesus’ body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices (aromatics), as is the Jews’ customary way to prepare for burial.41 Now there was a garden in the place where He was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever [yet] been laid, John 19:39-41.

The repetition of his initial conversation with Jesus reminds readers of the progress that Nicodemus has made. Starting out as a curious religious leader, afraid of what other Pharisees might think, Nicodemus publicly defends Jesus and then comes back to pay respect following Jesus’ death. If you read between the lines of John’s gospel, Nicodemus’ process of discovery led to eternal life, Romans 10:9-10. When 11 of 12 disciples abandoned Jesus in the final hours of his life, Nicodemus was no longer ashamed or afraid of what others thought. May you fulfill a similar process of discovery by drawing near to God, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

When the Perishable Puts on the Imperishable

The expression “Living on Borrowed Time” originated in England during the 17th century. The Old Style Calendar the English followed belonged to April. Thus, it was common for individuals to describe the first eleven days of May as borrowed days. Depending upon your age, you may be living on borrowed time now, but what Jesus did on a cross at Golgotha can alter your future.

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory, 1 Corinthians 15:54.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul describes the spiritual significance of Jesus’ death on the cross. Prior to His crucifixion, Jews were forced to follow Old Testament law and practices to be forgiven. However, Hebrews 4:14-15 describe Jesus as the Great High Priest who became a living sacrifice. After Jesus conquered death by rising 3 days later, the perishable, human bodies, are now able to put on the imperishable, Jesus Christ.

[Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead. 13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross, Colossians 2:12-14.

In a separate letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul explains in detail how Jesus’ death and resurrection disarmed Jewish law. The passage above highlights Jesus’ spiritual accomplishment. Instead of being forced to live according to the motto, “living on borrowed time,” Jesus opened the door to eternal life. In a private conversation with disciples, Jesus reveals that He is going away to prepare a place for you in heaven, John 14:2-4. When this was completed, the perishable can now put on the imperishable.

by Jay Mankus

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