Eternity Is a Choice :: By Nathele Graham

We make choices every day. Some are easy, but some take study. For instance, do you get up in the morning and go to work, or do you choose to stay in bed and lose your job? That’s one of the easy choices… go to work! A choice that takes a little more study is buying a car. Which is the most gas-efficient and which is safer? Some choices aren’t all that important, like which color shirt do you buy. Some choices are life-changing, such as who do you marry. The most important choice of all is where do you want to spend eternity. It is your choice.

Many people think that when you die, that’s it; there’s no afterlife. They are wrong. Others think that if you’re a good person and if you’re kind to others, then you’ll go to Heaven. They are also wrong. So, is there an answer? Absolutely. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

Everybody will live eternally, but each individual makes their own choice as to where eternity will be spent. Let’s look at some facts so you can make a wise choice.

Sin separates us from God. We are born sinners, and we have Adam to thank for that. God doesn’t want anybody to be separated from Him, and at the very beginning, He did all He could to keep Adam and Eve near to Him. Like us, they had a choice. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying. Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

God had provided everything Adam needed to survive in the Garden of Eden. The only thing missing from Adam’s life was a mate… a woman. God understood and cared enough to provide a mate for Adam. Adam was put into a deep sleep, and God took Eve from Adam’s side. The Garden was a perfect place to live; it had food, water, animals, a man and a woman. God had given Adam the command not to eat the fruit of knowledge prior to Eve being brought into being, and Adam had the responsibility to be sure Eve understood the rule. Unfortunately, she chose to talk to that evil liar who was in the form of a serpent, and he convinced her that God was afraid that if she and Adam ate the fruit, they would be like Him.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).

Not much has changed over time. God gives us rules to protect us, but Satan makes sin look like fun. It might be fun until you wake up in the morning with a pounding hangover, wondering what you did the night before, or when the doctor tells you that you have AIDS because you chose to live a lifestyle that is in opposition to God. Maybe you just found out that you’re going to have a baby, and your lover won’t leave his wife. When consequences of sin mess up your life, remember that you chose to sin and cannot blame God.

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14). Eve chose to listen to Satan instead of God, and Adam chose to join her in sin, and Paradise was lost.

God had a plan. An amazing plan that seems just too easy. Easy for us, but it cost God dearly. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

That is perfect love. There was no other way for sin to be forgiven but through the blood of Jesus. Because Adam chose to defy God and eat the forbidden fruit, we have inherited sin.

When a baby is born, that infant only knows to cry for help… change my diaper, feed me, love me. As they grow, they have to learn to share and be kind to others. A good parent will teach their child to respect others. More importantly, an excellent parent will teach their child about God. “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

God understands that a child cannot be accountable for their choices because they don’t know right from wrong. Parents need to take the responsibility to teach their children about God. Don’t trust public school to teach morality. There comes a time in life when we become accountable for our own choices. What age is that? It’s hard to say. Some never reach it. If a child is mentally unable to understand right from wrong, they cannot make a choice.

I have a granddaughter who is 22 years old and is not mentally able to make a choice. It’s sad that she cannot walk or carry on a conversation, but she also cannot make a choice to sin or not to sin. Her sisters and brother have a choice, and I’m very thankful they have all chosen wisely to accept Christ. We are responsible for our own choices, and the choice to follow Christ must be made while living on this side of eternity.

Let’s take a look at our options. If we choose to live sinful lives and reject Christ, this life will be filled with trouble. No matter what your thought on eternal life is, if you have rejected Christ, then you have chosen Hell.

The Old Testament talks of the grave or the abode of the dead (Hebrew term is Sheol), which was where souls went to await their future judgment. It had two compartments. One side was known as Abraham’s Bosom. This was a place of comfort where people went who died knowing there was a coming Redeemer. Job looked forward to his Redeemer: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25-26).

The other side of Sheol was a place of torments. This is where those who had no faith in the coming Redeemer and cared nothing for God went to await the final judgment. When Jesus, the Redeemer, died on the cross for our salvation, He released those in Abraham’s Bosom to go with Him to Heaven. Today, anybody who has truly accepted Christ for salvation will go to Heaven upon death.

When writing to Christians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Those who reject Christ go to torments and will be judged at the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium.

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:11-12).

That judgment will be very sad. It will be dependent upon your works, and works cannot bring salvation.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound. You can’t earn salvation.

Jesus gave us a very clear view of the afterlife when He told of a rich man who didn’t live a life that honored God, and a poor man who had nothing but lived a life of faith:

“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, and he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented., and beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (Luke 16:22-26).

The rich man made a choice while living in the world, and his choice was to reject God. He received the wages for his sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

On the other hand, Lazarus was a poor beggar, but he honored God. His reward was to be carried by angels after death to a place of comfort. The rich man told Abraham to send Lazarus to his family to tell them how to live so they would be saved from torments. Abraham told the rich man that his family had Moses and the prophets. Scripture is still our guide today for us to make a wise choice for eternity.

This account reveals quite a few facts. First, Scripture is our guide. Next, our choice has to be made on this side of the grave. Third, we learn that there is no purgatory where you can work your way to Paradise. It also tells us that the dead remember loved ones and recognize acquaintances, but the dead cannot return to warn the living. If you think that a loved one has come back with a message for you, don’t be fooled. They cannot return.

How can we avoid the place of torment? We all have a choice. This is the most important choice you’ll ever make. None of us are “good enough” to spend eternity in Heaven. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

We cannot do enough “good works” to earn a right to enter Heaven. Faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the choice we must make. There is no other way. Your faith must be real and not just an intellectual “I believe” mumbled at an altar. Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again to see God. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

When Nicodemus asked about being “born again,” Jesus told him he had to be born a first time from the womb (born of water), but the second time is being born of the Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

Jesus Christ was God incarnate. He stepped into His creation and gave His life for our salvation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

We must make the choice of faith for ourself in order to find salvation. We must admit that we are sinners with no chance of eternal life by our own merit. Only true faith in Jesus can take our sin away. When we truly believe, we are born again. The choice must be honest and true, not brain knowledge but life-changing heart knowledge, which includes repentance. That means you’ve changed your mind about sin, and your life is changed.

A very important point to understand is that God does not send anybody to Hell. We make a choice. If we accept Christ for salvation, our eternity is bright. If we reject Him, then we will spend eternity in the burning lake of fire with the rich man. There are only two choices, so choose wisely.

This life is temporary, and we need to look at the “big picture.” Sin may look inviting, and you may think that living a Christian life is boring, but you’re wrong. Eve believed Satan’s lies, and Adam joined in her sin. Sin wasn’t a pleasure at all. It still isn’t. When you realize that you’re a sinner and that your sin separates you from God, repent. Repent means that you’ve changed your mind about sin, and it no longer controls you. The questionable pleasure you got from drinking alcohol until you’re in a stupor no longer is appealing. Hangovers are no longer a problem. Scripture is our guide to living a life that honors God. Read it, study it, apply it.

Don’t put off making your choice. Death is just one heartbeat away. The Rapture is also drawing near. All Christians will be taken Home to Heaven in the twinkling of an eye. You don’t want to be left on earth to face the Great Tribulation. There is an urgency for you to give your life to Christ. God has given plenty of warning and instructions for eternal life.

God doesn’t send anybody to Hell. It’s our choice.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

Recommended prophecy sites:

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.

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