Slight departure from working through the old testament this morning to swing by the book of John. I got very riled up by a series a local Baptist preacher has been giving on the radio for the last several weeks. The Spirit pointed me here.
John 6:35-40 says “And Jesus said unto them, ‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.'”
The people He is speaking to are some of the multitudes that ate the loaves and fishes, who had come looking for Him afterwards and started asking Him questions to prove His divinity, basically. His words are so subtle is easy to miss all the bits here:
-Jesus, being the Word, is our manna. He is what we need to “consume” to continue living forever
-If you believe in Him you will never go hungry for direction or thirsty for growth
-These people did not believe in Him despite being amazed by Him and hunting Him down across cities
-All that the Father sends to Christ shall come to Him
-Those who believe in Him shall not be cast out of the Kingdom
-Those who believe in Him shall be raised again to eternal life
None of this is about the physical body. None of this says hardship, negative feelings, negative attitudes, or sin are removed from the believer’s life, but it does say that a true believer is not to be cast out. Consider the depth and breadth of that statement. If you believe in Christ, which is to say if you Love Him, understand who you are to Him, and trust Him then no matter how often you fall down, no matter how often you mess it up, you SHALL NOT be cast out unless you cease to believe in Him and reject Him. There’s no loopholes there. “Shall” is about as concrete and final as a statement can be.
But notice the point before: all that the Father sends shall come to Christ. “Come to” in this context means believe. All that God calls shall believe, and thus shall not be cast out. You understand what that means, don’t you? Do you see how wide that door is open? “Narrow is the road that leads to Heaven” is not an exclusionary statement. Not all roads lead to Heaven, correct. Not all gods are the same as the one true God, correct. But all — ALL — whose hearts are stirred to seek Christ, even if — as I did — they start off seeking to disprove Him, SHALL believe. Even if it takes until your dying breath. There is no “believe in Christ and”; it’s just “believe in Christ”. Nothing you do or don’t do gets you into or out of Heaven. Not one act. Just the willing submission.
Our God is not just merciful; our Father is gracious. He doesn’t just escape you the torment you deserve, do you understand? Not one of us gets into Heaven by the skin of our teeth. Not one of us barely clears the jaws of the beast. All of us get the full reward given to Moses or Abraham or the most positive, kind, gentle, and Loving soul to walk the earth. There are not degrees of Saved. I don’t care what holy man tells you different, he’s lying to you if he claims there’s a “believe and” that gets you a better seat.
“What about His Commandments?” you ask. “What about Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself?” I repeat: there’s no “and” to gaining everlasting life. Not one. I don’t care who or what made you feel mad or sad or angry or bad. There is noting save confessing Jesus, even if only to Him, required.
All the rest, aaaall the rest, of the rules and promises and guidance and correction is about finishing this physical life in peace and helping others get to that peace faster than you did. That’s it. It’s optional. I highly recommend it, because it makes navigating life a much more positive experience, but it’s not tied to your salvation. Understand that, truly understand in the core of your being, these facts and you are completely free of the little demon’s influence. You will perform acts of sin, sure, but they will not stop you, they will not hinder you from living a peaceful life basking in the Love of the Father.
Take that step, if you haven’t. I’m not telling you to believe. I’m not even telling you to agree with me; maybe this message was just for me. But what I am telling you is to open yourself to Him. Put aside whatever science or bitterness or anger or bias you have against His people, or even His book, and ask the universe, or the earth, or Buddha, or Vishnu, or Allah, or whatever it is the higher power is to you, to show you. Ask who Christ is. But be warned: if you ask this question honestly and earnestly there is no turning back — you’re going to be awash in a Love and an acceptance you never dreamed was possible. You will get the answer to your question. Because all who are called are a part of His flock.
Father, reach out to these hearts I can’t see or touch and show them, as You showed me, that no matter how covered in mud and blood and rage we are, You stand waiting to grab us up and hold us and swing us around in your arms. Help us all to trust You first, to seek You first, to accept Your Love for us even when we can’t Love ourselves. In the mighty name of Your Word, Jesus, I pray. Amen.