“HAPPILY EVER AFTER” in the afterlife
I have to address this to the baby boomers that have made it this far. (Anyone born between 1946 to 1964). Chances are you went to bed to stories of lost children or a damsel in distress that was rescued by a hero and in the end: “They lived happily ever after.” If you’re not a boomer, “who knows what you were told”?
Do you have any Idea how much that quote programmed your head?
On this Easter Weekend I’m here to tell you that there is no real happiness on this planet or in this physical life. The term “happily ever after” is short for “living happy forever after adversity”.
In this life adversity is an ongoing presence. If it’s not in your life, you’re hiding from it. If you live in the Middle East or the western European states, you’re not living so happily ever after the bombings and shootings. It’s the nature of the incarnate world.
Two days ago I had a diagnostic scan for a possible Abdominal Aortic Aneurism (AAA). “Why”? I’m not 65 yet, nor do I smoke. I’m not even 60. On November 1, 2015 my brother died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 65 from an AAA. He woke up, emptied his bladder, went back to bed and didn’t wake up again. “Ya never know. Ya know”?
To quote Robert Lamm:
“Does anybody really know what time is?
Does anybody really care?
If so I can’t imagine why.
We’ve all had time enough to die.”
My only hopes are that, (as they say down south) “he was right with Jesus”. (Translated: he had read the bible and heard the gospel, confessed his sins, repented from his digressions, proclaimed Jesus as his savior and was baptized in water). From my decades of studying the “Holy Bible” those are the various “conditions” that constitute “Belief”. You might have seen the guy with the big sign that says “Go Niners” on one side, then on the other it says “John” then some numbers. It’s a bible verse. He usually has season tickets in the end zone.
I’m sure if you’ve ever heard just one verse quoted to you from a bible thumper it wasn’t from Peter in Acts 2:38 saying to those that wanted Jesus dead, then said oops we wacked our savior. What should we do? In Acts 2:38 Peter told those ignorant Jews that wanted salvation: “Repent (turn away from sin) and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness.” (Baptism is a symbolic plea to The God of infinity to be spiritually born again) *You’re gonna have to get wet. Baptism is from the Greek word Baptisma which translates in English to “submerge”. (Not sprinkle, and yes God can save whoever He wants for what ever reason He wants)
It probably wasn’t Mark 16:16 either where Jesus (Also the God of infinity) said: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved but he who has disbelieved shall perish”. Oh oh; there’s that word baptized again.
You probably weren’t aware of what the Apostle John wrote to all Christians in his first letter (1 John 1:8) when he wrote: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
You can find many other references that explain what this word “Believe” is. But my point was not to write an article that says: “If you REALLY BELIEVE then you’ll…” That’s like a wife saying: “If you REALLY LOVED ME you would buy me diamonds. Please don’t be mistaken. Just getting baptized alone won’t save you. Believing that Jesus is the Son of God alone won’t save you. (Even the demons believe that). Confession alone won’t save your spirit. Repenting is a good start, but that in its self won’t save you. Doing all of them shows your belief and because God shows grace to those who believe, you will be welcomed.
God’s grace is the only thing that allows you into “Paradise”. If you come to my house and I let you in, it’s my grace that allows you in. If I say: “You need to take off your shoes before you come in” that does not mean that if you show up at my house with your shoes off that I have to let you in. (That would be works) Without my permission or grace, you have no right or “entitlement” to enter my house.
To save you 40 years of study, those 3 verses from the New Testament are examples of “belief”. Why is that important? Because; the sign you’ve seen so many times is from the 4th book of the New Testament, the gospel of John. It’s from the 3rd chapter and 16th verse which reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”.
It’s election season. How many candidates have you heard say: “Yes I said that but that clip was taken out of context”. If you study the bible it’s important that you read James’ letter to the 12 tribes of Israel. In the 2nd chapter and 19th verse James says: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder”. Are demons covered under the same verse of “Belief”?
In this chapter (James 2) James is teaching what I’m trying to pass on to you, the reader. In fact James, the earthling brother of Jesus, through Mary, goes on a Holy rant. All of the one liners that radio evangelists use or even churches that are more interested in your “Love gift” (Financial donation) than they are your spiritual welfare will fall back on one verse that is not taken in its full context. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life”. This verse is true and captures the beauty of salvation.
Let me ask you just two questions.
Would you agree that: “Whoever possesses a valid driver’s license may drive a car? Yes it’s true. To get a driver’s license you have to take a test and get 80% correct. Then you have to find a car and go for a ride with a brave soul from the DMV or MOT (for my readers across the pond). The original verse is true but it’s not as simplistic as it sounds.
If I say: “Whoever pays the taxman shall not go to jail but shall be allowed to work another year until it’s time to pay the taxman again”. Most of us would agree? OK, let me talk to my fellow Americans. Next month the taxman cometh. Do you know how much to pay him? Do you have your W-2 form or your 1099 form with your 1040 form filled out correctly? You can’t just send the IRS (Taxman) some money in an envelope and move on?
Many Radio preachers say: “You are saved by Grace through Faith and not by works.” (Ephesians 2:8)
“Believing” in Jesus is the same principle. In that same book of James, (Chapter 2:18) he says: “You have faith and I have works. I’ll show you my faith by my works”. James later in the chapter goes on to say: “faith without works is dead.” (Let me paraphrase) If you see a homeless person freezing in the cold, do you look the other way? If you “believe” in Jesus, wouldn’t Jesus give him a blanket or take him to a shelter? If you turn your eyes away is that “believing in him”? How can you claim to believe, yet let a brother freeze in the cold?
BACK TO THE ULTRASOUND
I still haven’t received an official “reading” on my ultrasound test but it doesn’t matter anymore as I believe in Him. (The God of infinity) I’m not perfect but I try to walk the talk. On this Easter holiday remember; our time here is short. King Solomon used the term a vapor. “Happily ever after” is a myth we tell our insecure children at night. It helps keep the boogie man away.
You’ll never know when you’ll wake up, empty your bladder and then go back to bed and not wake up again. OR even worse; wake up and face judgment.
Jesus paid the ultimate price for you. He was tortured and executed because our creator wanted to give us imperfect humans a chance at an afterlife. Why would you let it go to waste?