45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:45–46, NKJV)
Will you judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life? According to the apostle Paul, that depends on your response to the gospel of Jesus Christ that he preached. In the absolute sense of sinless perfection, none of us are worthy (fit) of eternal life, since we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23, 9-10). The wages of sin is death, but God’s gift is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). In today’s verse, Paul specifically says when people reject the gospel they judge themselves unfit for eternal life. While eternal life is God’s gift, it is not without conditions (Matt. 7:21). To oppose the gospel and to contradict its conditions of salvation is to render a damning judgment against oneself. (The gospel conditions of salvation are to believe, repent, confess faith and be baptized, Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38.) How do you judge yourself in this matter? That depends on whether you accept or reject the apostolic gospel.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one. (John 10:27–30, NKJV)
The Good Shepherd gives eternal life to His sheep, who hear His voice and follow Him. These are the sheep who shall never perish. No one is able to snatch them from the hands of the Father and the Son (who are one in nature, in promise, in power and in purpose). Christians who hear and follow Jesus have this blessed promise of eternal life. But, be careful. Sheep go astray when they do not listen to the Shepherd and fail to follow Him. They do not go astray because God cannot save them, but because they choose to no longer listen to and follow the word of Jesus. They choose to depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1-3). There is no promise of eternal life to Christians who turn back to sin (2 Pet. 2:20-22). So, keep listening to and following the Good Shepherd. If you have wandered away from His voice, repent and return to the eternal safety of His hand.
47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where ‘THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.’ (Mark 9:47-48)
Jesus gave a clear warning of the possibility of being cast into hell. Many wish to deny the reality of hell and its never-ending punishment. Yet, Jesus warns of “hell fire” where agony does not diminish and where fire does not consume. In another place, Jesus described hell as a “furnace of fire” where “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42). Sin will be punished – its wages is death – “but, the free gift of God is eternal life is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Thanks be to God who saves all who “call on the name of the Lord” (Acts 2:21, 37-41; Rom. 10:9-13). Accept God’s gift of eternal life like Saul: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Heaven is real and eternal; so is hell. Where will you spend eternity?
25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:25-26)
When you serve Jesus Christ you value His will more than life itself. Are you willing to lose your life for Jesus? Perhaps the more pertinent and pressing question is, Are you willing to live for Jesus? If so, then follow Him. Being His servant is far more than saying you love Jesus; it is following His word first and always. By following Jesus the Father will hold you dear and your life is preserved for eternal life.