"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 6:23, NKJV)
Many people have thought about what it would be like to live forever. But we all know that is not possible...or is it? The Bible tells us that we can indeed have eternal life. It also tells us how we can receive eternal life.
"For the wages of sin is death...." This is the bad news. Sin (disobeying God) has a heavy penalty...death! This is not just physical death, but also spiritual death in hell. (Revelation 20:14) Because of our sin, we are condemned to death.
"...but the gift of God is eternal life..." This is the good news! Although each of us has sinned and deserve death, God offers us eternal life as a gift. The eternal life God offers ensures the soul lives on after death in heaven, and that our bodies will live again when Jesus returns. (John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) Jesus said that God offers eternal life because He loves us. (John 3:16) This gift, like any other gift, is not earned or deserved. It is freely given because of love. Because God loves you, He offers you eternal life.
"...in Christ Jesus..." This is what makes eternal life possible. The penalty for our sin (death) must be paid. Jesus Christ, God's Son, paid the penalty for us when He died on the cross. (Romans 5:8-10) Although He really died, He rose from the dead three days later, proving He has the power to give eternal life.
"...our Lord." This is how we receive the gift of eternal life. We must receive Jesus Christ as our Lord. This involves faith (belief) and repentance (turning from sin). We must believe that Jesus Christ is God's Son, that He died on the cross to pay for our sins, and trust that it is all we need to have eternal life. True, saving faith involves repentance. (Luke 13:3) We leave our old way of life behind and commit to follow God. (Galatians 2:20) This happens when we call out to God in prayer, asking Him to forgive our sins and confess our faith in Jesus. (Romans 10:9, 13)
If you have never had that experience, I encourage you to pray to God now. Tell Him that you believe Jesus died to pay for your sins and rose from the dead. Ask Him to forgive your sins. Promise to follow Him from now on.
If you prayed such a prayer, welcome to the family of God! There are a few things you need to do as you begin to follow God. Pray and read the Bible every day (I suggest you start with the Book of John.). Find a good church that teaches the Bible and talk to the Pastor about being baptized and joining the church. These first steps will help you begin to follow Jesus.