In Bread of Life, Part 2, we discovered that Jesus
is our "bread", that when we accept His gift of Salvation by Grace, we
have our sustenance into life eternal! But more than that, Jesus also
gives us freedom from addictions, freedom from worry, power over
sickness and death, over unclean spirits, and perhaps most importantly,
He freely gives us His peace.
Unfortunately however, the people of Jesus' day didn't quite get it, and their lack of understanding has an important lesson to teach us. We'll pick up the story just after Jesus has told the people: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." (John 6:35-36 NKJV).
There must have been some really blank looks on the faces of those people, because Jesus goes on to further explain: "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:36-37 NKJV)
What Jesus is truly saying here is this: He is our Bread of life. When we accept Him into our lives, our innate hunger and thirst for righteousness, for a relationship with God, will finally be satisfied. And, perhaps even more importantly, believing in Jesus opens our spirits to the spiritual side of life (see Lessons From the Book of John, Study #1). Only then will the eyes of our understanding be opened, and we can truly understand what He is teaching us.
But then comes the ultimate reward: "and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:37 NKJV)
That's exciting, friends! Many, many Christians struggle with the fact that if they don't "do" enough things, they will not make it to Heaven. But this verse clears that up! It isn't about "doing", it's about "believing"!
But what happens to those who do not believe? If those who do believe are told they will not be cast out, then doesn't this imply that those who do not believe will be cast out?
Is Jesus using scare tactics here? You know what I mean -- If you believe in me, you will get a reward, and if you don't, you'll be punished, so you'd better believe!
Not at all. Jesus goes on to say: "For I have come down from Heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day." (John 6:38-39 NIV)
Friends, hell isn't about punishment for not accepting Jesus. It's about the fact that ever since Adam, every human being has been born on a roller coast ride, leading straight to the fires of hell! That one, fateful bite threw off all of humanity, condemning everyone to hell fire! This wasn't God's choice! It was our choice! Hell isn't a "punishment" for not accepting Jesus, it is simply a consequence of sin!
But God, out of that pure, tender, eternal and everlasting love, made a way. Not willing that any should have to suffer hell-fire, He sent Jesus to open the gates of Heaven, so that anyone who believes in Him can enter in!
Friends, our God of pure, innocent love has suffered the slander of the world for thousands of years. He has been accused of being an "angry God", ready and waiting to slap us into hell at the drop of a hat. But this picture of God is wrong, and Jesus' words confirm this: "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40 NKJV) God's will is that none of us should ever see hell-fire. His will is that we make the choice to get off the roller coaster ride, that we allow Jesus to save us from ourselves.
Why do you serve God? Do you do it because you are afraid not to? If so, then you do not understand the very nature of God. I would encourage you to take some time to meditate on the Truth that Jesus is the Bread of Life, that He wants nothing more than for the entire world to avoid hell-fire, that He, out of the love in His heart, has made a way!
But we can't physically "eat" Jesus. So how can we truly partake of this "bread of life"? Please join us next week, for The Bread of Life, Part 4: Partaking of the Bread.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the rest of the "Bread of Life, a Study on True Christianity" mini-series, please click here.)