Thursday, April 25, 2024

The Two Keys to Eternal Life (with VIDEO)

This article can now be heard on our Soundcloud Radio channel 

by Michael C. Garrett

Going back to October 2020, I gave a sermon entitled, “Pure Religion.” And, this continues that same theme. And we started out – just to refresh your memory –

People all across the earth, different countries and different cultures, different religions, have a concept of what pure religion is – true religion. True worship. And they often involve the building in which people meet – whether they call it a church, a cathedral, a temple, a mosque, or any of the other names. People obsess over the building.

So, here in the United States of America – just looking out the way about 20 yards away is the property of the Owensboro Trinity United Methodist Church. And then another few blocks away is a church building that is called the Trinity United Methodist Church. And this coming Sunday there will be dozens of people who will drive into there. And they will walk into that building and their church service will begin. Inside their church building. And the people who go in there – probably the majority – will think to themselves (and may even express to their family members and friends), “We are practicing pure religion. Because we’re in this church building.” Now, some church buildings are highly elaborate. You can think of some of the cathedrals, the high vaulted ceilings, the paintings up on the walls, the statuary, and the stained glass that have different so-called biblical scenes. The large pipe organ at the rear, the huge choir. And then there’s the religious person wearing their “special attire” – which is far different than everyday attire. But, they believe – like the televangelist Robert Schuller once expressed in an interview, that he was transporting his “holy robes.” That somehow wearing that robe made him holy – that was the implication. Or, that these robes were so holy that if you wear them you become holy.

Now, folks, it doesn’t matter if you have any elaborate robe on, or some fancy headgear on, or if you don’t have a single stitch on – none of this has anything to do with your righteousness before the LORD God. We know this to be true. So, Christian music and choirs, and ceremony – O’ people are big into ceremony.

I’ve often joked about how – when I was a younger person in school the cheerleaders had a cheer. “Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down – fight fight fight!” And they get their whole cheering section to do that. The whole crowd would lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down, and then shout out, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! Well, alright – high school kids.

But, true religion is not ceremony. Pure religion is not ceremony. Such as candles and smoke, and all the other things that people go through to convey an image of religion.

Now, it is true that in the Old Testament – back in the time of Moses and Aaron – the LORD God instituted what we call the Old Covenant form of religion that did have a lot of those physical attributes. Robes and headgear, animal sacrifices, and ceremonial washings. A very physically oriented set of procedures. And this was in the Old Testament when the Lord God was dealing with non-religious people – as in carnal people. And, this word carnal is a biblical word – meaning your brain that is composed of human flesh. As opposed to your brain being inspired led and energized by God’s Spirit.

With the human life and death, and then the resurrection of Jesus Christ – some 1,993 years ago – God Almighty and indeed Jesus Himself instituted a New Covenant – a new religion. A new procedure. A new priesthood and set of values. And the New Testament – the New Covenant – paints a completely more in-depth version of what true religion is. And that is what this series of articles is all about.

Turn with us to the Book of James chapter 1 –

Verse 27 – Here we read the phrase, “Pure and Undefiled Religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

Which means, untainted, or unstained by false religion and its sinful practices. In that sermon, “Pure Religion” I speak of this.

Two Keys to Eternal Life

In this article, let’s begin with the Book of James chapter 2.

But, before we begin, let’s set the premise.

The two keys to being granted the gift of eternal life from God Almighty and Jesus Christ come down to two basic principles – and we’ve spoken about this before. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke about them.

Matthew 22.

Our Lord Jesus was asked by a student of the temple – in the King James English he’s called a lawyer. A so-called expert on the Old Testament concepts. And this lawyer didn’t like our Lord Jesus, because our Lord Jesus was speaking about a whole different way of doing things. And that made the temple elite extremely nervous. Certainly, the people who held the power – the temple elite – became very upset with our Lord Jesus because the people were switching from the temple to following our Lord Jesus. Our analogy is – that in this nation, there are forces that mainly reside in Washington, D.C., which for a long time has thought that they control everything. And President Donald Trump has become a direct threat to them. Because the people are now looking to what President Donald Trump is saying, and rejecting this idea of government control, and global participation. And this has made a lot of people very uncomfortable. This is just an analogy that flashed along my brain receptors.

This lawyer who was tempting Him – and this is not a lawyer like a defense attorney – this religious person, came to our Lord Jesus trying to trick Him.

Verse 36 – “’ Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’

Verse 37 – “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul [life], and with all your mind.’ 38) This is the FIRST and great commandment.’”

Verse 39 – “’ And the SECOND is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40) On these two commandments [these two concepts; these two principles] hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”

And, the Law and the Prophets mean the summation of everything that is in God’s living word. It’s another way of saying – pure religion. True religion is following these two principles.

Again, it’s not fancy buildings, religious garb, ceremony, stained glass, and candles and smoke – all of that folderol. None of that is true religion in the eyes of the LORD God.

But rather – it’s your relationship with the LORD God, and it’s your relationship with your fellow human being. And how you approach both of those.

Obviously, the phrase, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ means that you have committed your life to God Almighty and Jesus Christ. And in so committing your life you come to a point – well, let’s turn to the Book of Acts – on the Day of Pentecost when God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ are on the verge of pouring out the Spirit of God – the mind of God – upon a whole host of people. And They have continued to do that even to this day.

And, the Apostle Peter who gave this great and powerful sermon, says in verse 38 – “ …’ Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [the removal] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”

Verse 39 – “’ For the promise is to you …”

The promise of God’s Spirit, the promise of having your name written in the Book of Life, the promise that you will indeed be allowed to enter into the kingdom of God as an eternal spirit being. That promise “ … is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off [who includes people like you and me – we are afar off from Jerusalem], as many as the Lord our God will call.’”

So, this transition doesn’t happen by a human being on his or her own individual private volition. This change which takes place in our thinking is guided and led by God Almighty and our Lord Jesus Christ. And to repent means to want to change the way you live your life, and to change the values of your life. The principles of your life. And, it means coming to a point in your life where you can admit to yourself, and to God Almighty and Jesus Christ, where you can say, “I have no control over my life. And I need you – dear God – to take over the control of my life.” And you need to come to understand that you have no future unless that future is in agreement with the will of the LORD God. And you need to come to understand that you cannot – of ourselves – control our destiny unless we have God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ guiding us and leading us. And this is a part of ‘love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ The FIRST COMMANDMENT. As our Lord Jesus says, ‘the great commandment.’

And if you would – in the Book of Romans there’s a short passage I’d like to read. Chapter 8 is a most fantastic chapter! And we ought to read this chapter on a regular basis. Now, we won’t read it all for time's sake. But, beginning in verse 6 – the Apostle Paul was inspired to write, “For to be carnally minded is death, …”

Now again, to be carnally minded means your brain is composed of human flesh. As opposed to your brain being inspired led and energized by God’s Spirit. The natural human mind, and natural human nature, and living life naturally the way human beings naturally live – is death. The end result will be death.

He went on to say, “ … but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

And the word life here implies – eternal life. It means happiness in this human lifetime, but it also means projecting into the future for one to inherit as a gift from the LORD God eternal life as a member of the family of God – the kingdom of God. And peace within your spirit.

He went on to say – in verse 7 – “Because the carnal mind …”

The natural human mind without being inspired led and energized by God’s Spirit.

“ … is enmity against God; …”

Meaning – in complete rejection, defiance, rebellion against the LORD God.

“ … for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”

If you think that you can somehow pull yourself up by your own bootstraps muster up your concentration, and somehow make yourself perfect before the LORD God you are highly deluded. You cannot do it. Moreover, you won’t do it. It’s impossible. Because, as he says in verse 8 –

“So then, those who are in the flesh [without God’s Spirit; without God’s truth; without God’s words flowing through you] cannot please God.”

Incapable of pleasing the LORD God.

But, he says in verse 9 – to those who were reading this epistle there in Rome, and who were a part of the Body of Christ – “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit [or, of the Spirit], if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he [or she] is not His.”

This Spirit of God, this gift must be within you. It is a gift from the LORD God. And it’s based on the concept we read back in the Book of Acts 2:38 – “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Verse 10 – “And if Christ is in you, …”

And, let me pause here a moment. Do we – the true Body of Christ – hate anyone who professes, and who lives, by a different religion than we do? The answer is – without any doubt – no. We don’t hate anyone that has a different religion. We are not even to have contempt for them. In our mind – the mindset that the Body of Christ should truly have – we simply accept what they at the present time do not understand. Because God Almighty and Jesus Christ have not yet called them to understand the living truth of God. But someday they will. And someday – nearly every human being who has ever been alive or is alive will know the living truth of God.

Now, we have met a lot of people who don’t even profess to be Christian. And yet, we are to look upon them as brothers and sisters. And we are to have the love of God for them because we know that someday God Almighty and Jesus Christ will indeed call them, choose them, to receive the living truth of God, and eventually the Spirit of God. But, at this present moment in time, they are technically not our spiritual brother or sister – but we are projecting forward knowing that someday they will be. So, in our minds – they are. And, I can use the word “our,” because of what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:16 – “Be of the same mind.” To be of the same mind is to have a spirit of unity, peace, and harmony among believers.

So, “And if Christ is in you, …”

Meaning the Spirit of Christ, the mind of Christ, the Spirit of God – the LORD God’s Holy Spirit.

“ … the body [might be] dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”

And this righteousness does not come from us as individuals. But rather life comes from God Almighty and Jesus Christ. Because if you have the Spirit of Christ, you have living inside of your brain a small portion of the very existence of the mind of Jesus Christ. This right here is just a mind-blowing concept! And it’s a concept that most of the religious people in this world do not understand – nor have any clue of. But someday they will.

He goes on to say in verse 11 – and here is truly some good news! “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you [literally in your mind], He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [someday] [by or] through His Spirit [that] dwells in you.”

Notice verse 14 – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are [the children] of God.”

These are beautiful living words! These are the most important words that your human ears could ever hear, and that your human eyes could ever read.

So, ‘love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ – dedicate yourself to the LORD God and have Them change you through the process of repentance. And to be baptized and to receive the gift of God’s Spirit. THIS IS A KEY!

In this article, we are explaining to you the KEYS TO ETERNAL LIFE.

It's not candles, stained glass, priests wearing fancy clothing, or speaking in a foreign or unknown language, its none of that. It's not even close to any of that. But, its ‘love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ And going through the process where the LORD God can place within you the Spirit of God. And at that point your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And, if you stay true to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus, you will someday inherit eternal life.


“’ And the SECOND is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

And, I’m just going to say – as I’ve gone through my nearly 7.5 decades of life – one thing that I have noticed in so many so-called Christian religions. And I personally won’t comment on other religions at this point, because I don’t know their heart or how they think. But I can give you a perspective on how those who call themselves Christian – as some of these people might be called Catholic, or some form of Protestantism, and some of these people are people that I have personally known at earlier eras of my life. And I have found that in so many of these people – and I don’t know at what percentage – but it appears that often it is the vast majority of them that the operating principle when they get involved in religion, and they believe they are religious, they are with their church, their congregation, their team – and everyone around them are their team members and their captain is up at the podium preaching – they become absorbed with the concept which we might call self-righteousness.

As our Lord Jesus says in Luke 18, a parable, of people “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.” Believing that they are righteous. They despise other people. They condemn other people. They negatively label other people. We could certainly come up with a vast amount of names that just reek of self-righteousness.

And along with self-righteousness – the twin evil – is judgmentalism.

And folks, these two traits are literally the kiss of death for those individuals who would like to be included in the kingdom of God. We could speak for hours on this subject alone. But, if you would, turn to Matthew 7.

Verse 1 – often called the Sermon On the Mount. His living words are as important as any section of His living word! The Book of John, chapters 14 to 17. These living words are as important as any section of His living word! As well as the Book of James coming up – as important as any section of His living word! But notice what our Lord Jesus says here in Matthew 7:1 – “’ Judge not, that you be not judged.’” In the Book of Luke 6, He says, “’ Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.’” So, this is the Apostle Matthew’s version of what our Lord Jesus said.

Verse 2 – “’ For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; …’”

You – by the way that you live your life, by the way you think, by the way you conduct yourself – will determine the level of mercy that God Almighty and Jesus Christ grant to you in your future day of judgment, and, in everyone’s future day of judgment. And if you are harsh and condemning, hateful, disrespectful – and all of those types of words – if that is the way you live your life, that is the way that God Almighty and Jesus Christ are going to judge you.

Again, the two great commandments! ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the FIRST and great commandment. And the SECOND is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

How many of us actually do this!? How many of us actually treat our fellow human beings the way that you would want to be treated? This is something to ponder. All of us should ponder this.

Now, think about how all of this applies. Racism.

If you meet someone, and you automatically judge them – pre-judge them – about what kind of person they’re going to be, what they’re worth, and whether you want to be around them – you’re filled with prejudice and judgementalism. And if you meet someone who is not your race, and they are a complete jerk – completely obnoxious – it does not mean that you cannot conclude rightfully in your mind that that person (whoever they are) is a jerk and you don’t want to be around them. That is not racism.

Racism is when you pre-judge them having never had a chance to get to know them.

The same applies when you meet someone of another religion. And you immediately ascribe to them negative thoughts, negative identities, and negative connotations – without ever getting to know them – you’re filled with prejudice, and judgementalism.

You don’t have to meet someone and say – well, despite the fact that they’re terrible, I have to love them because they’re this race or they’re that religion, that group, or political party.

Political Party.

Think about this one. There are married couples who have become divorced over the last few years because one considers the other to be a far-left liberal. And the other is a far-right conservative. And they have decided that they just can’t stand to be around each other because of their political views. Or, this can apply to your family. You might have within your family a relative who supported and voted for President Donald Trump. And will again during this soon-coming election! But, certainly, you also have within your family those who supported and voted for Joe Biden. And, I’m not certain that they actually loved Joe Biden – as much as they hated President Donald Trump. Yet, they are our family. And we somehow have to learn how to get along with them. So, this coming Thanksgiving – while we are at a relative’s home – we’re going to have to negotiate how we get along with them and not hate them because they support Joe Biden. But in truth – it doesn’t make any difference who they will vote for because the majority of Americans support and will vote for President Donald Trump! Of course, that statement is true or not true based upon what news source you receive your latest polling averages. Only state-by-state voting is what actually counts – not individual votes. Which is what the Electoral College means. And for those who want to do away with the Electoral College – and there are a lot of people who think this way – that would mean that future elections would be decided by the states of California, New York, Illinois, Texas, and Florida. But, if you live in a state where the population is not that large, your state would have really no influence on who becomes the next president. But right now – a state like Montana has an input. A state as small as Vermont or New Hampshire has an input.

So, anyway a small divergence there.

“’ Judge not, that you be not judged.’”

And this includes all the different labels we place upon people. Race, religion, political party, male or female. I, personally, have met women who appear to have hated me because I am a male. I hadn’t done anything to them, hadn’t said anything to them, had not made any catcall at them, never tried to touch them inappropriately – not a single thing! And, they just concluded that they disliked me because I’m a male. And, certainly, there are some men that do the same thing – you know, “I hate them because they are a woman!” They’re called misogynists – they hate women. Well, this is not a good way to live your life – because, according to Statistics Times, as of 2024, there are 49.76% females in the world! 1 And do not give me that there are twenty-nine different sexes! Don’t even bring that one up to us, because we will certainly just laugh. The LORD God created people to be either male or female. This is what God’s living word says. The LORD God did not create twenty-nine different versions of that! Now, this is enough said of this.

But, think of all the categories that people place other people in. Don’t do this! Because of what level of ‘judgment you judge, you will be judged’ so says our Lord Jesus Christ. Your future Judge.

These, are the Keys to Eternal Life. □

1) As of 2024, there are 4,079,164,815, or 4,079 million, or 4.08 billion males in the world, representing 50.24% of the world population. The population of females in the world is estimated at 4,039,671,184, or 4,039 million, or 4.04 billion, representing 49.76% of the world population. The world has 39,493,631, or 39.49 million more males than females. Statistics Times, Gender Ratio In the World, 22 March 2024.

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