Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the eternal decision.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Eternal Decision
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." John, Chapter 10, Verse 28
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we explore the problem of making the eternal decision. We know that Jesus gives eternal life to all who believe . He says, ““all the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.””
How do we decide to choose the eternal life? We know that we have free will and can make moral and spiritual decisions. We can make the decision to accept the salvation that Jesus so freely offers. To help us understand this process, let us consider the material analogy of human relationships.
While human temporal relationships do not carry the magnitude or consequences of divine relationships, they do provide some insight into the problem of establishing an eternal relationship. For example, one of the most difficult decisions that is laden with emotional charge that mortals sometimes have to make is the decision to end a relationship. Especially is this true when time has been invested and interests have been interlocked--it becomes difficult to separate because of this. But we know that this happens every day by looking at the divorce rate that now exceeds fifty percent. What happens when two people decide that they can no longer continue on together?
Sometimes this decision is sudden and other times it is gradual. When it is sudden, all of the factors that go into the decision to break up are sharply highlighted and presented at once. And these factors are of such a nature that they overwhelm the time sequence; that is, no additional time is needed to see clearly that the relationship is problematic.
When decisions are made suddenly, sometimes it is from anger or wounded pride. In time, the persons may realize they made a hasty decision. But for our purposes, since we are trying to gain additional insight into making the eternal decision, we shall look at a decision that is made gradually as it relates to a breakup. By gradual, we mean that a decision is made after a period of carefully considering all the factors.
When a couple decides to break up, it is in light of a gradual accumulation of factors usually. The factors that stabilize a relationship are weighed against the factors that destabilize it. As these factors are sorted, their emotional components play a part. Emotions conspire to keep us in a relationship that is unstable. They only give way as the intellectual self slowly makes the decision and confirms the decision by separating from the other. This is often a painful process and leaves deep emotional scars.
The decision to separate happens like this. The person may gradually become aware of a factor or factors in the relationship that will bring about its failure. It may be a factor of disloyalty or lessened commitment, or selfishness. As the person becomes aware of these factors, denial sets in. Our emotions tell us to dread the idea of separating, we anticipate the pain, which blinds to the reality of the problem. However, the person cannot deny that a disrupted force has entered the relationship. The person may try to manage this force, and, failing in it, begins to experience ambiguity. One moment, he feels that the relationship is over, and the next he feels that it can be saved.
This ambiguity produces conflict, and the war rages on. Conflict is hard to endure; it literally shakes the self apart when it is not resolved. Faced with conflict in the face of the need to make a decision, the person marshals his forces and makes the decision: disrupting forces are stronger than the forces that stabilize the relationship. In retrospect, we recognize that the decision was a thoughtful one, which considered all the pros and cons and was only made when it became painfully obvious that it had to be made.
Now in making an eternal decision, a similar process occurs, although the ramifications of making an eternal decision far transcend the making of a temporal one. An eternal decision cannot be retracted, cannot be undone. Thus a hasty eternal decision is never made without considering and understanding the full ramifications. The person making the decision must be fully aware of the consequences. And even though this decision can be made during the mortal lease on life, it still is not made without the full consequences known. But how is a spiritual decision made? And how is it confirmed?
When a person makes an eternal decision--for survival or against--it must be shown that no amount of time will change the attitude of the person. Eventually the conflict between the self and the divine self must be resolved. Eventually the person must decide to either do his own will or do the Father’’s will, and as seen in the material analogy this can be a protracted and painful process.
There are two ways in which the eternal decision is confirmed. It is confirmed from the human perspective and from the divine perspective. From the human perspective, the decision to do the Father’’s will, which is the making of the eternal decision, must be thoroughly tested. Every area of the self must be tested and found not wanting. And these tests are conducted through the experiences of the mortal. Sometimes the experience is designed to test one aspect of the self; sometimes the experience tests several aspects, but the experiences continue until the self has been tested on all points. When all the components of the self are tested at once, this constitutes a supreme experience, and it is from such supreme experiences, the supreme decision, that the eternal decision can be made for or against survival.
From the human perspective, testing is designed to reveal one’’s true purpose. When the human goes through these kinds of experiences either here or in the next life, he comes to know for himself what his purpose truly is. These experiences unfailingly destroy the tendency to self deceive. "The measure of the spiritual capacity of the evolving soul is your faith in truth and your love for man, but the measure of your human strength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudges and your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the true mirror in which you may honestly view your real self."
From the divine perspective, salvation occurs when the soul has made a final and irrevocable choice for the eternal career. And such a choice is faithfully revealed to the Father, who knows and sees all things.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the eternal decision. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.