Spiritual Life Insurance
[This page is designed to encourage you to personal faith in Jesus Christ, and not intended to offend anyone of a different faith. In my business I am happy to serve folks of all faiths, creeds and lifestyles. Insurance is inherently discrimiatory, but I try not to be in my practice.
These spiritual reflections are those of Dan Neils alone (and maybe a few million other Christians) and do not reflect or represent any of the insurance companies I am contracted to represent].
Soul insurance? I know, how ridiculous! I mean, who can insure the soul? When we step back to consider what insurance is we recognize there are risks in life that we cannot afford to take. So we study the options, and put our faith and money in the insurance company we think is trustworthy to insure our life and health, at the cost we feel we can afford.
Our 'faith' in an insurance company isn't a blind faith, but a faith supported by a history of claims paid, personal testimony from others, a strong financial ratings, and a legal contract that is in place between us and the company.
Our feeling a policy provision is true never makes it true, even if we think it should be true. The facts of the contract and the character of the company determines whether they pay up or not at claim time.
For a Christian, our future hope is entirely dependent on the Bible being the inspired and true revelation from God, with Jesus being who he claimed to be. In the 4 Gospels, 4 different authors tell a similar story of Jesus, a story of God in the flesh, come to live, to die, to rise from the dead in victory, and ultmately to return to earth to rule and reign and make things right in every true sense.
The fact of Jesus Christ being alive today is a Believer's spiritual life insurance policy, the Bible is God's contract with humanity. We rely entirely on Jesus being who he claimed to be, and that he is one who keeps his word. If Jesus can rise from death, there is hope for you and me.
It's all in the Book....
The Bible in God's written contract with mankind, penned by human authors over a 1500 year time frame, yet inspired by God himself. The first book, Genesis (meaning the book of beginnings), reveals how life, death, humanity, culture, and trouble all got started. The last book, Revelation, reveals how history will wrap up, with God orchestrating a final game plan upon the earth, judging some, rescuing others. Jesus here is pictured not as the humble servant, but as the returning King of Kings, and Judge of both the living and the dead. The book does have a happy ending for those who trust in Jesus.
Genesis starts with 2 isolated humans working a garden. Revelation 23 reveals a restored humanity of millions, living on a new "heaven on earth", in community, not clouds. Christianity isn't a story of individuals living out a 'personal and private faith'. As American's we like this narrative, but the Bible is a story of community, it's a history of God loving and caring for the humans he created, from beginning to end. We are a part of this grand story, whether we acknowledge it or not.
On another level, the Bible is a slowly unfolding love story between a loving Father, and children that went astray. It's a story of redemption, longing, and life. It's a book with both gritty and joyful tales, and filled with lessons of struggle and heartache, as humans fail to live up to the holy standards of a perfect God. The good, bad, and ugly side's of humanity is shared fearlessly and unapologetically. It's the story about our ancient parents, your parents, and people today. It connects us all from the first human to the last.
What could be more important?
So where does Jesus come in to the story?
In Hebrews 1:1-2, the writer explained it perfectly:
" In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the (Old Testament) Prophets, at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in Heaven".
I'm going to point out a couple of obvious Biblical truths about God from these 2 verses that ring true in the rest of the Bible:
1. Jesus is portrayed as part of God that holds everything together.
In the birth of Jesus do we see God coming down to live as a man, to fulfill a cosmic plan. You, me, we all are tied to Jesus in ways beyond what we can see or comprehend if he is Creator of the word.
2. The Author goes on to also explain that Jesus is both God, and the Son of God. The Holy Spirit is also described as being co-creator, the spirit of Jesus, and the spirit of God. Is it easy to understand the relationship between Father, Son, Spirit in the bible? No, but many things are true that we do not fully understand. In seeking to understand someone complex enough to form the Universe with a word, that takes some faith. What I choose to accept is what the being chooses to reveal about himself. This is what Christian's believe the bible to be--God revealing himself over thousands of years to mankind. "Proving" himself in the life and works of Jesus.
We have lots of religions claiming to know who God is, but Jesus claim was that if you want to really know God today, you will find Him in the person of Jesus Christ. And how do you learn about Jesus--Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for yourself! Don't just accept a college professor's view on God, or the OPB special.
Consider the apostle Paul's remarks about Jesus from Colossians chapter 1:
"15 The Son (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
3. Finally, most important, biblically Jesus cannot be contained and reduced to a human who lived and died 2000 years ago, or a dead teacher or prophet to be respected. The claim is he rose from the Dead, and is the living God in Heaven today--alive and at work in this world today through his Followers, the Church. Most importantly, and in no uncertain terms, this same Jesus will return as Judge of all mankind, Savior of the world to those that believe in Him, and Judge to those who have rejected Jesus as Lord.
NO ONE IS GOOD ENOUGH TO DESERVE HEAVEN
Another repeating biblical truth is we can do nothing to impress or buy-off God enough to give us a pass in the end, any more than we'd expect a life insurance plan to pay off if we stop paying premiums. Consider the self-evident truth written about eternity in the book of Psalms, written around A.D. 1000 or so:
From Psalm 49 "Those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay".
In other parts of the bible the authors emphesis that all sin leads to eventual spiritual death. We're all for sure going to die. For all of us to who spend time now and then considering death, there is a nervousness we ALL feel when the prospect of death hits home.
THERE IS GREAT NEWS AND HOPE!
The Bible teaches that God the Father sent his only son Jesus to live, die, rise from the grave, and return to Heaven for the sake of you and me. With his very blood he fully paid the debt of our sin, and restored the broken contract made between humans and a Holy God. We can experience a relationship with Jesus today by faith.
When Jesus rose from the dead and left for Heaven, he left part of himself behind in the person of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul explained it this way:
Ephesians 1:13. "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory"."
So part of being a Christian is to be a part of something big, universal, and infinitely important. Believing on Jesus joins you and me with a family of over 1 billion people, known as the church (little C). The Greek work for Church simply meant, 'Sent Ones'. Sent to what you ask? The point is, you belong to something big when you know Jesus. He views each of us as valuable intrinsically, not because of our good works or character.
You matter because your life matters to God.
SIN is easy to not talk about, but it's a big problem in the Bible. It's listed as the thing that alienates God from us, and like a cancer kills us in the end. No one can solve the sin issue on our own. We all need a savior whether we feel like we do or not.
The created order of things is that a perfect, sinless God cannot live in harmony with mankind without the sin being atoned for. The great news is that Jesus can offer everyone full pardon from sin because he offered his own life for ours. Consider Paul's words:
Romans 6: 22 "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved (bound by choice) to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification (forgiven sins), and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"
In the Bible, unlike an insurance contract, eternal life is not presented as something that you are entitled to, or can earn, or can buy, but as a gift that you can only receive by faith.
Spiritual Life Assurance is not free, but costly: It was paid by choice, by God himself through his son Jesus, dying for our sins at one moment in history.
Act 2: JESUS FUTURE RETURN TO EARTH
In the book of Hebrews the writer explains the purpose of Jesus future return, which is to bring judgment and salvation to mankind.
...Hebrews 9: "But (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many (those who would believe); and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him".
THE FINAL ACT
A FUTURE JUDGMENT FOR ALL: BAD NEWS FOR THOSE WHO REJECT JESUS AS LORD, GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE PUT FAITH IN JESUS
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will literally return in the future to finish up history and judge humanity--both living and dead. How do we know this will happen? The Bible is a 1500 year history of God promising things, and fulfulling his promises. Literally hundreds of biblical prophesies have come to past. When Jesus lived, he proved his identity and trustworthiness by raising the dead to life, and countless other miracles. So if Jesus says he will literally return to earth...I'm not the one to doubt.
The verses below are poetic in description, but reflect a tangible future reality:
Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
WHAT THE HELL?
Folks debate what the biblical 'Hell' would look like, even some people of faith doubt a literal eternal Hell. The most common human logic proceeds as such, "Well, if God is a God of love, he could never send people to Hell"
JESUS BELIEVED AND TAUGHT THERE WAS A LITERAL HELL
All I know is that Jesus believed in a literal hell and gave stories that vividly alluded to what this place is like. Je described it as a place that's real, a place of darkness, a place that is eternal, a place where the occupants will experience "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (that can't be good), and a place that no one cannot escape. I don't know where, or what that would look like, but I know it's worth avoiding at any cost.
THE FINAL ACT OF HISTORY: GOD AGAIN LIVING WITH MANKIND ON A NEW EARTH
According to biblical revelation, while the book of Genesis starts with God 'walking' with humanity in closeness on earth, it ends in Revelation with God once again living with us humans again. In the final picture we walk with God once again not on pillowy clouds, but on a New Earth. Not in a garden, but a massive garden city, no longer tempted by the presence or power of sin, decay, and death. In the meantime when a person dies in Christ today, they can have confidence that they will be with the Lord in Heaven. My Dad died this year, and our family draws great comfort in believing that death is not the end, but the start of eternal life, and I'll see my Dad again. Do you live with this comfort today or is eternity and uncomfortable dread?
Read from the book of Revelation 21 at John's prophetic description :
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
IF THIS ALL IS TRUE, THEN CHRISTIANITY CAN'T BE JUST ABOUT RELIGIOUS BELIEF:
C.S. Lewis was quoted as saying, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true is of infinite importance. What it cannot be is moderately important."
JESUS IS GOD
At the heart of Christianity is the claim that the historical man, Jesus of Nazareth, was God come to earth with a purpose. Jesus unequivocally claimed to be God, and never refuted the fact when he was accused of claiming deity. (Many today try to dilute this truth and its importance, equating him to a man with delusions of grandeur).
I've compiled a detailed study of the biblical claims of Jesus deity so that you can read first-hand about what Jesus claims about himself in the Bible. I invite you to spend the time to read the verses in the context of the chapters that they were written (as any verse can be twisted if read out of context), and decide for yourself if Jesus claimed to be God. I do acknowledge that the bible claiming something to be true does not make it true.
The Study is a PDF file you can access by clicking on the blue link below:
So you may ask, what convinces you Dan, that Jesus is real and the Bible is trustworthy?
Let me scratch the surface:
1. JESUS HIMSELF BELIEVED THE WRITTEN BIBLE TO BE TRUE:
This is a question everyone must ask if they consider faith in Christ. I'm convinced that the Word of God is true first and foremost because Jesus believed it to be true. (Try not to dismiss this point as circular reasoning). In all 4 historical Gospel accounts Jesus frequently quoted from the 'Old Testament' without any suggested doubt of authorship. Nor implied that the human-written words reflected anything other than the very words of God. Everything, I mean everything I believe about God or Jesus comes from the Bible. If Jesus words are recorded there are all made up by men, then all Christians are seriously deluded and should be dismissed.
After reviewing the weight of the next 7 lines of reasoning, ask yourself, if Jesus can't be trusted, then who can and why?
2. THE INDISPUTABLY DEAD RAISED TO LIFE: Legit miracles witnessed by large crowds over a 3 year period.
Jesus claimed that the truth and validity of his claims was backed by his miracles. It's one thing to say you can give someone eternal life, it's another to raise someone to life who was dead 4 days (ref: Lazarus story), or even greater to raise to life after publicly being put to death, and sealed 3 days in a tomb. He healed the sick, caused the blind to see, raised several very other clearly dead people to life, walked on water, calmed a violent storm with soft word spoken. This alone is enough for me to believe. The thing is, he did miracles over a 3 year period. This is a long time for any fraud to be revealed and uncovered by those that opposed him.
3. UNDENIABLE BIBLICAL PROPHESY FULFILLED:
The Bible offer literally thousands of biblical predictions' (Prophesy), that accurately came to pass hundreds of years after it happened with such detail and accuracy, and volume that mathematically nearly impossible and beyond coincidence. There's a great article, outlining many of these at the link below:
4. THE EARLIEST WITNESSES WERE WILLING TO DIE FOR THEIR FAITH.
History tells us 11 of the 12 original disciples of Jesus died brutally for their faith that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and ascend to Heaven before their eyes. If they knew he was dead, how many would risk their life for a lie? Maybe a few, but all? The historical fact is these earliest witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus died, defending the Gospel.
Dying for a lie is just a waste, back then and today as well. Men of these men could have gone back to work fishing, or doing taxes, but once they came to live and know Jesus, their lives changed forever. A few wackos blow themselves up today, changing nothing. But these men sacrificed themselves for the truth, and changed the world.
When a person encounters Jesus they are changed for good, both then and still today. I know my life has been changed.
5. THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OF THE BIBLE:
The Bible was written by first-hand witnesses within the lifetimes that the accounts happened (not centuries later). In fact, the 4 accounts of Jesus life (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were written by different men, from different locations, addressing different audiences--both Jews and non-Jews. Do many intellectuals challenge the Bible's accuracy today, offering their opinions while puffing their pipe? Absolutely, but note that they only offer opinion, not facts to support their claims. For example, many modern scholars doubt Moses wrote the first 5 books of the Bible? However, none of the 1st century characters who lived closer to the time frame doubted this. Who is more likely to be correct?
We tend to believe the witness that was closest to the event, and history has 4 accounts of Jesus life and teachings. Likewise, when someone disputes the accuracy of the Bible, is the objection based on objective fact or opinion? How does he know what he knows? What are their sources? A sincere opinion can be sincerely incorrect. Sincerity, nor conviction defines truth.
Yet today, we have a Biblical record that has been preserved over 2000 years, a mini-miracle in itself, and is remarkably consistent and unified, with few contradictions that cannot be easily explained.
6. THE EXPLOSION OF JESUS FOLLOWERS GLOBALLY
Since 1960 to date, more people have come to faith in Jesus Christ than all believers from 70AD to 1960 combined. Jesus picked up over a billion followers since 1960 alone. Think about that. God's invisible kingdom grows daily in his people worldwide--called the Church--sent ones, called to represent Jesus. Reader, what do you believe today that is worth giving your life for?
I know I'm emphasizing the Bible a lot here, but let's face it, if the Bible is not true, then it is unimportant and is of no consequence.
7. JUST LOOK AT EARTH AND SPACE: How amazing our position in space is!
TWO STORIES: FIRST THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT:
Genesis 1:1 Nothing but God, then BOOM!!! God created vastness of the universe with earth within it. Scientists tell us the galaxies are spreading out without noticeable contraction, faster and faster with gazillions of planets and stars and galaxies all moving away from each other. The Hubble telescope shows us just how vast it all is. The Bible says God spoke all of this into exisistance in a single word. I can follow a God that is that amazing, complex, powerful, delightful, and awesome.
Genesis 1:2 Earth stands 'formless and void' A dead planet like the ones we can see in our telescopes. Then BOOM!! God speaks and God puts earth in the perfect place in our solar system to sustain life...with a sun just far enough away to warm, and night and moon just close enough to regulate our seas. Spinning just perfectly enough to sustain life and gravity, with a moon perfectly positions to influence our seas. Coincidence? I think perhaps a Godoence, to quote Pastor Brett Meador!
Genesis 1:10-14 God creates land masses in this blue world sustainable for life, then seeds it perfectly so vegetation would flourish. He declared this as good! A God who loves his planet and gives it life.
Genesis 1:20 God warms the waters of this world just right to sustain sea life, and the atmosphere just right for flying creatures, then he declared them good. A God who loves birds and a little function called breathing.
Gen 1:24 God took this dead land to fruitful land where animals of every type can grow, reproduce and live...and He declared it Good! We claim their are millions of blue planets like ours in the Universe. I'm yet to see sight of just one.
Gen 1:26, Then God made mankind--both male and female in such a way that imparted a little bit of divine character and nature in each of us. God 'breathed' on this new creation and imparted an eternal soul into you and me. He make us complete and as both sexes, a reflection of the goodness of God. He married the first Man and Woman together--the first marriage. No human is free from purpose and meaning. You matter to God.
He looked at us and declared it "Very Good"!! I can follow a God who sees me and my people as something he loves and created with purpose and care. Yet, strangely the lies of this world can make us feel so incredibly alone and disconnected. So many of us play on our phones, and feel so disconnected, but we were not created to live alone, but to be in community with each other.
I'll end with Genesis 1:28, which said that "God blessed them" and gave them the earth to manage. God is a God that does not change like we do. He blessed, continues to bless, and will come again to bless his followers. He is a God who makes big promises, then keeps them.
So why the Sunday School Genesis recap? (My crayon worksheet turned out great!) The Creation story is just the beginning, but the story begins with a God who intimately cares for humanity.
ALTERNATE STORY: FROM BANG THEY SPRANG, FROM GOO TO YOU
Secularism and evolution teaches a similar story, that there was a big, unexplainable Bang at a beginning that lead to the universe expanding outward. We can observe this outward shift. Our little blue planet was super lucky to be in the perfect place in space, to have the perfect air composition to sustain life, to be tilted and turning just right and just evolving from goo to you over billions of years. Yet with the Cause of the Bang being essentially..(um...not sure, still working on that one...)
Now which story takes more faith to believe, based on what we can see in our enormous universe? An infinite God setting us up for something amazing, or Goo to You and a big Bang?
PICKING A BIBLE VERSION TO READ
If you get this far and are impressed enough to at least start checking out what I'm into here, I'm excited with that! I honestly have had no unbeliever email me saying, "Dan, you moved me man, your persuasive Jesus talk changed my life". I guess that's ok. My hope is that you seek out Jesus for yourself, reading the 4 Gospels for yourself. It was reading through the book of John for myself back in 1980 When my faith got personal and I really encountered Jesus and was changed.
Although there are many great translations of the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew, I would encourage you to try the New International Version (NIV), as it was translated over a 20 years period by scholars of different theological leanings and denominational slants. It's been updated recently as well.
A popular free bible app for all devices is the YouVersion app. It has many versions of the bible you can try, in many languages, and some offers free audio were you to pick an app on your device of choice and just listen.
I encourage you to not read about Jesus just to gain knowledge alone, but to seek answers regarding eternal life. Life is just too short and at age 47 I've passed well beyond the 1/2 way point. As I age, time continues to pass faster and faster. Tomorrow may be here faster than you expect. My Dad's 80 and has an intimate relationship with Jesus. When he dies some day I have no doubt we will reunite. Death is not the end for a believer in Jesus.
Jesus claimed in John 14:6 "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me. If you really knew me, you would know the Father as well". This makes it tough to hold the 'all religions lead to God' position. The big problem with that logic is the fact that Jesus died for all sin. If a person could end up in Heaven through another path (like Buddha's Enlightenment), then Jesus died for nothing (to use human reasoning). Christian's often sound narrow minded, but it is because we embrace the logic above. We take Jesus at his word, and take a little flack in this life for trusting his perspective on the matter.
To seek eternal life implies rightly that you sense your spiritual deadness on your own and need what only Jesus can provide. The Biblical claim is that our sins make us spiritually dead, and that Jesus is the only one who can restore life. If you had an earthly 100 trillion dollar debt, and was unwilling to admit it, no one could help you, not even Bill Gates! Likewise, admitting our sins to God is called 'Confession'--admitting what God already knows. Asking for help to turn away from sin is called 'Repentance'. It's no just changing the mind, but setting the feet to walk another direction.
If Jesus is God (which I've done a little work to try to prove above), then the pursuit of Jesus is the very pursuit of God, which is the way to life, and the truth about everything important. The journey of faith begins and ends with Jesus.
Do you have anything in your belief portfolio worth giving your life for?
A FINAL WORD ON SOUL INSURANCE
Soul Insurance is offered from an international corporation known as 'The Church", which boasts over a billion shareholders, a 2000 year track record, has enrollees in every country on earth, a worldwide distribution system, and the same founder and CEO since inception. Every valid death claim has been paid in full, and the policy count has risen from a dozen enrollees to over 3 billion, with living benefits enjoyed by millions daily.
The catch remains the fact that the premiums are offered at no cost, but the policy must be accepted by faith to become valid. Faith does not save you, but you must have faith to be saved.
Today's a great day to evaluate your faith portfolio and the object of your faith.
For more information read your Bible!