DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I just turned 80, and I’ve gotten along just fine all these years without God. You’ll probably tell me I ought to be worrying about death and hell and all of that, but I don’t believe in life after death. Why should I? People who try to convert me make me tired. — D.J.
DEAR D. J.: Occasionally, I’ll meet someone or get a letter from someone like you, and it always makes me sad because I know they’re shutting their eyes to reality. The Bible warns that someday we will all die, and then “we will all stand before God’s judgment seat” (Romans 14:10).
Right now you scoff at this, but have you ever asked yourself why? The reason, I suspect, is simply because you have wanted to live life on your own terms. You know that if you were to take God seriously, you couldn’t remain in control of your life any longer — and you don’t want that to happen. Instead, you want to live by your own rules (or lack of rules), and so far you’ve been able to do it.
But let me ask you a question: Are you sure you’re right? I doubt it; otherwise you wouldn’t have written me. Please don’t misunderstand; I don’t say this to win an argument or put you down. I say it because I yearn for you to discover the greatest joy any person can ever experience — the joy of knowing God, and knowing you will go to be with Him forever in heaven.
Don’t let your pride or anything else keep you from Jesus Christ. God loves you, no matter what your past has been and wants to welcome you into His family. God’s promise is for you: “To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I don’t fear death because I believe that after I die I’ll come back to earth again and be born as another person. Why are Christians so opposed to this idea? Other religions don’t have a problem with it. — H.K.
DEAR H.K.: You’re right; unlike some religions and philosophies, Christians reject the idea of reincarnation (the belief that once we die, we’ll return to earth — not necessarily as humans — for many lifetimes).
One reason Christians don’t believe in reincarnation is because Jesus clearly taught that once we die, we’ll enter eternity — either to be with God in heaven, or to go to that place of utter hopelessness the Bible calls hell. In fact, some of Jesus’ most solemn warnings concerned the reality of hell — and some of His most comforting words concerned the reality of heaven. To His disciples He promised, “My Father’s house has many rooms.... I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
Behind this promise is a very profound truth: By His death and resurrection, Jesus destroyed death’s power over us. You see, only one thing can keep us out of heaven, and that is our sin. But you can’t cleanse yourself of your sins no matter how hard you try or how many lifetimes you live. This is why we need Christ, for He took upon Himself the penalty for our sins — and now He offers us eternal life as a free gift.
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
This is the only life you’ll ever live — and you should take that truth very seriously. By a simple act of faith put your life into Christ’s hands — now, and forever.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I know you say we’re all sinners and we all fail to live up to God’s moral standards, but maybe He doesn’t even care what we do. Maybe God just wants us to be happy and have a good time. Could I be right? I hope so. — J. McK.
DEAR J. McK.: My answer may surprise you — but you are right, up to a point: God does want us to be happy! Jesus said, “If you... know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).
But does this mean God doesn’t care how we live, and that happiness comes from casting off all restraints and living any way we want to? No, definitely not! God loves us and knows what’s best for us. That’s why He has told us what’s right and what’s wrong. Just as a farmer fences his field to keep his animals from danger, so God has provided a “fence” of right and wrong to keep us from danger. True happiness only comes from living according to His will.
I realize that right now you probably don’t believe this. Instead, you think happiness comes from indulging your every desire and ignoring God’s moral laws.
But eventually this will catch up with you, and you’ll discover it simply isn’t true. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, you’ll discover that self-indulgence eventually becomes “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
Don’t be deceived, but commit your life to Jesus Christ and discover why God put you here.
Only He can give you the lasting peace and happiness you seek.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-877-2-GRAHAM, or go go www.billygraham.org.