for the whole world
Some people think that when one is saved, he is saved in such a way that he can never be lost. However, the New Testament teaches three salvations.
1. One is saved from past or alien sins when he by faith does what God requires of him. That is the salvation Jesus was talking about when he said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). It is the same salvation that the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the apostle, referred to when he told believers to "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). It is the salvation of Acts 22:16 where Saul was told to "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins." The New Testament plainly teaches that in being saved this way from his alien state and sins, one becomes a child of God or a Christian. This means he enters into the body of Christ, which is the church Jesus purchased with his blood (Colossians 1:2, 18; 3:15; Acts 20:28). After one thus becomes a Christian, he can still sin.
2. When a child of God sins, he should ask his Father in heaven to forgive him. A child of God who sinned was told by the apostle Peter to repent and pray that he might be forgiven (Acts 8:22). Of Christians the New Testament says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Some preachers tell alien sinners to confess their sins and ask God to forgive them, and then quote 1 John 1:9 as a proof text for such instruction. But, this passage sums up the responsibility of erring children of God. Alien sinners were told by inspired preachers to believe the Gospel, repent of their sins and be baptized for the remission of their sins.
If a child of God errs from the truth, he must turn from the error of his way back to the Lord if he expects to be saved in heaven. "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).
3. Jesus said: "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved" (Matthew 10:22). Being saved in heaven is the third kind of salvation under consideration. "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fail. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:10-11).
The Book of Ecclesiastes reveals Solomon's effort to evaluate the world. Having great wealth, power and wisdom, Solomon set out to test life. He used his keen mind in a search for the best life has to offer. He tried to discover how to maximize happiness and minimize sorrow. He sought to understand the world and wanted to unravel its mysteries and discover the meaning of all its workings, both good and evil (Ecclesiastes 1:12-13, 16-17).
Solomon experienced this with his own life. He tried every kind of pleasure -- the best food and drink, the best music and entertainment, the finest material goods, the most beautiful women. He took on great challenges and tried to improve everything around him. Solomon pursued happiness in every conceivable way (2:1, 3-10).
Solomon, it seems, pursued happiness with as much zest, gusto and vigor as any man. Certainly, if anyone was ever both wise enough and wealthy enough to succeed, it was Solomon. The Bible states that Solomon's glory -- his riches, possessions and honor -- was unexcelled (Ecclesiastes 2:9).
No king has ever had more personal resources for the pursuit of happiness than Solomon. Yet, he failed. Whatever he tried, wherever he looked, he found frustration and futility. He discovered that pleasure, possessions or any endeavor would not bring lasting happiness (Ecclesiastes 2:11). He pursued happiness but found vexation, disappointment and emptiness. He ended his great quest, lamentably, hating life (Ecclesiastes 2:15-23). Let us notice what Solomon discovered.
Solomon discovered the vanity of Life! Solomon's failure to find bliss was not a personal one. He failed because of the very nature of life. It is a world at war with itself -- a world of order and disorder in continuous conflict -- and there is no defense against its evils (Ecclesiastes 1:14-15). He saw oppression, the failure of riches, the failure of righteousness and the climax of every life being death.
Solomon discovered the compensations of life! Although Solomon was deeply disappointed by what he discovered about life, he concluded that life is better than death. And, in spite of all our suffering, virtually everyone chooses life over death (9:4-6; 11:7-8). Furthermore, God has given us compensations to ease our sorrows. He has made the simple, common experiences of life the most reliable resources of happiness. It is also good to know and remember that true survival comes from obedience to the Lord (7:18).
Solomon discovered the accountability of life! It behooves us all to keep the future in mind as we live our lives. Solomon warned the young to look ahead and not forget that age catches up with us all. Do not live selfishly and for the moment because (although it cannot be seen) our spirit goes upward to be judged by how we have lived (11:9-10; 12:13-14).
Solomon is not pessimistic about life; he is realistic. We will not find a utopia in this life. This, however, is the perfect training ground for eternity. This life brings struggles, trials and difficulties which must be met with obedience to the Word of God. Obedience to God can give meaning to life and bring eternal life.
You can become a Christian by believing that Jesus Christ is God's Son (John 8:24), repenting of your sins (Acts 3:19), confessing your faith in Christ as God's Son (Romans 10:9-10) and being baptized (immersed in water) for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38). Will you let us assist you in obtaining the abundant life?