2017-09-11 Is God Obligated?

Good Morning!

It had to believe it has been 16 years ago since the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and killed 3,000 people. The world is no safer now that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated than it was before. I wouldn’t want to be President of the US.

Last Friday, I posed the challenge for us to agree that nobody deserves heaven. Are we there yet? Let’s touch it one more time.

In Christianity, we use the term grace frequently. Probably the most condensed definition is “Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve; Mercy is God NOT giving us what we do.” If we really believe this, we should be willing to really examine it. If grace is something we don’t deserve, is it then OK for God to use hell as a means of justice? After all, that’s the whole point of hell, isn’t it? We are all judged guilty. We are all sentenced to hell. Right?

That’s a tough one to come to terms with. As non-believers (and many believers, for that matter), we may deny hell or say that we won’t be going their. Oh, sure, some say they are going to hell, but do they really understand what they say? If we believe in hell, we also probably have some idea of who might be going, generally people like Hitler. But our Christian faith, which is based upon the bible, tells us that hell is indeed real and that every single one of us is going. Why? Because no one seeks God; no not one.

Therefore, it seems that God has some alternatives.

Everyone goes to hell.
No one goes.
Some go.

We know the bible teaches us that most go and some do not, but wouldn’t God be fair and just if he sent us all to the hell that we deserve? This is no trivial, academic matter. We tend to forget how bad hell really is and how we deserve to go. Let that hit home. Our rightful eternity is in hell – alongside Hitler.

But God wouldn’t do that, you say. It’s not his nature, you say. The idea of God sending everyone to hell makes us squirm, doesn’t it? We start to look for escape clauses. We start to question the bible itself. We question the nature of God. This can’t be true, we say. The moment we start thinking God is obligated to save anyone, that’s the moment we no longer believe that grace is a gift. If God is obligated, he must be obligate because of something we did or of some mistake he made. Do we really want to go there? That’s the kind of rationale that the serpent posed to Eve.

We’ll cover grace tomorrow.

Father, these are disturbing and difficult concepts. Please keep our attention so we become distracted by the cares of this world, the things that seem more appealing. Amen.

Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers

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