Look at this. We are already at Part 6 in answering the tough question about the death of an unbeliever, and we aren’t done. So far, we’ve established that every one of us deserves eternal damnation for our blatant and consistent rebellion against the one true, holy, and living God. We’ve also touched upon the idea that God is the one that makes up the rules with regard to whom he chooses to have mercy and to whom he doesn’t. This is something that most people have a very difficult time with.
Let’s take a look at this for a minute. Let’s assume you have been with me in our journey through scripture and agree that no human can justify him/herself. We call that the doctrine of original sin. I grew up being taught that the sin of Adam and Eve flowed through to all their decedents. They were banished from the Garden because of the (apple), and so are we. In practice, I think this doesn’t explain much of anything regarding our own behavior. Rarely do we fully discuss the magnitude and depth of our own sin. As such, it’s easy to view this whole thing with a sense of unfairness resulting in a hint of mistrust of God. I mean, really, how can I be held responsible for someone eating a piece of fruit?
This type of distrust is present when we reject the idea that God chooses those on whom he has mercy and not the other way around. In fact, we think it MUST be that we choose God, right? That’s what we are taught – to have faith and follow Jesus – right? He knocks, we answer. At least some of us answer. But it is broadly taught that God extends grace to everyone, but we need to respond. As we discovered, this leads to lots of confessions of faith but few “true” conversions. Infant baptism is one means we use to rack up numbers. So are altar calls. The Evangelicals use the Sinners Prayer to convert people, but we see most do not have the life-transforming change one would expect – just as with infant baptism. So, from that perspective everybody is trying to do something that cannot be done by man.
Underlying all this is a general feeling that God is not fair. I mean who doesn’t wish all their loved ones will one day be in heaven. Maybe we can see that some people should fry in hell, but none of our relatives. Or neighbors. Really, why doesn’t God simply forgive everyone? That’s what he SHOULD do. For sure, he should let ME in heaven. Right?
This whole thing is further complicated by the fact that not everyone actually hears the gospel of Jesus Christ. How can God be fair if not everyone even has an opportunity to reject Jesus? Seriously. Then what about the people who walk away from their faith? Do you mean to tell me that God won’t forgive them?
What the heck? Who is this God, anyway?
Yet, does not God have the right to make the rules? Does he have an obligation to make the world as we wish it to be? Why must he be so stiff-necked about all this?
Wait. God does have the right to make the rules, doesn’t he? Just because I don’t agree with them doesn’t make them wrong or bad. Perhaps I simply don’t understand them. Perhaps I simply don’t take the time to understand them. Perhaps God’s rules are good. Perhaps they are so good they cannot be improved. What if God isn’t the one that’s stiff-necked. What if it’s me?
Am I willing to concede that the Creator of this universe knows more about things than I do? Am I willing to accept the plain fact that the bible is reliable beyond imagination and contains all the answers that God thinks I need? Am I willing to take the time to seek truth in his Word?
Father, please forgive me for doubting you. Amen.