Last week we landed on what I call the Guarantee of God for His Children. His love is rock solid and cannot be shaken – even by ourselves. This means that if we are truly his, we cannot lose our salvation – even if we renounce him! We covered that in depth recently, so there is no need to go there now. Our business with this series to address the inevitable death of an unbeliever whom we love. To do so, we need to examine the entire gospel.
First, we start with the fact that all humans willfully deny the true and living God and worship gods of their own design; therefore, our sin has convicted us. Everlasting torment in a real, physical hell is our sentence. We earned it; we will receive it. However, God is right and just to have mercy on those whom he has mercy and to execute a pardon, if you will, through faith in Jesus – his son who is actually one part of three in the Godhead. You see, God has selected a certain few to be a special gift to his son as the bride of Jesus. However, these few must be cleansed and purified of their sin. Jesus did that for us on the cross. He paid the ransom and bore the punishment of our sin. All we need to do is have faith in Jesus. Fortunately for us, that faith is a gift from God. Our obligation then is to obey him. This is possible through another gift – the Holy Spirit, the third part of Godhead – who lives inside of us and makes it possible to life the Christian life as outlined in the bible. Jesus rose from his death and ascended to heaven. We shall be with him, in spirit, upon our death. Once day he will return and our physical, resurrected bodies will join him forever and ever. Those who don’t believe will spend eternity in the lake of fire, the eternal hell.
To all of this, there are many questions that can be asked. Most Christians can recite all this stuff through the Nicene Creed. However, most do not know their bibles well enough to stand under scrutiny. When pressed, they quickly run out of answers. It then seems that Christianity has significant contradictions and flaws. At the worst, it would seem that God is not just. It would seem that he is unfair and even evil in his intention. That, my friends is exactly what Satan wants us to believe. It’s the same play he has been using from the beginning.
Genesis 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
The fundamental play is that God is inherently evil and that we can make up our own rules and do it our own way. We see this in action everywhere we turn, including in our own hearts. Nobody follows God. Nobody.
The truth is that God is good and truthful. Satan, as it turns out, is the real traitor, a created being who desires to be like God. His is a liar and murderer. He comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. Nothing is worse than him. Amazingly enough, we know this. We all do. We all know that God is the only true salvation. He alone is worthy of our praise and adoration. Still, we turn our back and do our own thing. Every single one of us. Everyone. Yes, Satan is evil, but so are we. While Satan may tempt us, our own hearts are corrupt. We refuse to follow God. Period.
Why are we like this? Couldn’t God have designed the whole thing better than this? I mean, if we are that rotten and miserable, who can be saved?
Here’s where most Christians start to fall apart. They like to believe that there is inherent good in people, that we are capable of choosing God and having faith in Jesus Christ – by our own choice and will. They then start to run into problems when trying to decide who is and who is not a Christian. They can’t bear the idea of a loved one spending eternity in hell just because they did not have obvious faith in Jesus. They look for other signs. Was this person ALL bad? Certainly, there were some kind words that this person said or nice deeds that they did for others! The answer to that is yes. Indeed, even Adolf Hitler had a woman who loved him. He wasn’t completely bad. The inherent problem with this exercise is we are at a loss to determine the tipping point of who is good enough to enter heaven and who is bad enough that won’t.
The bigger problem is that this isn’t reflective at all of what the bible teaches us. So, what do we do? We ignore it. More and more. And more. And more. We make up our own rules. We make up gods that suit our purposes. Each does what is right in his own eyes.
Why? Because we don’t like the way God has set things up. Does that change anything? Nope.
Stay tuned. We’re going to look into a chapter of the bible few will seriously consider. Yet without it, we will continually end up denying God when faced with these tough questions.
Father, so us your truth. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers