2020-06-19 It’s All Or Nothing.

“Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy,
and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
Revelation 22:11

This is an interesting verse. It comes at the close of the last of the official instruction from the Holy Spirit. I’m still working through this whole concept of protesting, so bear with me. To understand society’s desire to protest, one should not forget the fundamental situation of mankind.

First, man is made in the image of God. We have intrinsic value in that fact. When someone sins against us, they sin against God. When we sin against others, we, too, sin against God. Second, all have fallen short of the glory of God. None is exempt from this fact. Left to our own, we are enemies of God, desiring to worship but refusing to accept God on his terms. Third, only God can change this situation. Yes, we have free will, but we choose freely in disobedience. Even our good deeds are counted against us. We cannot please God. Fourth, only God can change this situation. How? By granting mercy and miraculously changing our hearts. This is done at his initiative and without our request. It is a point of time and an on-going process. He makes new creations out of those he chooses. He chooses few and at his prerogative.

Fifth, the rest of mankind will be held responsible for their disobedience. They are all commanded to obey. They will suffer eternally because they refuse. They are with full knowledge and aware of their decisions. Yes, some are more evil than others, but God’s expectation is complete obedience. There will be degrees of hell, but there is no release for good behavior. None. All sin will face justice. The problem for mankind is that we will never be able to repay for the wrong of even the smallest sin. Make no mistake, nobody has only one sliver of sin against them. We all have mounds and mounds of sin that we refuse to acknowledge.

Sixth, mankind listens to another voice, the voice of their father, Satan. While they may not be aware they are doing so, they nonetheless are. Deception, theft, dishonesty, murder, violence, and destruction is his trademark. He hates God and will do anything to satisfy that hatred. He uses people for his own ends. At some point yet to come, he will be forever contained and punished, he and all those who oppose God. This is the lake of fire.

Those of us who are granted mercy are saved from God’s wrath and will enjoy Him forever in His presence. We are called to follow and obey Jesus in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. God’s full intention is to make us like his Son; he will accomplish this. We are called to cooperate. God promises us everything we need. Food and clothing. He is always there for us and will never leave us. He will change us more and more to eventually be completely holy and blameless by removing our sin. He aligns our wants and desires away from the desires of this world towards the things he desires for us. Our desires for this world will disappear and be replaced with desire for our heavenly home. God will grant us spiritual gifts that no amount of money can buy.

God does NOT promise us a life of leisure on this earth. In fact, he warns us we will be persecuted because we are Jesus’ disciples, persecuted for who we are. Our family, neighbors, friends, countrymen – everyone – will recognize and treat us as enemies because of our gospel message. We are salt and light to a dead and dying world, and the world will hate us for it because they first hate Jesus and our Father who sent him. We may very well be oppressed, tortured, and killed for his name’s sake.

We are called to make disciples of all people with no distinction of nationality, tribe, or sex. Certainly, there are distinctions between peoples, but God offers salvation to all. We are assigned the role of ambassador, representatives who are charged with the ministry of reconciliation. We are called to share the gospel with all people so that all may be called to reconcile with God through repentance and obedience to Jesus. Some hearts will soften because God will soften them. Most will harden because they hate the true and living God. Why? Because their deeds are evil.

Will Christians change the world? Nope, not one bit. We are commissioned to share the gospel, but it is God alone who changes hearts. If anyone repents, it is because God had mercy and changed their hearts. Sure, people may change this or that about their lifestyle, but sanctification (regeneration) is a job reserved for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians are merely servants.

So, yes, mankind may do good things like abolish slavery or pass laws against workplace discrimination, but none of that will be credited to anyone’s salvation apart from complete obedience to God. Quitting drinking won’t get anyone into heaven. Salvation is all or nothing. Many will think they have earned heaven but will be greatly disappointed to find it can’t be. Actually, they will acknowledge that they truly knew they couldn’t because they were knowingly in open rebellion to God. They were truly trying to gain false entrance by deception. They are thieves and liars.

It would be good if abortion was completely eliminated but that won’t change mankind’s overall rebellion. Only God can do that, but the bible is clear that he won’t. God will change a few but not all. He never has, and he won’t going forward. Sin is still a problem (and will meet justice) until that day that all lawbreakers are contained in the lake of fire and God has completely transformed those whom he has granted mercy. On that day, sin will be no more.

At the end of all this, I am left with one conclusion. The gospel is the only message of hope. Apart from that, we are only chasing the wind. It is my finding that I am doing my fellow man great harm by suggesting reform without the cross or even partial reform with it. The only true freedom lies with Jesus. Why would I suggest anything else?

John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Father, please send workers into your harvest. It is ripe. Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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