Friday, November 26, 2010

Are You Willing to Believe?

One of the most searched for pages on this blog is a post written a few years ago titled "Funeral for Unbelievers". I think it is obvious why this post is on search engines daily. People die everyday and unfortunately for most, they die as unbelievers in Jesus Christ as the savior for their sins. The Bible seems clear on the unfortunate fact that most who pass away die as unbelievers in salvation through Christ alone: Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (NLT- italics mine).

I implore those who may be reading this post not to be among the larger group of the many mentioned in this scripture; don't be one of the ones for whom someone will do a web search for your funeral for an unbeliever. Accept Christ's free gift of salvation. No matter how bad of a life you maybe living, look what Christ did for the condemned criminal on the cross next to Him. This guy was being executed likely because he did something worth being executed for! His life was a mess and it was about to end! No chance for him to "turn it around and become a good person"! Yet here he was at his end with a humbling of himself and a simple genuine belief in Jesus as Lord: Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23: 42-43).

What mercy! Jesus erased all of the sins from this criminal and took him to heaven simply because this man humbled himself and believed! He didn't do anything in and of himself to deserve this mercy! He willingly believed! As an alternate example however there was also another condemned criminal there (about to die) who did not believe: One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” But the other criminal (who believed) protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? (Luke 12:39-40 - parenthesis mine)

Don't die in your unbelief. If you do, your eternal sentence in hell will end being your choice. You would have chosen to spend eternity in torment. Do you know that Jesus himself mentioned the reality of hell at least 9 times in the book of Matthew? He wanted people to know that it is real and it is to be avoided at all costs as He says here: “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear. (Luke 12: 4-5)

There is a misconception in this world that our lives will all end when we die. Yes, we will die...but only from this earth. The reality according to God's word is that we will all live forever in eternity - simply in a different state from our current lives. There are however two eternal states where all people will end up: heaven or hell. You and I will be alive forever in one of those two places. Here is how the Bible describes option one: I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” ...All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. (Revelation 21: 3-4, 7); but here is how the Bible describes option two: I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)

There will be those who simply don't believe any of this and who will scoff at all that I have just written. That certainly is an option. But what if what I am saying is true?

A God who sends people to Hell?