This week I’ve been pondering why it’s sometimes hard for Christians to fully pursue, embrace, and live by biblical truth. Not just what they can easily agree with and believe, but ALL of it – even what they don’t understand and can’t explain. Often it’s because of what that belief will cost them.
I once believed that good people go to heaven regardless of their choices, as long as they do their best. I knew so many really good people who weren’t Christians, how could God possibly send them to hell? The cost to believe biblical truth about hell was realizing many good people I know might end up there because they did not believe in Jesus.
Same is true for Jewish people – some Christians believe that Jewish people are God’s chosen, and they’ll go to heaven with or without belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. And people who are not married living together as a couple (including homosexuals), shouldn’t they be able to have love in their lives? The cost of believing biblical truth about salvation and sex-only-within-marriage-between-a-man-and-a-woman is that people they love are suffering here, and won’t go to heaven.
It’s hard to look at family and friends who do not know Jesus or who are choosing to live in opposition to His Word and realize we will not see them in heaven. So we bend a little Scripture here or ignore a verse there without even realizing that’s what we’re doing. We adapt Scripture to what we want to believe instead of adapting our beliefs to what Scripture says. We love them so much we want to see them happy, and not suffering. And we ourselves don’t want to be rejected.
But we have to love God more than everything else in our lives. So much more that obedience to Him and acceptance by faith of His Word – all of it – trumps making people (including ourselves) feel comfortable in this life. We have to value His righteousness in our lives more than the acceptance of people. We also have to be sure we are always open to learning deeper truths about Jesus, and being corrected when we’re wrong. I’m so thankful for every person that boldly spoke the truth to me that I needed to hear and not always what I wanted to hear, both before and after I started walking with Jesus. I want to be that person to those I love.
The truth is, God doesn’t send anyone to hell. He offers everyone the gift of salvation through Jesus, but not everyone accepts His gift. They choose hell for themselves by living their lives apart from God, or living in rebellion to His ways. (For what I believe as the basics of Christian faith, see Statement of Faith.)
We all have free will to choose how we live our lives, including what beliefs we embrace. I can serve you a platter of hors d’oeuvres, and you can take or leave anything on the tray. So it is with truth: I can share what I believe with you and you can decide for yourself what you want to accept.
But woe to us if we don’t first strive to learn God’s truth, then share it – all of it.
Choose today to stand firm in your faith, sharing the truth in love, living “all in” for Jesus above all else!
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Everyone will hate you because of me,
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.