“So often I find myself wrestling my faith. I feel on the fringes of Christianity. I don’t think Abortion is an open-shut case, I feel like Homosexuality is no more grave than any of my own sins. I don’t care is the rapture is pre or post-tribulation. I don’t care to believe that my all loving God would condemn billions of people to Hell for simply believing in a God with a different name. I refuse to judge others and teach a turn or burn theology… I question the need for anything besides a core doctrine of Jesus and love.
I call myself a Christ follower, but yet when I look around at others who identify the same, I often ask myself… Is this what I am? Do I belong to this collective?”
Last post, wow, over a month ago, I wrote about what I felt it means to be a Christian versus a “Christ-follower.” My basic premise in that post was that Christianity, or rather American evangelical Christianity, has lost focus of the sovereignty of God. Life isn’t about you or me, it’s about God. God has to be the center.
This time, I want to focus on an all loving God. Specifically, if God loves you and you don’t love Him back, is He required to allow you to live in His house forever?
“I don’t care to believe that my all loving God would condemn billions of people to Hell for simply believing in a God with a different name.”
What’s in a name? Every one of us has a name, it distinguishes us from other people, we respond to it when we hear it called out, we smile when people remember it, and we get frustrated and angry when we have to keep reminding people what our name is. When we tell a person our name several times in the same conversation and it’s obvious to us that the person to whom we are speaking to isn’t intent on remembering our name, we walk away from that conversation thinking that person obviously didn’t care about us; they weren’t investing themselves into us. Is God any different? Is He?
My name is Jim. My name is not Mark, nor Phillip, nor George. If you call me that, I will not respond because it is apparent to me that you aren’t talking to me. Is God any different? Praying to Buddha, Vishnu, Mohamed and Allah isn’t praying to God, the Father. Praying to Jehovah or Yahweh and denying the full Trinitarian revelation of Himself as Father, Son, Holy Spirit is also not praying to God. You are praying to a god, just not THE God that has totally revealed Himself in the New Testament. He has a name. It isn’t Buddha, Vishnu, Allah, or Baal. Jesus went a step further, he said he is the way, the truth, the life; no one comes to the Father except through him. Do you not see the exclusivity, the one way street, the narrow path? There is one God, with one name, with one way to him. We don’t get to find our own way as we see fit. You aren’t in charge, God is.
There is a book about Hell by John Blanchard titled Whatever Happened to Hell? We seem to have forgotten it. We don’t talk about it anymore. That’s funny, because Jesus talked about it, a lot. Of the 1870 verses in the New Testament spoken by Jesus, 13% are on judgment and Hell. He spoke on this topic more than any other, angels second, love third. Of the more than 40 parables that Jesus spoke, over half relate to eternal judgment. For those who get their God is love mantra from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked more directly about Hell in that sermon than anywhere else. Do you see the trend here?
Hell is a real place and those that refuse to bow the knee to Christ will come to know it very well. Some of those will be in your family; some of those will be in my family. And while that hurts to think about that, in the end there is no one without sin, no not one. We all deserve to go to Hell. It is by the unmerited grace of God alone that He chose those whom he chose to be his children and be with him in heaven forever. It is not man’s place to determine who deserves God’s favor. Have you read Romans 9 lately?
God doesn’t condemn billions of people to Hell “just for the Hell of it.” They all deserve to be there, we all deserve to be there. God is also a jealous God. Not the green-eyed monster, jealousy. He is the Creator of all things; he created mankind to have relationship with him. The church is called the bride of Christ. God wants his bride to be faithful to him. He doesn’t want to his bride to be unfaithful, to whore herself to whoever will have her. Humanity’s problem, again, is one of sovereignty. Our problem isn’t that we don’t know if God exists. Our problem is that we don’t care for the God we know exists. We don’t like his rules, we don’t like how he wants us to worship him, and we don’t like it that because he is perfect and holy, that he requires us to be perfect and holy. We would much rather take it easy and live how we want, we would much rather be entertained and feel good rather than have our consciences pricked and sins exposed.