My wife recently quit her job. I continue to work at the same job even though she’s gone. She quit and decided to never come back based on “ethical reasons.” I, on the other hand, feel that my job in this inner city hospital, is much a kin to a missionary going off to a backwater part of the world to bring savages to Jesus. These people are as far from Christ as anyone can possibly get. My wife even said once, (before she gave up and quit) that “I’m sure there are some closet Christians here. You just have to find them.” Now, after she’s departed, she says, “even Lot had to leave Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Recently, I was at work having lunch with a float pool nurse who claimed to be Christian. She was telling me her personal view of Jesus and it wasn’t anything like my view. It felt like some distorted Socialist religion where we all must be accepting of everyone as they are, in their sins. She explained, “We are all naturally sinful, we can’t help it. So, as Christians, we have to accept them, as they are.” I felt awkward, but I had to disagree. I believe that once you decide to become a follower of Jesus, you might still have a sinful nature, but you must really do your very best to not sin. Jesus died to forgive us of our past sins and give us passage to heaven. He didn’t intend to suffer and sacrifice his life just so that we could continue to live our selfish evil life. We can’t be perfect, but we can, at least try out best.
(John 8:1-11) Jesus saved a prostitute from being stoned to death. Afterward, He forgave her and told her to “go and sin no more.”
Unfortunately, there are many disagreements in religion. Jesus confronted the Pharisees over differing views of specific verses in the only known Bible of that time. We all know how that disagreement played out.
Many tend to make up their own version. The Seventh Day Adventists get around this uncomfortable roadblock by claiming that there is no real Hell. Their version of “Hell” is simply being “separated from God,” or to be in a place where God isn’t. I believe differently. I know that Hell is very real and it’s still hot. Jesus talks more about Hell than anyone else in the Bible. (Matthew 10:28, Mark 9:43). He refers to it as a real place and describes it in graphic terms including raging fires and brimstone, and “the worm that doesn’t die.” Jesus says the unsaved “will be thrown outside into darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12).
Unfortunately, like my coworker, there are a lot of people and a lot of churches who claim to be “Christian.” Most people like to hear a vanilla, non-confrontational sermon, and then go about their business for another six days. The church elders love this also. There’s no hurt feelings and the revenue is steady. Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are looking for a church what will allow them to live the lifestyle that they want to live regardless of how ungodly it really is. There are many churches today that have openly gay ministers preaching the advantages of the lifestyle.
You can feel that this is not beholding to the teachings of Jesus. Yes, he did say to “love your neighbor” and to “turn the other cheek.” Many think that Jesus was only “love and acceptance.” He said a lot more.
In (Matt 7:21) Jesus even says, “I never knew you” as he spoke about people that were unwilling to repent and live according to the commandments. How and why will “a man’s foes be they of his own household?” Because Christ asks you to take a stand. He asks you which side of the line you’re going to be on…and you prove which side you are on by “keeping the faith”. Everyone and everything is not “ok” or “accepted” by Jesus Christ. He loves everyone, but our behaviors have the power to leave us standing at a “door in which He will not open.”
A recent poll found, for every one American who believed that he or she was destined for Hell, there are 120 who whole heartedly believe that they are going to Heaven. Yet Jesus Christ himself said otherwise. He said “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few will find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
We should be “loving and compassionate” but we should never allow ourselves to believe that Christ just accepts us how we are. That was never in the program. He’s always asked us to change, to repent, to get better, and to overcome the things that we struggle with. When we quit trying to align our wills with God, and start trying to get God to align His will with ours…that is when we start to lose our way.
Most people don’t want to realize that Hell is a very real place and it is still hot. Sin is still wrong, and the bible is God’s word and Jesus is the only way to salvation. Knowing this, I believe that, in the end, there will be a huge number of unfortunate people that will be in for a really big surprise… some of which might have even call themselves “Christian.”