By William F. Holland Jr., DD., C. ED.D.
Within the Christian faith, we are taught that every person will someday stand before God and have a discussion about how they lived. A few will argue, give excuses, try to justify, and attempt to present their case before the infinite judge and authority of all things. Many scoff and doubt about not being responsible for the way they live, but for the most part, the majority agrees there is coming a day of judgment. You would think with nearly everyone hearing about being held accountable that it would generate more interest in knowing God and what He requires. Sadly, this seems to make people run away even more.
When the scriptures talk about recognizing words and deeds, the association between good and bad trees, and the evidence of fruit, most people are offended at the idea of being judged. They also become easily ruffled when presented with the consideration that nice and sympathetic people are not necessarily sheep of God’s fold. Spiritual discernment is real and one reason for the Holy Spirit is to give us a deeper insight than just our emotions about situations, certain individuals, and especially ourselves. We are not to be ignorant about what is happening around us, but at the same time, there is no way we can know what is in the heart of another person.
I was asked the other day about what I believe is the difference between a person who is always thinking and talking about the Lord and someone who never mentions Him. It’s true, we have religious laws, doctrines, and interpretations of the Bible that are explained by those who are considered experts about what it means to be a follower of Christ, but can Christianity be condensed into a specific lifestyle formula that is identified and measured according to a certain standard? If we are a Christian will everyone know it? I believe yes. Christians carry burdens and a common weight of the soul is to plead for those who need God. We pray because we love.
When a person is in love with God, they are overflowing with joy, faith, and excitement. A person is drawn and repents when they are convicted by the gospel, surrenders their will, and becomes spiritually born-again. They are redeemed through the blood covenant atonement and become a new creation that is governed by the Lordship of Christ who fills and controls their life. We agree the infinite light and life of God within these individuals illuminates and empowers the presence of His mercy, compassion, and love. So, could it be possible for an individual who has yielded everything they have and all that they are unto God, to never say a word about knowing Him? Could someone who has taken up their cross feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about the Bible, pray for someone in need, or share about what Christ accomplished on Calvary? Indeed no! Jesus was not a secret agent and neither are we.
The world is convinced that heaven is the default destination of everyone except for a few hideous individuals here and there. This philosophy is without spiritual discipline to understand God’s command for us to yield our will to Him. It’s a comfortable worldview that does not want to be told what to do and has the song, “I did it my way” at the top of the playlist. This rebellious attitude is perfectly content to float down the river and hope that everything works out in the end. It will not. God is not asleep.
I’ve said many times that either everyone is going to heaven or hardly anyone is going. What do I mean? If being a nice and decent person is the only requirement, then we have nothing to worry about. Since the Bible is true we must embrace the reverential fear of God. actually, this default idea is the other way around. Hell has always been the default since man fell in the Garden and is why Christ is the only hope for those who believe. The confusion is not believing He means what He says. If we had the desire to search carefully within ourselves, we would find there are certain lines we refuse to cross when offering our hearts to God. We seldom consider these hidden reservations as we are afraid to face our guilt and fears associated with our need to change. Denial becomes easier to manage with time and the longer we wait to make things right, the deeper we fall into deception.
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