Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Yesterday, I mentioned this random question some folks have asked me in the past: “Can a Christian go night clubbing and still make it to Heaven?” I hope you will understand that a child of God will never enter Heaven or miss out on it by what he or she does. Our salvation does not depend on what we do or don’t do; it depends on what Christ did. What He did was pay the price for our sins, and all who believe it and also believe in Him, gain eternal life. People don’t enter Heaven because they deserve it or have earned it; it is all due to God’s grace. I suspect that some pastors who have a clear understanding of the gospel message wish, from time to time, that they could tell their members, “If you do this or that, you’re going to miss out on Heaven.” They would do so, of course, with the hope of getting the straying ones back on the right track. But if they did that, they would be misrepresenting the gospel.
Many years ago, I was asked to conduct bible studies in a men’s home to brand new Christians who were recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. It did not take too long for them to kindly ask me not to come back. They realized that I was emphasizing the gospel of grace and felt it was too risky for these men to hear it. The director of the home told me that the last thing these men needed to hear was that they could still indulge in some of their past sins, and still make it to Heaven. I totally understood his position but felt I was not given the opportunity to finish the studies and present the full picture. Its true that a child of God cannot lose his or her salvation. Still, it does not give him or her a free ride, nor a license to sin.
David wrote: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Ps. 66:18) This is how the great bible commentator, Matthew Henry, interpreted this verse: [“If I have favourable thoughts of it, if I love it, indulge it, and allow myself in it, if I treat it as a friend and bid it welcome, make provision for it and am loth to part with it, if I roll it under my tongue as a sweet morsel, though it be but a heart sin that is thus countenanced and made much of, if I delight in it after the inward man, God will not hear my prayer, will not accept it, nor be pleased with it, nor can I expect an answer of peace to it.’’] I John 3:8 in the New Living Translation says: “But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the devil.” That’s pretty blunt, but it reinforces the truth that genuine believers, although they fall into it from time to time, do not practice sin. God will always love and never abandon us, but if we choose to continue doing our own thing and live as we please, we will pay a big price for it. Lets stay out of trouble and stay close to the Lord.
Memory verse for the week: (Isaiah 55:6) “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.”
PS: Don’t forget this Friday night’s movie at the church, “God’s Not Dead.” Admission is free and concessions will be available before, during, and after the movie. I hope to see you then.