Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Biggest Lie of All?

I’ve come to the conclusion that of all the lies that Satan has perpetrated on mankind, one is particularly successful, and thus, most lethal. I’ve witnessed its evil effect in every country in which I’ve been on mission: Peru, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Brazil...On Saturday mornings, I speak at a local drug and alcohol rehab clinic and practically every week, I hear some version of this horrible mistruth, and it gnaws at me that this one simple misconception can do so much harm.

People are walking around, wrapped up in it, like some sort of child’s soft security blanket, making them feel warm and comfortable. They live their lives leaning on a lie that keeps them from facing the reality of the Truth and many, perhaps most, will tragically only find out when it’s too late that Satan has led them astray with a deception that started from their early childhood and escorted them to the grave. Some of you will read this and still not face the reality that you have, too, been led astray...

So, what is this lie, this deceitful infection with a deadly affect? Here it is:

"Good people go to Heaven. Bad people go to Hell."

That’s it. A simple notion that someday when we stand before God, He’ll accept us based on the good life that we’ve led and that only the deserving, evil Adolf Hitlers and Timothy McVeighs of our world end up in the fiery depths of eternal damnation. 

You know, when an atheist stands before God someday, he must have a definite, sinking realization that he was 100% in error in his rejection of the Almighty. That would be an unbelievably horrible feeling. But perhaps even worse is the person who stands with a false sense of security that somehow they’ve earned their way to eternity with the Father. They’ll hear what I believe is one of the most tragic phrases in scriptures, underlined below:

Matthew 7:23 - "And then will I profess unto them, 
I never knew you: depart from me..."

Jesus wasn’t referring to atheists here. Many believe that He was talking about will stand before God thinking that their path to Heaven is clear, by their good deeds. Many have gone through their lives with a "man upstairs" theology. They know about God, even refer to him at times, but they have no real spiritual relationship. They say things like, "the Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise," using some comfortable verbiage to prove that they indeed have beliefs that somehow validate them. Similarly, I often hear people say "we’ll keep you in our thoughts and prayers," and I always hope the latter is truly the case. Their thoughts aren’t on the same plane, unless they are prayers, but I digress.

Some combine a good life that they’ve relied on with some form of religious basis, i.e., they believe in God, maybe even went through some religious activities in their life, like joining a church or getting baptized, neither of which are bad things, mind you, but not the basis of salvation. But many people hang those credentials on their spiritual wall and hope and often believe by combining it with a self-perceived good life, they’ll compile enough brownie points that St. Peter will allow them entrance...

In John 14:6, Jesus said clearly:
"I am the way, the truth, and the way. No one comes to the Father 
except through Me."

You can take that quite literally. Our only hope of salvation is through our repentance and acceptance of God’s grace-filled gift of Christ’s death on Calvary’s Cross for payment of our sins. If you’ve fallen for the damning lie that somehow you can be good enough, then plainly you’re saying Jesus’ death on a cross was not necessary; I can make it to heaven on my own...I plead with you to rethink that. Don’t fall for that lie any longer!

Walking Down the "Romans Road" to Salvation . . . .
                   Because of our sin, we are separated from God.

                   For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)
                    The Penalty for our sin is death.
                    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ 

                     our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

(Romans 10:9,10)