DayBreaks for 4/30/18: Every One in Hell has a Big But
From the DayBreaks archive, April 2008:
Let’s take a closer look a favorite saying of those who know little or nothing of Scripture: “If you live a good enough life, you’ll make it to heaven.”
The following is from Greg Stier:
“After preaching in countless churches across the nation, I’m convinced that these fighting words are the biggest lie that is still being bought by millions of professing Christians. There is a mentality that “sure Jesus died for me, BUT…” As a matter of fact, I always say that “everyone in hell has got a big BUT”:
“BUT you also have to live a good life.”
“BUT you also have to obey The 10 Commandments.”
“BUT you also have to live by The Golden Rule.”
“BUT you also have to turn, try, seek, surrender…”
“The way of work and the way of grace are separate ways. If you seek to earn salvation via the way of work, you have to go the whole way. Jesus laid it out pretty clearly in the Sermon on the Mount. When Jesus begins the “You have heard…but I say unto you” list of impossible standards, I’m sure that everyone listening wilted. Those present (save Jesus himself) had unjustly been angry at their fellow man and had lusted at their fellow women. And having lusted, they were busted and unable to measure up to the ultimate standard of entrance into heaven: Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48).
“If our people dare approach Christianity as a religion, then the standard is impossibly high. To get into heaven, we have to be as good as God himself.
“That’s why the offering of salvation is the way of grace through faith and not by good deeds (Ephesians 2:8-9). Those ways, according to Romans 11:6, cannot be mixed: And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
“We need to do our best to help all of our people embrace the way of grace for the salvation of their souls. What’s interesting is that, when they do, good works will flow out of grateful hearts that long to please the Father who redeemed them through grace.”
Galen’s Thoughts: Paul got on the same bandwagon with Jesus when Paul wrote Galatians to show the foolishness of trying to please God by living the Law. Still, I think Stier is on to a real truth: I think we’ll be surprised when we get to the judgment and we start to hear many say, “But Lord, I lived a good life,” “But Lord, I’m even a better person than some of those so-called Christians,”, “But Lord, there must be some mistake,” and “But Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked or in prison?”
There is only “but” that will work: “I am but a sinner, clinging to the cross of Jesus.”
PRAYER: Father, teach us not to offer You excuses, but penitent, humble hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.