"I'm a good person. If he’s a loving God, why would he send a good person to hell?"
God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. The truth is, that’s where we’re all going by default. What God did was make a way for us not to go to Hell.
If our society feels justified in keeping unreformed, unrepentant criminals off our streets, then we have to allow that God has that right too. Heaven is his home. Why would he bring people to live with him if they don’t want to be there and aren’t willing to live by his rules?
So, what are his rules? Who should I consult to find out how to qualify for heaven?
- Buddha? Founder of Buddhism - dead
- Mohammed? Prophet of Islam - dead
- Abraham? Father of Judaism - dead
- Mary Baker Eddy? Founder of Christian Science - dead
- The gods of Hinduism? Over 1000 at last count, and more being created all the time.
- Reincarnation to attain Nirvana? If each life allows us a chance to pay for the sins of our last life, what sin were we paying for in our first life?
- The Universe? Certainly not growing and regenerating, which means it’s deteriorating and dying.
- Jesus? He’s the one who is different.
There are over 300 prophecies documented in the Old Testament, written over a period of 4000 years by numerous writers in different centuries, and every one came true in Jesus’s birth, life and death. The odds of that happening are astronomical.
Moreover, Jesus isn’t dead. Documentation from that period, both Biblical and non-Biblical, gives evidence that Jesus died by crucifixion and then came back to life three days later. This makes him a living God, the only religion whose founder overcame death.
Each of the major religions claim exclusivity, and Jesus does as well.
Listen to his own claims about himself.
‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ John 14:6
And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” Luke 22:70
Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. Luke 23:3
C.S. Lewis, who wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe summarized Jesus’ claims this way. To say the things he said about himself, either he’s a lunatic, a lying devil, or truly the Son of God.
Since God and all his ways are perfect, his law must be kept. God’s justice demands that we pay for our sin with the shedding of blood, with death. Those who die spend eternity separated from God, in hell.
But God’s love and mercy caused him to provide a solution. He sent his son, Jesus, to die in our place, to carry out our sentence, to pay the penalty for our sins.
As Ravi Zacharias once said, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live!”
Still, we balk. Our pride takes over. We don’t want to give up control. Maybe we don't want anyone's rules restricting our fun. Maybe we want to prove we can do it on our own. Maybe we're tired of being told what to do. It all comes down to one thing.
Free to accept the gift, or free to walk away.
Through Jesus, God has given us the choice. My prayer this Christmas season is that the Lord will open the eyes of those we love, so they too can know the joy that comes with salvation.
In 2011 Bobbi’s mother's progression into dementia could no longer be ignored. One day Mom demanded, "Someone needs to write about this!" In response, Bobbi began to explore her mother’s journey and her own struggles as a caregiver. Her learnings are documented on her blog at www.bobbijunior.com, and in a memoir, The Reluctant Caregiver.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeanetteb1/3067182581/">Jeanette's Ozpix</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>