One of the groups uses this belief system to keep them from having to respond to the Gospel. For example, I have started talking to people about the Gospel, and as soon as I talk about breaking the 10 Commandments, the other person will ask, 'Well, isn't God all loving and all forgiving?' Or, they may ask the same question using different language. What most of them are basically saying is that they believe in a god who will allow them to stay in their sins, yet will allow them into heaven after they die. What they have essentially done is broken the second commandment. They have created in their minds, a god who will allow them to stay in their sins. In their minds, God is like a big, cosmic Santa Claus, or maybe even like a Genie in a bottle. I think, sadly, that many, if not most professing Christians see God like this. They try to get to the punchline before the person sharing the Gospel does, because they know they are accountable to God for everything that goes on in their lives. Their hearts really do not want to know God or to truly be forgiven of their sins. They just want a pass into heaven. I'm sure many of them do not want to pay the price of being a disciple, and perhaps they don't want to be identified as a Christian, yet, they still believe that their god will allow them into heaven (which really, in essence means, 'not going to hell').
The other group is made up of people who truly have some understanding of God's holiness and greatness. When we understand that God is the Creator, then we understand that He calls the shots and we don't. The only 'pass' we get to go to heaven is the pass that was provided for us by God's Son, when He died on the Cross to pay for our sins. Our sins are not beautiful to God, despite what some modern Christian songs say. God will punish our sins. He must punish sin. God did punish sin, when He sent Jesus to earth, 2,000 years ago. Jesus never sinned, yet He willingly took the punishment we deserve for our sins. We don't know the horror of what happened that day, when Jesus died for us. We know from the Bible that God put all of our sins on His Son, and during that time, it became dark outside. Even a historian named Thallus wrote about an unusual eclipse around that time period, and he lived in another country! Is it any wonder that the sky turned black when God was pouring out His wrath on His Son, for us?
Sin, or at least the penalty for it, is not something we can take lightly. God cannot just 'forgive' people for their sins because they ask for forgiveness. The nature of God requires God to punish sin. Sin will always be punished, whether it is through the death of His Son, or whether it happens when people are in hell. Every sin will be accounted for, one way or another.
Those in this second group are usually sorry for their sins. I have met men who were in the military, and whatever it was that they were required or told to do, has haunted them. If they had a choice of being able to do whatever it was that they did, or, if they could go back and undo what it was, they would go back and undo whatever it was that they did. One man told me that he used his gun to kill women and children who were citizens. He felt terrible about it and nothing could be done to bring the dead people back to life. But, he also felt like God would not forgive him for what he did. He thought of his sin as too great for God to forgive.
So, we have the first group who think that sin is trivial, and God will just forgive anyone who believes that it will happen, and we have the second group who see the seriousness of their sins (not just the consequences) and also who would like to not sin anymore. Which group do you think God will forgive?
When a person is truly sorry for their sins and repents and turns to God, God promises to forgive them. God is love and He loves those who fear His name. But for those who do not fear His name, but are only using Him to get a pass into heaven, they are under God's judgment. They do not understand God's character, nor do they understand their need for a Savior from sin.
Is God all loving and all forgiving? Yes, to those who do not want to continue in sin, and turn to Christ. But no, He is not all loving and all forgiving to the unrepentant. Those who want to stay selfish and claim that God is all loving and all forgiving will experience God's judgment. They will not be forgiven, nor will they experience God's love.
If any of my readers think they have sinned to greatly for God to forgive, think again. Think about the horrific event Jesus went through on the Cross. He died to pay for the worst of sinners. If you are a person who is thinking that heaven will be yours because God is all loving and all forgiving, then ask God to help you see the ugliness of your sin. Pray that God will give you the desire to turn away from your selfishness. Pray that God will give you eyes to behold Him and a heart that will want to know Him. When a person comes to Christ in repentance and faith, God gives that person a new heart that has new desires. "If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creature. Old things are passed away and everything becomes new.." 2 Corinthians 5:17
|God not only has to punish sins, but sin will keep us from|
being able to know Him.