How many times have we heard people say, “I can’t believe in a God that allows all the pain and suffering we have on earth.”? Or we hear, “I can’t believe in a God that would condemn people to hell.” And yet, does God really do that?
Since creation this world has been at war…a war of good vs. evil. There was an angel who thought he should be equal to or greater than God. This was Lucifer, later known as Satan. He, and about a third of the angels in heaven who chose to follow him, tries to lead the people of earth away from God. To that end, this fallen angel works to confuse people about God and His desire for those of us on earth.
There are many ways this confusion is fostered in people. There are the “prosperity preachers” who tell us that the greater our faith, the more material wealth we will have. There have been, and will continue to be, preachers who misuse Scripture to enrich themselves. There are preachers who are very legalistic. They will tell their congregations that “all these rules” must be obeyed.
People just can’t obey “all the rules”. And…what are the rules?
In the Bible we have the Ten Commandments. They are simple and straightforward. Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, your soul and your mind. Put God first and foremost, nothing and no one else. Keep the Sabbath day holy, make it a day of rest for all in your household. Honor your mother and father. Don’t murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t tell lies about your neighbor. Don’t covet your neighbors’ belongings. These are the rules.
Do we always obey these rules? What does it look like to obey them? Do we drive to watch or play a baseball game? Driving is work, isn’t it? Have you ever gotten so angry at someone that you thought you could “just kill” that person?
What about the churches that teach only 144,000 will receive salvation? Many more than that have died over the last 2000 years or so. What has happened with the others? Are they condemned?
It certainly sounds as though there is no hope for humankind. We are doomed to go to hell. And yet…
God made a promise to Abraham, Moses, and David. He saw that man could not keep “all the rules”. In the Gospel of John, we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send is Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18
Jesus himself said to his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2 in
We need to remember that death comes to all of us. However, our eternal home is based on our faith in a loving God through his Son, Jesus, not on any actions of our own. A loving God will take us to be with Him in heaven because of our faith, just as he took the thief on the cross who said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Luke 23:42-43
All we need do to be saved is believe and have faith in God and his Son, Jesus.