Picture This

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Picture This – 22 May 2007

Someone dies expecting immediately to be ushered into heaven. After all, he or she was “born again” according to the church, and all sins – past, present, and future – were supposed to be forgiven. No work was necessary! You couldn’t earn your way into heaven. Jesus had done all that was necessary, and you were saved by grace, and not by works.

Sounds familiar? Well, picture this little scenario: Our friend’s soul is stopped at a gate. Why, there must be some mistake! He/she expects to be rewarded. The Gatekeeper checks His book (1) and says that his/her name is not there. Our friend protests that he/she was never warned of any such possibility.

Have they forgotten that Paul taught that we are saved for good works (Philippians 2:10); and that James teaches that our faith is evident by our works? (James 2:14f)

Then scenes are replayed to refresh his/her memory: The choices that he/she made during life on earth – mocking and jeering others who were compassionate and cared about those who could not speak for themselves; the support of those who were hard-hearted; leading youngsters astray (2) by teaching them to hunt and fish rather than showing compassion for all of God’s creation, and indoctrinating them with the myths about the necessity of consuming enough “animal protein” and drinking lots of milk (from animals, of course!), et nauseam.

During life, our friend tried to justify the hardness of the world and chose to live in the concessions (made after the fall), rather than in the intent of God as clearly shown in creation (the beginning) and Revelation (the end).

He/she joins a multitude of other souls turned away from heaven by the Lord who “…will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me….’ ” (3) Too late they realize what the Lord meant when He told those who have ears to hear to “enter by the narrow gate.” (4)

(1) The “book of life” is mentioned eight times in the Bible: In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), one time: Psalm 69:28; and seven times in the New Testament: Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15, and 21:27.

(2) In Mark 9:42 Jesus says:

42 “And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
See also: Matthew 18:6 and Luke 17:2

(3) In Matthew 7:20-23, Jesus says:

20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

22 “Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

(4) In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says:

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.

14 “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”
 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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