Saturday, October 13, 2012

Heaven or Hell - Are you sure?

Praying Woman
This past week I had the opportunity to hear several people speak, who said they had turned their lives over to God and that they were now Christians.  On the surface this sounds wonderful, but as I listened I realized that something was terribly wrong and that these people were probably headed for hell, not Heaven.  You ask, “Why?  How could you say such a thing?”  The words that these people spoke indicated that they had missed a huge component of giving your life to Christ.  Repentance!

They understood that Jesus had suffered and died on the cross to save them from their sins.  They understood that God is love.  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  The part that they missed is that God is also a jealous God.  “He is a holy God; he is a jealous God.  He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.”  Joshua 24:19

The life that we must live in order to have God’s forgiveness is one of repentance.  In Acts 2:38 Peter says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”  Peter speaks again in Acts 3:19.  “Repent, then, and turn to god, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.”  Jesus says it very clearly and to the point in Luke 13:3 when He says, “I tell you. .unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

As we joyfully remember God’s love in sending Jesus to suffer and die in our place, we must also remember that God expects something from us.  It is not a free ride.  We must repent and do our very best to live the kind of life that Jesus taught and lived.  The two are a pair.  In the words of a long forgotten song, “You can’t have one without the other.”