Monday, September 25, 2017

The Gospel - More than Fire Insurance!

For far too long, Christians have been told that the most wonderful news ever announced is really little more than an insurance policy designed to save people from the fiery wrath of a very angry God.  

God hates sin, we are told.  And by implication, God hates sinners.  He is too holy to look upon sin or have sinners stand in His presence.  So make a decision right now, or endless, conscious suffering awaits you!  

Forgotten is the fact that the Great Commission that Jesus gave His followers is to make disciples, not just converts.  Forgotten is the fact that the message we proclaim is designed to transform lives, not just keep us out of hell.

What Did Jesus Do?

If we look at Jesus (who is God), we will notice something rather amazing.  He was not too holy to look upon sin or have sinners stand in His presence.  He actually ate with tax-collectors and sinners – and told the Pharisees (who were too holy to look upon sin or have sinners stand in their presence) that the sick needed to be healed. 

Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn sinners.  He came into the world to save sinners.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.  As in Adam all died, so in Christ all will be made alive. 

Does God hate sin?  Of course!  But He didn’t just turn His back on sinners and leave them forever in a sinful state where they would continue to hate Him and endlessly suffer the consequences of their actions and attitudes toward Him. 

God actually hated sin enough to do something about it.  He hated it enough to love it out of existence – with harsh discipline if necessary . . . but not discipline that never ends.

God has a unique and positive purpose for each person’s life.  His laws are just and true.  His desire is to see all people experience true purpose, reconciliation with Him, forgiveness, and power to overcome and defeat sin and wickedness in their lives.  And He will accomplish all that He desires to do. 

The greatest time of expansion for the Christian Church was in the first few centuries after Christ, when the dominant view of many of the leaders and laity was that God would ultimately restore all of His creation to its intended perfection.

They knew something about the Gospel that we have misunderstood.  They knew that God’s love is unconditional . . . His power is irresistible . . . and He never gives up. 

They knew that the Gospel provides much more than fire insurance against hell. 

If you've read Heaven's Doors and liked it, please share it with others.


Ronald MURPHY said...

I read and appreciated your research in "Heaven's Doors..."! Most Christians since the Reformation Era follow the theology started in the fifth century A.D.,primarily by Augustine in his "City of God" of a "limited atonement" & "EVERLASTING HELL",which he probably reasoned from a faulty Latin translation of the Bible with the Latin word "aternium"=eternal used for Biblical Greek words pertaining to Age or Ages--finite periods of time. Likewise his 12 years or so with the "Manachean Gnostic sect" with their belief in an eternal duality of good and evil must have affected his theology. Lastly, it was common by some Christian theologians to use "The doctrine of 'Reserve'"in that time period--which you probably know is the belief that some Christian truths (such as the ultimate U.R.) would be better 'reserved' for the esoteric Christian scholars, and not revealed to the masses, lest they commit more crimes and evils against the Roman Empire. (Plato even taught that it's not wrong to lie in some cases for the good of the State)The Reservists used the scripture quote by Jesus, "Don't throw your pearls before swine" as justifying the "Doctrine of Reserve". I'm sure that's not what Jesus meant in that passage--that we should believe a truth taught in many Scriptures of the ultimate U.R., and teach others the lie of a limited atonement and an "everlasting" HELL! "God is not the author of confusion" I'm glad that you don't teach in your book that there is no HELL at all, but that it is finite; and a purging, corrective "kolosin" punishment. I've read of some U.R. believers who don't believe in any conscious punishment or in any HELL, HADES, SHEOL. What are your thoughts on all this? Some believe that Tertullian previously taught an "everlasting" HELL, but I read in one of his discourses that he believed that the wicked would be punished for as long as the saints reign with Christ in the coming Kingdom or Messianic Age. What do you know about Tertullian's position about the puninshment of the wicked?

George W. Sarris said...

Ron, thanks for your comments, and I'm glad you read and liked my book.

I don't know much about Tertullian other than what others have said. Edward Beecher in his book, History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution, indicates that Tertullian believed in Endless Punishment. Tertullian was Latin and an apologist. Tertullian became the teacher of Cyprian and the predecessor of Augustine, who, in turn, became the chief founder of Latin theology. Interestingly, he was never made a saint in either the Eastern or Western Church. God bless.

Pat said...

For some people who believe in hell salvation to them is nothing more than fire insurance. Once they are saved they don't want to repent from sin. They don't want to live godly in Christ Jesus, they don't want to serve Him, they don't want to keep and obey His commandents, they don't want to seek God's will and humble themselves efore Him. After all they reason, 'once saved always saved'.

Scripture does not teach this. Those who believe and receive Christ are to repent from sim, live godly in Christ Jesus, serve God, keep and obey God's commandments.

Some churches teach their people these truths and encourage them to live for God while others do not.

Pat said...

Matthew 22:1-14King James Version (KJV)

22 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

There was a guest at the wedding supper who was a friend of the King. He was not dressed in a weddig garment but in a wordly garment The King rejected him and he was cast into outer darkness.

In this parable The King is God. His Son is the Lord Jesus Christ. The friend is a Christian, a believer. A Christian has to prepare himself for the wedding supper of the Lamb which occurs just prior to the 1000 yr reign of Christ. A wedding garment would consist of fine linen pure and white. A wordly garment would be spotted and stained by the world. All Christians whose garments (lives) are defiled by the world will not inherit eternal life but will be cast into outer darkness (hell) where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Pat said...

Matt 7

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Pat said...

I agree with you George that the Gospel is more than just fire insurance as some view it. It isn't what the early Church fathers claimed it to be either. They had no concept of the Gospel. Their views of the afterlife of the damned were heavily influenced by platonic thought, they believed in pre-existing souls, reincarnation, and the eventual redemption of all of mankind. They fumbled around with what they believed about where babies went when they died. They had no understanding of the gospel, the fate of the damned in eternity, nor the chaacter and nature of God.

Pat said...

I agree that God's will is unconditional meaning it is for everyone. 1 John 2:2 states that.

Pat said...

You say that God's love is irresistable meaning that what God desires He get.

That is not what scripture teaches. Even a causal readinf od scripture reveals otherwise.

God has given man a free will in regard to salvation that He will not over ride . Man is free to choose salvation when it is offered or refuse to accept it regardless of what God desire for him. Salvation must take place here on the earth it cannot take place in eternity as scripture teaches. God's eternal love is reserved for those who die in Jesus. If a person dies in their sin then they will meet Jesus as their Judge. His judgment is eternall He gives out an eternal punishment that His love will not over ride. God will not strive with man forever; continue to rebel then God after a point will abandom you and allow you to die in your sins. You will go to hell and you will be there forever. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He sheds a tear for them, He is sad but He will not over ride their decision to reject Him and to repent. God is serious. Repent, believe the gospel, accept Christ as your Savior, live godly in Christ Jesus, make Him Lord of your life. Seek His will daily and walk in obedience. If you do, you will inhereit eternal life. If not, then you will perish.

Pat said...

He never gives up, meaning that He never stops working in a person's life. He waits until the "lost" are "found."

Oh, yes He does. 2 Thess 2 :10-12 speaks of His abandonment of those who refuse to reeive the love of the truth that they might be saved. ......... 2 Thess 2:10-12 ........ 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Pat said...

God has said in His Word that those who die in their sins are foever damned.

All scriptures, OT and NT, that deal with the fate of the damned in eternity are consistant with that declaration.