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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Message: The right answer

On the way home from work Friday, Mike Fabarez' question and answer topic was, "Do good people go to hell?"

And I said to myself, "Depends on whose perspective you look at it by."

One thing I have learned from God over the years is our concepts of a "grey area" are a lot different.  For instance, I used to listen to a preacher who was a "You have to get wet" baptism guy.  Never mind that the thief on the cross next to Jesus didn't get wet by any stretch.  Or the Ethiopian eunuch that Phillip saved- all we know is he said, "Here is some water!  What prevents me from being baptised?"  And we have no idea whether they were passing a lake or just went through a puddle.

Am I saying God has "grey areas"?  No.  BUT, we don't always see HIS black and white.  We try to focus in and see something fuzzy, but one day we'll see it with reborn eyes and it will be sharp and clear.

Well, some of us will.

It struck me in all this that giving the Law to the Hebrews was an illustration of God's principle of salvation.  Jewish tradition says that the Pentateuch contains 613 different laws from God.  And if you break one law, you've broken THE LAW.  And if you break the Law, you will have judgment.  You don't have to break all 613, or even a percentage.  One and done.


And that's where the question comes in.  See, there are morally good things we all can do, saved or atheist or anywhere in between.  These will look pretty clear to us, with our vision.  But here's the thing:  Being good isn't the Law you need to avoid breaking.

Just like Adam and Eve had one rule- which they blew- we have that one rule.  And that is Jesus must be believed in and accepted as having paid for your sins.  If you think, like the guy in my recent M10 song Good With God, that good intentions are good enough, you might be the one to whom God sings in Brandi Carlile's voice, "You're just a joke that's going 'round"...

Consider that.

I have had many before, and prolly will again, who tell me, "Well if that's the kind of God there is, then I want no part of him."  Which is ironic, because that is exactly what they will get.  And I will admit, there are fringes to God's program that I do not claim to understand.  But I can tell you this- and I'm not trying to say this in a derogatory way, except directed at myself- Once upon a time, I was a good Catholic boy.  Made sure I hit confession 6 times a year, missed darn few Sundays (or Saturdays as the case may be), said prayers at night.  And yet this passage...


Matt. 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’


...scared me silly.   Until the day I gave my life to Christ.  Because before, I had GOOD reason to be scared.  I was on the depart from me list, despite the prayers, the confessions, the hundreds of Hail Marys, and the bucks in the poor box.  But with the help of some very good friends, I learned that being a Catholic, or a regular churchgoer, or just an all around good guy wasn't enough.

And it made a difference immediately.

And it made a difference down the road, when I'd strayed far enough I was in over my head.

And it made a difference when another good friend took me to Promise Keepers and I began to learn what I should have been learning the previous 15 years.

And it makes a difference now when I fuss, fume, fall, and fail over and over- and dust myself off and ask God to walk with me again the next day.


You can look at yourself as good as you want.  But God sees you one of two ways.  Either covered by the blood of Christ and fit to enter, or unrighteous and about to be judged by your works as HE sees them.  So I guess the best answer to "do good people go to hell?" is:

"Being good" is not the pertinent question- and you need to look at heaven/hell in a totally different way.

7 comments:

  1. You won't be saved by works, and you don't need to be baptized to be saved. Once you accept the Lord as your Savior, that's it. You are saved, and you'll want to do the Lord's work. Your heart has changed, you see.

    My neighbors were Catholic - still are, I would guess. I've always thought about going to confession, and what I might say to the charlatan in the booth next door. Just for a joke, you understand. All in good fun. :)

    Nice post, by the way.

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    1. Thanks. Your first three statements cover what we as Christians SHOULD be, instead of the constant fighting the Catholic/Protestant wars I see on some friends' FB pages.

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  2. Chris:
    Very good sermonette. Right to the point.
    And I admit to being baptized...TWICE, in fact.
    Once when I was "sprinkled" as an infant (and didn't know up from down that well) and much later on, got the full emersion when I had a much better handle on what God was trying to tell me.
    (not that I also haven't had my share of "straying" as it were.
    We all do that, sometimes without even being aware OF doing it.
    But, since you have taken Christ as your savior, believe in HIS power, and the shedding of HIS blood for the redemption of ALL sins, it takes on a much more important place in one's life.
    Good and bad are (to we humans) concepts of how we are perceived and how we act, and all contingent to specific stimuli (from both within and without).
    The manner in which God actually sees us as good OR bad is the bar we have to be striving for, and it's a daily affair. It's also a RENEWABLE affair (thankfully).
    Well done and well said, my friend.

    Stay safe up there, brother.

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    1. I do have to mold one of your points. God only has TWO ways of seeing us- covered by Christ and unrighteous. And there is only one thing we can do to change that. It's how PEOPLE see us that God wishes to improve- either to the good in the eyes of those so called, or ill for those who refuse to hear.

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    2. very well molded, my friend.

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  3. Interesting, really interesting, thank you, makes one think

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