A long, long time ago the Creator of the Universe dealt with a rebellion in His kingdom. His close servant and trusted friend determined he would no longer take orders from God Almighty. ⅓ of all His other subjects joined him in a mass rebellion that ended with them being cast out of heaven forever. They were temporarily placed into darkness, left for the time being until they would be permanently placed into a terrible prison. This place was designed for them, not men. But later men also rebelled in the exact same way.
So the Bible says, “He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” [Matt 25:41 (NKJV)].
Why is there a hell? It is simple, for justice and fairness. Eternal beings are given eternal punishment. Crime must be punished.
Think of yourself driving down a street texting and not fully watching the road, you look up after typing a long phrase too late to see a child in your path. You kill her. You did not mean it! It was an accident. The parents should understand?
The police come and arrest you for seriously breaking the law. Your intentions do not matter. Your past good life does not count even though all your friends believe you are a good person, and all the good deeds you have done before do not erase this one terrible negligence on your part. You now must face the judge.
This one action, one event, has changed everything in your life forever.
Your day in court comes and you face the parents of the dead little girl. The judge enters and calls everyone to attention and your crimes are read aloud for all to hear. You did not take this day seriously and decided to defend yourself without a lawyer.
You have a decision to make. You ask to approach the bench and give the judge many compliments to butter him up. You then offer a deal. “I promise to wash your car everyday for the rest of my life if you will call it even.”
Angered the judge blurts out, “The girl’s life is worth far more than a car wash. How dare you insult this court and the child’s parents. Step back from me you wicked idiot!”
“Wait!’ you give a counter proposal. “I will give you a shoe shine each week. And cut the parent’s lawn twice a month.”
“You killed their child and you think that is fair?” screamed the judge.
Okay, okay I will give you $5000 and the parents $10,000, which is all I have!” You know that has to be a good deal and turn to get your debit card.
The judge firmly states, “Stop, there is only one thing valuable enough for your crime. Your life! You have cheapened life to mere money and little acts of kindness. Life is far too valuable. I sentence you to be executed.”
False religion always tries to cheat just like this. Like the devil and all his demons we “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [Romans 3:23 (NKJV)] Sin is a criminal act of breaking the law of God and leaving the results of pain, hurt and destruction on others as real as killing that little girl. God hates all crime and does not want any person treated anyway except through love.
In God’s court all crime has one verdict and punishment. “For the wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23 (NKJV)]. Spiritual crime is so outrageous in God’s eyes He will not tolerate any weaker punishment than what He already levied against the devil and his angels because he has to be fair. He would be a crooked judge and a criminal himself if He favored His friends or others.
False religion tries to bribe God for acceptance, blessings and eternal life. False believers try to earn their way to heaven on their terms. They think doing good deeds like being a community organizer or helping poor people earns them the name of Christian.
How could being a nice person to everyone be good enough for God? In spite of God’s view of rebellion and sin, people think they get to heaven by being good people according to their own judgment, and do not get serious about God’s moral law and rules.
False religion tries to make a way to God in their way and by their terms.
Strict fundamental belief in God’s Word is not false religion. Strong convictions that God’s Bible is absolutely true and must be followed is not false religion.
There is a clear difference between law abiding citizens and active criminals here in America. Citizens are able to obey the law. They are expected to obey the law. But criminals break the law and are punished and their rights are removed by the judge.
But remember God says all have sinned [committed crimes] and are guilty before the Eternal Judge. Because the first man and woman rebelled also, no one can follow God’s Law today since now we are all born without the strength to obey it. God looks us all in the eyes and judges us guilty criminals by His just Laws. We can’t get around this!
Let’s go back to our courtroom. If false religion tries to bribe the judge, what is true religion? After the judge gives the verdict of the death penalty, a clamor comes from behind you. In walks a man, and the judge asks, “What is it my son?”
“Father, I will give you my life instead of this guilty, wicked person standing before you. Then fairness will stand and your honor preserved. Life for a life, and the true value of the crime will be paid. Then the devil and all his slaves will never be able to point their fingers in your face and call you an unfair hypocrite.”
The Judge loves His Son Jesus, but gives His approval. He allows His son to be executed for your crime and the crimes of everyone because His son never broke the law. He was totally innocent.
This is true religion, justice fulfilled, but mercy given to guilty criminals. But, He makes His ruling with a very narrow application. This gift of forgiveness will only be given with the following stipulations:
1/ No one who claims they are a good person will ever enter His eternal heaven.
Only His Law will be the judgment of right and wrong. His Law will expose their crimes, and their “good” intentions and motives will not matter.
“There is no one righteous, not even one. 11 There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. 14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, 17 and the path of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. 20 For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin ⌊comes⌋ through the law. [Romans 3:10-20 (HCSB)]
2/ Everyone wanting a relationship with God, the Creator and Judge, must approach Him on His terms not theirs.
His will and nature are clearly revealed in the Holy Bible, nowhere else. To find God you do not need to search the world, you only need to read His love letter to you.
THE NARROW GATE TO OBTAIN FORGIVENESS IS REPENTANCE – this is the only gate or way to God and heaven
“Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6 (NLT)]
Jesus preaches to everyone, “Repent ( change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matt 4:17 (AMP)]
Peter explains, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins.” [Acts 2:38 (NLT)]
HERE IS HOW TO REPENT
1/ THE LAW OF GOD MUST BE EXAMINED AND FACED JUST LIKE YOU WOULD IN A COURTROOM [Exodus 20, Matthew 5-7, Galatians 5, Ephesians 2]- Why? because the law of God produces guilt
“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” [Romans 3:19 (NLT)]
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” [Gal 5:19-21 (NLT)]
2/ RESPOND TO THE GUILTY VERDICT WITH FULL ADMISSION OF YOUR SPECIFIC CRIMES, FOLLOWED WITH DEEP SADNESS – Why? because guilt produces godly sorrow
“Come close to God and he will come close to you. Realize that you have sinned and get your hands clean again. Realize that you have been disloyal and get your hearts made true once more. As you come close to God you should be deeply sorry, you should be grieved, you should even be in tears. Your laughter will have to become mourning, your high spirits will have to become heartfelt dejection. You will have to feel very small in the sight of God before he will set you on your feet once more.” James 4:8 (Phillips NT)
3/ FULLY REPENT AND FOLLOW [LIKE A SLAVE] JESUS, YOUR NEW LORD – Why? because only deep godly sorrow produces true repentance
“For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].“ [2 Cor 7:10 (AMP)]
“Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.” [Eph 4:28 (AMP)]
True repentance means first to stop your crime, and in our example of a thief that is only the first step because this is only partial repentance. Next, the thief must get a job and earn his money. But this is still partial repentance because it does not deal with the heart of the sin, GREED. A greedy person steals and cheats, but a fearful or careful greedy person just works hard to stuff his own pockets. Here the Bible explains that true and full repentance is only proven when the ex-thief makes a 180 and joyfully gives some of his hard earned money to needy people. He no longer takes but turns around and gives.
AN EXAMPLE PRAYER WOULD BE LIKE THIS
I realize you are my Creator, the Almighty God, and the only one who is good and fair. Because of this you have the power to establish the law of the world, and the authority to tell me what is right and what is wrong. So I now bow to your authority and justice. I admit have broken your law _____________ [fill in the blank], and I am sick with sadness in how I have acted.
Please, please forgive me! I now understand your love and mercy so I accept your offer of forgiveness through Jesus dying in the place of my judgment. I turn from all the crimes I am practicing, I have no excuses, And I now am grateful for your mercy. Father in heaven, I choose to please You and follow my Lord Jesus by obedience to His commands all my days.YOU ARE EXPECTED TO LEAVE THE LIFE OF CRIME AND OBEY JESUS FROM THIS DAY FORWARD Click To Tweet
THE NARROW ROAD OF OBEDIENCE – YOU ARE EXPECTED TO LEAVE THE LIFE OF CRIME AND OBEY FROM THIS DAY FORWARD – THIS IS THE NARROW ROAD
Your new lifestyle begins with Christ’s words, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” [Matt 7:12 (NLT)]
So be careful Jesus warns many will try to make the way to heaven easier than the narrow way of repentance. “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” [Matt 7:21-27 (NLT)]
Also Jesus explained the narrow way of life his followers take, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” [Matt 22:37-40 (NLT)]
BUT WHAT IF I FAIL? YOU MAY AT FIRST, BUT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE GOD’S MIGHTY GRACE THAT GIVES YOU NEW DESIRES AND STRENGTH TO OBEY YOUR NEW LORD
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. [1 John 2:1-7 (NLT)]
Give yourself a break at first and remember you are a new baby in the faith. When babies learn to walk it takes time and even when you are older you may fall down, but it is less and less of an issue over time. Don’t be discouraged, you will find God’s strength because He gives His Holy Spirit to you and you gain the power to obey consistently. Give God time to work inside you, trust Him.
Read your Bible start with John and Matthew 5-7. Find a church that teaches the Bible literally, because you will find friends that will help and encourage you. But be careful there are false preachers that will try to deceive you.