Monday, May 2, 2011

A Clear Understanding

I am saddened by the hatred that some professed “Christians” have for the unsaved. It is tragic. Yes, God hates sin and the wrath of God rests upon Christ-rejecters (John 3:36); but let us never stray from the great Biblical doctrine of God's wondrous love for mankind.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Notice the words, "God so loved THE WORLD." Not God so loved the Christians, or God so loved the elect...but He loved ALL of humanity. Even the vilest of sinners. God DOES hate sin, but not the sinner. He equally loves each and every person and desires for them to repent and get saved.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Too often we as Christians think that because we have accepted God's salvation that we are some sort of prodigy or somehow better than those who are unsaved. That is pride, my friends. We are all sinners. The only difference between the saved and the unsaved is salvation. We are all unworthy people in need of a Saviour. Arrogance is not from God. It is a sign of our sinful nature and proof that none of us are pure of heart. This video is an excellent illustration to evoke humility for those of us who have lost sight of ourselves.

God proved His love toward mankind by sending His Son  into this hostile, sin-cursed world and giving His life for our sins. Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay.
The Bible teaches that God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11) 

If we are to be Christlike, then we must not rejoice in the death of the unsaved. It is a sad thing when someone dies and goes to Hell. No Christian who has God's love in their heart should be glad to see anyone go to Hell. Many people rejoice that sinners are burning in Hell, but God is not pleased about it. God does not love sin, but He loves the individual.
This is how we too, must love. 

Too often we project our own human vices upon God. We portray Him as monstrous and unjust when in reality He is a loving, merciful God. If God were to be fair, then we would all be doomed to die and go to Hell with no chance of redemption. Because of our sins, that fate would be fair. But He is just and generous and offers us mercy through salvation. I don't know about you, but I don't want fair....I want mercy. It is when we refuse Him and His mercy that we accept our deserved fate. God doesn't send anyone to Hell. We choose that destination. And it breaks God's heart every time one of His beloved chooses death over life. It should also break our hearts.

Instead of taking pleasure in the demise of the unsaved we should desire to love them to Christ. There are several who come to mind that I am burdened for daily. They frequent my prayers, not in a condescending way but in a compassionate way, because I know the fate of those who refuse to believe in Him and the thought of eternity without them is grievous.

But never underestimate the power of prayer and God's redemptive power.

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

The story of the sinner on the cross is proof that no matter who we are or what we have done, even in our last moments here on earth, God is merciful and can save us. If we own up to offenses against God and accept Him into our lives, we can know His loving mercy, be freed from our guilt and be inseparable from His love. We should sincerely desire that for everyone. God's love is meant for ALL so let's share God's love with everyone and rejoice in their salvation.

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