We had so hoped this would be the year Jesus returned to fulfill the Jewish harvest-time feast of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets). Now that the feast has come and gone, we believe we may have at least one more year to labor for our Lord before His return. So, we trust Him to supply the courage and strength to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16) as we continue to meet the needs of the poor and share the good news that God loves everyone and has provided the opportunity for all to become a part of His spiritual family.
The bad news is that those who refuse to read His book (full of promises, information, illustrations, examples, commands, and dire warnings) and follow its teachings are condemned already, no matter what false hope they have, or lies they believe about the extent of God’s love. John 3:16-18 is very clear, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
So, you see, God’s loving offer of salvation does not extend beyond man’s self-will and freedom of choice to believe. God has provided salvation through Jesus Christ and now the proverbial ball is in man’s court. We must choose to believe what God has written to the extent that we choose to submit to His authority, invite Him to enter into our life, and surrender our will to His. This involves a willingness (and choice) on our part to quit doing anything that is displeasing to God and contrary to the instructions of Scripture. He is trustworthy and will enable us to live the way He has commanded us to live. He will never leave or forsake those who trust in Him and He will always provide a “way of escape” from every temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes this very clear, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Once we are born again by God’s spirit, we have not only the power to resist temptation, but an inner desire to please our Lord.
At GODTEL we meet many people who claim to be Christians but whose lives do not display the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians. The passage in Galatians 5:19-24 provides a good look at the standard for judging the “fruit” of our lives, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” To crucify the flesh means making the choice to do things God’s way instead of our own way—to live by the instructions given in the Bible rather than living by the demands of our flesh for gratification and pleasure apart from what pleases our Creator— the One Who will judge us all by what He has commanded throughout the Holy Scriptures.
One of God’s many promises is that everyone who refuses to believe in Him (in a meaningful, active way, not just in their head) will spend eternity in torment simply because they refused to believe how God said we must. They don’t even have to be terrible sinners. They can be “nice” people, but unless they choose to believe what God has written about Himself and act on it, they will still have to answer to the inventor, umpire, and final arbiter of this “ballgame” of life.
An example of someone calling himself a Christian (with no Christian fruit, just words) was presented just yesterday. He was brought to the Livingston mission by a pastor from Kirbyville. He did not want to abide by GODTEL’s rules and at one point told us, “You are not my boss. God is my boss.”
Originally, he had wanted to go to the Nacogdoches mission but was told no because of his past record there. (He had been there a minimum of 12 times and each time had repeatedly broken the rules. In fact, for illegal drug use and other rule infractions, he had been put out for periods of 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day restrictions at various times before we decided he would not be eligible for re-admission.) We decided to have mercy, one more time, IF he could pass a drug test (which he assured us he could). Sadly, he failed for two different substances so he was told he could not check in. That’s when he told us we were not Christians (expletives deleted). I wonder what our Divine Judge will be told when He refuses to accept so-called, Christians into Heaven?
What will He tell you? Please think about it.