One of the biggest deterrents I’ve heard from people on why they don’t attend church or why they aren’t believers is their belief that because of the magnitude of the “bad stuff” they’ve done throughout their lives, God will not forgive them anyway. They believe they’ve been such bad people they cannot be forgiven by God.
Let’s break this thought down……………
1. Nobody is Perfect – Nobody
First off we need to set a baseline for who needs forgiveness anyway. Who needs it……………EVERYONE! It does not matter if you’re a pastor or a prostitute, EVERYONE sins. And with that, God’s forgiveness is needed for both, equally, for each of them to get into heaven.
Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“.
There has only been one perfect person in the history of the world, Jesus Christ the son of God. Aside from Him and as also stated in Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.”
The first half of Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death,………………………………..“. Notice the verse doesn’t say “for the wages of murder is death but for stealing it’s something less than death”. In other words, the Bible does not differentiate between the different types of sins and make it “ok” for some sins and “not ok” for others.
It is hard and quite frankly, dangerous, for us as humans to sit back and try to place a “degree of seriousness” to other peoples, or our own, sins. There is only one judge in the end, the almighty God, and HE will be the one to inflict final judgment.
What we need to remember for the here and now is that ANY SIN, regardless of its seriousness, separates us from God. The last half of Romans 6:23 states, “…….but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
2. How do I get this “gift of eternal life”?
As stated above in the last part of Romans 6:23, the gift of God is eternal life. He’s giving it to us. It doesn’t cost us anything. How do we get this gift? Let’s look once again to what God is telling us so that we can have this gift:
Romans 10: 9-13: 9 – “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” 10 – “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” 11 – “As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 – “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile; the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 – for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This puts it out there very plainly. Knowledge is power, and having been given the knowledge of the Bible, God’s own words, you have the power to make a life changing decision for not only you, but for all those who come in contact with you. For once you save yourself, you can begin the journey of fulfilling God’s ultimate purpose in your life, to spread His word, this same good news.
John 3:16 also furthers this truth by stating one of the most well-known verses in the Bible and most telling of God’s love for all of us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.
In Matthew 7:13-14, God also issues a hint of a warning and states: 13 – “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” 14 – “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
3. It’s just too hard – This isn’t for me
There is simply no way to sugar coat the outcome of the fate of the unbelievers and as a former Marine, God’s “in your face” approach to explaining the outcome is something that hits home for me.
Revelation 21:8 states: “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars, they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Note closely that this is the “second death”. This is the outcome for unbelievers AFTER they die their earthly death here on earth. I.E., God’s judgment is still to come for them which is the second death.
Matthew 25:46 states;“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
2nd Thessalonians 1:9 states, They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
4. But I’m a Good Person – God Won’t Send Me to Hell
Oh really……………. Don’t forget what we said above. Pastors and prostitutes alike ALL SIN and ALL need the forgiveness of God.
In John 14:6, Jesus said it VERY CLEARLY, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Want to make it through that “narrow gate” mentioned above in Matthew 7:13? As stated above, Jesus is the ONLY WAY and no one comes to the father, God, except through Him. Which, He is in heaven which then concludes that if you want into heaven, through that narrow gate, you have to first go through Jesus.
How to you go through Jesus so you can find that “narrow gate” which will put you with the father and therefore in heaven?
Simple – First, go back and read section 2 above.
Next, I will quote the late great Billy Graham: “All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins, that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty”.
Lastly, say this prayer, also from the late great Billy Graham:
“Dear God, I known I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen”.
Congratulations and welcome!