Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Good Question

"How do you discuss Hell and Heaven and ‘counting the cost’ of discipleship in bold, honest, loving truth...yet not use Heaven as a draw card or reward...and not use Hell as a scare tactic. I don't want to have people leaping to Jesus just so they don't get burned, it's not really any different then leaping to Jesus so they'll have a better life is it (humanism -- or the end of being is the happiness of man)? Wouldn't that more than likely create as many false converts?”

Think of story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-32). The father had great pleasure when the son came into a right relationship with him. He cried, “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called your son.” Obviously, his father would not have rejoiced in the same way if a happy and impenitent son had returned with a prostitute on each arm. It was his humble turning from his sinful lifestyle that pleased the father (see verse 22). The son’s happiness was irrelevant at that point of time. Righteousness was the issue.

Humanism has no concern for righteousness. Its chief goal is the prodigal’s happiness, whether he’s in or out of the pigsty.

Christianity’s goal is absolute righteousness, which we are told in Scripture will ultimately result in the glory of God and the pleasure of man. That’s why we must always focus on man’s depravity (revealed by the moral Law) and God’s righteousness (revealed in His Law and in the cross--see Romans 1:16-17). The gap between depravity and holiness will reveal the need for righteousness. Happiness is not the issue at hand. It is irrelevant to the gospel proclamation, even though (because of God’s kindness) it is ultimately the end result.

However, we need never feel any sense of guilt because we responded to the gospel with a desire to live. It was self-preservation that helped to motivate the prodigal to get up out of that pigsty (“I perish with hunger”--Luke 15:17), and every sane human being has also been given an instinct for self-preservation. We have been endowed by our Creator with the good sense to know that life is better than death, and that Heaven is better than Hell. We came to Christ because of a hunger and a thirst for righteousness, and the ultimate end of righteousness will be pleasure forevermore, to the glory of God.