I recently came across a blog post that really shook me up (you can read it here).
It’s written by a non-Christian and basically states that Christians don’t really believe in hell because if we did, we wouldn’t be able to keep quiet about it. We would leave all these other matters and debates on the table because in the light of people’s eternal lives, these things would seem irrelevant.
The post both scared and convicted me.
The thing that struck me about it was the essential question, “If Christians believe , then why don’t they ?”
What do we Christians even hold as core issues? What are the church’s main concerns?
James 1:27 says “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
But it seems whenever the church is mentioned in society today, it’s in connection with something like fighting gay marriage or the next mega-church building. I know the media is doing its best to give Christians a bad name, but there’s no smoke without fire.
We Christians have a terrible tendency to try to ‘save people from their sins’ before we lead them to God. It’s backward to try and get non-Christians to live up to Biblical standards before they actually believe the Bible. We can’t actually change peoples’ hearts, only God can.
We act like we have to clean them up before God can come into their hearts. We act that way because we believe we have to clean ourselves up for God, too. Trouble is, we can’t believe this and believe in grace at the same time.
By judging others and giving them a set of guidelines to live up to, we are essentially saying that we don’t believe in the saving power of God or the finished work of Jesus’ sacrifice.
By refusing to forgive others, we are basically saying we don’t believe that Jesus can forgive all sin.
If we truly believe in hell, shouldn’t we be warning more people?
And if we believe that Jesus told us to care for the poor, why aren’t we doing all we can to care for them?
God’s second greatest commandment was to love others as He has loved us. If we believe that, why aren’t we reaching out to everyone in love?
Why are we full of fear and fighting for joy if we believe that God is good?
Salvation is not dependent upon actions, but our actions do mirror our beliefs. If we really do believe that all we have comes from a great and loving God, and that we would be in hell without His grace and forgiveness, then what are we doing to prove it?
When I take a hard look at my life, not all my actions are lining up with my claimed beliefs. And honestly, I’m scared of what a realignment of beliefs and actions would cost me.
The core belief my life is built on, is that Jesus loves me, with a perfect love. If this core belief is strong, my life will fall into order around it and my actions will reflect it.
“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24