December 20, 2012

Quandaries Series

I have been thinking about something.  In my own gospel presentation (you can read it by clicking the link above), and in many apologetic approaches I have heard, it is said that there will not be any people in Hell who wanted salvation but didn't get it.

What about all the people who think that they are doing good by submitting to Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other religion?  Don't they want salvation?  Isn't that why they are submitting to something that they think is the ultimate good?

Have you ever thought that?

Can I propose to you that there is a faulty understanding of salvation in that reasoning?

You see, the Christian hope is tied up in what it means to be "saved."  There are many things that "salvation" delivers us from.
It delivers us from God's wrath.  Romans 2:5-8 and Revelation 6:17 tell us that there is coming a day of great wrath, and no one will be able to stand against it - except the redeemed.
It delivers us from Hell.  Matthew talks a lot about Hell.
It delivers us from an alienation from God.  Colossians 1:21-22
It delivers us from accusation and guilt.  Romans 8:1 and 31-34 tell us that there is no accusation or condemnation that can come against the redeemed.
I would say that most of the people involved in all other religions are pursuing what they perceive as the ultimate good toward one or more of all of these.  So doesn't that mean that they want Salvation?

Salvation in the Christian Faith is very specific to one thing that is not acknowledged by any other religion.  The Bible states that God is Holy and we are sinners.  We cannot have anything to do with God because we are sinners.  The one particular thing which Salvation saves us from that no other religion concedes to is Freedom from slavery to sin.  In Matthew 1:21 an angel tells Joseph to name the messiah Jesus, "because He will free His people from their sins".  Romans 6 is bursting with this very exclusive truth.

The reason that we can say no one else truly wants to be saved is because no one pursuing another religion is willing to admit that they are completely worthless sinners unable to do good.  Their very pursuit of religion betrays their belief that they can be good enough of their own effort.   This is why John, Jesus, and all the disciples preached REPENTANCE prior to the Gospel of Jesus' death.  This is why John's baptism was a baptism of REPENTANCE.  This is why Johns message was "preparing the way" for Jesus and His message.  Those whom God has called and graced with the free gift of faith to believe in the first place are able to acknowledge their sinful predicament as slaves to sin.  No other religion provides that.  In fact it makes them angry to hear such an exclusive claim about Jesus' way unto eternal life and salvation.

Those in Hell will not truly have desired salvation from slavery to sin, they will simply have desired freedom from the consequences of sin: God's Wrath, Hell, Alienation, Accusation, and Guilt.

See why repentance is such an important part of the Gospel?  Is it part of your testimony or is it left out?

God Bless
With you for His glory