Some of my earliest experiences in a Christian setting were in Southern Baptist churches where the Pastor was preaching fire and brimstone. Oh how I hated that as a young rebellious child and even worse as a teenager. Now, I am very stubborn by nature, my wife and my family can attest to that, I’ve never liked anyone telling me what to DO. But to be told what to BELIEVE? Not gonna happen. And please, whatever you do – don’t tell me there are consequences if I don’t fall in line. Give me the carrot, not the stick.
However like most immature children, I’ve grown up, and now in my mid-thirties I look back and wish I had listened to the stern warnings I had received in my youth. Oh the trouble and heartache I could have saved myself.
I mostly write for myself, I write to process through the things God is showing me and teaching me and much of the time I find that others find value in the finished result of this process. In my study this morning some things really jumped out to me, and I strongly felt the need to write about it, first to process my thoughts on the matter, and second because in the giving spirit of Christmas, the stern warnings of my “serious cause for concern” very well could result in the someone receiving the greatest gift of all; the gift of Salvation.
The words that spurred this burden were the words of Jesus Christ found in Luke 11:23:
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
I’m not going to go into the countless Bible verses giving some pretty gruesome and horrific descriptions of the eternal destiny for unbelievers, but if you’ve never read them it’s worth reading how God’s word portrays hell. Also consider reading through Matthew 8:11-12, Mark 9:42-48, Luke 16:19-31, Jude 1:3-13 & Revelation 20:11-15 for more on this subject. When you come face to face with Christ’s power and authority over all of creation and our future awaiting Him on the judgement seat it should absolutely be a serious cause for concern if you are not “with” Him but therefore “against” Him.
As with most times God wants to drive a point home to me, I move from reading my Bible to reading my favorite devotional and the next reading is perfectly aligned with what I have just read in scripture. Case in point:
“Many a soul begins to come to God when He flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ. But woe be to me if when I see Him I say – I will not. He will never insist that I do, but I have begun to sign the death warrant of the Son of God in my soul. When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and say – I will not, He will never insist; but I am backing away from the recreating power of His Redemption. It is a matter of indifference to God’s grace how abominable I am if I come to the light; but woe be to me if I refuse the light.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, July 18th.
One thing I know for sure is that we never want to fall into a category of persons that when referred to in Scripture are preceded with “woe be to.” Thankfully Christ is a God of grace and forgiveness, however we must strongly consider what darkness we are so attached to in our lives that we fear being exposed fully.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” – John 3:18-21
I’ve written many blogs talking about the free gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ, and I encourage you to read them if you are seeking a way to fill that void inside. I pray that these warnings in scripture you a serious cause for concern and as you enjoy the holiday season with your family and friends remember that what Christians are celebrating on Dec. 25th is the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation from God found in Jesus Christ alone.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” – John 3:16-17