I read a comment on a friend’s blog a while back that went like this:
“So, the equation really does quickly simplify to “love me [Jesus] or burn.” In practice, you are sent to Hell for not loving Jesus.”
I get that people don’t believe, I really do, not all will. But is basing disbelief, even in part, on a scripturally inaccurate assertion that misrepresents both the true nature of God and the love God showed for us a wise idea?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:8
Since the God of the Bible is above all things a God of love, I would reword “love me or burn” to the more accurate “chose to love me as I love you, chose to honor me, worship me, and receive my free gift of salvation, or chose to live out your eternity forever separated from all that is good”.
See, denying God’s plan of salvation, not liking God’s plan of salvation, or objecting to God’s plan of salvation because you believe you are more loving and moral (that’s what the quote quickly simplifies to) than God doesn’t mean that God’s plan of salvation isn’t an objective reality that is in accordance with God’s perfect justice.
Are your views similar to those of the commenter quoted above?
If so, you do know that if you chose to reject God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins, then you chose to spend eternity with a fallen angel who has been rejecting God from the beginning, right? Is that what you want? Is redefining scriptural truths about Hell, sin,and judgment so they better fit your version of morality worth it?
If eternal torment isn’t what you want and you still chose to see the free gift of salvation as a “love me or die” ultimatum you can’t live with, it might help to look at it in a different, and more accurate, way.
If you can’t accept the God of “love me or burn” ultimatums, why don’t you give the real God a try?
Could you accept, have faith in, have trust in, and worship a God who wanted so desperately for people to avoid Hell He became a human, suffered at the hands of humans, and allowed himself to be murdered by humans, all so that His death could pay for the debt of your sins?
Would you agree that a God who would do that is extremely loving and worthy of praise?
Fact is, God is saving people who deserve to go to Hell every day as long as they don’t willfully reject His free offer of salvation.
But, if they do reject it, what is God supposed to do? Does the almighty, who can do no wrong, have any choice other than to judge?
If you believe that it is unjust or immoral for God to send people to Hell simply for not loving Jesus, how do you maintain that it would be just or moral for God to give people who are guilty of sin a free pass when they fail to repent in accordance with His plan?
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 6:23
But death is a pretty harsh penalty for
not loving Jesus living a life of sin, right? Eternal torment is over the top, right?
Sins are not only wrong, they are crimes committed against an infinite and holy being that require infinite and eternal punishment that is levied against all, uniformly, justly, and without fail.
If you disagree with that, what would you like a loving and just God do to those who
don’t love Jesus chose to oppose Him and live in sin? Do you want Him to simply ignore that which is wrong?
Do you want Him to say “oops, my bad, that whole love Jesus or burn thing was crazy, I can’t believe I was so wrong?”
Do you want Him to turn His head and not be holy and righteous?
If you understand the “love Jesus or burn” ultimatum as it actually is, it becomes much easier to accept the fact that people, not God, are the ones who chose their eternal destiny.
The Bible says “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights (James 1:17).”
If God is the author of all that is good, and you choose to live a life separate from Him, you have chosen to separate yourself from the provider of all that is good. This might seem like a good plan while you are on Earth living in a reality of your own misunderstanding.
Bad news is that when you leave your earthly life of choosing to separate yourself from God behind, He will not violate your free will and will, just as you wish, allow you to live out your eternity in the state, and place, YOU CHOSE.
The men who suffer in eternal torment are not those who simply didn’t buy the “love Jesus or burn” ultimatum but instead thost who chose to reject God and all His goodness.
In other words, the equation really simplifies to: “love your version of truth and your moral objections to God’s perfect plan of salvationn and burn.”