A Matter of the Heart
A Matter of the Heart
Have you ever heard someone say, “The church makes it too hard for us to get to heaven, and I don’t need to go to church to be saved?” I have recently been in a discussion with someone who thinks that way, and I chose to write this article in hopes that it will help any who believe this untruth.
I want to say this right from the start, that we cannot earn salvation. Our salvation was written in Jesus’s blood on the cross! Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
However, we must be justified and sanctified before him, and must be fully obedient to him. God is fair, just and loving, but there are consequences to how we have lived in the past. If we have made a mess of our life, that’s not God’s fault, but He forgives us if we ask for it. What else can we ask for? If that means you have to remain single and never re-marry because of an unscriptural divorce, then so be it! At least you get a chance to go to heaven after this life is over.
For the church to hold those accountable for their actions is the right thing to do, but there are some who say it’s not fair, and we are too strict and make it too hard to obey. Jesus is the judge, and we will all stand before Him. If we do NOT hold our brethren accountable for sin, then we sin as well.
Sinning and living in sin are two different things. We all sin, but we are not continuing to practice that sin. Look at King Saul. His pride and disrespect for God cost him everything. Saul had a chance to repent but never did. He kept doing what HE thought was the right, while God was telling him to obey through Samuel. 1 Samuel 15:22-23: “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.’ ”
God created an imperfect being in me and in you, and yet He wants our obedience. Those of us who choose to attend church are trying to obey the will of God as revealed in the bible. It is often pride that gets in the way of clear thinking, and pride is one of Satan’s favorite weapons. Do we forsake the assembly because of pride? Do we make excuses and blame the church and its members for why we sit on the couch on Sunday?
We need each other. Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” I once heard a brother say, “We are not a museum of saints rather sick sinners looking for the healing that only Jesus provides.” We are here to help one another and encourage and edify. You can’t get that by staying home.
So is it hard to make it to heaven? That all depends on how you are living. If you love this world more than you love God, there is a problem. It is that simple. It is clear to me, that it is a choice to go to heaven or hell. And it is Jesus, not the church, who sits in judgement. But we can, as active members of the church, be obedient by coming and worshiping with likeminded people who have each other’s best interest at heart.
I am not writing this to hurt feelings, but out of love. I hope to shine a light on this subject. It is a matter of the heart that compels us to attend. Going to church is not what you do, but who you are!
– Terry Ryan
I once saw a comic strip that made me laugh but also contained a serious point. Two men were watching, as a third man paraded down the street carrying a sign which read: “The World Will End Tomorrow !”
One of the observers asked the other, “Well, what should we do about that?”
His friend smiled and said, “Ask him if he’ll give you his credit cards.”
Indeed, it is often the case that people give lip service to some belief but are not willing to back it up with action that demonstrate true conviction.
– Leonard White
A Double Examination
Dr. Madison Sarratt taught mathematics at Vanderbilt University for many years. Prior to giving exams, he would often say: “Today I am giving two examinations – one in trigonometry and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. If you must fail one, fail trigonometry.”
When we get what we deserve, that is justice.
When we don’t get what we deserve, that is mercy.
When we get what we don’t deserve, that is grace.
If one who spreads gossip deserves to be hanged by his tongue,
shouldn’t the one who listens to it be hanged by his ears ?