Salutations. I recently heard a few lines from an atheist that struck a chord with me. Unfortunately, I did not write it down. I hope I represent it well with the follow paraphrase, “I could never believe or love a God that only allows only one way to come to Him. So, you’re telling me that if you do not believe in Jesus, you go to hell? That is not something I can accept.” I have a number of thoughts to share on this popular line of thinking.
First, we must understand that we deserve hell. The above line of thought usually comes from the proud individual who believes he is a ‘good’ person. Yet, the Bible reminds us that ‘all have fallen short of the glory of God’ and that ‘none have done good, no, not one.’ If one lives a perfect life, and yet murders someone, they stand guilty of murder in the eyes of the law. A perfectly good, humble, giving life does not negate the guilt of that action. If we were honest with ourselves, we have all done many, many terribly selfish things in our life. Living a life that is ‘mostly good and loving’ does not offset our pride, rudeness, self-centered heart, etc. And if we were even MORE honest with ourselves, we would admit that we do not live a ‘good, totally loving’ life for even a week…or a day.
Regardless, even if we did, it would not negate our sin, and the penalty due. Thankfully, God gave us a gift when He sent His son to die for us on the cross. We had a debt due that we could never pay. God sent His Son to do what we could never do. And, yet, we raise our fist in the air and say “How DARE you demand, God, that I repent of my sins, bow before you, and accept your gift of life? I refuse!”
And we really have to ask WHY such actions, on top of our sins, would justify eternal separation from the God who gives us every blessing? Wow.
This leads me to a second, common-sense point. We all have conditions for any serious relationship we have with others. From a spouse, we may require faithfulness. From a friend, we expect compassion and love. If we commit violence to our friend, we can expect them not to remain our friend for long. God requires that for a relationship with Him that we repent of our sin, since it separates us from Him. We cannot walk with God while we have committed our hearts to living selfishly to the exclusion of all others. When we repent from our sin, we turn towards Him. That is all He asks. He stands ready to forgive our sins… paying the penalty for them, if we simply turn away from sin and seek His face. And, honestly, if people do not want to do that in life, why would they want to be with God for all of eternity? I believe in the saying, “Hell is locked from within.”
I sincerely pray that each of you reading this will prayerfully search God’s Word. I believe if you do, you will see for yourself that He is the way, the truth and the life. If I can help answer any questions, or pray for you personally, please let me know.
By His Grace,