|Volume 18 Number 2 February 2016||
Taking advantage of the gift of salvation in Christ and the mercy and grace of God seems to me to be a “no-brainier,” as the saying goes. Why, then, do the majority of people never obey the Gospel? While each case is different, and the following is not a complete list, it is food for thought.
They Don’t See the Need
Some don’t have any concept that they have a sin problem. Some enjoy sin and don’t want to change. Others, often good people in so many ways, have been deceived into believing false philosophies and into following false religion. These folks feel that their sins are gone, though they have never actually obeyed the Gospel according to God’s will. Ultimately, I believe that the major cause for failure to obey is this lack of understanding of the need to obey. We live in a world that says that whatever makes you feel good is right and is truth for you. To present the fact that we must subjugate our will to God, repent and follow His way is incomprehensible to many. Yet, all sin and need forgiveness (Romans 3:23).
They Don’t Believe in Heaven
For so many, the concept is that when life here is over, it is over. There is nothing beyond now, they think. For others, the desire for eternal rest is much less powerful than the desire for instant self-gratification. Sometimes those who confess a love for God, even those who are His people, put their service to God behind earthly matters. So often, we are tired and weary, sick and in tears. Yet, we have the promise of a place where we can rest forever with no tears or sorrow (Revelation 3:4). Why would anyone pass that up? My guess is that they either don’t really believe it, or because they let the here-and-the-now blot it out of their hearts and minds.
They Don’t Believe in Hell
When I read the description of the rich man in torment in Luke 16, I see desperation. “Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and touch my tongue,” he requested, “for I am tormented in these flames.” I heard someone mention this record recently, and for a few minutes I got lost in my own thoughts. I cannot imagine that anything would be worth having to spend eternity in unending punishment. If we truly believed in hell, it would be a major deterrent to evil living. It would make us want to obey the Gospel and to stay faithful to God.
It Takes Too Much Effort and Dedication
The fact is, if we are honest, no one accidentally goes to heaven. Only those who actively choose and follow the “narrow way” will come into life eternal (Matthew 7:13-14). It does take effort. Most will not choose it; most will follow the broad way to destruction. As one song says, “heaven will surely be worth it all, worth all the trouble that may befall…” Paul, as he neared the end of his life said, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV). Note that he was ready for his reward, but he mentioned three things: a fight, a race, keeping the faith. All of those are things that take great effort on our part. I am afraid that many will be told to depart from Him because they did not want to put forth the effort to be saved.
They Haven’t Had the Opportunity to Hear the Gospel
Here is where those who have obeyed the Gospel must step forward. Our marching orders are to take the Gospel to the whole world (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). It is up to us to make this message available to all of mankind. We cannot obey it for others. However, Paul asked, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15). We need to make every effort to reduce the numbers of those who don’t obey the Gospel because they don’t get the opportunity to hear it.
Let us dedicate ourselves to obedience to God’s Word, no matter what it takes, so that we can avoid hell and enjoy eternity with the saved of all the ages worshipping at the throne of God. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, whom will you persuade with the Gospel (2 Corinthians 5:11)?
Chicken or the Egg?
Donald R. Fox
It would be interesting to know how many folks have heard the saying, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” I believe that this saying is designed to extinguish or at least cause doubts and confusion concerning one’s belief in the creation about which we read in the Word of God (Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…”).
This old saying allows one to ask a few questions concerning evolution and creation. Consider these questions even though they are nonsensical.
1. Has anyone seen or can fantasize of an egg creating itself? In other words, can a chicken egg develop without a chicken?
2. We wonder as the egg started to create itself, did the shell become whole before the yoke or did the yoke develop first?
In order to believe an egg or the chicken made itself is to believe in the doctrine of spontaneous generation. Sadly, some will believe anything in order to reject our Creator. “One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are—as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.” (Wald, George. The Origin of Life 270 qtd. in That Their Words May Be Used Against Them 51 by Henry M. Morris).
Common sense must be applied! “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4 KJV).