|Posted by John Suttles on April 12, 2020 at 7:10 PM|
In our pluralistic, religiously schizophrenic, new-age society we have dangerous views on the matter of eternity. And we don’t care. We have been anesthetized by our own error. Some say, “All roads lead to heaven.” The rest believe it and practice it by failing to make the separation God requires between holiness and unholiness – in their own hearts and minds.
But, in our present religious culture where our notions of salvation and heaven have been born and bred in the schools of a socialistic state – formed by the practices of hedonistic, social icons and the deceits of Pharisaical moralism that calls itself “old-time religion,” the Word of God still gives no credence to the amoral, hippie-grandfather Jesus that so many are selling today – a Jesus virtually bursting with a blind love that only wishes your happiness and is oblivious to your sin! The Word of God gives no credence to the notion that heaven’s doors are wide open to every sort of practicing rebel that is willing to give Jesus a nod and a wink!
It gives no credence to the old-time revivalistic religion that sets up new rules for salvation – don’t dance, don’t drink, keep your hair cut short, always go to church, act like all the other conservative God-fearing citizens that never speak ill of football and American soldiers and give $5 to the Salvation Army and $20 to some missionary far away; and God will be Oh so pleased with your matchless devotion that He will be beside Himself to build a mansion for you!
But the Word of God has a far different view. Just look at Revelation 22:14-15. It says, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”
The thing is that heaven belongs to God, not to Hollywood, modern missions organizations, or hireling preachers. The Lord of heaven has determined who will enter His holy city. And He has determined how they will do so. Know this! When the heavens are rolled up and every soul is brought to judgment, there will be those within the holy city; but there will be those without, as well.
Yes, it is very hard to hear! It is very unsettling to our senses to consider! And it does fly in the face of the feel-good, every-man-to-heaven gospel we cling to in this age. But it is critical to know – it is urgent to tell others that, when all is said and done, there will be some people closed outside of the holy city. One naturally begs, then, “Well, who will be inside?”
Again, Rev. 22:14, it’s those that do His commandments. But of course, you will insist that salvation in Christ is not a “works salvation”. No one can “do” anything or enough of anything to get into heaven. Paul spoke unequivocally, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal.2:16) No amount of, or perfection in, keeping the law of God will earn us a right to the tree of life! And yet Rev.22:14 says it will. Or, does it?
Attentive Christians and Bible students will know that English is not the original language of the Bible. And here, a check of the original language of Revelation will dissolve the apparent contradiction; for we learn in the original tongue that the Spirit calls those blessed that “are doing” the commandments of God.
Here is the heart of the matter and a most timely message for a nation now strained with fear, foaming with “religious” activity, and habituating itself to prayer, so called! In a word, the God that rules over COVID-19 has only called those blessed who are doing what He has commanded them to do – Only what He has commanded them to do! All that He has commanded them to do!
Everything that He has commanded to do, perfectly? No, of course not; but there is a material divide between imperfect obedience and perfect disobedience. Obedience to God’s commandments, you see, is not a condition for salvation but a condition of salvation! (see Ephesians 2:10)
And so Paul says, without holiness you will not see the kingdom of heaven. (Heb.12:14) It is not that your “holiness” earns your salvation, it is that holiness identifies you as a citizen of heaven, as having been saved by the grace of God. The question for America today, then, and all those within her that consider themselves “good” or “spiritual” or “religious” or even “Christian”, and therefore entitled to or empowered to request the mercy and blessing of God is this: Is conformity to the commandments of God the defining characteristic of your life? Does your heart lean to His obedience like the daisy to the sun? If it is so, by the grace of God, then you are blessed indeed! But if not, the news is tragic. In the last day, there will be a crowd locked on the outside; and you may be there.
Recall, Revelation 22:15 said, “…without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” But many would object, “Those are not my sins! I can’t be in that crowd! I’m a good person!” But I would suggest that, aside from the fact that to be guilty of any of those sins in our thoughts and feelings is to be condemned under the law whether we physically perform them or not, there is still one sin mentioned by the apostle that virtually saturates our religious culture today. Notice those words, “…whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”
There is a “gospel” today that throws Jesus at men’s feet and hangs the outcome of God’s universe on the choices of mankind – drapes the robe of God’s glory over the weather vane of men’s whims! It teaches that God Himself cannot save you without you giving Him permission – although He so badly wants to save you (we are told). And, we are further told, if you just decide to let Him save you the deal is done forever regardless of how full of wicked, worldly disobedience your proud, selfish heart remains from the moment of your “decision to accept Him” to the moment you close your eyes at the last!
What a dreadful lie! But men have “made it”; and great masses of men love it because it puts God at their mercy. They can hang heaven on the end of a moment’s “decision” and never turn loose of the world and their love of themselves. And our flesh loves the arrangement! But it is a lie. And so James says quite bluntly, “O vain man, …faith without works is dead!” (James 2:20) Dead! And a dead faith will be a living hell, outside of the holy city!
Wake up, America! Lying preachers everywhere are making lies. And are you loving them? Whether it’s a new virus today or a tired old body tomorrow, you will soon stand before your God. Will you be counted in? Or will you remain, outside? In what condition is your obedience? Are you doing the commandments of God?
W. L. Suttles