So often, it seems to me that people just think the Bible is a bunch of fairy tales and inconsistencies. So, they just go to church to hear some preacher tell them that they will be saved.
I can really understand that, because I have been one of those people.
Only recently did I conclude that the Bible is in fact all true, but not all we hear preached is. Before that kind of semi blind faith can take place, though, you have to realize that the Bible does seem too unreal. That requires really trying to imagine that the stories are real. Also, you have to see the apparent inconsistent concepts.
As to the stories being almost surreal, the fact that they are really true stories can only be comprehended by understanding who God is. On the surface, it doesn’t seem that difficult to know that God is the omnipresent omnipotent creator of all. I think Christians score highly in that area. However, when we see so little magnificence of God manifested today, it is also easy to fall to a more mundane understanding which makes God’s miraculous stories in the Bible seem unreal.
The question is – who’s fault is that? Not looking for God in all things causes God to seem invisible. God makes Himself clear in so many ways, but we look to the mundane worldly existence as if all this just happens by itself. If God is who He says He is, then He has already done everything. He declared that in His Word. So, if we truly believe in Him, then we should see how He conducts this all. If we do not believe in Him, then we are doomed to a life in eternity of fire in hell.
So, if we do believe in Him, don’t we just go to heaven? No, unfortunately that is a misunderstanding of the entirety of the Bible. Yes, God did send Jesus to save those who believe in Him. However, that is not the whole story. I think we all wish so bad it were, that we just declare it so. Isn’t that a little like judging our own case in court?
The Bible states in Revelation 21:8, as one example, that sinners will not go to heaven, but rather hell. So, that is one of those contradictions that seemed to be present in the Bible. Doesn’t the ever popular John 3:16, say we will be saved if we believe in Jesus? Doesn’t every pastor make that his mantra? However, as soon as I turned off the religious babble, I understood it easily. Belief in Jesus requires obedience to his commandments.
It is so simple to see that the perfect holy God would expect some compliance from us to give us the eternal riches of heaven. He made us in His image, and that is how it works on earth, just like it will work in heaven. Nothing worthwhile is truly free. Think about it. Is love free? Give me a break. Love is work, and hard work at that. Try marriage for a few decades without sacrifice. You won’t make it there. Divorce has become too easy, and no one wants to have love not returned. Would God? Would God want you to disobey His commandments to you, then give you eternity together with Him in untold splendor? No, He promises us in His Word that He won’t. So, quit the smoochie poochie talk about everyone being saved. Those who obey will be saved. Read Ephesians 5:19-21, and tell me that all who believe in Jesus will be saved. Yet it is true. So how can I rectify that apparent inconsistency?
Jesus wants us all to accept His sacrifice for our sin, His love. He will never cease in trying to redeem us to repentance. However, we must repent of our sins to prove our belief because we love Him back. Just like we have to prove our love of our spouse or family, Jesus knows our heart (better than we do) and requires our obedience to His will for this world. It is belief to give obedience. Can you cheat on your spouse? Of course not. So, don’t cheat on Jesus. Practice obedience to prove belief. The meaning of salvation is that Jesus allows us to fail in things, but He knows if we are truly trying to please Him by proving our obedience. If your heart is with Him, your actions will go the same way.
Don’t think you can give God some lukewarm token attention. That is just a waste of time. It is like buying the prom queen a Snickers and never following it up.