What are you captivated by?
This past Sunday morning while driving to church, the car ahead of me had a bumper sticker that said, "So mote it be" (which is an archaic phrase meaning "So must it be," and which originated in the rituals of Freemasonry, and is common today in Wiccan and ceremonial magick rituals. For those who don't know, 'Wicca' is a polytheistic Neo-Pagan nature religion inspired by various western European beliefs, whose central deity is a mother goddess and which includes the use of herbal magic and benign witchcraft).
Sunday night, again on the way to church, a van in front of me had a bumper sticker which said something like, "One nation under goddess."
If Religion were simply a matter of opinion, like what brand of toothpaste you prefer, then there would be no problem, and everyone would basically be equally correct in whatever they believed.
If it were a matter of race or culture or nationality, then I would say we need to respect people's differences and realize that any Religion, like any race or any culture or any nationality, should not be seen as better than or superior to another one.
However, it is a matter of a person's eternal destiny. It is a matter of their soul. It is a matter of whether a person spends eternity in Paradise/Heaven, or whether they spend eternity in that incinerator, that eternally-burning garbage pit, called Hell.
What about you? Do you know what will happen to you after you die? Do you know where you will go? That should really be the highest priority of anyone's life: to look into it, research it, ask questions, and make sure you know for sure, finding the most definite and truthful answer you can. Anyone who says about death, concerning their eternal destiny, "I'm not gonna worry about it; when it happens, it happens," is a fool. Anyone who says, "Well, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong; and I'll take my punishment like a man," is a fool. Thankfully, it is possible to know for sure where you will spend eternity.
Most people, if asked, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" would answer "Yes." However, see how many of the following questions you can answer 'no' to:
-Have you ever, in your lifetime, told a lie? Even a white lie?
[If a person lies to you, what do you call them? A liar! One of the Ten Commandments---God's Law---is "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (i.e., lying.) If you have ever lied, then you have broken one of God's Laws!]
-Have you ever, in your lifetime, stolen anything, no matter how small, and no matter the value?
[If a person steals something from you, what do you call them? A thief! Another of the Ten Commandments, God's Law, is "You shall not steal." If you have ever stolen anything, then that's another of God's Laws that you have broken.]
-Have you ever looked at another person and lusted after them?
[Jesus said, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:28) Another of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not commit adultery." If you've done this, or if you have slept with anyone outside of marriage, then you have broken yet another of God's Laws.]
-Have you ever used God's Name as a curse word?
[Another one of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name." If you have ever said, "Oh my G-d!" or "G-d D---it!" then you are guilty of breaking still another of God's Commands.]
-Have you ever hated anyone or held anger against them?
[Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (Matt. 5:21-22) Have you also broken this Commandment as well? Your sins are stacking up higher and higher!...]
-Have you ever loved anything---your car, your house, your wife, your kids, your TV, your boat, your computer, sports, money, sex, or even yourself---more than you love God?
[The Ten Commandments say, "You shall have no other gods before Me." This is idolatry. Can you honestly say that, every single second of your entire life, you have always loved God more than anything else? If not, then that's yet another Law you have broken.]
Jesus said, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20) He also said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48)
Are you perfect?
The Bible says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) "Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Psalm 53:3) Jesus said, "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' " (Mark 7:21-23)
All of us have broken God's Law. All of us are sinners. All of us fall short. All of us have mutinied against our Creator, and selfishly followed our own way, instead of walking in perfect obedience to Him. All of us are wicked and have rebelled against and offended a holy, righteous God...the God Who created us.
One day you will stand before God. Based on God's Law, the Ten Commandments, would you go to Heaven or Hell? Every one of us deserves to go to Hell.
You might say, "But isn't God a loving God? Isn't He a forgiving God?"
Let me ask you this: If a Judge lets a criminal go free, and just excuses his crime, is that a good Judge? Of course not! God cannot merely excuse your sin. Would you want God to just freely allow sinners into Heaven, no matter what? Would you want God to let Hitler into Heaven? Would you want God to let unrepentant mass murderers into Heaven? Would you want God to let those who have raped and brutally murdered little children, and would do so again if they could, into Heaven? If He did, that would be evil. He would not be a good Judge. He would not be a good God. What about those who have done 'lesser' sins? Would you want God to allow liars, robbers, manipulators, dictators, slave owners, wife beaters, drunks, drug users and cruel people into Heaven? Not only would it be unfair and unjust for God to do so, but Heaven would then no longer be Heaven...it would become no better, and no more enjoyable, than Earth, because it would be filled with corrupt, evil people.
The Bible says, "Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:26-27)
"In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)
There is good news. God the Father sent Christ Jesus, Who is God the Son, to pay for our sins on the cross. But you must turn away from your sins and follow Christ in order to accept this payment. Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32)
The Good News is, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
The All-Important Question
Have you been captivated by God through the gospel?
Have you been taken captive by Christ Jesus, the Son of God?
Have you been regenerated? (not just converted, but re-created.) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (II Cor. 5:17)
Has your life been radically and dramatically transformed
and changed through the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?
It's not about my opinion, or a philosophy, or a way of thinking,
or being religious, or even converting to a Religion.
It's about being accepted by God the Father, which only comes
through completely surrendering your life to Christ Jesus.
It's about having the righteousness of Christ imputed to you. It's about God the Holy Spirit coming and living inside of you, so that you, having been cleansed of all sin, then become God's temple...a living temple.
God commands people to accept Him as their treasure. "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed..." (Psalm 2:12a) Let Him pay for your sins, or else pay for them yourself; but if you pay for them yourself, it will take forever---literally---because a sinner can never fully pay for sin. Surrender to Jesus Christ or burn in Hell forever. "...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve..." (Joshua 24:15a)
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