BUT WAIT...GOD IS LOVE SO HE'LL GIVE ME A SECOND CHANCE...WON'T HE?
We must understand that Godís Word is His message to us and that it is the final authority in and for all things.
Godís Word must not be interpreted into some watered down, twisted form to make it say things we want it to say or wish that it said. Scripture must be interpreted by scripture to be of God. Many use the word Ďinterpretationí to justify distorting or even ignoring parts of the message God has given to us through His Word. God says exactly what He means and means exactly what He says. Scripture is very clear about that.
Psm. 12:6 The Word of God is flawless.
Matt. 24:35 & 1 Pet. 1:25 Godís Word is forever.
Rom. 15:4 All things written are to teach us.
1 Cor. 2:4,5 Godís Word is not from the wisdom of men.
2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is God inspired.
2 Pet. 1:20,21 All scripture came from God.
Rev. 22:18,19 Adding, changing or removing from Godís Word is condemnation.
If we donít believe those things and believe something else, then it is blasphemy and a challenge to the sovereignty of God.
Mark 3:29 Whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven and is guilty of eternal condemnation.
Also, we cannot simply rely on our feelings; or what we have been told; or what we have been taught; and yes, as hard as it might be to accept, even if those teachings are from our church.
Acts 17:11 We are to search scripture for the truth.
1 Tim. 4:13 God commands us to study.
Heb. 2:1 Warning to pay attention to Godís message.
2 Tim. 2:15 Present yourself approved before God.
Jere. 12:10 Many shepherds (Pastors) will trample the gospel.
2 Tim. 4:3,4 People wonít accept sound doctrine; will listen to what they want to hear.
Gal. 1:6-9 Those believing and preaching a false gospel will be condemned.
2 Pet. 3:16-18 People will distort scripture.
The God of all creation is truly a God of love. The Bible is filled with His love. The first time the word love is used in the Bible is recorded in Gen. 22:2. He teaches a message of love, compassion, comfort and promise throughout scripture. His love for us is truly a love that has no bounds. Godís love is so great that He sent His Son Jesus to suffer and die on the cross in our place to carry the burden of all sin for the entire world. Itís only through His shed blood that we can choose to receive eternal life by acknowledging before Him that we are lost sinners, by truly repenting of our sins, by asking Him to forgive our sins, and then by inviting Jesus into our heart and life as our Savior and Lord.
Just a few of the many scriptures that teach love are as follows:
Matt. 22:37-39 Love the Lord God with everything within you; love your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:27 Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son.
Rom. 8:32 God did not spare His Son, but gave Him up for us.
Rom. 8:38,39 Nothing shall separate us from the love of God.
1 Cor. 13 Note Ė This entire chapter is devoted to love.
Although God is certainly a God of love, He is also a God of righteousness and judgment. He is a just God (2 Thes. 1:5,6), He is without sin (1 Pet. 2:22), He does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34) and He cannot look upon sin (Prov. 6:16-19). He has promised to judge those who do not belong to Him. It is our choice to follow Him or be destined for eternal punishment. 2 Pet. 3:9 says itís not Godís will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Psm. 50:6 The heavens proclaim His righteousness, for God is judge.
Jere. 25:30,31 The Lordís voice will roar mightily; He will bring judgment to all.
Mark 16:16 Whoever believes will be saved; unbelief will be condemned.
John 3:36 He who rejects Godís Son will suffer Godís wrath.
Rom. 1:18 Wrath of God to be revealed for unbelief.
Rom. 6:23 Wages of sin is death; eternal life is Godís gift in Christ Jesus.
2 Thes. 1:8,9 Those not knowing God or not obeying Him will suffer everlasting punishment.
I have tried briefly to establish scripturally what Godís Word has to say about its infallibility, Godís love and His righteous judgment. Much more could also be said concerning its proven accuracy through biblical accounts, historical evidence and through the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies.
Now, letís consider the question as to whether God will give us second chances to choose His plan of salvation. Will He or wonít He? The answer to the question is both yes and no. Itís dependent on where we are in Godís timeframe for our lives as well as Godís timeframe for all mankind. I will try to explain.
Someday, somehow we will all leave this life. None of us can know when that will be. Most people would admit they hope it will be later rather than sooner, but we really canít know. However, God knows the very day. Psalm 90:10 teaches that our days are numbered, then they will be cut off and weíll fly away. Psalm 139:15,16 says our days were ordained for us before they came to be. Then, James 4:14 warns that our lives are as a mist that lingers for a while, then vanishes away.
The Bible teaches that after Adam and Eve were tempted in the Garden of Eden and made the choice to disobey God, all of future mankind would be born with a sinful nature. As a result, we are not worthy of the glory of God within ourselves and are deserving of eternal death.
Rom. 5:12 Sin and death entered the world through Adam; then came to all men.
Rom. 3:10 There is no one righteous, not even one.
Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned and are short of the glory of God.
Gal. 3:22 The whole world is a prisoner of sin.
God loves us, His creation, so much that He in His infinite wisdom provided a plan of salvation for all who would choose to accept it. As I explained earlier, He sent His Son to shed His blood on the cross that, through Him, we can have eternal life. All we must do is truly repent of our sins and confess them before God, invite Jesus into our heart as our Savior and Lord and then, believe by faith. There is nothing that we can do by ourselves to earn or achieve salvation. It is a free gift from God that we must choose to accept. The Bible calls this salvation experience being Ďborn againí.
John 1:12 Receive Him, believe and become children of God.
John 3:3 You must be born again to see the kingdom of God.
John 3:16 Whoever believes will have eternal life.
John 6:37 Whoever comes to the Father will not be turned away.
Acts 2:21 All who call on the Lord will be saved.
Rom. 10:9,10 We must confess and believe.
2 Cor. 5:21 Jesus bore all sin so we could be righteous.
Eph. 2:8,9 Salvation is by faith, not of works.
Heb. 9:22 Without Jesus shedding His blood on the cross there can be no remission of sin.
Rom. 5:1 We are justified through faith.
Rom. 11:6 If salvation is by grace, then itís not of works.
Titus 3:5 Saved not by righteous works.
John 8:47 If you donít choose to hear and obey, you donít belong to Him.
Rom. 10:13 Salvation is for all who choose.
Being a member of a certain church cannot save you. Being baptized either as a baby or adult cannot save you. A Pastor or Priest simply praying over you while you are dying cannot save you. The only thing that will save you is putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is a choice, a deliberate, conscious choice that we and we alone will make before we die. To just do nothing is our choice to reject His message.
The Bible clearly says in Heb. 9:27 that we are appointed once to die, after that the judgment.
Rom. 14:12 says all must give an account. 1 Pet. 4:5 tells us we will all give an account, then face judgment. You see, after we die there is no second chance. The only second chance we have is now, today in this life. With all the uncertainties of this life, there might not be a tomorrow for some of us reading this writing.
If you donít truly know Jesus, then one minute after you die, you will suddenly realize too late that you would have given up everything for only one more minute of life and breath just to have asked Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior.
Also, I believe we are very close to the end of Godís timeframe for mankind. That conclusion is based on studies of prophecies in Godís Word as well as an awareness of not only current events, but events of recent times showing fulfillment of prophecy. This age will end with the rapture of all true believers, which can occur any moment, when they are called up to meet the Lord in the air as He comes to take them with Him (1 Thes. 4:16,17 & John 14:3). Seven years of worldwide, horrible tribulation judgments will follow for all who are alive and remain here on earth. Believe me, you wouldnít want to be here during that time as very few will survive those years. However, if you donít truly know Jesus, you WILL BE HERE because you did not choose Him while you had the chance.
I was told by someone that they sincerely believed that if people lived a good ĎChristianí life, loved their neighbor, believed in God, went to church and tried to keep the commandments, then a loving God could not and would not turn His back on them. Although all those things are evidence of a changed life, they are Ďworksí based and are clearly not scriptural or acceptable to God, either in part or totally, as the way to salvation. No one, including those folks, will have a second chance or any chance after they die just because they were claiming to be Ďgood peopleí.
They are focusing only on Godís love while ignoring His plan of salvation, His commands for us and His judgment for rebellion and unbelief. Also, this person told me they had been born once and did not need to be born again. Sadly, they have rejected the only true message and will spend all of eternity without God for not believing all of His Word.
A second chance implies that we have rejected or ignored a first chance. Will you reject, or ignore, or put off the only second chance you might have? The day is coming soon when each of us will stand before Him and then we will know that He is truly the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You can deny it until the day you die, but it will happen just as scripture says it will. You can count on it because God cannot lie.
What will you say when God asks you what you did with Jesus? What we did with Him will determine what He will do with you and I. Have you truly made Him your Savior and Lord of your life? Are you truly living for Him? Is He number one in your life? Do you talk with Him in prayer and read what He has to say to us through His Word daily? Do you have a passion for sharing the good news of the gospel and the message of salvation with others including your family, friends and those you associate with daily? God already knows our answers to those questions, so we will have no argument or excuse.
On that day will He say, ĎWell done good and faithful servant, welcome to Heavení... or will He say, ĎDepart from me, I never knew youí?