The Bare Soul - March 18, 2012
Ignoring Jesus is Choosing Hell?

John 8:24 - Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

Several months ago, at the time of this writing, I became intrigued regarding a bumper sticker on a car in the parking garage where I work. The dark blue letters on bold yellow background seemed to jump out and assault the reader. While I am not a big proponent of "bumper sticker theology," this one definitely caused me to ponder its meaning. While seemingly harsh, there is nothing unscriptural regarding the words "Ignoring Jesus is Choosing Hell!" In fact, one might argue the point whether they are meant in an angry, judgmental way as some have since commented. I suppose it all depends upon one's perspective. I can understand why a few might think it is meant in a condemning way, because that is possibly their point of reference from past experience. However, personally, I believe it can just as easily be said by a tearful, mourning God who is beseeching a dying world no longer listening. While some see a vengeful, angry person as the author of these words, I tend to see a Holy Spirit inspired entreaty to a stubborn, calloused world that does not have eyes to see nor ears to hear. I envision the Father God pleading through these words and telling mankind He has done all He will ever do to redeem us. The result of our indifference and outright choice to ignore Christ's gift will mean an eternity in the very hell prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

As our lead verse clearly states, Jesus was not one to mince words when it came down to delineating exactly who He was upon this earth as well as His reason for being here. If we were to suggest Jesus came merely to point us down one of the many roads which leads to a blissful eternal life, we would be of the same opinion of the vast majority of humankind. However, if one reads the Scriptures with an honest appraisal, they will come to a different conclusion about this Man, Jesus Christ. As others have so aptly stated, Jesus is either who He said He is, the Messiah of all mankind, or He is both a lunatic and a madman! Those who believe the latter, for whatever reason, may choose to stop reading at this point. My intention in this writing is not meant to dissuade these from their preconceived notions. However, for those who believe that Jesus Christ was divinely sent to this earth but are unsure of what God required of Him and then also requires of us, I invite you to read on. In most instances, the Bible (as some have erroneously suggested) is not cryptic and subject to many interpretations. The following passages are but a few which make this point.

Jesus told his disciples in John 14:6 that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one would come to the Father but through Him. Is this not clear enough? If we conclude that Jesus is who He said He is and not a lunatic, then this very statement states there is salvation in no other manner. Peter, when preaching to the people after the lame beggar's healing, stated in unequivocal terms when speaking about Jesus' power to save: "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) And, what about the most quoted scripture in the entire New Testament? If we truly believe Jesus is who He said He is and we believe the Father sent Him to save us from our sins, then we must take John 3:16 for what it says at face value. Jesus was not cryptic when He said: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Does this sound like an angry God who is seeking to commit us to eternal suffering? On the contrary, He is giving us a most gracious escape from what we deserve through the sacrifice of His own Son. If we could pick out a mission statement of Jesus Christ it would probably come from John 10:10, for His desire is that we would have life and have it abundantly. God's yearning has never been that any would perish, but that all would come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). Through these scriptures and many more like it, we must see that God has not ignored us, but we have ignored Him. By our eventual acceptance of Him or our continual ignoring, we will make our ultimate choice.

Salvation is a gift God has granted for all to accept. However, individual perspective to acknowledge Jesus for who He is (or not) will be the final arbiter. I suppose it depends on whether you view the proverbial glass half empty or half full. Some might regard an angry, vengeful God with no basis for condemning the human race because of sin. These would be those who would see the glass half full of God's judgment and the remaining emptiness His indifference toward His prized creation. Others of us will choose to see a glass half full of God's love toward a wayward, blind race of people who choose not to respond to His great desire for fellowship with them. The tragedy is the other half of emptiness of this analogous glass typifies God's broken heart and our isolation through utter meaningless. The Father is crying out, constantly, through His Holy Spirit with a heart of reconciliation saying "Ignoring Jesus, my gift to you, is inviting a future of eternal hell away from My presence!" What will we choose today? He has done all He can do. He is now waiting for us to respond.

Heavenly Father, may we not ignore Your Son but embrace Him for all He has done for us. May we look full into that wonderful face and see His great desire for His greatest love which He purchased with His blood. Help us see not an angry, vengeful God but one who is pleading with a prodigal race destined for perdition without their choosing otherwise. May we all come to know You and not continue in our ignorance to do otherwise. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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