you know what the difference between an Atheist and a Demon is? Demons
believe in God.
Let's look in the book of James for proof. James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your
faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my
works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do
well. Even the demons believe—and
But let's not let the believers off so easy either. It reminds me
of a story by John Wesley.
much concerned about the rise of denominations in the church, John Wesley tells
of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he
asked, “Are there any Presbyterians here?” “Yes!” came the answer. Then he
asked, “Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?” The answer
was Yes! each time. Much distressed, Wesley was then ushered to the gates of
Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! “No?” To this,
Wesley asked, “Who then is inside?” The answer came back, “There are only Christians
here.” (1 Cor. 1:10-17)
Well if all those Baptists are in hell, why
then is just being a good
person not enough to get you into heaven?
The problem is that most, if not all, religions are ethically based.
Islam, Judaism or just plain old humanism all teach that to get to heaven you
just have to be a "good person". Follow the Ten commandments if
you are Jewish, The Quran if your Muslim or just follow the "Golden
Rule" to get to that Stairway to Heaven.
I know a lot of people with "servant hearts". People that
do blood drives or others that are there for you any time of day rain or shine.
Many truly believe that this will get you into heaven.
They feel and many
times rightfully so, that they do more good work than many so called Christians
that they know.
A big part of the problem here is what many nonbelievers see in
believers. They don’t see anything. I totally get it. My mom
wouldn't go to church because she thought the church goers to be hypocrites.
She said she drank beer with them on Saturday night and then they go to
church on Sunday and act like goody two shoes. And a lot of those beliefs
that nonbelievers have about believers is true.
James 2:1-7 says it best.
The Sin of Partiality
2 My brothers, show no partiality as
you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and
fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also
comes in, 3 and
if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit
here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over
there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen
those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the
kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man.
Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag
you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the
honorable name by which you were called?
I am not trying to take up for my mom. Bless her heart; she really didn’t know what
Jesus was about, much less church. But make no mistake, church is full of
sinners. Churches and the people in them should not judge
people, just help broken people and we are all broken. Every Christian is a broken person.
It’s actually taken me a long time to figure out
I kind of thought that having good music and
listening to good sermons makes everything good. In reality, we miss the mark entirely if
that’s our goal. A real church attracts
broken people with the truth and unconditional love. We share the grace of God
with all. That’s what a real church
My wish for you is that you find a church that “gets
it”. A church family that has real faith
not a dead faith. A church that shows no
partiality and loves everyone without judgement. I am afraid that many of our churches and many of those sitting in the pews have a "dead faith".
My next post will be about faith and works. Christians and nonbelievers alike argue over
this all the time. It’s really quite
simple when you get right down to it.
I love to add a song at the end of a post that best demonstrates what I have been talking about. I think Johnny Paycheck's Outlaw's Prayer fits today. This song tells about a church at shows partiality and not loving all people. It also tells where Johnny Paycheck stands in his faith. Feels like the "living a good life" way to heaven and at the end, says that he hopes he gets to see Jesus one day.
People with real faith are secure in their knowledge of their eternal life with Jesus. For those nonbelievers, I just want to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation or whatever other way you want to classify people. He shows no partiality, he loves everyone. And just know that a true believing Christian believes this too and won't judge you.