We Have A Lifeboat
I saw a video this week, and I transcribed it as food for thought for us. A young man in the video was asked, "Why would a good God send people to Hell?"
His answer was this: "God doesn't send people to Hell. Actually, we were already on our way to Hell, and what God did was He gave us a way out. It's like being on a ship that's sinking, and someone is like 'hey there's a lifeboat'. You can choose to get on the lifeboat, but if you reject the lifeboat, you automatically go down with the ship. It's the same thing. Our sins were already taking us to Hell, and God gave us Jesus and said 'this is the lifeboat'. But if you reject the lifeboat, you're automatically going where you were already headed. God didn't send you there."
Scripture tells us plainly that our sins have separated us from God, (Isiah 59:2) and that puts us on the path to destruction, unless we are rescued by the blood of Christ. He is willing to remove our sins when we are baptized into His blood (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:3-10, 1 Peter 3:21 & numerous others). When we come up out of the waters, we belong to God, we are His possession, and He places us in His church (Acts 2:47) which is the body of the saved.
We won't walk perfectly as children of God, we will still sin. But what is different now is that we are under grace, a Christian, and Christ's blood keeps on covering our sins (1 John 1:6-9). Some might question, "Were we back on the path to Hell between the time we sinned and the moment we are forgiven again"..., and the answer is NO. As long as we are seeking to do His will, we are covered by His grace. We don't bounce back and forth between being saved and being lost with every sin. But we can be lost again after being saved, if we return to the life we left, and walk away from God. He won't keep us from jumping out of the lifeboat and back into the abyss. If we choose to return to and walk on the path to destruction, God will not force us off of it.
We also are not saved by being good, we can't be good enough. Galatians 5:4 "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." We can't live perfectly, and scripture says if we violate the law in any way, we have violated the law period. It furthermore says if we turn to the law for salvation, that we become severed from Christ. Thank God for His mercies in Jesus Christ, that we don't live under the law. It was nailed to the cross (Col 2:14) and we now live under the law of Christ, grace.
Being good and being saved are two different things. Being a really good person does not place you in a covenant relationship with God. Only the blood of Christ does that, through baptism into His death, burial and resurrection, and being raised like He was, to walk a new life. (Rom 6:3-10) Before we came to Christ, just one sin separated us from God (Rom 3:23) and all of us sinned. We were at that time, on the road to Hell, not because God put us there, no, we did that ourselves.
The gospel is full of warnings about jumping out of the lifeboat. The Apostle Paul warned about false gospels (Gal 1:8-9) that could lead us astray. Paul warns Timothy (speaking about Christians) and says "that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.." (1 Tim 4:1) Those who fall away are "... crucifying once again the Son of God..." (Heb 6:4-6). The church in Ephesus was warned, "... You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen!..."( Rev 2:4-5) Wayne Jackson said it like this, "If being 'in grace' denotes salvation (Romans 5:2, Acts 13:43) why wouldn't being 'away from grace' signify condemnation?" Something to think about for sure!
Peter has this to say, "...For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. (2 Peter 2:20-22). What as their first state? Were they not lost? So if their first condition was lost, and now they have returned to the defiled world, and their condition is worse than their first condition, are they not lost again? For certain they are! Peter goes on to say, "For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them." (2 Peter 2:20-22) Now they are lost, having known Christ, and abandoning their salvation. They are worse off now than when they didn't know Christ at all.
Where are you headed? Like it or not, this life is a sinking ship, and all of us have a choice. Are you sitting in the lifeboat watching as the ship slowly goes down, or are you clinging to the rails of the sinking ship with your feet in the water? Only you can decide to get in the lifeboat!