Sep 05

Mystery solved! The Rapture and the Future

Mystery solvedMystery solved

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51‭-‬52 NIV

Everyone likes a good mystery now and then. The thing about mysteries of God is that to us, they seem to be clearly spoken. But to those whose eyes are blinded, such insights are just “nonsense.”

That is the case with the coming “end times.” Christians may disagree about the details but all evangelical Christians are agreed to the basics:

  • There is a time coming (soon) where the order of things will be dramatically changed.
  • There will be a resurrection of the bodies of the children of God who have previously died
  • Living saints will be “changed” into immortal beings
  • It will all take place in an instant

This “change” is commonly referred to as the “rapture” but that is not a Biblical phrase – it is an estimation of the elation felt by those who are changed.

The focus of this Scripture is not on details but on comfort to God’s children (c.f. 1 Thes 4:18). First, the assurance that our deceased loved ones (who died as believers) will be resurrected. Second, that the then-living Christians will be changed from this mortal body into immortal (never dying) bodies. All will be recipients of eternal glory and unending joy in the presence of God Himself!

That is a mystery with a happy ending!

Sep 26

What if You Do Not Believe in God

What if You Do Not Believe in God

Don't Do not believe in God

Photo adapted from Marian Beck some rights reserved https://www.flickr.com/photos/lescientist/8430282209

Recently, Pope Francis made this statement which suggests that belief in God is optional to get to heaven :

“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.” Note1

I agree with Francis that God’s mercy is far greater than we can imagine (Lamentations 3:22,23). It is also true that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8,9) and we cannot grasp them fully. And, I must say that our God is sovereign and can make decisions without consulting any other. Finally, it is possible that, in the larger context of his words, the Pope’s words may have been taken out of context.

But, taken as read, I have a deep disagreement with Francis about whether a non-believer can go to heaven by simply following his or her conscience.

  1. Our conscience is a result of our value system. Depending upon the society in which we live, one’s conscience may excuse practically everything that is considered sin in the Bible. An example of this is the US World Report of an Islamic Fundamentalist whose Sharia beliefs led him to rape a 13-year-old girl because (in his words), “Women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground.” 
  2. The Bible declares that the heart (Biblical term for conscience) is deceitful & desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and out of the heart “come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). Although some may claim to have a clear conscience, it is no comfort for eternity because their conscience may have been seared (ironed over) (1Timothy 4:2). Unless it has been led by the Spirit of God, one’s conscience is not trustworthy, instead it is deceitful and wicked.
  3. Jesus said that there is just one way to our heavenly Father, and Jesus is the way (John 14:6). Even if one tries to keep up a clear conscience in the present, their past sins must be accounted for. Anyone who claims to be free of sin is a liar (1John 1:8). But when we confess our sin, “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins (1John 1:9).

Although I am saddened to say, it seems to me that the statement by Francis is diabolically opposed to Scripture.

When we offer alternative “gospels” (good news, a means of salvation), we are attempting to make Christ a liar when He said (John 14:6) that He was “THE” (one an only) way to the Father.  Romans 3:3,4 states, “If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 4May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” 

According to the Bible (John 3:16-18), unless and until, we believe on Christ, we are condemned:

“16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 1

The reward for the “unbelieving” is determined at the Great White Throne judgment:for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

It may be that sovereign God may make some allowances for those who have not had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior in their life. Although the Bible is unclear about such, it may fit with God’s sense of justice. However, it *IS* clear in the Bible that those who know of the Gospel and still disbelieve, are guilty before God (John 15:22) and (Hebrews 10:26) plus many others. So, how many of these “unbelievers” have never heard about Jesus Christ?

Note1 The full text of the Pope’s letter can be found here: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130911_eugenio-scalfari.html

A rebuttal argument can be found here: https://www.catholicvote.org/what-pope-francis-really-said-about-atheists/

Sep 24

4 Reasons Smile

Smile. It makes people wonder what you have been up to!

Reasons Smile

What’s so funny? (Click on the picture to read a cute poem about smiling.)

Many years ago I saw a card on a friend’s desk with that saying printed on it. I have never forgotten it.

The saying is true but it is also very sad. What has our world become that we are (almost universally) so cynical?

(Web definition of Cynical: 1. believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.)

What would our world be like if we smiled because we were truly happy?

Reasons Smile

1 Thessalonians 5.16 (MSG) Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

If you feel like smiling, then SHARE this and pass it along! 🙂

Sep 09

Ready for Armageddon?

Are You Ready for Armageddon?

This question continues to plague people every day. The state of the world, political unrest, never ending racial issues, destabilized economy, and a plethora of other problems remind us that we must be living in the day of apocalypse. But the Bible encourages us that – if we are children of God – there is no reason to fear or worry. Here is a quote from from the Message Bible.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 MSG Continue reading