Does God Care About How You Come to Heaven?

July 10, 2010

Each week I pick up the copy of our local newspaper, the Wyoming County Press Examiner. In the most recent issue there was an article about a new pastor, Margie McCarty, at three local Methodist churches. There has been a lot of pastoral transition in our area over the last months (yours truly included!) so there is not much new regarding that. But a statement that she made brought some strong feelings. She says her American Baptist training does not conflict with being a Methodist pastor. She says, “For me, the theological differences are not a personal concern… God doesn’t care how people get into the Kingdom.” Now, knowing the liberal nature of both the American Baptist denomination and the United Methodist denomination, I do not think I have to guess too much by what she said. Many liberal denominations truly mean by this that there are more than one ways to heaven. Yet, the problem I have with this is a key verse.

You see, God DOES care about how you come to Him. He has ordained that the only way to come to Him and thus enjoy eternal happiness with Him is through Jesus Christ and Him ALONE. Not through any other way. Someone must actually trust and believe in Jesus Christ, the God-man who came and died as our substitute to pay the penalty of our sins and rose again to defeat death and provide for us the promise of eternal life. There is only ONE way to Heaven. Jesus Christ. God DOES care about how you come to Him and He has provided for you a way to come. Won’t you come to Him today?

God’s Role in Salvation

March 13, 2009

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6, ESV).

This verse is the climax of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

Ultimately, God is the one who does the saving. The messengers gave no thought to promoting themselves because of the overwhelming grandeur of the source from which their message came. God, who had once brought physical light out of darkness by His creative command, had Himself shone with spiritual enlightenment in the hearts of believers. At creation light resulted from a command of God. At regeneration God Himself shines as the illumination. This light from God is explained as the knowledge of God as revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. Sin hardens the heart, makes it unbelieving and insensitive to God, and is utilized by Satan to keep men in the spiritual darkness or unbelief. The great mission of Christ is His role as the image of God to reveal the Father’s glory to men when they have a spiritual encounter with His Son.

For Paul this transforming encounter had occurred on the Damascus road more than twenty years earlier. At that time he had been struck down with an overpowering light and had seen the glorious Lord who identified Himself as Jesus. Now others have the opportunity to be blinded by the incredible light that God has provided through salvation. Nothing that Paul or his associates could do can ultimately bring someone to faith. Only God does that. That is why God does not need our gimmicks or our underhanded, deceptive approaches to the ministry and the teaching of the gospel. He does not want us to water it down or make it more palatable. He simply wants us to preach the clear message of Christ and Him crucified. God will use that to bring people to faith. Salvation ultimately has nothing to do with us. God is the one who alone saves people. He simply uses us as the means to an end. Bill Bright once said rightly, “failing in witnessing is failing to witness.” It is not our responsibility to save people. That’s is God’s responsibility alone. We have simply been called to be faithful witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to preach it and teach it clearly. God will use that to bring people to faith!

Solution for the Dead

November 14, 2008

“… the sinner can find no fault with the gospel of Christ, yet the perpetual language of his heart is, away with it. He hates–he abhors it. Truth as it is (and his conscience bears witness to its truth), he will not receive it. He hates both the gospel and its author–he has seen and hated, both Christ and his Father. Such is his rooted hatred to the gospel that nothing but Divine power can remove it.”

— Alexander Stewart 1774-1840 – Founding Pastor of the oldest Baptist church in Ontario

Quoted in Glenn Tomlinson, From Scotland to Canada: The Life of Pioneer Missionary Alexander Stewart (Guelph, ON: Joshua Press, 2008), p. 152.


Indwelling Sin and Salvation

September 5, 2008

Black as night inside my chest,

The colour of my heart.

Deceit and evil above the rest,

Each and every part.

My actions I do not approve,

My deeds cloaked in sin.

Darkness envelops every move,

The darkness that’s within.

Indwelling sin motivates me,

To serve only myself.

Inclination from God to flee,

Cast upon the shelf.

One cure for the depraved heart,

A substitute is needed.

Holiness from Him to impart,

For me He interceded.

Christ Jesus is the only way,

To remove the night.

Go to Him on knees and pray,

Turns the black to white.

Trust in Christ and His death,

He paid the penalty.

Atonement on His every breath,

From the night, flee.

Sovereignty, Grace, and Salvation

July 2, 2008

“There can be no grace when there is no sovereignty. Deny God’s right to choose whom He will and you deny His right to save whom He will. Deny His right to save whom He will, and you deny that salvation is of grace. If salvation is made to hinge upon any desert or fitness in man, seen or unseen, grace is at an end.”

Hoartius Bonar (1808-1889)

Originally from the preface to Abraham Booth’s, The Reign of Grace (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1844). Found in Christ is All: The Piety of Horatius Bonar, ed. Michael A. G. Haykin and Darrin R. Brooker (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), p. 89.