In these last several months, I have been grappling with the notion that our Father in heaven is an amazingly good and benevolent God towards us, His favorite creation…but exactly how far does His extravagance go? There are those who say that because God loves us so and is not willing that any perish, He has demolished the concept of hell for all people and everyone is now included in His invitation to come to heaven when they die. As lovely as that might seem at first, this is not the picture Jesus gives us time and time again as He taught the multitudes about heaven and His kingdom.
In John 10, Jesus clearly states that there is a door that one must enter into in order to enjoy the wonders of this gift He calls salvation.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 NKJV)
The book of Romans is another place where the process of entering into this gift is clearly stated. By looking upon the sacrifice made by Jesus, we realize that guilt for our sin and rebellion has been taken care of. The veil over our minds is removed and by confessing with our mouths that we agree with all of heaven in declaring the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we have entered into a new life called salvation.
…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 NKJV)
From the Father’s perspective of this, we can see His love and desire for all of mankind to come into the fullness of His love, but before man can truly comprehend His goodness, the veil which has darkened our minds and understanding must first be removed by something the Bible calls “repentance” or a change of mind. This can only happen when we look upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for us individually. It is for this moment that the Father excitedly waits for in our lives!
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9 NKJV)
There is a definite moment when we make the choice to turn from darkness and death to life through Jesus Christ. Only when this occurs in our lives can we freely declare with all of heaven, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, who is now ended our dark lives! In Him we live and move and have our being! Hallelujah!”