“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5,6
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me…” Matt. 7: 22-23a
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matt. 25: 46
Man Cannot Afford To Be Wrong
Jesus is clear, unless we are born of the Spirit we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Without being born from above, every single one of us is destined for hell because we are born sinners in Adam’s line and by that very fact alone we are an offense to God. Our best behavior or best intentions have no power to change that absolute truth. So often I hear, “My god is a loving god who would never send anyone to hell.” I would sadly have to agree. Only the God of the universe is able to send unrepentant, unregenerate sinners to hell. If a man chooses to ignore or redefine the words of scripture to reflect a god he can accept, then he is left with a created god–which is an idol. An idol has no power to condemn…or to save.
Our merciful God made a way to pay for sin so that man can be reconciled to Himself. He sent His Son to condemn sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3,4) by becoming the propitiation for our sins (Romans 3:21-25a) on the cross. When He accomplished His purpose He clearly said, “It is finished!” After making purification for sin He sat down at the right hand of His Majesty on High (Heb. 1:3b). A “Jesus” who has not finished the work of salvation is not the Jesus of scripture! If we do not place our faith in the right Jesus then we offer the God of the universe a counterfeit righteousness and the result is devastating. Our Savior does not warn us against false teachers, other gospels, and a different Jesus because it will affect our ability to enjoy our Christian walk in this world. He does so because if we don’t place our faith in the Truth, then our faith is in vain. When the reality of the significance of knowing and being known by the true Jesus Christ–Son of God– is finally comprehended, it is impossible to “leave quietly.” That is not love. Love endures the hatred of the world to bring the light of Jesus to broken and lost people.
Jesus tells us that there will be those who do not understand why they are being sent into eternal punishment. Their response to Him is to tell of the good they did in His name. This is devastating! These people didn’t understand the Truth. They didn’t know that their behavior could not produce righteousness; they didn’t understand they were depraved and in need of spiritual rebirth! Jesus told them,“I never knew you.” These are the people our hearts ache for, the ones working hard, but never knowing Truth.
When we understand our complete depravity and inability to stand righteous before God and we bow the knee to His sovereign Lordship over our life, accepting His sacrifice on our behalf, we are born from above and adopted as His children. There is nothing we can do to obtain or maintain our salvation–it is a free gift. Period. Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us that when we hear and believe the TRUTH of our salvation that we are born from above. By this fact we can know that placing our faith in any other variation of the story of salvation is simply not sufficient.
I once relied on God judging the intentions of my heart. How far from truth this is! The true Gospel is much better news! The Holy Spirit began working in me and I became deeply aware that I was in real spiritual trouble. I became paralyzed by fear and knew that I did not know the Way to Salvation. It was then that I felt the unstable wobble of my bed being lifted off the ground and carried through the crowded streets to be raised onto the roof, and lowered through a hole to the feet of the only One who could save me. I thank Jesus constantly for those who risked everything to obey His call to become roof breakers for Him!
Again it must be said that being an Adventist does not disqualify a person from salvation! However, unique Adventist doctrine does build barriers to Salvation. Those who are saved within the organization are saved in spite of its doctrine–never because of it. I believe that these people live with cognitive dissonance and that when they spend time abiding in God’s word and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal Truth, they will eventually walk away from the heretical teachings which act as the pillars of Adventism.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ Jesus Christ, the son of God (John 8:31b-32)