“But as for the cowards, the faithless and the corrupt, the murderers, the traffickers in sex and sorcery, the worshippers of idols and all liars––their inheritance is in the lake which burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
I like to read history books. The only problem with this genre is that history is true, factual, and based on events that are irreversible.
In the 1970’s, I read a book about the beautiful love story of Lady Anne Neville and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III, King of England). After dodging several plots against their lives and their love, Richard marries Anne. However, because the players in this story are real people, a happy ending is not to be had. In 1485, two short years after they are married, Anne dies of tuberculosis and Richard is seen crying openly at her funeral, celebrated at Westminster Abbey. I remember putting the book down and not wanting the story to end that way. Unlike fiction, we cannot give the bombing of Hiroshima a happy ending. We cannot stop Marie Antoinette from being beheaded. We cannot prolong the marriage of Richard the III and Lady Anne, no matter how much we may think they love each other.
The Bible is the ultimate “true book.” When we read it, we must accept all of it or none of it. If we try to pick and choose the parts we want to believe, God’s love story is compromised and it ceases to be true.
Last year a friend of mine gave me a book to read. The book is If God Is Love by Philip Gulley. The book is about God’s grace and love, which is portrayed accurately and scripturally. However, the author draws the conclusion that a loving, merciful and compassionate God cannot also be a just God.
Mr. Gulley begins the book with the premise that Satan and hell do not exist. He says that because God’s grace is so amazing, everyone will ultimately be saved. Salvation is for all people no matter what they have done or have believed. As much as I would love for all my unsaved friends and family members to come under the umbrella of “universal salvation”, I cannot change the truth and inerrancy of the Scriptures. Either I believe it or not.
Mr. Gulley says that not believing in a dual outcome for humanity (heaven or hell), has allowed him to live a more peaceful life, a life without fear. Sometimes I want to live without having to fear traffic accidents, earthquakes or evildoers, but I would never say car wrecks, natural disasters and criminals do not exist. It certainly would make for a more peaceful life, a less fearful life, but my denial of these things would not do away with them.
God is real. He is loving, kind, forgiving merciful, tender-hearted, faithful, but He is also all-knowing, powerful, righteous, and just. We cannot have God’s goodness without His justice. We cannot create our own God. The God of the Scriptures is the “true” God. We must accept His love and His chastening, His rewards and His punishment, and His sovereignty and His power over death, evil and Satan.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
You are the one true God. Thank you for revealing yourself to us in the Scriptures. We believe you are our creator, our father and also our Lord and judge. We love, respect, and fear you. Because you are God, we come humbly into your presence. Our confidence in coming before Your throne of grace has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the righteousness of Jesus. We believe that by His death on the cross, we have been saved from hell and the clutches of the devil. Today we recommit our lives to taking the “Good News” to others who have not yet believed.
In the name of Jesus, who overcame death so that we might have eternal life,