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Christ: Not Just A Loving God


Unfortunately, there are too many Christians confused about different characteristics of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. One example of the confusion that many live in is that the church is a physical building and while we do go to church at a building, the church is actually We the People. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus tells us “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The term ekklesia is a Greek word meaning a called out assembly or congregation and in the New Testament, it is translated as church. Acts 11:26 tells of Barnabas an Saul meeting with the church and reads: “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Here, it’s important that to note how the term Christians is used here because from this description, we know that the church is a group of people rather than a physical building.

One of the most popular held beliefs by many Christians is that Christ allows everyone into Heaven which is typically followed by the argument that Hell is a concept created by the Catholic Church. Both of these claims are false so let’s tackle Heaven and the idea that everyone gets in. First, let me explain that I understand the thinking that loved ones will not join you after your passing is a tough thought. There have been different moments in my life when I was uncertain if a recently deceased individual would be in Heaven and the thoughts can drain you but we cannot allow them to as there is only one judge and that’s Christ Himself.

Another point that must be made is if everyone gets into Heaven then the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ would not have been necessary. Jesus tells us in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” This does not sound like a God that allowed everyone into Heaven. There were many people who got angered with Christ because He spent time with those that were not saved and ate with them and went to their houses and this infuriated some people. Despite such objections, Jesus says in Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

One of my favorite stories of salvation places Jesus on the cross in the middle of two thieves sentenced to death. One asked forgiveness and the other one mocked Him. The one that asked for forgiveness was shown mercy and forgiven. In Luke 23:43, Jesus tells the man “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The other man did not receive such a fate and it was his own doing but just another example that God does not let everyone into Heaven. He would prefer that all people come to Him but God is a gentleman and does not force anyone into anything.

1 Timothy 2:4 we see this: ” Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” and again in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Again, we see that not everyone gets into Heaven although Christ desires for all people to.

While hell is a real place and the Bible speaks of it more than it does of Heaven, many people do not believe in it. There have been different times when people have said that it’s simply a state of mind rather than a physical place or a separation from God or it completely does not exist but I have also heard people say the Catholic Church invented the idea of hell as a way to control the population. While there are errors within Catholicism, hell was a concept that existed before the Catholic Church was created. We must remember that Christianity was banned in Rome for the first two hundred and eighty years of its existence and it was not until Constantine the Great ruled Rome that an emperor supported Christianity so it’s hard to come up with an
argument that the Catholic Church created the concept of hell.

Yes, God is all loving but we cannot forget that God is a jealous God and He does get angry. He created all of us in His image and despite the fact that we live in a sin nature; God loves us more than we can comprehend but He does want us to be obedient to Him and His word. This does not mean perfection as this is not possible for any person but God does want us to do our best and while we are at it, help one another be the best we can be.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

–2 Peter 3:9

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Written by Billy Ray Parrish


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