Can Non-Christians go to Heaven???


The short answer is “YES, they may“. Now that you have the answer, you might want to go back to what ever you were doing.

This is probably the “One Question” raised by Atheist’s that literally stumps the average Christian. The other being “How can a benevolent GOD, create suffering that kills innocent children? or Why does GOD allow evil?” There is a great explanation about this given by Ravi Zacharias on YouTube.

Back to the question at hand.

Will God prevent a good and morally upright atheist from going to heaven; while allowing a reformed child molester to go to heaven?

I think the Christian knows the answer to that – Yes He Will (Prevent the atheist from going to heaven).

Jesus Christ dogmatically stated: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Exclusivity is the hallmark of Christianity. Even Islam is more inclusive than Christianity.

But the Bible declares that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, see also 2 Peter 3:9). The Bible’s most famous verse declares that “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life ” (John 3:16).

Could a loving God sentence people to an eternity of torment for not having had a chance to hear about Jesus?

Let’s see how Jesus reflects on the subject.

When Jesus had to confront the Pharisees of his time who were demanding a sign from him. Jesus says

“The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:41-42).

Let’s just assume that Jesus is using figures of speech here, that He didn’t actually mean what He said; because He is literally saying that the Queen of Sheba, Assyrians from Nineveh and the Jews are all going to be judged at the same time. You have to be alive to be judged!!!

Why do we have to be judged?

On this planet, we have to pay a price every time we break a law. Be it as trivial as jay walking or a serious crime like murder. The law is absolute and we have to face the consequences.

Jesus is simply saying, that he will bear our punishment so that we can be set free from the law. All we have to do is put our faith in him. [ I can’t imagine of a simpler agreement or term to avoid the consequence that is due to us]. Christian or not, we are all fallible, even the best among us have shame written on our back side. Therefore judgement is unavoidable.

Obviously, a non christian, may have never heard about Jesus. Even if one did hear about Jesus, very few are willing to step outside the comfort of the religion that they were born in. [Because they simply can’t believe such a ludicrous claim]

If God is love, isn’t it unfair for Him to destroy the people who have never heard of Jesus Christ? Is it fair for Him to punish people in hell for being born in the wrong place at the wrong time? How about those millions of babies who didn’t even have the chance to even understand what the Bible says? How about those people who lived and died in places where Christianity is forbidden or during the times when it would be difficult for them to know Christ? Will they all be thrown into the lake of fire even if it wasn’t their fault?

This would mean that God is a complete failure! He could not even save the majority of mankind from the evil works of the Devil!

Before you write him off, consider this

II Peter 3:9 tells us:

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, NOT willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Ezekiel 33:11 adds:

“Tell them that as surely as I, the Sovereign LORD, am the living God, I DO NOT ENJOY SEEING SINNERS DIE. I would rather see them stop sinning and live. Israel, stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die?”

These are just a few verses showing God’s infinite mercy, love, and compassion toward us. He does not want anyone to perish. In fact, He wants to save as many people as possible.

So, what is the fate of those nonbelievers and non-Christians? Will they also be saved or be eternally tormented in hell-fire?

Forget everything that you have been told by secular media. The real truth about Death & Resurrection is that everyone gets a second chance.

The answers can be found in the two Biblical books devoted to prophecy: Revelation and Ezekiel.

Revelation 20 talks about the first resurrection, when Satan will be bound for a thousand years immediately after Christ’s return (verses 1-3) and of the resurrection of the saints—Christ’s faithful servants throughout the ages (verses 4-6). Christ and His saints will rule for 1,000 years (commonly called the Millennium). Then, after the Millennium, another group will be resurrected to life. This group is called “the rest of the dead” (verse 5).

Who are the rest of the dead? Verse 12 reads: “I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God.” This will include the vast majority of those who have lived and died through the thousands of years of human history—all resurrected at the same time. The prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of this coming resurrection (Ezekiel 37:5-6), and he saw how God will give physical life back to what will turn out to be billions of people. Make sure you read his description and try to imagine what this will be like when human bodies will be reassembled and then resuscitated.

What will happen to the unbelievers? After they are given life, they will be given an opportunity to learn about God’s Word. We read, “And books were opened” (Revelation 20:12). The books (Greek biblion) refer to the books of the Bible. Those who were blinded to God’s truth before (Mark 4:11-12; Revelation 12:9) will then have the Bible opened to them—so they can truly understand it!
Revelation 20:12 then goes on to say, “Another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.” This represents the opportunity for eternal life being opened to all these people. This will be accomplished by God offering His Holy Spirit to billions of people (Ezekiel 37:14).

All of these people, the billions upon billions of them, will finally be able to understand the Bible, know and believe and obey Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to live forever.

This is the hope for all the people Christ mentioned—people like the queen of Sheba and the inhabitants of Sodom—and all the other people who have ever lived and not known the true God and His truth.

resurrection of unbelievers

resurrection of unbelievers

PS: I wrote this article as a reminder to myself. I hope someone finds this useful. Of course the working assumption is that the reader believes in GOD.

When the likes of Sam Harris questions the authenticity and relevance of the God of the Bible, this is what you tell them.

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Happily Wise


Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.
Proverbs 3:13

In the Old Testament, what did weavers, artists, tentmakers, carpenters, and ship captains—among others—have in common? They all possessed wisdom. More accurately, they possessed skill. The Hebrew word for wisdom is the word for skill. So, as a craftsman built the tabernacle with skill, Proverbs teaches us to build a life with skill.

What is skill (wisdom) in living? Proverbs 9:10 says it begins with “the fear of the Lord.” From there, it means living life from God’s perspective. Understanding His ways, values, plans, expectations, and methods. Most people spend their life searching for true happiness; the book of Proverbs says that happiness comes from finding wisdom, and wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. God is eternal; knowing Him means eternal happiness (Psalm 16:11). Only God, His Word, and His counsel will stand forever (Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 40:8). Like the grass and flowers, everything else will fade away.

What is your source of happiness today? Is it temporary or eternal? Find wisdom and happiness in your relationship with God.

The kind of wisdom that God waits to give to those who ask him is a wisdom that will bind us to himself.
J. I. Packer

Red – Pieces (Lyrics+Video)


Once upon a time this was me. This is a shout out to everyone who got a second chance. Not all of us get to be this lucky… Most of us just fade away… lost and forgotten

I’m here again
A thousand miles away from you
A broken mess, just scattered pieces of who I am
I tried so hard
Thought I could do this on my own
I’ve lost so much along the way

Then I’ll see your face
I know I’m finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole

I’ve come undone
But you make sense of who I am
Like puzzle pieces in your eye

Then I’ll see your face
I know I’m finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole!

I tried so hard! So hard!
I tried so hard!

Then I’ll see your face
I know I’m finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole
So you can make me whole

The parable of the talents…..


We are closing in the on the holidays already which doesn’t seem possible.  Soon we will be in the season of Advent in the church, a season of waiting and anticipation of Christ’s return. 

Like last week’s scripture, today’s scripture is about what we do while we wait for Christ’s return.  Today’s scripture is titled, “The Parable of the Talents.”

At this point in Matthew’s gospel Christ is in his final days.  He has returned to Jerusalem for the last time.  His final parables in Matthew’s account are about what we are to be doing while waiting for his return.

“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.

 A talent was a measure of weight in biblical times.  The master of the estate was incredibly wealthy.  A talent is about 75 pounds of precious metal.  75 pounds.  An ounce of gold today is worth around $1,300. 

If you do the math a talent or 75 pounds of gold today is worth around $1.5 million dollars.  That is one talent, the first servant got five and the second servant got two. 

What does scripture say that the master of the estate did after giving this large amount of money to his servants…….He went away.  He didn’t give them any instructions.  He just gave it to them.  It seems apparent that he trusts them to be wise with it.

Helluva nice guy isn’t he.  What if I were to tell you that the master in this parable is Christ, he left but not before giving a bounty to his people?  What if I told you that the servants in this parable were you and I? 

That we have been given a treasure or a talent in the form of intellect, knowledge, life experience, talent, time, our ability to earn and a ton of his grace to boot?

And what if I told you that someday we will have to account for what we did with our God-given talent?  I will come back to that.

The master of the estate, he just left.  No directions, no instructions.  The servants were free to do what they would with what they were entrusted with, much like we are.  I want to talk about this for a minute.

Our God, the God that we serve limits himself in this parable and he does this often.  He limits himself so that others have an opportunity to lead and flourish. 

Christ, being of the same spiritual substance of The Father, came to this earth in the same limited manner that we exist, in flesh and blood.  Bound by time and space among other things. 

He limited himself as a penniless, itinerant carpenter turned preacher who emptied himself of his divinity to take on our broken condition.  He goes beyond limiting himself, he completely emptied himself.

He lived like the poorest of the poor with the poorest of the poor and spent his time with the lowest of the low.  Now, Christ did heal people, he performed miracles, he brought people that were dead back to life. 

But he lives his time on this earth consistently restrained.  And why would he do that………Is it because he hands the keys to the kingdom over to us, to each one of us?  That he wants each one of us to be about his work.

Is it because we are in his final days in the book of Matthew and he is making sure to make his point that he is leaving and these are the expectations for those who profess to know him?

God calls us to lead in one form or another.  Leadership isn’t about titles, we are called to lead our families, our church, our community, our school and many other things.

We weren’t made to sit on the sidelines idly watching the world go by.  Here is another window into my cynical and twisted mind.  In my experience in different leadership positions those that sat idly by, not only did they not help, they consistently attacked, smeared and hurled insults at the ones trying to get things done. 

Enough of that.  We are called to lives of service.  He are called to lead, we are called to be in ministry and we are called to be the light in this world.  We don’t retire from Christian service.  As long as there is air in our lungs we are called to be of service to the church.

After leaving his servants to do what they would with his money, the master returned.  “The one who had received the five talents had gone off and traded and made five more talents.”  He had doubled his master’s money.

“In the same way, the one who had been given two talents made two more talents.”  He also had doubled his master’s money.  Pretty impressive, do you know how much time it would take to double your money – legally?

“But the one who had received one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.”  After a long time the master, or Christ in this example, returns.  He is anxious to see what his people have done with what he has entrusted them with.

The one given five talents had pleased his master, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant, you have been trustworthy in a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.”  Enter into the kingdom and splendor of God’s presence.

The one given two talents had also pleased his master and is greeted the same, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant, you have been trustworthy in a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.”

The servant given one talent had to give his account of what he had done with what he had been given.  This servant’s response appears to be more of a reflection on his own character than the nature of the God we serve.

“Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, gathering where you did not scatter seed, so I was afraid and I hid your talent in the ground.  Here you have what is yours.” 

The third servant, the one given one talent sat idly by.  After many years, maybe even a lifetime he had not been about his master’s work.  I envision this servant shrugging his shoulders as he hands the money back and then goes on the offensive about how it isn’t really his fault.  It is the master’s fault, it is God’s fault that I didn’t do anything productive with what he gave me.

The master was not happy.  “You wicked and lazy servant!  You knew, did you that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received it with interest.”

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten talents.  For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance, but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 

“As for this servant, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

A warning parable about the accounting we will have to do when Christ returns.  Everyone is gifted whether they think they are or not.  The gifts we are given vary from person to person, no one gift is better or more important than another.  Those gifts are not to be wasted or to sit idle.

In this season of Thanksgiving, as we approach Advent and the celebration of Christ’s birth, let us be about God’s work in this world.  Let us feed, clothe and minister to the poor.  Let us be the church.  Let us be the light, the city on a hill that give sight to the blind and ears to hear for those that need to know our God.

Pastor Shawn LaRue, Seymour UMC

Author of Incomplete

 

Remembering Pappa


Me and Dad

Pappa’s first bike (An Enfield, I think)

I am not sure, if fahers and sons are supposed to share moments of intimacy  or do the mind meld thing. What I mean by that is conversational intimacy, or in some cases an extra hug, a shoulder tap, or a longing look.

I wonder because, I never shared that with my father. He was rather predisposed to formality. I guess this has more to do with British civility, a legacy from the past. My grand father was the same with my father, atleast that’s what Pappa told me. He was very strict with my father.

I remeber he told me once how he got punished when he was young. He was supposed to receive 7 beatings and he was supposed to stay in a tight circle. If he stepped outside the circle when he was getting punished, he would get an extra seven beating every time he stepped outside of the circle. That day he got beaten ( usually this would mean, he was struck below the knees, if everything went well) with a cane 47 times. He fell sick that day with high fever. I guess he must have been shocked both mentally and physically.  The sad thing was, this was all done in good gesture. Pappa was my grandfather’s favourite child amoung his 8 children ( First born son). So it was not easy on my grandfather. He was by my dad’s bed side the entire time, until get got well. But that’s how life was then. My grandfather was a school teacher and he always made sure that he was my pappa’s class teacher. So, when Pappa got promoted each year to the next grade, my grandfather would be overseeing him (class teacher). Normally this would be a good thing, since pappa should have gotten some extra attention. But all of the extra attention that he got was in terms of extra punishment. In order to make sure that my grand father was impartial, my father got an extra dose of punishment every time he was naughty.

Grand father posing

A dated image of my granddad

You would think that my father would have grown up to be a scared little boy. but he was anything but a scared little boy, he admitted that he was a naughty little rascal. He told me that once he kicked some other boy on the face. Another time , he pushed a boy of a tree and the boy broke his leg.  He gave and he received in equal measure.

Part of the reason my grand father loved Pappa more was, because he was a chronic asthmatic when he was small

the whole family

Pappa, third from the left (2nd row)

Which meant that he needed lots more extra attention and lots more sympathy.

Getting back to my original thought of not being able to share intimacy with Pappa, I have to reconcile that he did share life stories and such with me. It’s just that, I never had a truly adult conversation with him. May be that is not normal.

He had this insane death stares. I could never tell what he was thinking, was he tryieng to intimidate me, or was it a challenge? I always diverted my eyes and looked elsewhere.  Any more would be intimidating or disrespectfull.

I know he cared about me… a lot, but I know that I never made him happy or gave him a chance to be proud of me. The last years of his life was filled with regret, because he saw me diminishing for the worse.  But he had hope, he always said that I was not destined to fail. That all of it was a temporary setback. He knew that everything would work out, even if he was there not to witness it.  Pappa had an uncanny ability to predict the future. He was able to predict the day that he would die.  He was off by a day, but I am not sure if that counts, because he lost his consciousness a day or two before he died.

we don't have any pics of my dad smiling

I like to think that he is happy where he is. He was a commited christian, who stood firm in his beleifs.