Whether we deserve it or not, God gives us free will to choose our eternity. We can chose life everlasting in heaven or darkness and despair in hell. Sadly, too many choose the latter over the former, which begs the question, why?
Surely no one in their right spiritual mind would choose hell “where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’” (Mark 9:44) when they have it in their power to walk the jeweled streets of the Kingdom.
Of course there are those who do not believe in God, so their fate is sealed by default. We who do believe can only weep for their foolishness (Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”) for we know the truth. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14) By the hardness of their hearts many will be lost through arrogant and self-indulgent ignorance only to be enslaved by the evil one. As sad as that is, it is understandable to accept the results of one’s free choice, no matter how unwise.
The problem that bedevils those of faith is the matter of those going to hell while believing they are saved. Why and how can such a thing happen? What is the disconnect that deceives millions of churchgoers into believing they can live in rebellion to the One they claim is their Savior and still spend eternity in His holy presence? There are two basic reasons for their lost salvation.
First there is Satan, the father of deception. It is said that his greatest triumph is convincing people that he does not exist, for if they will believe that lie he can take their very soul without resistance. He has another useful tact – convincing people that God does not say what He means, nor does He mean what He says. That is why Christians in name only can read a Bible verse that says directly and without compromise that certain actions, absent repentance, disqualify one from heaven, and continue on their way believing they have no fear of the consequence of their sin. That other adulterers, liars, et al will go to hell, not them – because they are “saved.” There are no qualifiers in applicable Scripture. The Bible doesn’t say adulterers will go to hell, but “saved” adulterers will not. The reason that sounds absurd is that it’s absurd. But that’s how clouded our thinking can become once we start to dance with the devil. Right becomes wrong, up becomes down, and heaven becomes hell.
The second problem that leads us astray is personal deception. Satan has no part in this. We deceive our self into believing all is right when it is not. We give into temptation, not because we are deceived by an outside force, but because we want what we want, how we want it, and when we want it. Surely God will understand our weakness, besides He’s obligated to forgive us as we’re saved by grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8) If you strip this twisted and distorted version of doctrine down to its basics, people who abuse the sacrifice of the Crucifixion are saying by their actions that Jesus did not die on the Cross to save us from our sins, but rather so we can continue in our sins. That’s blasphemy. Christ saves those who obey him. “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,..” (Hebrews 5:9) There is no author of salvation for the disobedient.
Christians who act as if God has no rightful authority in their lives do so because they are worshiping a divided Christ. They gladly accept Him as their Savior, but through disobedience reject Him as their Lord. Jesus is the either Lord and Savior in our life or He is nothing in our life. “He who is not with Me is against Me,..” (Matthew 12:30).
Our eternity will be the direct result of our choices here on earth. God implores us to choose life. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; (Deuteronomy 30:19).