ON THE “HOT SEAT” FOR THE GOSPEL
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”
2 Peter 3:9-10 (ESV)
The idea of eternal torment and separation from God is more offensive to mankind today than it ever has been. Once a topic that would strike fear into the hearts of men, the thought of hell now inspires indignation and resentment toward Christians. This trend in society’s attitude has some Christians buckling under the pressure, and endorsing the world’s values over God’s. The lukewarm members of today’s church want no part in being labeled “fundamentalists” or “intolerant.” Yet telling the world what it wants to hear is not what Christ was about, nor has he instructed us to do so.
The unsaved, as well as a goodly portion of today’s “Christian” church, suppose that God’s grace will not, in the end, allow people to go to hell. We have all heard non-believers ask how a loving God could ever let people go to hell (the real question is how a loving God could ever have sent Jesus to die on a cross if such a sacrifice was not absolutely necessary). As the Word tells us, the Lord does not want anyone to perish. The Father did notwant Jesus to be tortured to death, but die He did and return He will.
For billions of people, the Lord’s return to earth will signal the end of their opportunity to accept Christ’s most gracious offer of salvation. That day, or normal mortality, will also fall upon many who once knew the Lord, but no longer love Him. To be genuinely, indefinitely, backslidden is the most perilous condition in which any Christian can be found. Whether lost or truly backslidden, the Bible makes perfectly clear that these people are doomed. Their only hope is repentance. Christians must realize that when they compromise the gospel in order to please society, they discourage the unsaved from repenting.
Practical Application: Spend time thinking about how you would react in a situation in which non-Christians are asking you hostile questions about your belief in the Bible. Some Christians fail in such circumstances because they have never envisioned being placed on the “hot seat” for the Gospel. Decide now what you will say and who you will want to please.