Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Who REALLY Loves His Neighbor? Telling the Truth in a Relativistic Culture

I have been dealing with people online who criticize me for "lack of love" when I insist that one's relationship with Christ determines one's relationship with God the Father. That is, does the unbeliever, whether of another religion or none, have access to God, such as to have cause to expect His love and
answers to his or her prayers? I answer "no," without regard to any concept of personal worthiness in that person. My answer is the same whether the question regards Gandhi or Stalin. I have addressed the supposed universal love of God before, such as here.

But Scripture addresses the question I present here in a more-explicit fashion. In Proverbs 15:8-9, 26, we read,

"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
     but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to Him.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
     but He loves him who pursues righteousness.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
     but gracious words are pure."

We see three times in these verses that the spiritual activities of unbelievers, "the wicked," are an abomination to the Lord. That is not a word that indicates a universal love toward them, but rather wrath! In the words of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7), we are to warn unbelievers to "flee the wrath to come." Instead, they must turn to "Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come" (I Thessalonians 1:10).

Biblical Christianity holds forth this contrast: If you remain in your unbelief, then you remain under the wrath of God. The way to escape that wrath is turn from your sin to Christ our redeemer. As Paul said to the Christians in Rome (Romans 5:9), "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God."

Will people be offended when we tell them this? Absolutely! The Bible even calls Jesus "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" (I Peter 2:8). To attempt to avoid offending people is to turn Jesus into something other than Who He is. And how is it loving? How can it be called love not to warn a person that he is on a path to destruction? If a person were about to walk over a cliff, wouldn't a loving person call out in warning? Of course! To warn a person of danger is to act in a loving manner.

Here I must, in love, give a warning to the preachers of love of the wrath that they risk themselves. God says (Ezekiel 3:18), "If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand." If your concept of love is so syrupy that you will not warn your neighbor of his spiritual danger, then God will hold you accountable for your neighbor's destruction. If you don't love him enough to warn him, I hope that you love yourself enough to avoid that kind of judgment, so that you warn him, out of a sense of self-preservation.

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