Many toot their own horns, not least among them the falsely humble who berate us for insisting on the necessity of obedience for salvation. The Lord is judge, however, and he has shown whom he approves. “For it is not the person who commends himself who is approved, but the person the Lord commends” (2 Corinthians 10:18 NET).
The issue turns exactly on this: do I have to obey God to be saved? Those who want to follow their own will have found a new grace, one that covers all, even Gandhi. The latter, at least are being consistent, for if one doesn’t have to obey in order to be saved, why should one have to utter any words to ask for salvation in a prayer (or raise a hand)? Why should one have to do anything?
If God is gracious and loving and good, he’ll just sweep everybody up into heaven, because no good God would ever punish anyone.
Which is worse, to consign people to hell who, according to what the Bible teaches, are going to hell, or to consign people to heaven whom the Bible indicates will not go to heaven? If God is judge, why presume to do the latter, if the former is not allowed? But, then, consistency was never a strong point of liberals, progressives, postmodernists, and their ilk.
Implicit in the truth that it’s the Lord who commends and approves, is the corollary that the Lord does not leave us in the dark about what he approves and disapproves. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things the Lord hates. Jeremiah 9:23-24 lists a few things in which he delights. The whole Bible is a testimony to what the Lord approves of or reproves.
Let’s boil it down: the Lord approves of those attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with his character. “Be holy, for I am holy,” is the idea. From that glorious center comes the requisite obedience, in order to approach the unapproachable light.
So we can know, and we can do. Not only can we, but we must. God’s grace does not operate in a vacuum. Non-negotiable, irreducible conditions attach to it.
Since the plan-changers can’t budge God on obedience, they take it out on his messengers. Legalists all! Probably pedophiles, too! Dying churches!
Shrinking membership! Scrooges and humbugs! Pharisees, hypocrites, and closers of heaven’s gates, the worst of the worst! And those are just the nice things they say about us.
Liberal digressives confuse God with the little girls who are “sugar and spice and everything nice.” The same letter that proclaims “God is love” also cries out that “God is light.” Light of truth, and purity, and holiness, and splendor.
“You have purified your souls by obeying the truth” (1 Peter 1:22).
To those who are tempted by their own desires and lusts, the liberals whisper, “You can have your cake and eat it, too.” So they appeal to itching ears. Never mind verses like Ephesians 5:5, “Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.”
Yes, you can ignore this, for God 2.0 has swept away all the requirements, all the demands, all the negatives. Grace has been tweaked. Hell has been deleted. Heaven has been updated to envelope the universe. And so shall we all enjoy life and peace and joy and warm fuzzies.
Until the Judgment Day.