We talk a lot about following Jesus, loving him with all our hearts. We talk about getting saved. Saved from what? Hell, of course, eternal damnation. Well, what about getting saved from the hell this side of the grave?
I don’t know much about everlasting hell. I know a lot about day by day hell. And I’ve learned what hell is. Just as cold is the absence of heat, and dark the absence of light, so hell is the absence of God. Yet, some of the meanest people I’ve met claimed to be God’s children. How come they gave me hell?
I’m told mean has nothing to do with salvation–we’re saved by faith apart from works (religious rites). I’ll grant you: no one gets saved by being good. The closer we draw to God, the more we understand how hopelessly human we are. Entire sanctification—deliverance from all sin? I never get the hang of that. What about blessed assurance? If assurance means feeling holy all the time, I missed that too. I whack my thumb with a hammer: goodbye holy.
In my youth, I felt really holy after a rousing gospel service. Come morning, blah. Was I truly saved? Now I’m old, and I have learned a thing or two. My creed has three points: mystery, sovereign grace, and Incarnation. Now when I whack my thumb, I find the hammer and get on with the job, assured the Lord knows about whacked thumbs. And I’ve given up on trying to love everyone–feeling warm and fuzzy toward them. Gospel love means treating everyone Christ-like regardless how I feel toward them. Love is respect, kindness, honesty, openness, fairness
Once I was a hell of a Christian–don’t trample on my doctrines! Now I’m a peaceful Christian, trying to love everyone God loves. My hell-causing days grow fewer and fewer.
Old Grandpa Lloyd