I am understanding that you are saying that regardless of a person's faith or belief system, all people will go to heaven?? Is that what you are saying? Blessings, Carla
No, that is not what I am asking. Sorry if I am not making myself clear. I am pointing out that with St. Paul, Jesus took the initiative to personally seek him out. Paul had no intention of seeking Christ. I just am asking if what Jesus did for St. Paul on the road to Damascus is what He always does with all His children, even when they do not seek Him for various reasons? Culture, religion of family of origin, etc.
For instance, Mohammad was a prophet who wrote the Koran. He didn't believe in Jesus as the Son of God though Jesus is given a high position in the Koran and in fact they like Mary better. Isn't it likely that at the moment of Mohammad's death, he was approached by Jesus and asked if Mohammad recognized Him as the "I AM" who is also Allah. Allah is Jehovah, by the way.
My question has to do with how far Jesus will go to identify Himself to the seeker of God or even the Buddhist who somehow believes that he has no need for God? Presuming, for a moment that Jews and Buddhists and Moslems and agnostics and atheists have a veil in front of their eyes or amnesia about Jesus and who He is, the question is how far will Jesus go to identify Himself to all people and family members, even when it seems to be too late, like at time of death, for instance. Jesus did invite Himself to speak to Saul (St. Paul) who never would have sought Him out ever. "I stand at the door and knock." said Jesus. Does He do so to the bitter end? I should hope so. Carla, if after there is no shadow of a doubt about the truth of who Christ is to the sinner, then the sinner of his own free will, turns away from the light to darkness and is left forever without God. Yet, after the crucifixion, didn't Christ go into Hell to save the doomed? Wouldn't He do it for every last human being on the planet? I think so. Yet man has free will and that free will could allow a man or woman to reject Jesus even after all that effort on His part.
Carla, my question is not whether all faith go to Heaven? My question is what to I do if I am there in Heaven and my loved ones are not? What a bummer is how I would feel.
Blessings to you,
My question has to do with how far Jesus will go to identify Himself to the seeker of God or even the Buddhist who somehow believes that he has no need for God?
Jesus has already made Himself known to all people. He appeared to Paul as He did, because He had a specific ministry in mind for Paul, and that was to take the message of salvation to the gentile nations.
Jesus does indeed reveal Himself to people in miraculous ways, but the time of salvation is now. God has invited each of us to partner with Him in evangelizing the lost people... God does the rest.
the question is how far will Jesus go to identify Himself to all people and family members, even when it seems to be too late, like at time of death, for instance.
Jesus has gone far beyond the heights of far...far beyond anything we could possibly imagine by coming to earth in humility and servanthood to show us the example of the proper way to live that we might be reconciled with God. He abandoned His Glory....He left and gave up His heavenly home with God for our sakes. He suffered and died a sinners death for our sakes. He rose again back to life to show His absolute Authority over sin and death. His is Victorious, and we are In HIM--Victorious also. How much further would you like Him to go? God has opened the door for all people to be saved. The gift has already been given. People now have a choice to accept it or refuse it.
Regarding the question what would I do if I am there in heaven and my loved ones are not? I honestly don't know that this question can be answered. Can it? My response is love them today....each and every day love them, and love them well. Pray for them. Don't worry about what tomorrow will bring because today has enough worries of it's own. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Him. Live your life in such a way that every part of you exudes your love for the Lord, and your love for people. Continue in prayer and God will do the rest. The Holy Spirit is always working to draw people to Himself....and people willfully refuse Him. There comes a point when they know what they are doing. I think that is the same for all people. There will not be anyone who can say to God...'That is unfair...you never gave me a fair chance!'. God is Just! God is also Love, HE is also Wrath! He has given and is giving everyone a fair chance to accept or reject His gift of Mercy and Grace. If they refuse, they will suffer His wrath. That's not the way God wants it to go though.. God does not want anyone to perish, but He wants them to come to the knowledge of the truth. God has made a way back to Him where there was no way. Jesus.
Thanks for your lucid reply. I am a Jew who got to know Jesus personally as my Messiah and Lord when my son was 8 years old. He is 24 years old now. How time flies.
The man who conversed with me about Jesus during the time I was learning about who Christ was...he was dismayed that it took so much discussion to win me over to Jesus. The reasons are plain. Despite what Jesus has already done which you innumerate splendidly above in your response, for the Jew... the Pogroms in Russia, the hatred of the Jews in the Inquisitions, the attempt to exterminate them, the need for Jews to stick together in the ghettos and NOT intermarry so as to keep the Law and the Torah and the Talmudic Studies alive after the diaspora make it so, so hard to accept Jesus or to even say that Name.
Yet Jesus said "Many will come in my name...By their fruit, you will know them." Jesus was right. There have been many many many people who come and say "Jews killed Jesus"... In Latin America, it is a common prejudice to be anti-semitic and quite Catholic at the same time.
What to do, what to do??? Winning Jews over to Jesus is very very difficult due to many of the things I say above and what I say above is not exhaustive by any means.
I am happy that I know exactly who Jesus is for me. I just worry about my family as is the subject I brought up and you answered.
Stephen, Jesus does not have to go any further. He gave the great commission to humans and they are the ones who fall short, mainly in the area of love. They can certainly share the gospel and the story of Jesus but very often do so crudely and impatiently and by talking down to others--like, why don't you get it?
Thank you for sharing your testimony and your struggles and troubling circumstances. I can identify with your concern for your unsaved family members.
Continue showing them your love and care and let them know you are praying for them. They will see the real Jesus in you. I do.
I can hear your heart for the Jewish people. God gives us a heart for people who are lost, and I too have experienced the feeling of discouragement at the unbelief of people. God always reminds me that He is indeed working, and He never stops drawing people to Himself. Be encouraged! God is always up to something...and it's always good. Love believes all things and hopes all things. You said 'winning Jews over to Jesus is very difficult..." that's absolutely true. But remember it's not us who does it. I think that's when the disappointment sets in...when we think it's us who does it. We can't win anyone over...That's nothing less than a miraculous work of God. I'm glad this came up here today, because it's an important reminder for me also.
Bless you for your heart for the lost Stephen.
Thank you for your encouragement Michelle.. You are always such a beautiful encourager. :-) ...Lord Bless you right back... :-)
A lot of interesting thoughts and many interesting answers. I would like to make an attempt at opening them up a little more.
When Saul was approached by Jesus, he was not instantly converted. Saul/Paul became blind and Annanias was sent by Jesus to speak/witness to him. It was then that Paul regained his sight and received the Holy Spirit. We see in Acts 9:19 that he spent some time with the disciples. There must have been much for them and Paul to talk about. so much so that Paul eventualy went into the Synagogues and preached the Gospel.
In my mind Paul could have rejected Christ but for his encounter with Christ. I therefore believe each and every man/woman/child has an encounter. In Paul's case he was a man who knew the Torah and Jewish Scriptures and would have used his knowledge to reject Christ, therefore a stronger encounter was needed. In the lives of other sinners a simple verse is all that is needed. The important point here is that we all have the opportunity to accept or reject Christ's offer.
The Holy Spirit will lead us to that point, but never make the decision for us. This tells me that my intellect will never be abused, but will be used to encourage me to make the right
decision. Therefore should I or anyone else at that stage reject or accept, it will be a decision we made for or against Christ. Our free will still remains intact.
Regarding Mohammad, I do believe that similar to every one of us, he was given the same opportunity by the Holy Spirit during his lifetime to accept or reject Christ. Once Mohammad had died, he like every other soul would not have a second chance to accept Christ. We become Born Again by faith not by sight. If Christ had appeared to Mohammad
after he died, it would be to tell him: "I am the one whom you vehemently rejected and persecuted."
We see then that every one has an offer to accept. The harder and the more educated your rejection is, the harder and more educated the offer will be. But God will never make the choice for you. Does God continue the offer right up to the day you die? I would want to believe that. But I also believe that God by His foreknowledge, knows when He is wasting His time. Never the less that person will have been given an opportunity only his stubborness and self importance would have rejected. He will only have himself to blame.
I also believe that when such a person finally stands before the throne and realises what anguish and Pain that God through jesus Christ went through to save him. He will say: "Truly, I fully deserve the punishment I am about to receive."
Yes Christ did go into Hell to preach to those who had died. But remember, there are two portions in Hell. One was Paradise where Abraham and all Believers were and which is now empty. Once Jesus had preached to those Old testament saints he led captivity captive to heaven where they were all given gifts Eph 4:8. When Born Again Christians die we go straight to be with Christ where he now is, namely Heaven. The other part of hell is where those who were disobedient to the O.T. Laws and those who rejected Christ now wait for the Final Judgment, where together with God we will Judge the world. 1Cor 6:2
In regard to how you feel when you watch family members and friends being judged and sent to a lost eternity? Remember you will have the mind of Christ and know all things as he knows them, you will be assisting in the Judgment. Everyone at that Judgement will surely come to see how terrible sin is, that God Himself had to come down as a man and allow men to pluck at His beard and hair, beat Him with whips till the blood ran, call Him names and stab Him with a Spear, in order for you and I to be saved. You will also realise that those whom you loved were the ones who rejected this offer and in their arrogance rejected, laughed and even scorned you as you witnessed to them. I feel in my heart that even if we had to go to them and say: "Wait! I will ask the Lord to reconsider sending you to Hell for eternity." Their reply will be: "When I see what God Himself went through and I rejected it, I surely deserve to go to Hell." No one will feel that they are being condemned unjustly. You too as a Born Again child of God will realise just how terrible sin is, that it could only be paid for by God Himself. No one else could. "But God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Jhn 3:16
Look up and Rejoice
Folks, thanks for the help with my struggles. If you would like to move on to other topics, I am interested in hearing about them. Again, thank you Amanda and thank you Carla!
Indeed Char, Love keeps on believing and keeps on hoping...love never gives up. God will certainly do His part.
Children are considered innocent up to a certain age. That age could possibly be once they are able to correctly discern right from wrong. Good from Bad or know when they are doing something that is sinful. Until then they are innocent children that belong to God.
But once this innocence is past, the Holy Spirit will start to convict them of the sins they start committing and sadly because mankind is bent on Sinning they will continue to sin and not be forgiven until they accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Failing which, like all those "outside of Christ" they will spend eternity in Hell.
Your husband has the same judgment hanging over his head. He is personally responsible for his own sins and his continued rejection of Christ will find him in a lost eternity. Your marriage to him and your witnessing to him only makes him more guilty should he continue to live outside of Christ. He needs to experience the New Birth personally, failing which he remains a lost soul.
I am aware of the harshness of this reply, but it is when we water down sin that we become as guilty as those committing it. Also when one considers the punishment waiting for those who reject God's offer, we cannot, we dare not, water down sin. We are talking about eternity here and cannot fool around. We must Love the Sinner, but hate the Sin. It is our sins that caused God to send His Son to the cross to die in one of the most hideous punishments devised. "How shallewe escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" Hebrews 2:3