Revelation 2:11 - "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."'
He who has an ear, the Spirit of the Lord was pleading. The plea was for those who could hear to be an overcomer. In this instance an overcomer is a conqueror, one who carries off the victory, is victorious. In what? In life’s struggles, over sin and in death. And the only way this is possible is through Jesus Christ. He is the One who removes the possibility of a second death. We die once, physically; but there is a second death that comes later to some, a spiritual death...an eternal spiritual death. Completely cut off from God.
Another sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach came within the past few days. There is such a lie going around in this world and it is perpetuated constantly. And, as confirmation, Pastor Nathan Heller said the very same thing yesterday morning at church in Arizona. Why am I so surprised!
This lie has to do with the fact that some do not want to believe in a real hell. Some do not want to come face to face with the truth that we are all sinners. Some do not want to believe that because they think they are good, or think their mothers were saints, or that they do good things and are basically good people because they give generously, support good causes, or go to church, etc., we couldn't possibly go any place but heaven. We’re better than the next person. Not!
There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that tells us these things. The father of a friend recently died and "He's in a better place. He's in God's hands." I admit, I didn't know this man, I don't know what his spiritual condition was. And I’m not trying to belittle the words spoken and believed above. It’s the lie that is perpetuated because sometimes the Church, whatever the denomination, is not demanding we know the truth. Why? Because it's offensive. No one wants to hear that. And yet our very lives are at stake when we are not confronted with this.
How I wish I knew what the spiritual condition of my own mother and grandparents were when they died. I did not know the Lord then. Just like those who believe (the lie) that God always has the best interest of their loved ones, I probably erroneously think (because we just don't know) that because God knew I would one day come to Jesus for my salvation and He would know how my heart would feel today about the spiritual condition of these people, how He knew I would have talked to them about Jesus, He might have made a way for them to know Jesus personally, if only on their deathbed. But I can’t say for a fact this has happened. It could have happened, just like it could happen to anyone. Someone just might have reached their lost souls without my knowing. It’s a straw I grasp at, but I just don't know. I also know that I cannot dwell on this; what’s done is done. Hard truth.
But there is a truth and it is, not all people do go to heaven. We cannot compare ourselves or anyone else to murderers, rapists, thieves or the like. Our “small” sin of a white lie is as great as any of the greater sins in the eyes of God. If there is not that connection, that relationship with Jesus Christ where one can honestly say, He called me and I responded, it just hasn't or won't happen.
No one is righteous on their own. Romans 3:10 tells us this. No person is without sin. Jesus’ mother was not sin free; she needed her own Son to be her Savior. Not Martin Luther King or the Pope...no one. Their salvation and eternal life only comes in that spiritual relationship with Jesus. I’m not saying these people did not/do not have this relationship. Only God knows the heart. So it is not for us to judge.
We just don't know...unless we have given our lives to Christ as it is pointed out in scriptures...that born again of the Spirit experience. Nicodemus asked about it. He was a religious leader and needed to know because he was unsure. Check it out: John 3:1-17. Nestled in these scriptures is one of the most often quoted: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). But it grieves my spirit when people who believe in God, know who Jesus is but do not profess Him in their lives, say that anyone is in a better place now that their life is over. I know it's a comfort to believe that. But faced with the truth of God's Word, they might be sorely saddened. And it saddens me.
When we come to our last days do we know for a fact that we will go to heaven? Will we be worried? I've sadly heard of others who have said they aren't sure. Aren't sure they've done enough good things, weren't good enough in some ways, weren't always honest, didn't always go to church enough. It’s again not about our works or religion. All of these doubts or fears can be remedied only with a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus changes our perspective and our lives. He becomes a reality instead of just a thought. He is alive today. His blood covers all sin. But we can't just say we know who He is and leave it at that. We have to know Him personally. We have to be, as Jesus Himself said, born again. Why would that be in the Bible if it weren't a truth to be learned, I ask you?
John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."