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CAN WE MERIT ENTRANCE INTO HEAVEN BY OUR SUFFERING?



Posted: 04/02/08

 

Can We Merit Entrance into Heaven by our Suffering?

"If I become a believer in the divine it will be a la Anthony Flew. I'll never accept Christianity; sorry. I could never worship a God that could quite possibly be torturing Anne Frank."

It seems that this skeptic is willing to believe in a God who created all things, but he's not willing to believe in a God who is a God of justice. His inference is that Anne Frank suffered enough without being punished by God for her sins.

Let's forget about what is commonly called "the age of accountability," and rather imagine that perhaps Anne heard the gospel from those with whom she was captive in Nazi Germany, and as a Jew she embraced the Jewish Messiah. Then our skeptic friend will therefore end up in Hell, when he could have instead ended up in Heaven with Anne Frank. Let me continue to address this thought by quoting something I wrote in The Evidence Bible:

In January 2000, a well-known ex-televangelist said on a worldwide TV talk show, "I believe that every person who died in the Holocaust went to heaven." He was very sincere, and if he was seeking the commendation of the world, he surely got it with that statement. Who wouldn't consider what he said to be utterly compassionate? However, let's look at the implications of his heartfelt beliefs.

His statement seemed to limit salvation to the Jews who died in the Holocaust, because he added that "their blood laid a foundation for the nation of Israel." If the slaughtered Jews made it to heaven, did the many Gypsies who died in the Holocaust also obtain eternal salvation? If his statement includes Gentiles, is the salvation he spoke of limited to those who died at the hands of Nazis? Did the many Frenchmen who met their death at the hands of cruel Nazis go to Heaven also?

Perhaps he was saying that the death of Jesus on the cross covered all of humanity, and that all will eventually be saved-something called "universalism." This means that salvation will also come to Hitler and the Nazis who killed the Jews. However, I doubt if he was saying that. Such a statement would have brought the scorn of his Jewish host, and of the world whose compassion has definite limits. If pressed, he probably didn't mean that only the Jews in the camps went to Heaven, because that smacks of racism. He was likely saying that those who died were saved because they died in such tragic circumstances.

Then Jesus was lying when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). So, there is another way to Heaven-death in a Nazi concentration camp? Does that mean that the many Jews who died under communism went to Heaven? Or is salvation limited to German concentration camps? If their salvation came because of the grim circumstances surrounding their death, does a Jew therefore enter heaven after suffering for hours before dying in a car wreck . . . if he was killed by a drunk driver who happened to be German? Bear in mind that his suffering may have been much greater than someone who died within minutes in a Nazi gas chamber.

Many unsaved think we can merit entrance into heaven by our suffering. Their error was confirmed by this sincere, compassionate man of God. They may now disregard the truth, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). They can now save themselves by the means of their own death . . . if they suffer enough. The ex-televangelist was concerned that his indiscretions of the 1980s brought discredit to the kingdom of God. However, those actions fade into history compared to the damage done by saying that there is another means of salvation outside of Jesus Christ, on a program watched by untold millions around the world. Who on earth needs to repent and trust in Jesus, if millions entered the kingdom without being born again? No one.

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com

By Ray Comfort

Email: email@livingwaters.com

Click here for bio and archived articles

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READER FEEDBACK


JESUS HAS CALLED HIMSELF BY MANY NAMES
Posted On: 04/08/08 10:17:23 AM Age 64, OH
Dear friend, are you saying we can be saved by obeying the law. The girl obeyed the teachings of Jesus and so was saved. No one can obey the teachings of Jesus without the help of His Holy Spirit. No one will enter heaven unless the Holy Spirit lives in the heart. We have to repent of our sin and ask Him to save us for this to happen. We are all evil and we can not obey the teachings of Jesus unless He gives us the desire, wisdom, and the courage. There is no one Good except the Lord Jesus Christ and only Jesus can do good through another man, if that man will surrender to Him. You do make one good point with which I agree; and that is that only Jesus is The Judge. Only he knows if any of those Jews were trusting in Him to save them. This is sure; any of the Jews that were trusting in their Creator to save them are certainly saved. But any Jew that was thinking they would be saved because they were Jews or because they followed the law, were certainly lost forever. They could have called on Him by many Names that He has gone by in the Holy Scriptures. But any Jew who called on the One True God Almighty who created everything there is and is the Only God, called on the Lord Jesus Christ, for there is no other God. A Rose of Sharon is still a Rose by any other Name. Lou



I cannot say,Lou
Posted On: 04/06/08 01:22:21 PM Age 33, OK
For instance some young girl from the ghetto slum in Poland, she never knew Christ she could've been only taught Christians killed your people and burned them dark ages. They killed your great-grandfather on a torture rack because he was caught circumsising or worshipping Shabbat in Spain. Now she's in a concentration camp sickly starving and she shares her bread with someone who needs it more. She helps an old woman thats falling down. She picks the lice of some young child She goes on to die of starvation or gas chamber. Now she never truly knew herself of Jesus his message to us his sacrafice. She obeyed his very words to do it unto the least of least before she died without knowing its Jesus message to us about kingdom of God. She knew what she's been taught of God and his laws what is right in Torah. I cannot say this young girl couldn't have gone to heaven Lou it's just a for instance. In those circumstance I could not say only God knows.

ALL ARE REQUIRED TO KNOW THE TRUTH
Posted On: 04/04/08 10:25:54 PM Age 64, OH
What a person believes or their knowledge of the truth will not decide where they spend their eternity. FOR THE OT SAYS THE SAME AS THE NT. God requires every person to be humble before Him and seek the truth through Him. God promises to reveal the truth to ANYONE, Jew or gentile who BOTHERS to humble themselves before Him and ask Him to show them the Truth, if they then make their best attempt to find the truth. So every human being, Jew or Gentile is responsible to trust in God Almighty to save them from their sin. Any who trusts in themselves or trusts in what they believe will be lost for all eternity. They either trust in the One true God or they make themselves god and decide for themselves what is true. Lou



EVERY MAN DESERVES HELL
Posted On: 04/03/08 04:47:38 PM Age 64, OH
I do not know of what evangelist you speak of; but if this man said what you have said he said; then you are correct and he has done much harm to the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. This man has done more harm than a Muslim who preaches that Jesus is not God, for he is trusted by many people who think he represents God Almighty of the Bible. The most righteous man that ever lived could not get to heaven even if he suffered for a whole lifetime the worst suffering that any man has endured. All men deserve hell for their sins. Hell is forever. Hell is worst than the worst any person will ever see on this earth. So how could any suffering on this earth for a little time pay for even one sin, let alone a lifetime of sin. If I surrendered my body to the flames, I could not pay for the least sin that I ever committed. My dying is no injustice, for it is only what I deserve. The only way sin can be paid for if The Blood of a spotless Lamb would be shed for sin. The Lamb did not deserve to die, and so an injustice has been done by the forces of darkness. The King of Righteousness demands justice; so all the guilty that apply the payment of the blood of The Lamb are pardoned for their sin. Only the blood of the Righteous One can pay for any sin; and His Righteousness has paid for the sin of all who will trust in Him. - God will hold Hitler accountable for every person that he killed. But the Jews were not innocent and no man is innocent. But the Leader of the Jews said; "We have no king except Caesar", and "let His blood be upon our hands and the hands of our children". The people made these men their leaders and they are accountable for what they said. Any Jew that did not repent or does not repent of what these Pharisees said will be held guilty of their words. The Jews made Hitler their King and he was not a good King. They would have been far better served to make the Lord of Mercy their King. For The Lord of Mercy is willing and able to save their whole nation any second that they would turn to the God that created them. Lou

Question asked over and over again to believers
Posted On: 04/03/08 02:48:20 PM Age 33, OK
I was asked what of those that haven't heard about Jesus by a family friend who was Korean raised differently. I told him I believed they would be judged on the standard of what they know. Like Ray says our very consciense covicts us when we do something wrong. It is wrong to lie,steal,murder,commit adultery against your spouse,envy and take from others. We know its wrong to hurt others we know its wrong to be cruel to the poor,weak,infirm,elderly. We know its wrong to be greedy and hord up stuff and not give to others. I believed they would be judged on the very words of Jesus the spoken word of G-d.Did you feed me,clothe me,give me a place to rest.Judgement between sheep and goats. They would be judged on what they were given and understood is right and wrong. Did you bow down to this rock,to this wooden statue which you created, to this person,look around you at what your maker has created? You just know he's real even without being told by looking at the creation of this earth and the many miracles in it. I believe the Jewish people that died and suffered will be judged by what they know and what G-d told them. Their highpriests lied to them and led many into deception.They became blind and couldn't see. Much of what they believed about Christianity is misunderstood through torture,murder,and persecution throughout the middle ages. They have His commandments his word to them.For Jesus is the word, In the beginning was the word then the word became flesh and dwelt amoung us.He's the way,truth,and life. The Jewish people had that word throughout old testament scriptures Each individual from holocaust I believe will be judged did they follow that word. His teachings to us Christians we see clearly and try to follow. Through persecution,through trials,through the fire. We've been given more what shall we do with it for we'll be held accountable for all the knowledge wisdom grace he has left us.



We Don't Merit, but.....(part 3)
Posted On: 04/03/08 08:29:01 AM Age 46, AL
1 Peter 2:19-21 - Peter instructs that we have been called to endure pain while suffering for Christ, our example. God actually calls us to suffer as His Son did, and this is not to diminish us, but to glorify us, because it is by our suffering that we truly share in the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:1-2 - Peter says whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin to live not by the flesh but by the will of God. Our suffering furthers our growth in holiness which is the aim of Catholic life. 1 Peter 4:13 - Peter says to rejoice in Christ's sufferings in order to rejoice and be glad when Christ's glory is revealed. Those who suffer with faith in Christ will rejoice in His glory. 1 Peter 4:16 - if we suffer as Christians, we should not be ashamed but glorify God. 1 Peter 5:10 - after we have suffered, the God of all grace will restore, establish and strengthen us. God promises us that our suffering will ultimately be followed by glory. Rev. 11:3 - Jesus gives power to His witnesses clothed in sackcloth. By virtue of our priesthood, we suffer to repair our relationship with God for sins that He has already forgiven us. As priests, we atone for the temporal punishments due to our sin.

We Don't Merit, but.....(part 2)
Posted On: 04/03/08 08:28:07 AM Age 46, AL
2 Cor. 12:9-10 - Jesus' grace is sufficient, for His power is made perfect in weakness. If we are weak, we are strong in Christ. Our self-sufficiency decreases, so Christ in us can increase. Eph. 3:13 - Do not to lose heart over my sufferings for your glory. Our suffering also benefits others in the mystical body of Christ. Phil. 1:29 - for the sake of Christ we are not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake. Growing in holiness requires more than having faith in God and accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior. We must also willfully embrace the suffering that befalls us as part of God's plan. Thus, Christ does not want our faith alone, but our faith in action which includes faith in suffering. Phil. 3:10 - Paul desires to share in Christ's sufferings in order to obtain the resurrection. Paul recognizes the efficacy of suffering as a means of obtaining holiness which leads to resurrection and eternal life. There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. Col. 1:24 - Paul rejoices in his sufferings and completes what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body. This proves the Catholic position regarding the efficacy of suffering. Is there something lacking in Christ's sufferings? Of course not. But because Jesus loves us so much, He allows us to participate in His redemptive suffering by leaving room in His mystical body for our own suffering. Our suffering, united with our Lord's suffering, furthers the work of His redemption. 2 Thess. 1:5 - we may be made worthy of the kingdom of God for which we are suffering. This is because suffering causes us to turn to God and purifies us from sin. 2 Tim. 1:8 - Paul instructs Timothy to share in suffering for the Gospel. Suffering is not to be asked for, but it is also not to be avoided. For the sake of the Gospel, it is to be embraced. 2 Tim. 2:3 - Paul says to take our share of sufferings as a good soldier in Christ. Sufferings atone for the temporal effects of our sin. 2 Tim. 3:12 - all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But this persecution unites us more closely to Jesus and repairs our relationship with God. 2 Tim. 4:5 - Paul instructs Timothy to endure suffering to fulfill his ministry. As evangelists, we suffer with Christ for the Gospel. Heb. 12:5-7 - do not lose courage when you are punished, for the Lord disciplines whom He loves. The Lord loves each one of us more than we love ourselves, and will only permit suffering if it brings about our salvation. Heb. 12:11 - this discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness. James 4:8-10 - we must purify our hearts and grieve, mourn and wail, changing our laughter into morning and joy to gloom. 1 Peter 1:6 - Peter warns us that we may have to suffer various trials. Peter does not want us to be discouraged by this reality, but understand that such suffering purifies us and prepares us for union with God.



We Don't Merit, but.....
Posted On: 04/03/08 08:27:12 AM Age 46, AL
Matt. 10:38 - Jesus said, "he who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." Jesus defines discipleship as one's willingness to suffer with Him. Being a disciple of Jesus not only means having faith in Him, but offering our sufferings to the Father as He did. Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34 - Jesus said, "if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Jesus wants us to empty ourselves so that God can fill us. When we suffer, we can choose to seek consolation in God and become closer to Jesus. Luke 9:23 - Jesus says we must take up this cross daily. He requires us to join our daily temporal sacrifices (pain, inconvenience, worry) with His eternal sacrifice. Luke 14:27 - Jesus said, "whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple." If we reject God because we suffer, we fail to apply the graces that Jesus won for us by His suffering. John 7:39 - Jesus was first glorified on the cross, not just the resurrection. This text refers to John 19:34, when Jesus was pierced on the cross by the soldier's lance. John 12:24 - unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone and bears no fruit. Jesus is teaching that suffering and death are part of every human life, and it is only through suffering and death that we obtain the glory of resurrection. Rom. 5:2-3 - Paul says that more than rejoicing in our hope, we rejoice in our sufferings which produces endurance, character and hope. Through faith, suffering brings about hope in God and, through endurance, salvation. Rom. 8:17 - Paul says that we are heirs with Christ, but only if we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. Paul is teaching that suffering must be embraced in order to obtain the glory that the Father has bestowed upon Jesus. Rom. 8:18 - the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. We thus have hope that any sufferings we or others endure, no matter how difficult, will pale in comparison to the life of eternal bliss that awaits us. 1 Cor. 1:23- Paul preaches a Christ crucified, not just risen. Catholic spirituality focuses on the sacrifice of Christ which is the only means to the resurrection. This is why Catholic churches have crucifixes with the corpus of Jesus affixed to them. Many Protestant churches no longer display the corpus of Jesus (only an empty cross). Thus, they only preach a Christ risen, not crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2 - Paul preaches Jesus Christ and Him crucified. While the cross was the scandal of scandals, and is viewed by the non-Christian eye as defeat, Catholic spirituality has always exalted the paradox of the cross as the true tree of life and our means to salvation. 2 Cor. 1:5-7- if we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort as well. If we unite our sufferings with His, we will be comforted by Him. 2 Cor. 4:10 Paul writes that we always carry in the body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. Christ has allowed room in His Body for our sufferings, and our sufferings allow room for Christ to bring us to life. 2 Cor. 4:11 - while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake so that His life may be manifested in our flesh. This proves the Catholic position that our sufferings on earth are united with Jesus in order to bring about Jesus' life in us.

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