There is much talk these days among Christian leaders regarding the “wideness of God’s mercy”.
This thinking flows from a trend in teaching and preaching that muddies the waters of the gospel by changing God’s requirements for salvation.
According to this thinking, one is able to worship and believe just about anything and still have a pretty good chance to make it to the “pearly gates”. As if God doesn’t really care what you believe doctrinally or what you think spiritually; but only what the condition of your heart is.
Which is a very slippery slope — a silicon-coated slide covered with grease.
The Light of the World
Because that is the popular thing today. To make the gospel so easy that anyone, believing anything, can be accepted. And so that few, if any, would be rejected.
Which seems like a very compassionate and humanitarian position to take.
However, there is a principle of spiritual things that casts a different light on these eternal matters.
You might call it, the Principle of Progressive Light.
You can do your own checking on this against the scriptures and let me know what you think. Seriously. Although this seems correct to me, I’m interested in your thoughts and suggestions.
The concept is that every man and woman is illuminated with the Light of Christ. (John 1:9). No one on earth has ever been kept in the dark by God.
God’s methods of illumination are as follows:
- The inner witness of the Holy Spirit (John 14:7; 16:13)
- The Law written on men’s hearts (Romans 2:15)
- The witness of the natural, created world (Romans 1:18-21; Psalm 19:1-5)
- The written and spoken words of God (John 17:17; Eph. 1:13)
Every man and woman has been given the first 3 witnesses. It is only the 4th witness of the written and spoken words of God that they may not have received.
Man’s Choice to Respond to the Light
How men respond to the light they have been given determines the additional light they will receive.
If a man rejects the light, he desires darkness. He remains in the darkness so that his sins may not be revealed.
If he comes to the light, then he loves the light and wants to confess his sins, to be cleansed, and forgiven by the Lord.
This is at the core of mankind’s dilemma. This is the simplest way to understand how so many remain so distant from the clear written and spoken gospel message.
Men are judged based upon the light they have received. They choose what they love. They choose between the Light of Christ or the darkness of sin.
Levels of Judgment
Consequently, men receive a level of judgment based upon the level of light they have received or rejected.
So that there will be those in Hell and the Lake of Fire that will have rejected with a tremendous amount of witness given to them. They will suffer based upon the level of light they rejected. Others will suffer less.
But, just to be clear, no one will wish to suffer eternally in that state at all. The least amount of suffering will still be unimaginable.
So, one naturally asks. what about the people that have so much exposure to the light and those who have none? Is that fair?
If a man would accept the gospel if he were given the opportunity to hear the words or read the words of God, I believe that the Lord would move heaven and earth to reach that man. The Lord would even send an angel, if necessary, to the deepest jungle to reach a soul that would believe on Him.
That is the bottom line of the whole affair. God will leave no stone unturned or method untried to reach the soul that will respond to Him. Because God loves every soul that much.
The Lord’s Desire to Save Every Soul
This is, in my opinion, the legitimate view of the Sovereignty of God. That God knows all and rules over all; and, He loves each soul that will trust Him. He will do everything possible for every soul.
But he will not force a man to believe.
Man is able to choose to trust or choose to reject Christ.
The Lord knows who they are and where they are; far more accurately than any GPS device could ever track a person. And He knows precisely when that person is ready to receive His word. And He will bring His word to that person when the moment is exactly right.
One might even say that God spares a certain level of pain to those who reject Him; in that He doesn’t expose them beyond what is necessary. Knowing they will reject, He draws a line of exposure.
That may be presumption on my part to say that. Please, understand that. I am trying to understand this within the scriptures just like anyone else.
Rejection in the Full Light of the Gospel
But there is another thing that is more troubling.
It is the rejection of the gospel by modern, civilized men and women who live with constant access to the written and spoken words of God. Who can find a copy of the Bible at most any discount store in the country. Sometimes for only a dollar; and in many cases for free.
What will be the judgment of those who have received so much?
We are surrounded by a highly-educated culture. It is a culture that often rejects common sense. Who often reject truth. Who often reject common morality. They despise and reject those in authority. And they hate the gospel of Christ; perhaps not outwardly, but within their hearts.
Yet, they will embrace the ancient and pagan philosophies so similar to those embraced by the apostate Israelites in the Old Testament. Including the ancient nature and pantheistic religions. (Which are in such vogue today.)
Which resulted in the judgment of God against them.
So then, who will fare better in the Day of Judgment?
Why should men, who will ultimately reject Christ, be given so much light?
Perhaps it is to make their choice crystal clear. So that there is no confusion about the path they have taken. So that the Lord can bring them to a necessary place in their own souls to make a decision.
(That, alone, is the stuff for another 100 posts!)
When comparing the uncivilized, unsophisticated man isolated in the most remote corner of the world against the educated, Renaissance man of the world (surrounded by every possible blessing and witness of the gospel of Christ) which one will come to the Light of Jesus Christ?
We are judged by what we do with the light that we have.
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)