Query from one of our email list recipients…

AL, some people have said that if people don’t go to church, then they will go to hell, that’s not true, right? People don’t go to church, but as long they have Christ in their hearts and don’t commit Major sins like murder, steal, adultery to name some, they still are saved and not eternally condemn into Lake of fire of burden sulfur.

OCS Ministry response….
Jesus is the answer! No religion can open the door to His kingdom. As Jesus talked with Nicodemus, He said, “‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again”’” (John 3:3-7). (Born from above)

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Now as then, Acts 4:12 is not politically correct. Today it’s popular to say, “Everyone’s going to heaven” or “All paths lead to heaven.” There are many who think they can have heaven without having Jesus. They want the glory, but they don’t want to be bothered by the cross, much less the One who died there. Many don’t want to accept Jesus as the only way of going to heaven and are determined to find another path. But Jesus warns us that no other path exists and that the consequence for rejecting this truth is an eternity in hell. He told us that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). Faith in Christ is the key to going to heaven.

As Christians we continue to sin after we are saved – we will not be completely free from sin until we die or Jesus comes back. However, becoming a Christian translates into a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). A person will go from producing the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) to displaying the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), as the indwelling Holy Spirit has more and more control over his life. This change does not happen instantly, but it does happen over time. If a person does not demonstrate a changed life, he/she is likely not a genuine believer. Christians can commit grievous sins. History is filled with Christians (or those who claim to be Christians) committing terrible crimes. Jesus died for these sins as well. All the more reason not to commit them!

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the Apostle Paul describes the kind of sinful lifestyles believers are saved from. Verse 11 says, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Notice the word “were.” Believers used to be like the things listed in verses 9-10, but they are not like that any longer. Can a person who is an adulterer, drunkard, homosexual, child abuser, etc. be saved? Yes. Is a person who lives a life of continual sin a believer? No. When we become Christians, our lives will change. Anyone who is living a sinful lifestyle and claims to be a Christian is either lying, is self-deceived, or really is a believer who is going to experience God’s judgment and discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11).

The difference between a sinning unbeliever and a sinning believer is that one loves his sin while the other hates it. The believer who stumbles in his walk with the Lord regrets it, confesses it, wishes to never do it again and seeks to appropriate God’s power and grace to avoid it. He doesn’t consider how much he can sin and still be considered a Christian. Rather, he considers how he can avoid even the appearance of sin in the future.
Going to church is a time to worship and fellowship with other Christians, but does not take away Christ’s gift of Salvation if we don’t go to church.
In Christ our Lord

08/30/16

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