St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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Lord, I know you look for faithfulness.
But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse.
Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.
They have become as hardheaded as a rock.
They refuse to change their ways. – Jeremiah 5:3

The most objectionable and offensive doctrine of Scripture is that a person becomes just and blessed by God through faith alone and that anyone who does not believe will be condemned. People do not see believing or disbelieving as a thing of great value but instead insist that salvation is about “how well have we loved?”

But God is just and He is impartial. So human reason considers it absurd that God would accept a wicked person into eternal life just because he believed everything the Scripture says, and yet would condemn a virtuous person who would not believe the Scripture. The rational mind concludes, “Every religion says, ‘Believe and you will be saved!’ Even the Jews teach faith, as does the Muslim Koran, the Hindu Vedas, the wiccan priests, the Native American religions, and every other religion in the world. Even among Christians there are church bodies and teachers each saying, ‘Believe what we believe, and you will be saved.’ Who decides which religion and which church body is the right one?”

To avoid offense and appear loving, many simply say, “Believe what you want, but pursue love and try to live a good life!” In this way, a person thinks he can believe in whatever dogma he wishes, just so long as he tries to be half-way good, do more good than bad, drop a few pennies in a beggar’s cup, and say a few kind words amidst his swearing and abusing the Lord’s holy name. He can therefore be an atheist, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a nominal Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, whatever…it doesn’t matter…and he will still be saved. It is not at all uncommon anymore to think that all religions and church denominations are just different forms of true service to the true God, different paths all leading to the same place (heaven). That in the end, it was foolish to fight over doctrine or worry about which faith was the right one and that in heaven, God will say, “You are all my children be you Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu..different names…same basic religion…and you all tried to love. Native Americans called me the Great Spirit, Hindus called me Brahma, Muslims called me Allah, Christians the Christ…but it was all me.”

This is the modern faith, and it is a sad faith because it is not faith but human reason and rationalizing replacing faith. Whoever believes that all faiths and all religions and all beliefs lead to the same end believes absolutely nothing. And that this reasoning is found among Christians!

But the prophets of the Lord do not lie, and that Christians have fallen for such a spirit must be the case. For as St. Paul writes, “they refused to love the truth and so be saved. And because of this, God continues to send them a strong delusion, so that they believe the lie, in order that all those may be condemned who refused to believe the truth but instead delighted in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). Scripture also says, “In the case of those people, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from clearly seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God’s image” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Why are so many deluded into the lies and find the doctrine of faith so offensive? Most often it is because remaining deluded and blind to the truth allows a person to remain in his sin. If a person can say, “As long as I do a little good and try to be kind, what does it matter what I believe?” He then goes about living his life as if there is no real God or real faith, or as if God is far away, and he continues to live in sin because the true faith — faith in Christ and His cross — it necessarily changes the heart. It makes a person into a different and new person who seeks to live a pious and godly life and flees from sin. But if a person is offended at this, has no desire to change or repent, then he will most certainly reject the one true faith and through an indirect and hopeless hope, imagine himself good enough to get to heaven anyway.

Only God and Father of all, there is only one faith, one truth, one life, one Lord, and one Christ. This may offend the world, but I would much rather offend the masses than be an offense to You. Help me Lord, that I not fall for the lies of the spirit of this world but to instead hold fast to Your Word and promises. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse my heart of my foolish living that I may not be overlooked on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name, amen.