If someone lived a life of sin and became hardened in their ways then how could their heart change towards God on their deathbed? Your words seem to show a superficial understanding of what it means to accept Christ, that is, just say the magic words and your saved. I do not believe that is the case and instead see that it is a heart response as much as it is intellectual ascent. One can not just generate a heart response in an instant.
well, there are a lot of examples of people who go through crazy drug stages and become alcoholics or even people who murder someone else. They want to give up their past and regret it. There are many people who will never change for God, that's true. But the majority of people will want to know they are going to Heaven when they die. And if being saved does this, they will want to become saved.
You say "Heaven" like it is an incentive to one dying. CS Lewis painted a story of the afterlife in The Great Divorce where many who were in not saved at death and resided in "Hell" were taken to Heaven, and yet when they are taken there they discover they would much prefer Hell. To them Heaven was a dreadful place. Indeed, God to the one who does not know Him and to their surprise upon dying actually exists, a feeling of dread as though living a nightmare, would no doubt overwhelm such a person. Such dread is not due to any thing on God's part, but would be spawned entirely from within the person themselves knowing who they were throughout life and what they thought of such a Being.
Atheists are often angry at God for all the pain and suffering He allowed in life. God's existence would only make their infuriation with God possible (since God actually exists). Such a person upon seeing God, along with a feeling of dread, would also have a great deal of bitterness and resentment and anger. As I have seen several Atheists reason, God does not exist, and if He did, I want nothing to do with Him. Such a person is god, they are judge and juror, they are above God because the true God to them is immoral. Such a person thinks they have a higher understanding of all matters than God Himself, and such a person will never accept Christ nor would they want to accept Christ, in this life or the hereafter, because they do not agree with God. They can not deny or put aside their own self and allow God to be God in their lives. So God can only give them what they want - a life apart from Himself.
Bill Craig in a debate about God's omni-benevolence and hell
followed CS Lewis' thought saying:
Bill Craig wrote:it's possible that God would permit the damned to leave hell and go to heaven but that they freely refuse to do so. It is possible that persons in hell grow only more implacable in their hatred of God as time goes on. Rather than repent and ask God for forgiveness, they continue to curse Him and reject Him. God thus has no choice but to leave them where they are. In such a case, the door to hell is locked, as John Paul Sartre said, from the inside. The damned thus choose eternal separation from God. So, again, so as long as any of these scenarios is even possible, it invalidates the objection that God's perfect justice is incompatible with everlasting separation from God.
So it is far from clear that everyone would desire "Heaven". Heaven to the one who has not accepted Christ and does not desire God would indeed be an eternal hell. Yet, to those of us who love God and want to be with Him, it is "heaven" because we are with our maker and desire to be in His Kingdom not Ours
There is no longer a "why" when one comes to Christ. Living morally just becomes a way to live. The question becomes, "why not live a moral life?" to those who have accepted Christ. If it is by grace we are saved, then as Paul writes: "Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?" (Romans 6:1) How does Paul himself respond to this question?
yes, but Man by his very nature is greedy and selfish. We may "want" to live by the Commandments, but no Man ever can do that. So, is every person on Earth condemned? I would think God would recognize that we all sin and at least compare and contrast our sins to others before deciding our fate...
Yes, every person is in the awful position of being condemned.
Paul writes in Romans 2 something you would agree with regarding a just and fair judgment:
- 5But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
6who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:
7to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;
8but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
9There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,
10but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
11For there is no partiality with God.
12For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;
13for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
Now I would actually agree with a large part of what you are getting at in your posts. Anyone with a moral sense can see that Mother Teresa is a damn site morally better than Stalin or Hitler. However, after setting the fair standard by which all will be judged, Paul continues in Romans 3 quoting from Psalms and Isaiah:
- 10as it is written,
THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."
13"THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,"
"THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS";
14"WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS";
15"THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
16DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN."
18"THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES."
19Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
20because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
So there is an issue. We all standard condemned by the Law which we continue to fail at upholding. However, Paul does not leave us with the bad news. He continues with good news:
- 21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the orbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Where then is boasting? It is excluded By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
I think K has the right of it. Being saved is much more than just getting a "get out of hell free" card. It is the realization of who we are in relation to God, the awareness of the need for a savior, and an awakening of the love for Christ.
I know God is all-powerful, aware that Jesus is our Savior, and have a love for Christ. Who has the right to say that I'm not saved? Why does saved have to become a buzzword for born-again Christians. Can't anyone believing in the above statement become "saved". Why are some born-agains so self-righteous sometimes?
What gives you the right to silence the beliefs of others. Is this not what you are really wanting? These people who believe you are not save may simply be concerned for you and your life and you are taking offense?
I would not be offended in the least if a Muslim believed me to be damned (in fact I would expect it) and out of concern tried to teach me about an possible opportunity to be saved via Muhammad vouching for me in the afterlife. I would be flattered that they cared enough to try convince me of something they believe to be true.
Obviously "these people" of which you speak are the ones you have issues with so your argument is really with them. Trying to box the many who post here into the same box as these people, and then take your frustration out with arguments which have nothing to do with us but everything to do with them is just not going to work.
From your comments I would say you are saved. However, to try give you an understanding of "these people" in your life: I have found many protestant Pentecostals, unless they "feel" you are saved by knowing you have "felt" God in the same spiritual ways they have, will find it hard to accept you as being truly saved or truly Christian. However, your argument is with them, and not necessarily people here on this board.