Pondering the consequences of our choices.


I read the quote below, and wondered if it’s true for all of us, at the end of our lives.  Not that we’ve all literally killed someone.  But all of us have done something – something we wish we hadn’t done.

“I sometimes wonder if offenders think about getting caught, if they ponder the consequences of their choices. I’ve heard of instances in which killers were apprehended after years or even decades on the run and they didn’t fight the police or try to flee. They just went along willingly. Back in the 1980s when the police arrived to capture one serial killer twelve years after his crimes began, he simply said, “It’s about time.” So how does a person go about day-to-day living knowing that at any moment he might be caught and sent to prison for the rest of his life? Waiting. Watching. For the day when the police show up and you say—or at least think—“It’s about time.” Desire. To enticement. To death. Chained souls.” from “Every Crooked Path: The Bowers Files” by Steven James

The reference in the last couple words of the quote – Chained souls – is to something from the book.  It was about people who know they’ve done something wrong, are afraid someone will find out, and it affects every moment of their life.

I can’t help but wonder, especially for people who don’t believe in salvation through Jesus, how much of a “Chained soul” are they?  

Notice, I didn’t say people who aren’t Christian – because, unfortunately, too many Christians don’t actually believe God forgives all our sins.  I’ve heard Christians say / do something – like swearing, and then immediately say, “I’m going to go to Hell”.  If you believe in Jesus – and really understand / believe He died for all of our sins, then – “No, you are not going to Hell!”  So even some who claim to be / think they are Christians have this “Chained soul” within themselves. 

But what about people who don’t even believe in Jesus.  Even religious people who don’t believe in Jesus.  Muslims – it’s a question of whether there is more good or bad in their lives.  Jews – it’s a question of whether or not they have followed all the Mosaic rules.  Atheists – it’s all irrelevant – at least they hope, or have convinced themselves to some level, that it doesn’t matter what they do.

But seriously – how much of the “Chained soul” is in you? 
Are you afraid of the end of your life?
And does that fear of discovery prevent you from doing things – like even keeping you from reaching out to the One who can and will wipe out the record of what you’ve done?

I think the question at the heart of this is – can everyone really be saved through Jesus?  
It’s like we think there must be some sort of upper limit – maybe killing someone – at which point we cannot be saved.  Maybe killing more than one person?  Or maybe up to some magic number of sins will be forgiven – but not more than that number.

Concerns like that are a lie.  Yes – a lie – even if they are based on some Christian religion of which you are a member – or worse yet, one you’ve only read or heard about.  It’s just not true.

Paul was never afraid to point out incorrect doctrine back in the days of the early church –

There is an entire section in Paul’s letter – 2 Corinthians – that the covers this topic –

Paul and the False Apostles

2Co 11:1 I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
2Co 11:7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.
2Co 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

– but it’s something we don’t seem to be doing anymore.  And it’s the people who believe those false rules that suffer.  Back in the days of the early church – people were delivering an incorrect message.  And Paul made it quite clear they were wrong – teaching falsehoods.

To make it very clear, here’s what Jesus said about unforgivable sin –

Mt 12:30 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Yes – only one unforgivable sin, according to Jesus – the one who paid the price for our sins.  If that’s what Jesus says – who is any person, preacher, or religious denomination to say otherwise?  

For more on that and for the possibilities of putting a limit on what kind of sin, or how many sins, will be forgiven, please see Who were the other two men on the crosses?  where we look at something that wasn’t said when Jesus and the two men with him were crucified.  Something that wasn’t said – I believe – for a reason.  A reason that’s very relevant to this topic.

One more thing.  Below is an excerpt from the book of Hebrews, from the New Testament.  It was directed to Jews who were converting to Christianity – but the main thought in it applies just as well to non-Jews who are becoming Christians.

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

Heb 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
Heb 10:2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.
Heb 10:3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins,
Heb 10:4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Heb 10:5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
Heb 10:6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
Heb 10:7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God.’ ”
Heb 10:8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made).
Heb 10:9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.
Heb 10:10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
Heb 10:12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Heb 10:13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,
Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Heb 10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
Heb 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
Heb 10:17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
Heb 10:18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

The point is that Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross were enough to pay for any and every sin we may have committed, are committing right now, and will commit in the future.  (Except, of course for that one about the Holy Spirit.)  Not only are our sins forgiven, but – as we see in verse 17 – they are forgotten.  Yes – forgotten.  Remembered no more.

Once we accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, God won’t look at us the way we are – fallen – committing sin after sin.  He will forget that.  He knows what we can be – how He created us, and what His plans were for us.  And that’s how God will look at us – without sin – the way we will be.

Conclusion

I suspect everyone thinks about the consequences of their actions.  Even the worst among us must think of that, even if very seldom – and even then only briefly.

The thing is, there’s no reason to fear those consequences.  The things we’ve done are because of Satan – who brought evil into the world and lies to us about God and forgiveness.  That’s why it’s so important to actually read and understand the Bible – otherwise we have no reason to not believe Satan’s lies.

Once we accept Jesus, and His offer of forgiveness and salvation – then we can start to resist Satan.  Not instantly flip a switch and be perfect – but start to be better.  And continue to be forgiven.  BTW – another lie is that we should stop sinning at all, otherwise God will stop forgiving us.

The bottom line – there’s no reason to be one of those who says It’s about time” when they reach Hell.
There’s no reason to not be one of those who are forgiven.  And forgiven.  And forgiven.  One who’s sins are forgotten.  Forever.

 

 


the quote and details from the book are available at amazon.com –> http://a.co/cJecD4Q

image from pixabay.com

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