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Discussion 2 to Talk Back 114
Response to Talk Back 114: Where Are You Going?

by: PsiCop

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Do you ever sit down and think about the after life? Do you think about your eternal destination?

Living in the occidental world … dominated as it has been for many centuries by a religious tradition which lives and dies by this question … do you seriously question whether or not I have? What rational reason could you possibly have, to think otherwise?

I am extremely concerned about the lost souls of this world.

Suuuuuure you are.

There is no “good work” we can do that will get us to heaven!

Really? Are you certain about that? Your own Jesus taught something very different:

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46, NASB)[i]

The entire point of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, as this gospel passage is rather famously known, is that a person’s salvation is entirely within his or her hands. It tells us that the Son of Man will judge each of us by our actions, and our eternal fates will depend on whether or not we served others. If we did, then we will “inherit the kingdom prepared for [us] from the foundation of the world.” If we did not, then we will end up in “the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Jesus’ teaching here is remarkably simple. It’s clear, and it’s definitive.

Now, I concede that you were able to quote something entirely different from the Bible. Specifically you quoted Paul’s epistle to the Romans, as well as Psalms (which, legend has it, were written by King David), and the prophet Isaiah. According to all of them, each human being has already been consigned to eternal torment and nothing he or she does can stop that.

However, I must point out, those quotations you depend on are the words of Paul, and (maybe) David, and Isaiah. Not of Jesus, or of God. They are the words of mere humans; humans who might have been inspired by God, but who are assuredly not God themselves. Jesus, on the other hand, was (if most Christians are correct) God in the flesh.

If Jesus wasn’t lying when he said (as you quoted from the gospel according to John) that he is “the way, the truth, and the life,” then by not obeying the teaching he delivered in chapter 25 of the gospel according to Matthew — and instead turning to the teachings of mere men — you’ve actually departed from him, and are no longer doing as he asked. In turn, this means you may not “[come] unto the Father” after all, because you will have dismissed his instructions to you.

I’d be careful, if I were you. The eternal fate of your mortal soul is on the line. Are you certain you want to continue on your contra-scriptural path? Or are you willing to reconsider your insistence that a person’s actions have no bearing on his or her destiny? You may feel free to ask other people where they are going … but you might wish to ask this about yourself, first.

(Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.[ii])

i. Matthew 25:31-46 (New American Standard Bible)

ii. New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 

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