John 21:20-22 “Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] following them. This was the disciple who had leaned back against Jesus at the meal and asked, Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you? [Judas] So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, Lord, what about him? Jesus replied, if I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours? You Follow Me!” (emphasis mine)
This statement ties in well with another Jesus made in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, let me remove the speck from your eye, while there is a beam in your own? You hypocrite, first remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
In the first paragraph, Peter was questioning the Lord about what was to become of another, and the Savior told him point-blank to be concerned about his own soul status before being concerned about another’s. This does not mean we are not to care about anyone else, but before we do, make sure we’re on solid ground. If we have open sin in our lives, we cannot rightly accuse others of theirs.
The second paragraph has to do with judging others. It’s one the secular world likes to throw around, saying we should never judge anyone else. Jesus did not say we were not to judge, no matter what. In fact, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent to settle trivial suits? Do you not know that we will judge Angels? Why not ordinary matters?”
There has only been one person to ever walk this earth that could judge everyone else, and totally without reservation. That would be our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Therefore, He has the perfect right to set the ground rules for all of us to follow. We are being instructed to use “common sense” about correcting others, but first making sure we are on solid footing to do so.
In Ezekiel 3:17-19, God told the prophet he was appointed as a “Watchman” for the House of Israel. He told Ezekiel that when He instructed the prophet to do so, warning had to be given to the people. God further instructed the prophet that if he did not properly warn the people of His word, the wicked ones would die for their iniquity, but the prophet would also be held accountable for their deaths. If the prophet did give proper warning, and the wicked ones did not repent and turn from their evil ways, they would die in their sins, but the prophet would have done the will of the Lord.
There are different ways we can “warn” others and not come across as “holier than thou.” Pastors must give the truth in their messages and not distort the Word of the Father. They need to let people know we all sin (Romans 3:23) but can be forgiven (1 John 1:8-10). To just say someone is “hell-bound” is beyond the authority of another individual. Jesus, through His sacrifice, has the ultimate authority to Judge. He has made it clear that the only sin that won’t be forgiven is to leave this earth without accepting Him – which is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
When someone truly accepts Jesus as their Savior, it’s natural to want to share the good news (gospel). As in the parable of the seeds in Matthew 13, some will fall on deaf ears and be ignored. Some will accept at first, but turn away after just a short while when something else comes up. Others will hear it, but the world and their “possessions” are more important to them. Then, there will be a few that will accept the Word, and totally receive Jesus as their Savior.
It’s worth the effort to pass on the gospel, but not with force or any type of “strong-arm tactic.” Just telling someone they are going to hell if they don’t convert will drive many away. However, to tell about the treasure of our Heavenly Home and the benefits of having Jesus as our Savior sounds much better. Then, in a calm loving way, John 14:6 can be presented, and it can be made known that Jesus died for us, and He has the right to say He is the only way to the Father, which is the Straight and Narrow way spoken of in Matthew 7:13-14.
Also, by accepting Jesus, we then belong to an “exclusive culture.” Jesus, Himself, said there would be few that would come to him, because the majority would follow the ways of this world. Also, by truly having Jesus as our Savior, we have an iron-clad guarantee of eternal life with Him. To say there are many ways to heaven is a lie created by Satan for his false prophets and antichrist to use. It tickles people’s ears, but does not save them.
I still remember how good I felt once I really asked Jesus to forgive me and be my Savior. I was not forced, as the Lord will not force anyone, to call out to Him. I began to read God’s word daily, even if only a chapter or two at a time. My initial concern was what if I slipped and sinned again. After all, I confessed I was a sinner, but did this erase any sin I would commit later?
As mentioned above, 1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [At this point I feel pressure.] But, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, forgiving our sins, and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. [Feeling better.] If we say we have no sin, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” I understand this to mean that I don’t have a license to go on sinning habitually, but when [not if] I do sin, I can ask for, and receive, forgiveness. We all are still liable here for consequences of our sin even though we have been forgiven.
Anyone who has not accepted Jesus when they leave this earth will have to face the Father at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), and will have to answer for everything they ever did on this earth. They will not have Jesus as their advocate to intercede for them, and any sin – great or small – is not acceptable by the Father.
All believers from the cross to the Rapture will appear before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) to receive or lose “rewards” for our actions. No matter what, this is not a condemning judgment, and we do not lose our Home the Savior has prepared for us in Heaven (John 14:1-3). There are other judgments for believers that will take place before Jesus, which are at the end of the Tribulation and the end of the Millennium. Anyone who appears at one of these are saved and do not have to fear ending up in the Lake of Fire.
We want all our loved ones to be with us through all eternity. First, we must make sure we’re right with the Lord, and then we can “share” Him. If someone constantly refuses, turn them over to the Father in prayer, and ask for the Holy Spirit to touch their souls. They still have the free will to accept or reject Jesus. In the end, wherever we all end up will be our “individual” choice. Good or bad, we will be aware of it.
Call out to Jesus today. We are not guaranteed another tomorrow on this earth.