Over the last several decades in western culture, some have attempted to redefine God. The isolated halls of academia and a culture living insulated from much of the sorrow that afflicts the rest of the world has been a seedbed for this process of progressive redefinition. At the end of this process, an idol will stand before us, an idol forged by a misguided view of God formed apart from His word.
Some of these redefinitions sound appealing until they begin to stumble over Scripture. One example floating around and gaining some traction is the idea that when Jesus rose from the dead, all humanity was saved. We are told we no longer have to worry about the response of people to the Gospel since everyone will eventually end up in Heaven. After all, they say, the God we created would not have it otherwise. This version of God has no consequences attached to human action or inaction. Again, it sounds good until the Scripture gets in the way.
In the issue of personal salvation, words like “believe,” “receive,” and “accept” cause these redefiniions to stumble. John 1:12 is one example, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” All relationships require an invitation and a commitment. For those of us who have married, an invitation of matrimony was offered and accepted before we could enter into the life-long commitment of marriage. Love requires the exercise of our will.
When Jesus walked the earth, there were no altar calls or sinner’s prayers, but there was a point in each person’s life when they yielded themselves to the invitation of Jesus to receive the life He offered. There is a lot of freedom of expression offered in the exercise of our faith. But that freedom never lessens the importance of the exercise of our will when it comes to the offer of eternal life.
In the days to come, those who actually take the time to read the Bible to understand its meaning and context, and remain teachable in the process, will be the ones who stay clear of the idols created by pop theology and the deceptions they produce. Even when we think we have it all figured out more revelation will come to challenge what we confidently thought was the truth, but sadly, was only an idol we created in the image of our limited understanding.