Amidst all the madness swirling around this world today, two things genuinely break my heart. The first is when I pray for the salvation of my friends, colleagues, and family and face the reality of how many of them, people I love and care for, are going to Hell. While I know it is not my responsibility or even ability to save them, the burden still weighs heavily when I ponder how many opportunities I have let slip by to help them understand the Gospel.
The second thing that breaks my heart is the number of people in churches around the world who think they are Christians but are not truly saved. It’s not easy to surrender everything to Jesus, but it pales in comparison to how difficult it will be to spend eternity without Him.
Somewhere over the last century, the message of the Gospel began to be watered down. Entrance to the Kingdom changed from a lifelong commitment to simply saying a prayer one time. Although the Bible warns against a broad road to Heaven, pastors began teaching we had been making salvation too difficult. Make no mistake, it’s not easy to gain entrance into Heaven. It is simple, but far from easy.
As churches became more obsessed with the number of people attending their services each week, they kept lowering the bar for what it means to escape Hell and live forever with Christ. After many decades of promoting the heresy of such “easy-believism,” as it has been coined, we now have the megachurch phenomenon resulting in scores of people who claim to be Christians but have never encountered the terror and majesty of the Holy God!
To be clear, salvation is a gift from God, not something any of us can ever earn (Ephesians 2:8-10). That’s why it is so simple. The reason it’s not easy is that it requires total surrender and commitment on our part. Those who know Christ understand their life is no longer their own (Galatians 2:19-20). They understand whatever they dreamed of doing or becoming is dead. Everything they knew before Jesus is over. They are raised in the newness of life in Christ, washed by His blood, and proclaimed perfect before the Father (Romans 6:4; 1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). There is no going back. The road from here narrows significantly.
Jesus said if we want to know Him, we must leave our families and earthly pursuits behind (Luke 14:25-26; Matthew 8:18-22; Luke 9:23-27). He said the test of loving Him is we no longer love anything about this world (1 John 2:15). There’s nothing easy about any of that. The Lord welcomes all but accepts very few (Luke 13:22-28; Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus tells us He is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). He is the door at the end of the narrow road (John 10:9-10). It’s not easy to follow Jesus, and most will turn away. They won’t have the stomach for it. These are the people filling our churches today. That breaks my heart more deeply than anything else.