I became "born-again" to "save" my wretched skin from hell! My conversion was all about me. It had little to do with loving anyone, but myself. That's why God is so merciful! He saves all of us selfish egotistical people who care little for his glory with the hope that in return for his mercy, we will love him back! That's what grace and God's love is all about! I hate to admit it, but my "salvation" was not about God; it was all about another god named "Self". However, God became "as me" to empathize with mankind's enigma! He became flesh so that he can feel what I feel! When we get "saved" from what are we saved? Eternal punishment! Salvation is to keep the "God of Self" from eternal roasting!
Romans 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."Justification is, in the theologians lexicon, a big word meaning that we are made right by Jesus and the verse above says how we are "made right". It's by the shedding of Jesus' blood; not Buddha's, not Brahman's and certainly not Mohammed's! Justification is "salvation" because it clears us of all sin! This verse tells us that we are saved from God's wrath!
"Well", I thought, "God is love!" He sure is! That's why he has a plan to "save us from his wrath"! Just as our own father who has rules to follow and love to bestow to keep us from harm, so does God the Father. Neither "have to" provide a Plan B, but because both love us, Our father and our Father are both merciful and give us a choice: wrath or reward. Reward seems the best for me, but for some reason most others choose wrath. It's for the satisfaction of the flesh: pleasure, wealth, knowledge or power.
Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."The "book of life" are those justified, or as commonly called "saved". It tells here that the book of life is a list of those who believe in and have faith in Jesus and his propitiation of his own life in exchange for each of ours. Those who fail to have faith suffer God's wrath: they will be "cast into the lake of fire!" Those who continue to place "self" over God go to hell. That's God's justice, and you may not like it, but God makes the rules and his rules are fairest of the fairest because we do nothing other than exercising belief to the extent of accepting and trusting Jesus! That's God's grace and is a fair standard, but most people think that's unfair of what they call "a cruel God"!
To avoid God's wrath is why I was saved, but yet I did not love him! However, that's what he asked in return.! I am commanded to love him. I've got to figure out a way to do it. The only way I have of loving God is:
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.I can only show my love by "works"; that is obeying God. That means that I am to love him and love others. Since, I can't get my arms around God, then, the only way that I can love God is by reading his scripture, praying, meditating, fasting, seeking his will and obeying his commands. Those commands include loving others (Commandments 7-10). It's a sacrifice to put the good of others: God, my neighbors and even my enemies, but that's how we topple the "God of Self". It's putting others before our self, or at least as good as we esteem our self!
Matthew 22:39b "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."We always love our self - period! Scripture tells us that no man hates himself (Ephesians 5:29). Then we need only to love others with that same love we have for our self. That's a hard one! We can't even love our fellow Christians, but we are to love our enemies! We need to get real. Likewise, we are to love those who hate us. That's what we must do to demonstrate to God that we adore him. We obey what he commands!
Some commands are directed toward reverence for God, others in how we treat others and some how we behave ourselves. Since how we behave affects and effects others, then there are things we are not to do: steal, lie, curse, lust, kill, and their sub-sets of sin: we are to be sober, assemble together (go to church), not fornicate, not engage in homosexual activity, avoid filthy language, etc and even the perception of being unclean. We are to set the example to non-Christians on how true Christians are to behave!
Many CINOM (Christians in Name Only-Maybe) use God's name in vain (OMG), get drunk (more than a glass of wine at dinner, as they say), fornicate, lie, skip church, never pray, seldom read the Bible, and demonstrate little reverence for God. Their temples are bars, rock concerts, dance halls, the movie theater, soap operas, sports arenas and golf courses. (It's okay to be entertained, but we must be balanced and engage in Christian activities!). We are where our heart lies and there are two choices: with God or in the flesh (pleasure).
Now, for my greatest concern: it's for others! I want everybody to go to heaven. There is no need for anyone to face God's wrath when salvation is so simple. We don't even have to give up things to become Christians, but as new persons in Christ we shall have changed hearts and our desires will be changed! For a true Christian, putting away worldly pleasures will come with maturity. At the start we're babes in Christ, but alas, babies must grow up! Mature Christians demonstrate their love for God by changing their own lives and loving others genuinely!
I have many friends and relatives who are not saved. My "greatest concern" is that they will miss the "love boat" to heaven! They will suffer God's wrath and the lake of fire will burn, but never consume them. I pray for my children, my siblings, my friends and sometimes (unfortunately for me) my enemies! Because I love others is why I don't want them to feel the wrath of God!
Sometimes I ask "Is this loved-one saved?" My answer is "I hope so!", but my "hope" doesn't save anyone. I don't want some preacher at a funeral lie my loved-one into heaven as many are! Deathbed Christians are few! The heart just may not be willing and submissive at that time since it has hardened through years of rejection. My narcissistic desire to save my own "Self" became real by faith. Now I love God. I want others to avoid his wrath as well. That's my love and all that I can do. I implore others: please take the time to consider your god. Have you sacrificed the "God of Self" at the Cross? Yes, you believe, but do you trust and obey? Only you can prevent "for self" fires! However, you can't save your self! Jesus saves!