God does not force us to love him

Published 6:21 am Friday, May 4, 2018

I probably attend more funerals than the average person because of how often I officiate them. When families are grieving, it’s very difficult to find words that help and I’ve learned that most of the time silence is golden.

We do not like funerals or cemeteries because they remind us of the end of life and especially for those who are not ready to face God, this explains why they choose to avoid them. Funerals are an occasion where we are not only paying our respect for the one who has passed on, but many also sense the anxiety as they are reminded of their own fate.

I believe it’s good to discuss this because we should not deny that death is a part of living. In fact, a funeral is an opportunity where God can clearly speak to someone’s heart and have their attention long enough to show them the true spiritual meaning of life.

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When I am at a funeral, I’ve noticed within the conversations there is always someone declaring the deceased as now living in the glories that are beyond the imagination. For the Christian, this is a wonderful truth but being an heir unto salvation is more than having a reputation as a hard worker and an easy-going personality. Evidently to the masses, these requirements, whether they were a Christian or not, allows everyone a guaranteed passage to the eternal joys of walking on the streets of gold.

I’m not trying to sound negative, but this view is confusing because I cannot find the Biblical confirmation. Of course, we cannot know what is in someone’s heart or judge their intentions but as followers and messengers of God’s word, we know that God does require everyone to be accountable to the gospel.

When others imply there is no responsibility or commitment to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, this sends a message of false security to those who still have a chance to be redeemed.

There is no need to dread a funeral or a cemetery because those who are in covenant with Jesus Christ are celebrating their victorious release into a sin-free realm where they will live in peace with God forever. The ultimate concern and consideration is to make sure we are prepared to meet him. 

Yes, we have a choice to follow Christ but just because we are convicted by our need to surrender our life to him does not mean we will go through with it. He will never force anyone to love him. Many people today are convinced that everyone is going to heaven, which sounds comforting but this ignores the reality of consequences. From God’s instructions, we are told that our spiritual association with who we loved and considered as our Lord will determine our eternal fate. Inviting Christ into our heart and allowing him to be the master of our life is directly connected with receiving his forgiveness and grace. 

Salvation is not based on us being a decent person and no amount of good deeds could ever be a substitute for being born-again.

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