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What if I Picked the Wrong

Religion?
You may be familiar with the off-color animated series South
Park. In one episode, you see a crowd of thousands of people
shocked to find themselves surrounded by fire and
brimstone:

Victim 1: Where are we?


Victim 2: What's happening?
Victim 3: Where am I?
Hell Director: Hello everybody, I'm the Hell director. For
those of you who are a little confused, you are all dead and
this is hell, so abandon all hope, and yadda, yadda, yadda.....
Victim 4: Wait a minute! I shouldn't be here. I was a totally
straight and devout protestant. I thought we went to heaven.
Hell Director: Sorry, you were wrong.
Victim 5: I was a practicing Jehovah's Witness.
Hell Director: Sorry, you picked the wrong religion as well.
Victim 6: Then who was right? Who gets into heaven?
Hell Director: I'm afraid the Mormons, yes, the Mormons
had the correct religion.

You can watch this HERE

Okay, it's pretty stupid. But what if you picked the wrong
religion? What if what you believe really isn't true at all? Have
you ever entertained such a thought? CBS commentator
Andy Rooney once said, "I have to admit that most of the
stuff I believe probably isn't true."

"But I'm saved" you say to yourself, "I'm baptized. I accepted


Christ. I read the Bible. I obey God. I pray every day. I'm one
of the elect of God" Of course you are not going to hell. You're
safe. So you think. The interesting thing about the belief in
hell is that it is always for other people, not us, not me. But
again I ask - what if you are wrong? Let me illustrate how
wrong you could be by contrasting two very different views of
salvation.

There is belief within the Christian church (mainly a U.S.A.


phenomena) which is known as "Lordship Salvation" This was
made popular by Christian author and speaker John
MacArthur. I won't get into details but according to
MacArthur, your life must show a great deal of evidence in
order to be sure that you are really, truly saved. He lists the
evidences in what has been called "MacArthur's Eleven
Commandments" Lordship Salvation can be summed up by
the phrase, "If Jesus isn't Lord of all, He isn't Lord at all" Now,
on the surface it sounds like MacArthur is just encouraging
Christians to live holy lives. But his doctrine has caused many
sincere Christians to doubt their salvation and the grace of
God, leading them to despair, depression, and even suicide.
The problem is that if you don't show these evidences, you
will naturally try to show evidence of your salvation to prove
to yourself, God, and others that you are a true Christian.

The critics of Lordship Salvation say, "what ever happened to


salvation by grace?" They accuse MacArthur of teaching
salvation by works which is in stark contrast with the biblical
doctrine of salvation by grace. So this is just a little doctrinal
dispute, who cares? There are million doctrinal difference
which divide Christians into thousands of groups and sub-
groups. But some people on both sides of this debate go a
step further and have condemned one other to eternal hell.
The Lordship Salvation side claims that anyone who does not
follow MacArthur's Commandments is headed straight for hell
because they're not really saved. The other camp believes
that the Lordship salvationists are the ones who are going to
hell because they are trying to earn their salvation. Thus, the
two ideas are mutually exclusive, are now you must pick a
side even though you probably had never heard of this silly
debate before. Make sure you pick the right side!

My point is this - whether you are a Baptist, Catholic,


Pentecostal, Reformed, Methodist, Atheist, Agnostic, Mormon,
Muslim, Buddhist, or whatever, you had better hope that
there is no eternal hell. Because if there is a hell, there's a
damn good chance that you, yes YOU, will end up there. And
even if you don't, will you be happy in heaven knowing that
most of humanity is burning in hell "for as long as God
exists"?

Back to my original question: What if I picked the wrong


religion? But let's be honest - did you really choose your
religion, or did your religion choose you? Christians who
believe in free will are quick to congratulate themselves for
making a wise choice to follow Christ, and believe that those
who do not choose Christ are rejecting Him by default and
thus worthy of punishment. The truth is billions of people
have already lived and died without so much as hearing the
name of Jesus. How could they reject someone they never
even heard of? Maybe you think they wouldn't have believed
anyway, but when Jesus talked about the people of Sodom -
who sinned in ignorance - he said that they would have
repented if someone had only preached to them. (Matt.
11:23)

And what of people who grow up in non Christian


environments? Does a Jew who hears his whole life that Jesus
is not the Messiah have a "free choice" to change his mind?
Does a Muslim who hears that Jesus was a prophet but not as
great a prophet as Mohammad have the ability to just change
his mind? If you are a Christian, you are Christian because of
the influences around you, not because of any mythical free
will, which you freely exercised without any external
influence. Most of the circumstances which lead as to make
certain choices in life are beyond our control. If you had been
born into a different family, or in a different country, or a
different time, would you have made the same choices? I
didn't think so. Now, get off you high horse of wise choices
and take a few minute to ask yourself, "What if......?"

What if Jesus was not exaggerating when he said, So


likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that
he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33) ? Would you
qualify? Would anyone qualify?

What if salvation really is by works? Would you qualify? Any


honest reader of the Bible will notice that the passages
implying that salvation is by works far outweigh the handful
of passages which speak of salvation by grace (for example,
John 5:29 - And shall come forth; they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil,
unto the resurrection of damnation. Matt 19:17 - And he said
unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but
one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the
commandments. Rev. 20:12 - and the dead were judged
out of those things which were written in the books,
according to their works. See also Matt. 25:31-46).

What if obedience to all the Law of Moses is required for


salvation? Before you answer that Christ fulfilled the law,
remember Jehovah himself said His laws are "perfect and
eternal". Also, Christ only eliminated the necessity of animal
sacrifice. He did not come to abolish the entire law.

What if salvation has nothing to do with what happens after


death? Can you be saved in life, but not in death? Have you
ever noticed that Biblical salvation is never defined as
salvation from hell?
What if you misunderstood an important doctrine - one which
is necessary for salvation? If you are trinitarian, what if the
trinity is a pagan idea and you are really worshiping a false
god? If you are unitarian, what if the trinity doctrine is true?

What if you backslide? What if you really could lose your


salvation? If you lost it, could you get it back? What if you
stop believing? What if your beliefs change?

What if your beliefs are totally wrong? What if the truth is


only found in some obscure religion which you've never heard
of?

What if God changes His mind? You may think this is


impossible, but the scriptures tell a different story.

What if the Catholic sacraments really are necessary for


salvation?

What if observing the Sabbath (which of course is Saturday,


not Sunday) is necessary for proving that you are really
saved?

What if you are not quite sorry enough for your sins? What if
you forget to repent of a particular sin? What if you sinned
and didn't know it? Could you be saved without seeking
forgiveness in the proper way?

What if Calvinism is true and you are not one of the elect, just
a self deceived hell-bound sinner.

If you go to hell, will you still worship God, will you still think
His judgments are good?

If you go to heaven, how could you be happy knowing that


the majority of mankind is burning in hell forever - including
many people you knew and loved?

As for me, I am not worried about what happens after this life
because if God is just (and I believe He is), then what is there
to fear? A just God will not hold anyone accountable for
things over which they have no control (such as where they
were born, what circumstances they ended up in, their beliefs
which come from the upbringing). Nor will a just God punish
anyone without a purpose or without end. All God's
judgments and punishments have the ultimate purpose of
redemption and restoration. In the end, the truth of God's
grace will win the day, no matter what we believe or don't
believe.

Read my other articles: HERE