Scared Into Heaven?
1 Peter 1:13
As a boy, I remember hearing a certain TV preacher who was always preaching about the end of world. He would literally yell out, “Jesus is coming soon, repent you sinners, repent!” There’s really nothing wrong with the old preacher’s message, after all, calling sinners to repentance is a part of the gospel. But, it’s the way the old man said it that always bothered me, in fact it still does. Quite frankly, it scared me. Let’s just say that when I heard him preach I wasn’t thinking hopefully about God’s grace the way St. Peter was.
While I didn’t know then, as a young boy I too would grow up to be a preacher, I now often think about the message I proclaim and how I proclaim it. I don’t think scaring people into Heaven is good evangelism. Even though Peter talks about the “fiery ordeal” that comes upon us as we suffer with Christ in this world, his message always gets around to the joy of seeing Jesus in His glory when this world ends.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
I think we should all take Peter’s advice. Let’s prepare our minds clearly and set our “hope”, on the “grace” God will reveal to us when Jesus ushers in the end the world as we know it. He brings His grace on waves of mercy. We don’t need to fear His coming if our faith is him; just live in the peace of His love, grace and mercy.
Grace and Peace,
Eternal Father, in the name of our coming Lord Jesus, help me to live in the peace you bring through your grace and mercy, and in the hope of your coming in glory. Amen.