Thursday, September 19, 2013

Justin Martyr, Plato, and What I Agree with

I guess I will follow up on yesterday's post after all.  I won't apologize for what I wrote or for any hurt feelings, but I will share that I do sympathize with people who want to believe that all people will get to heaven at some point.  I said already, it's Calvinism gone awry that still believes that Christ's atonement was for all people, when really it is only for the people who he chose before the world began.  In John 17:9, Jesus plainly says that he does not pray for all the world.  He does not intercede for all of them.  Only for the people God has given him.  Sadly, some people will perish in eternal fire, but some day, God will show us what we don't see now.

Now, as I contemplate having supper tonight at the local Catholic Church to celebrate the pro-life movement and work alongside them on Friday at the Crisis Pregnancy Center, I will mention what I do agree with.

Suppose my friend Plato dies.  He lived far removed from any specific message of Christ.  He may have heard rumors from Israel, but he never specifically believed in Jesus.  However, he always talks about a world beyond this one.  We are in a cave and only see shadows of what is truly real.  He came so close to preaching the truth in his lifetime, but as far as I know did not quite make it there.  Where is his soul today? 

I can honestly say, I don't know.  I simply know that pagans and atheists are only saved one way, and that is by belief in Jesus Christ.  I also know that Old Testament believers were saved because God showed them Jesus in many symbols and typologies.  There were God-fearers not of the nation of Israel.

The truth is, though, hell is a real and permanent threat.  Justin Martyr, who I linked to, says things way better than I do, but I can assure you that he did not believe people were saved just because they were sincere.  They were saved through God's mercy and their lives showed fruit of it.

"And that no one may say what is said by those who are deemed philosophers, that our assertions that the wicked are punished in eternal fire are big words and bugbears, and that we wish men to live virtuously through fear, and not because such a life is good and pleasant; I will briefly reply to this, that if this be not so, God does not exist; or, if He exists, He cares not for men, and neither virtue nor vice is anything, and, as we said before, lawgivers unjustly punish those who transgress good commandments. But since these are not unjust, and their Father teaches them by the word to do the same things as Himself, they who agree with them are not unjust."

Justin shames the people who say that Christians made up an eternal punishment just to control people.  If God is real, then he hates all evil.  If he is just he will punish all evil.  Nobody who goes to hell will ever suffer God's injustice.  All people have earned it and all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags.  He did not have to forgive anyone.  But he did send Jesus to take the punishment of the people that he did have mercy on.  This same mercy is why people who don't know Jesus are not all as wicked as Hitler.  And it also shows, that without this mercy, we would be as wicked as Hitler.  The constant fight to end abortion and euthanasia is also testimony to that.  If people follow their hearts they will lead this world into anarchy. Praise God that he kidnaps hearts and changes them to follow him.

And God still does the impossible such as saving worthless scoundrels such as Jacob, David, me.  His grace is powerful enough that he could have shown Jesus to Plato in some typology.  The same thing, though, it would not be because Plato was a sincere guy.  It would be because he led him to believe in Christ.  And if there was an opportunity for someone to specifically preach the truth to Plato, then they should be held accountable if they don't and pretend that their current religious status is alright.

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