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Why Do You Ask?

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone answers your question with a question!  I had a professor in seminary who did this incessantly.  Each and every time we’d ask a deeply sincere, truly profound question of faith, he’d respond by asking: “Why do you ask?” 

It was infuriating!  Obviously, we’re asking because we want to know the answer! 

At first, I thought he was doing this to buy time—he needed it to think of a good answer!  Then, I thought he was doing this just to toy with us—he really did want to drive us crazy!  Finally, I concluded that he must be doing this to teach us about the nature of our “God” questions—it’s futile to seek simple answers to such paradoxical mysteries.

But one day, when a classmate asked a heartfelt question, I saw what my professor was really up to—and it was absolute genius.

Innocently enough, my classmate asked if non-Christians can be saved: What happens to them when they die?  Predictably, my professor responded with his standard: “Why do you ask?”

Frustrated, this classmate of mine insisted that he just wanted to know, plain and simple.  As my professor continued to press him, “Yes, but why do you ask?”, he grew more and more adamant.  “I just want to know.  Can’t you give me an answer?”  Things were getting very tense and uncomfortable.  Some of us leapt to our classmate’s defense and vehemently plead for our professor to just give him an answer. 

But like a dog with a bone, my professor kept pressing his question, until finally, my classmate broke.  With raw emotion, he blurted out: “I want to know because my mother isn’t a believer, OK!  That’s why I really want to know!  Are you happy!  What’s going to happen to her when she dies?” 

What my professor recognized was that, like many questions of faith, this isn’t a detached question.  It isn’t a question we ask out of simple curiosity or a desire to see the cosmic order of things.  It isn’t a purely philosophical question.  It’s a deeply personal one.  When we ask this question, we usually have someone—or some ones—in mind.  Someone we love.  Someone we can’t imagine not being with us in eternity.  Someone we can’t fathom a loving God rejecting.

So, what happens to them?  Can someone like my classmate’s mother be saved?

As I made clear in last week’s blog, salvation in only possible through faith in Christ.  It can only happen because of what He has done for us on the Cross.  But, because we know His character, we can safely say that He would never reject anyone who would ultimately want Him to be their Lord and Savior.

And only He can judge this.

The ultimate state of a person’s heart is only known to God alone. 

Jesus does, however, make it very clear how He will make this judgment.  John 3:16 beautifully captures God’s all-encompassing, universal will to save: “God so loved that world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  But if you keep reading, a few verses later Jesus says that there are those who will refuse to believe.  They will reject Him because when He, the light, came into the world: “They loved the darkness more than the light.” (v. 19)  They preferred to do what they wanted.  They preferred to do it their way.  They preferred to be the lord of their own lives.     

Ultimately, God gives them their heart’s desire.

Of course, the ever-present danger is that we are all inclined to want to be our own lord, to do it our own way.  We don’t want anyone—including God—telling us what to do.  It’s only when we surrender our lives to Him through a conscious act of faith that can we break this addiction to self, this incessant need to be the captain of our own souls. 

That’s why it is so urgent that we consciously trust our lives to Christ—this is the only way we can be certain we are saved.  Anyone who refuses to believe is in grave danger of rejecting God eternally. 

So what if, like my classmate, you’re worried about your loved one being saved?  Here’s what you need to know: No matter how much you love them, God loves them infinitely more.  No matter how much you desire your loved one be saved, God desires it infinitely more.  No matter what they choose in the end, God will give them their heart’s desire. 

And if your heart’s desire is for Him, He will give you infinitely more love than you can even begin to imagine.

Are there people you worry about being saved?  How do you deal with this?  You can go to the “Contact E.J.” Page of the Raising Jesus website to share any of your comments or questions.  Also, please “Like” our Facebook page and Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t had a chance to yet.  Thank you!  

 

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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