Are natural disasters the judgment of God on a nation?

Every year various natural disasters hit around the world. These tragedies, especially the ones in America, draw responses indicating that certain major disasters are the the judgment of God on the nation or the particular city. Are things liek hurricanes, droughts, floods, earthquakes and terrorist attacks the judgment of God on a nation?

The Bible contains numerous specific accounts of destruction coming upon cities as part of the judgment of God, cities like Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, Gomorrha and Jerusalem. The reason we know these disasters were the judgment of God is because the Bible tells us so. God did not tell us about other cities. He does not tell us about the tragedies that happen in cities today. A person cannot assume that a terrible event is the judgment of God on those people. Jesus speaks about this in Luke 13. A tower in the town of Siloam fell and killed eighteen men. Jesus asked the crowd, “Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?” They were not judged for their wickedness. Jesus used their death to warn that judgment is coming upon all men.

The philosophy that disasters are God’s judgment is based upon an idea that believes God brings physical cursing upon those who do wrong and physical blessings to those who do good. In the Old Testament God promised Israel to bless the nation for her obedience and punish her for disobedience. Those promises were part of the Mosaic covenant made between God and Israel at Mt. Sinai. They never applied to any other nation. Through the death of Christ God ushered in a New Covenant. The New Covenant included people from all nations of the world, not just Israel. In this New Covenant there is no promise of physical prosperity or tragedy. God has given no warning to bring natural disasters upon those who disobey Him.

The New Testament gives a list in Romans 1 of the judgments of God upon a nation. The judgments of God are an increase of sexual perversion, proliferation of homosexual behavior and the rise of all manner of violent, deceitful and hateful activities. The judgment of God on a nation is seen in the wickedness of its people. (Romans 1:24-32) God is not judging America for things like abortion and homosexuality. Those things, and many others, are the judgment of God upon America. Ultimately, God’s judgment on a nation is to leave it to itself, to let its people wallow in their own wickedness and destroy themselves in their depravity. God judges the nations that reject Him by giving them what they want. He leaves them to their own devices.

This does not mean that natural disasters are to be thought of as nothing more than geological or meteorological events. God is actively at work in the world. All natural disaasters are a part of His perfect plan. The heavens always declare the glory of God. The landscape always shows His handiwork. The sky declares God’s glory when it is blue and when it is black with tornadoes. God’s hand is seen when the earth is still and when it quakes violently. The hand of God that blesses and judges should be seen in all the events of the world.

God is the just judge who will one day perfectly and completely bring justice upon all sinners. The tragedies of this life warn of the need look ahead to the coming judgment and seek His mercy today.

What is the book of life?

Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enter the New Jerusalem. God’s judgment upon the unsaved will be executed based upon the contents of several books. The most important book in judgment will be the book of life. Those who are not listed in the book of life will be thrown into eternal punishment. “And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

What is the book of life? Does God have a physical book in which He keeps a list of all those who will be allowed to enter heaven? The idea of God’s record book is found scattered throughout the Bible. The first mention is in Exodus 32 when Moses pray for God to preserve rebellious Israel. Moses says, “Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin- and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Other mentions of a celestial book are found in the Old Testament, but not until the New Testament is a direct reference made to the book of life. The first use of the phrase “book of life” is in Philippians 4. There the apostle Paul describes his fellow workers in the ministry as those “whose names are in the book of life.”

Two references in the New Testament seem to refer to the book of life though they do use that phrase. In Luke 10 Jesus tells the disciples “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Hebrews 12 says those who are saved are part of the church of the firstborn, “whose names are written in heaven.”

The book of Revelation makes the most frequent mention to the book of life. During the time of the tribulation most of the world will worship the antichrist. Revelation 13 and 17 say that those who worship the antichrist are ones “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb”. Revelation 21 describes the New Jerusalem, the great heavenly city where the saved will enjoy eternal bliss. The only ones who will enter God’s city are those who “are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

The Bible does not aim to give an explanation of the book of life. Any man’s description of the book of life is based upon deductions from the Bible’s descriptions of how the book is used. What is clear in Scripture is that the book of life is a heavenly record of those who are saved. Those whose names are written in the book of life will enter into eternal life. Those whose names are not in the book of life will not.

Little else can be said with certainty. The book of life may be a just a metaphor of God’s accuracy of in keeping track of those who are saved. This author prefers the more literal reading that the book of life is a written record of all those who genuinely have eternal life. The clear truth is most important. God knows those that are His. Those who have been saved will have eternal life. Those who have not been saved will not. God will not err in distinguishing between the saved and the lost.

Will people have an opportunity to be saved after they die?

The eternal destiny of the lost is horrible to consider. An eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire forever separated from the presence of God and without hope of salvation waits for those who do not receive Jesus as Savior. But is there really no hope of heaven for those who die without knowing Jesus?

Some Christian groups believe a second chance will be offered to those who die with Jesus. The most famous version of a second chance is the Catholic doctrine of purgatory which teaches that men will have a time of suffering to purge sin before entering into heaven. Various forms of universalism, which believe that everyone will go to heaven, teach that another opportunity for repentance will be given to men after death. Mormonism teaches of a spirit prison where the dead can hear the gospel and be saved. The belief that death does not shut off the opportunity for salvation is widespread.

The Bible gives no hint that salvation is possible after death. Hebrews 3 and 4 gives very strong warning to those who heard the gospel but had not believed. The book of Hebrews calls for faith today. “He limiteth a certain day, saying in David . . . To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7) Everything the Bible says indicates that the decision to receive God’s salvation is made during this life. “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) The Bible gives no promise of another opportunity after death. It calls people to believe and be saved today.

At death the unsaved go straight into hell where they will wait for the final judgment. Luke 16 gives a powerful glimpse into the fate of men after death. A rich man died and went directly into hell. In 2 Thessalonians 1:9 the Bible says those who enter into hell will “be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” Total separation from God makes salvation impossible.

No man can be saved without coming to Jesus for forgiveness from sin. No one will come to Jesus for salvation unless God draws him to Jesus. (John 6:44) Salvation is impossible without the working of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin (John 16:7-11) and to make the person a new creature (John 3:5-7) There can be no salvation after death because those who die without salvation are immediately and eternally separated from God.

Sometimes people assume that once someone experiences the suffering of hell he will want to be saved. This sounds plausible but it does not match the picture revealed in the Bible. The rich man in Luke 16 was in torment in hell yet he made no plea for salvation. He gave no indication of repentance. He desired some water to relieve his suffering, but made no request for forgiveness and no confession of faith in Jesus. As a further example of this, the great tribulation will bring great suffering on humanity. Mankind will know the worldwide catastrophes are from God but will refuse to repent. Their pain will only cause them to blaspheme God more. (Revelation 16:20)

Hell is an emotionally difficult topic. We have a strong desire to lessen the discomfort we feel when considering the fate of the unsaved. Offering a chance of salvation after death moves the terror of hell a little bit farther away. Though we would like to offer the comfort of a second chance waiting for those who die without salvation, it is just not so. God calls men to repent today. Those who do not believe Jesus in this life will have no other opportunity for salvation.

Is this world hell?

Life is full of trouble. Disease, poverty, malnutrition, natural disasters, oppressive government, wicked men, slavery and war bring severe suffering on humanity. The world is undeniably filled with searing pain. Some people see the misery endured during life and conclude that hell is experienced in this lifetime. Hell does not await after death. By their choices people create their own living hell. Wicked people bring hell to others.

The troubles of this life are terrible. Some people experience anguish that cuts deep into the soul. The book of Job says, “Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) The Word of God never denies nor minimizes the suffering experienced in life. The Bible also never teaches that hell is experienced during this life.

The Bible consistently describes hell as the place of suffering and judgment after this life. Jesus teaches extensively on hell. All of his teachings on hell point to it as a place of future judgment. He gives stern warning to men to fear God who is able to destroy body and soul in hell. He warns His hearers to do whatever is necessary to avoid going into hell. He never suggests that men will suffer hell in this life.

Luke 16 speaks most clearly to this question. In that passage Jesus tells the history of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. “The rich man died and was buried; and in his hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.” (Luke 16:27-28) The rich man lived his life and when his life was over he went to hell. How much more plain can it be? Jesus always described hell as the place of judgment waiting for men after death.

As bad as things are now hell will be much, much worse. The trouble of this world should warn us. For those under the judgment of God this life is as good as it gets. After this life is over the only thing awaiting is judgment, darkness, torment, and suffering beyond description. Jesus describes hell as a place “Where the worm dieth not and the flame is not quenched.”

If there is no hell, there is no logical or Biblical reason why there should be a heaven. The Bible presents a consistent testimony regarding the fate of men after death. The unsaved will suffer eternally in hell. The saved will rejoice eternally in heaven. If this life is all the suffering men will face, the Bible is a fraud. If hell does not exist Jesus wasted his life and died to no purpose.

The troubles of the world should remind us that we all long for something better. We know this world is broken. Right now the creation groans in agony. Suffering reminds us that things are not as they ought to be. God promises a day of redemption and judgment. Sorrow should lift our eyes upward to God who will one day remove all sin and all suffering. Distress should drive us to the feet of the One who punishes all evil and who saves all who seek His mercy.

Are there degrees of punishment in hell?

Dante’s Inferno describes hell as nine circles that descend ever lower into more terrible torments. In Inferno offenders are punished with judgments the author saw as suitable for their their crimes. The condemned are imagined as bearing a punishment consistent with the wrongs they have done. Does the Bible teach degrees of punishment in hell? Do the worst sinners suffer the worst fates?

The Bible does not describe the structure of the Lake of Fire. We don’t know it is a series of circles, a celestial version of a concrete and barb wire penitentiary, a lake of flaming lava, or some other unimagined design. If there is a difference in punishment the Bible does not say how it is different. The Bible teaches that all in hell will suffer eternal torment. Everyone in hell will endure intense physical, emotional and spiritual agony.

At least two passages in the New Testament hint at differing levels of eternal punishment.

In Matthew 11 Jesus rebuked two cities for their rejection of Him. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

The city of Sodom is infamous for its destruction by fire and brimstone. Tyre and Sidon fell under the wrath of God for their idolatry and pride. Yet these cities that were destroyed by God’s wrath will find the day of judgment easier than the cities which saw Jesus and rejected Him.

In Hebrews 10 those who reject salvation are compared with those who committed capital crimes under the Old Testament law. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

The punishment of a murderer will not be as severe as that of one who knew and rejected the truths of salvation. Taking a human life is horrific but far more despicable is scorning God the Son and insulting the Holy Spirit. Which brings out a crucial point.

Any difference in punishment in hell will not be measured by the typical human understanding of the worst sins or by the popular cultural understanding of the worst sins. God is the righteous judge who will execute condemnation based upon His holy standard. Consequently, those who saw Jesus and rejected Him will suffer more than those who were incorrigible homosexuals.

It seems that eternal punishment, though terrible for all, will in some way be worse for some. Those who had greater opportunity to believe will receive greater condemnation.

Since Gehenna is a physical place of punishment, doesn’t that mean hell is not eternal torment?

Gehenna is a place of judgment mentioned in the Old Testament. When Jesus’ speaks of hell He several times refers to it as Gehenna. Since Jesus refers to Gehenna in identical terms as those used in Isaiah 66 doesn’t this mean that hell cannot possibly be a place of eternal torment?

The place described in Isaiah 66 is one where Divine judgment falls on wicked humanity at the beginning of the Millennium. When Jesus returns to the earth to establish His millenial kingdom He will do several things. He will imprison Satan in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). He will judge the unbelievers who remain alive on the earth at this time. (Matthew 25:31-46) He will throw the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20) He will defeat the armies of the world that have united in warfare against Him. (Revelation 19:19-21) The defeat of the rebel armies and of the antichrist will take place at the battle of Armageddon.

Isaiah does not tell the identity of the wicked ones who are slain and cast into the place of judgment. Possibility they are the corpses of the soldiers slain in battle. Possibly they are those who will refuse to obey Jesus during the millennium. Whoever they are makes no difference to the point of Isaiah. God promises shameful death to those who rebel against His Messiah.

Since Jesus referenced this place of judgment in His descriptions of hell, doesn’t that mean hell is just a temporary place of physical punishment? Hell cannot possibly be a place of eternal torment if the Bible never describes it as a place of eternal suffering and if the Bible never uses familiar, earthly imagery to describe eternal realities.

The Bible is very clear that the suffering of the wicked is an eternal suffering. Two passages will suffice to show this Biblical truth.
Revelation 14:9-11, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
In this passage those who receive the mark of the beast, that is all the unsaved during the time of the Great Tribulation, will suffer eternal punishment. The smoke of their torment ascends up forever. Lest anyone imagine this only refers to the smoke that tormented them, the passage goes on to say they have no rest, day nor nor night. Their torment is a constant, unending torment.
Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Three persons, two human and one angelic, are cast into the lake of fire. Their torment is eternal, forever and ever. Their suffering is continual, day and night. God has plainly declared in His Word that the judgment of the wicked is one of eternal suffering.

The Bible is prolific in its use of the earthly and familiar to describe the eternal. Jesus uses the manna in the wilderness to describe Himself. He describes believing in Him in terms of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Does this mean that Jesus will fade in the midday sun like manna did? Is Jesus available six days a week, but not on Saturday? Is cannibalism necessary for conversion? The questions themselves show the absurdity of such an argument. What about the serpent in the wilderness? Is Jesus a bronze snake? Is salvation only for those who have been bitten by poisonous vipers? The tabernacle in the wilderness was a picture of the heavenly tabernacle. Does this mean the heavenly tabernacle was made of badger skins? These are just a few of the many examples of the Bible using physical, temporary things to teach of eternal things. Such things aid our understanding of truth, but must be understand in light of the point being made and in light of the broader context of Scripture.

Jesus’ use of Gehenna does not disprove eternal torment. His picturesque language does not limit the suffering of the wicked. It graphically depicts in understandable terms the unending punishment the unsaved will endure.

What is Gehenna?

Jesus’ use of Gehenna is a primary argument for annihilationism. Adherents to this belief claim the historical and prophetic use of Gehenna as proof that the punishment of the wicked results in their physical and spiritual erasure from existence. Jesus says God will kill the wicked and cast them into hell. The Greek word for hell in Luke 12 is Gehenna.

“And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5)

What is Gehenna? Gehenna is the Greek name of a valley mentioned in the Old Testament, the Valley of the son of Hinnom. (Jeremiah 7:31) This valley was the scene of horrific idolatry. In the Valley of Hinnom the Israelites burned their children alive as sacrifices to the false god Molech. God promised to judge the Israelites for their idolatry and the book of Jeremiah describes the Valley of Hinnom as the place of the Israelite’s judgment. (Jeremiah 19:1-10) Some believe this valley is also the place of God’s judgment of the wicked described in Isaiah 66:24. Gehenna was a place of horrible wickedness that was turned by God into a place of terrible judgment.

The place of judgment described at the end of Isaiah 66 is a place where the people of God will be able to view the corpses of those who have rebelled against God. The final chapter of Isaiah is the culmination of Isaiah’s prophecies of the coming Messiah, His glorious kingdom, His defeat of the wicked and His redemption of His people. As part of the Messiah’s conquest the dead bodies of the wicked will be cast into this place, presumably the valley of Hinnom, where they will be consumed with fire and devoured by maggots. The dead bodies of the wicked will be a continual reminder to the people of God of the righteous judgment of God.

The warnings of Jesus to beware hell (Gehenna) describe it as a place “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched”. His words are an echo of the words of Isaiah 66. “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” The judgment Jesus describes as taking place in Gehenna is one of perpetual worms and unceasing fire.

Annihilationists believe because Jesus uses Gehenna to describe the place of final judgment then the suffering in hell is not eternal. The next article will address will address the way in which Gehenna shapes our understanding of eternal, conscious torment of souls in hell.

Will the end times judgments be like Noah’s flood but harsher?

The return of Jesus will be preceded by a seven year period of time called the Tribulation. The book of Revelation gives significant detail about the events of that time. The tribulation is a time of God’s judgment on the world. Aside from the flood, the tribulation is the single greatest outpouring of God’s judgment on mankind for sin. The tribulation is the last great judgment of the nations of the earth. God promised in Gensis 9:11 that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Of all the horrible things that happen during the tribulation catastrophic flooding is never mentioned. Is the judgment of the tribulation like the judgment of the flood?

During the flood in Noah’s day, God destroyed every breathing thing on the earth except those in the ark. The flood began with 40 days of violent rains and the breaking up of the earths crust to release the fountains of the deep. The waters continued to rise for about six months until they covered the whole world. A little over a year after the beginning of the flood the earth was sufficiently dried and recovered for those on the ark to come out onto a transformed world.

Unlike the flood, the tribulation will last for seven years and none will be escape the horrors of that day. Unlike the flood, the tribulation will be made up of many different kinds of terrors. Some of the terrors will be natural, some economic and some demonic. Some will involve massive war, some will be men persecuting men, all will be the supernatural judgment of God. Revelation describes the catastrophes of the tribulation in such a way that it appears they will be a series of horrible events, some overlapping the others. The judgments of the tribulation will move the world forward to the final world war that will immediately precede the return of Jesus.

The troubles of the tribulation will be varied. They will include horrible famine, extensive war, earthquakes that overthrow mountains and rearrange geography, hundred pound hailstones that fall and fire that destroys a third of the trees and all grass on earth. One third of the ocean will be turned to blood, killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships on the seas. One third of the fresh water will become poisonous killing a third of humanity and later all the water in the oceans and rivers will be turned to blood. Men will be afflicted with horrible sores, burned by extreme heat from the sun and then terrified by the fall of sudden, painful darkness. The destruction will be celestial. The stars will fall from the sky, the sun will be blotted out, the moon turned red as blood, The horrors of that day will be so great men will hide themselves in caves and mountains to try to escape the destruction. God will release demons from their imprisonment to bring torments upon men and to lead massive armies into battle.

Estimates of the death tolls during the tribulation reach as high as 85% of humanity. Like the flood God’s wrath will wreak havoc on the world. As in the days of Noah God’s judgment on sin will be unleashed on humanity. The tribulation will be very different from the flood in its disasters, but most importantly it will be different in its purpose. The tribulation will not just be the execution of God’s wrath. The tribulation will bring about the restoration and repentance of the nation of Israel. The tribulation will prepare the world for the kingdom of Jesus and the final fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The flood was the second great earthly judgment on mankind, and the tribulation is the last. They share many similarities but have some very important differences that makes the tribulation a unique event in human history.

Does Jesus base a person’s salvation on his helping the needy?

I really wish those who take it upon themselves to lecture Christians on how they should behave would take the time to correctly understand what the Bible really says about how Christians are to live. The latest example of Biblical misapplication has come in the aftermath of the Syrian refugee crisis. As thousands have flooded into Europe fleeing intense persecution in Syria the pressure on America to take in these refugees has increased exponentially. Many have taken it upon themselves to declare that Christians have an obligation to welcome in the refugees. The passage I have heard used most to press home this duty is Matthew 25:35-46.

The pertinent passage in Matthew 25 teaches that when Jesus returns He will judge mankind. Those who are given eternal life are the ones who took in the stranger, fed the hungry and gave drink to the thirsty. Those who are sent to eternal judgment are the ones who refused to take in the stranger, feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. The application is obvious. Since Jesus will judge men based upon their treatment of the needy, then those who claim to be followers of Jesus have a duty to care for those in need. Is this what Jesus is saying in Matthew 25?

A simple reading of the passage makes it immediately obvious that Jesus is not giving a blanket commandment for every Christian to provide for every needy person he meets. When Jesus grants eternal life to the righteous He tells them “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it (cared for the needy) unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Jesus is teaching that how His children treat their fellow Christians is how they treat Him. What is done for other believers is done for Jesus. He makes this same point in Mark 9:41. He tells His disciples, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you he shall not lose his reward.” When Jesus returns He will judge those who profess to be His followers based upon how they have served needy Christians.

When Matthew 25 is compared with the rest of the Bible one realizes this passage cannot be teaching that any one is saved by doing good deeds for others. Versees like Ephesians 2:8 declare salvation is only by God’s grace and is only received by faith without any works to merit salvation. 1 John 3:14 says, “We know that we have passed from life unto death, because we love the brethren.” A man’s love of his fellow believer does not make him righteous, it is one of the proof’s he has been made righteous. Salvation is always and only the free gift of grace. The deeds of a man in this life are evidences of salvation.

The situation in Syria is serious. Tens of thousands of refugees are in serious need. Every Christian should be deeply concerned about those needs, especially the needs of the Syrian Christians. There is a clear New Testament example of Christian’s caring for the needs of believers across the world in distress. The Christian’s love for others will compel him to do what he can to provide real help those in need. This help cannot be defined based upon a visceral or political reaction, but must be built upon Biblical wisdom. Misusing a Biblical passage to make a point may make good rhetoric, but properly applied Biblical truth is always more powerful and transformative than any sound bite.

Does God look at the “saved” Christian’s denomination, or their heart on judgment day? (Part 2)

In continuing to answer the question, “does God look at the saved Christian’s denomination or their heart on judgment day”, it is worth considering the judgment of the unbeliever that is coming at the end of the world. As was said in the last article, at death the saved person enters immediately into heaven. The unsaved one enters immediately into hell (Luke 16:22-23). One’s destination after death is determined in this life. To borrow from the American legal systemn, in this life sentence is passaged and upon death judgment is executed. For the unsaved hell is a holding place while this age is brought to its conclusion. There is a coming judgment which is described in Revelation 10:10-15. During that judgment the lost will stand before the throne of God and be judged for their lives. In the course of judgment books are opened which contain the record of the person’s life. The judged will be condemned based upon the content of those books. All who come before the Great White Throne of God’s judgment will be condemned. They will be cast into eternal fire and punishment because their names are not written in the book of life. The book of life is the record of all those who have trusted Jesus for salvation. The ones whose names are written in the book of life are those who have trusted Jesus for forgiveness of sin. The unsaved one is not condemned because of his wrong denomination or even his wrong religion. The factor which seals the fate of the unsaved is his disbelief in Jesus.

No one is saved because of the denomination or church of which he is a part. Salvation is not refused to those who are part of the wrong denomination. Though salvation is not at all dependent on one’s denomination, this does not imply that denominations are unimportant or that denominational distinctions are invalid. A saved person needs to be part of a church which helps his growth in Christ not which hinders it. Some churches teach things that are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Some churches make unBiblical demands of Christians. Some churches don’t make any Biblical demands of the Christian. The distinctions between churches and denominations are not like different flavors of the same ice cream. Denominations exist for a reason. In most cases the differences between denominations are much more than differences in worship services or whether the guy up front is called father, reverend or pastor. The differences between denominations are ones of doctrine. One denomination teaches something signficantly different than another The attempts to blur the lines between denominations does a disservice to Christians and to denominations by acting like important differences aren’t important at all. For further information you can read this article.

Salvation is accomplished fully by Jesus. All those who trust only Him for forgiveness will be saved regardless of church background, church attendance or denominational affiliation. Though one’s denomination has no impact on salvation, it will have great impact on the Christian life. What church one attends is important. Those who are saved will be best served in churches which clearly and accurately teach the Bible, applying it effectively to the Christian’s life and helping him to grow in service, obedience and imitation of Jesus.