Wouldn’t It Be Nice…

Often those with hopes and dreams of a different life and circumstances will say “wouldn’t it be nice if…” Wouldn’t it be nice, if whenever, we messed up our life, we could simply press, “Crtl, Alt, Delete” and start all over? Wouldn’t it be nice if retail therapy (shop till you drop) was covered by health insurance? Wouldn’t it be nice, if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes and come out wrinkle free and three sizes smaller? Wouldn’t it be nice, if all the yummy foods were calorie and cholesterol free? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get rid of all our trials, troubles, and temptations as easy as we can click and drag an unwanted file and drop it in the computer’s trash can? Wouldn’t it be nice, if the preacher could present an hour’s worth of material in twenty minutes or less?

Despite our dreams and desires we do not live in a fairy tale world were everything is nice and personally pleasing. We must live in the real world. As we mature we grow to accept reality. However, many religious people claiming to be Christians are not facing reality. Many nice or pleasant sounding doctrines are not support by the Bible.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if salvation was by faith only. Then all you have to do is believe in Jesus as the Son of God and no need for baptism or anything else to be saved. However, the only time the Bible even mentions the phrase “faith only”, it teaches that salvation is NOT by faith only. “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Many will counter with the argument that “we are not saved by works.” However, Jesus clearly said that faith is a work. The people once asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29).

Wouldn’t it be nice, if the Bible could not be understood. Some teach that the Bible cannot be understood or at least a church approved teacher is the only one who can understand it. If one could not understand the Bible you would have no problem excusing yourself for not obeying the gospel or teachings on the church, worship or marriage. Yet we are commanded to understand the Bible. “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). The mysteries have been revealed to all men who are willing to read the Bible. Paul wrote, “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:3-5).

Wouldn’t it be nice, if sin was not all that bad or have harmful side effects or consequences. You could have all the fun you wanted to have sinning without any of the side effects. Sex outside of marriage or adultery would not lead to unwanted pregnancies, or STDs or destroying marriages, with divorce, etc. One could smoke without killing the body. Drinking would never destroy sober-mindedness. Christians could forsake the assembly without neglecting the Lord’s Supper and all the one another commands. However, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Christians are encouraged to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience” (Col. 3:5-6) Remember, “sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay”

Wouldn’t it be nice, if the Church was unimportant. No need to attend services, just sleep in every Sunday. No need to be responsible to other Christians with all those one another commands. However, the church is very important to God and Christ. The church is the bride of Christ. “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23). Often the value of something is determined on how much one is willing to pay for it. Christ paid for the church with His blood, that is, with His life. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

Wouldn’t it be nice, if there was no hell. Such a wish reminds us of the lyrics to John Lennon’s song “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

If there is no hell the fear of Judgment Day and eternal punishment is gone. However, Jesus believed in Hell. In the Sermon on the Mount, He warned, “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. ..your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:22,29,30). He warned the Pharisees of the dangers of hell. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). In Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” He describe Hell as a terrible place, “and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:50). At Judgment Day Jesus “will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Jesus believed in the existence of Hell. I believe in the existence of Jesus as the Son of God. Therefore, I also believe in Hell.

Wouldn’t it be nice, if there would be a second chance after death. This way everyone could live their lives any way they wanted to and have a do over. Many religious doctrines encourage this idea, such as, purgatory, premillenialsim, reincarnation, etc. Yet the Bible teaches: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

Instead of salvation by faith only, is it not better that God saves us by grace and not by faith only? God gives us a chance to be saved in the likeness of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).

Is it not nicer that we have a Bible we can read and understand. This way we can know God and His will for us. We have the Bible as a collection of His love letters. We have a lamp to guide our feet (Psalm 119:105).

Is it not nicer that your sins have consequences, so that we will turn to God and do His will?

Is it not nicer we can be part of the church which is the pillar and ground of the Truth? This way we can have one another as a spiritual family, with Christ as head of the body, and shepherd of the flock.

Is it not better we have hell to motivate us in fear of eternal punishment and to keep us from having to spend eternity with the wicked? “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

Is it not better that this current life is our second chance, We have a chance to have our sins washed away in baptism and be born again. Even as Christians when we sin we are given a chance to repent and confess to be forgiven. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:7-10).

I have often thought: wouldn’t is be nice if I could skip preaching and have the gift to force people to repent? Wouldn’t it be nice Jesus would return in ten minutes? We could all live in Heaven and never have to be concerned about sin, sickness, pain or dying? It will be nice to live in eternity in Heaven.

– Daniel R. Vess

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Categories: The Forum