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Peters: It is the sinner’s responsibility to turn back to God

So often, there are those who are quick to say that Christ will save all, and they use this claim as a way to suggest that there will be no condemnation for sin. This is the basis of moral relativism, which is the exact opposite of Christianity.

Throughout the Gospels, Christ is very clear that there is a right and there is a wrong, and those who fail to uphold his teachings will suffer. In Luke 13: 24, someone asks if "only a few people" will be saved, and Jesus responds: “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."

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This passage is rather clear, but it is possible that people will misinterpret what “strong” means. So Christ elaborates further in verse 27 and 28: "Then [the Master] will say to you, ‘I do not know where [you] are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out."

Similarly in Matthew 22, Jesus tells the parable of a great wedding feast. When God/the King ordered his servants to go out into the street to invite everyone to come, we are told in verse 10 that “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.”

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If the passage ended here, then Jesus would be saying that all would be welcomed in Heaven. However, he describes one who came but was not prepared, and we are told in verses 13 and 14: "Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen."

The man who was not dressed would not be the only one cast out, and he is just one example to demonstrate a rule that Heaven is difficult to enter. However, there are some who will claim that such a restrictive view of salvation contradicts God’s love for mankind, but God’s love is demonstrated in Christ’s warning of the people how to avoid the fate.

Now, sin is not the end, and there is always redemption. The story of the Prodigal Son tells us that the father did not seek out the son but stayed where he was. Instead, it is the sinner’s job to turn back to God.

When people push a false notion of moral relativism, they mislead others by suggesting that there will be no punishment, which prevents them from returning to God. This, in turn, is a grave evil and something that the Christian must guard against.

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Jeffrey Peters, a graduate of Catholic University with a doctorate, attends St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester. Reach him at 17peters@cardinalmail.cua.edu.

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