by Tad Lindley
I was participating in a training session required for all teachers in Alaska. The training was based on a medical condition, and near the end of the training, they dropped this bomb: “This condition is 100% preventable!” Stop and think about that for a moment, a medical condition that is 100% preventable? You can try to do everything right, never smoke, never work or live around asbestos, and get plenty of exercise, and still end up with lung cancer. It is rare, but it happens. Even skinny guys can get heart attacks. I have a family member who got cirrhosis of the liver and had to get a transplant, but he was never an alcoholic, not even a heavy drinker. It seems like things might be 90% or 99% preventable, but there is always that chance, and so when the State of Alaska presenters claimed that a medical condition was 100% preventable, red flags went up in my mind.
What condition is 100% preventable?
If you are still with me, you want me to quit writing and just come out and tell you what condition is 100% preventable, because you want to make 100% sure you don’t get that condition, don’t you? Here it is, that condition is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and it turns out that it is 100% preventable. Nobody has ever been born with FASD to a mother that did not drink alcohol. Never, ever, 100% preventable.
Then I discovered another thing that is 100% preventable!
For things to happen 100% or 0% of the time is extremely rare in nature. And so I started wondering, if FASD is 100% preventable, then is there anything else that falls into that same category? It was then that it hit me, going to hell is 100% preventable, or is it? What does the Bible say?
What percent will be saved?
Jesus has a few parables and teachings about salvation. In Matthew 20:1-16, the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, if you read closely, all the guys got paid in the end, that payment being symbolic of salvation. All is 100%, and I wish that I could stop there, but there are other teachings. When he says, “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.” (Matthew 24:40) That is a 50% salvation rate. When he preached about the four types of soil in Matthew 13, only one of the four soil types is saved, that is 25%. But keep reading, it gets worse. Jesus told the people (Matthew 7:13-14) Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. This scripture paints a picture of even less than 25% of people being saved, let’s say it was 1 out of 10, or 10%.
Salvation is not random
If only 10% of people are saved in the end, then our probability of being saved is not good. It would suggest that we have a 90% probability of going to hell. But the good news is that salvation is not based on probability, it is based on possibility. And the possibility is that all people could be saved. In fact, that is why Jesus is dragging his heels on returning to Earth. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (II Peter 3:9 NLT) Even though he prophesied that not everyone would have everlasting life, he is rooting for all 100% of us to be saved in the end!
Hell is 100% preventable!
Hell is 100% preventable! That’s right, even though all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), his blood was poured out for many for the remission of sin (Matthew 26:28), so that we might be saved. This is why on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39 NKJV)
Hell is a choice
If a woman who is pregnant will choose not to drink alcohol, we can medically guarantee that the baby will be 100% free from Fetal Alcohol Effects. Similarly, if we will choose to be obedient to God (and he has left us instructions in the Bible) then we have a 100% chance of being saved. He has made a way through his death on the cross, his burial, and his resurrection. If we believe and obey the Bible, then we will enter in at the strait gate, we will:
1. Repent (see Matthew 3:2, Luke 13:3,5, and Acts 2:38)
2. Be baptized in Jesus’ name (John 3:3,5 Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16, Galatians 3:27)
3. Receive the Holy Ghost (John 3:3,5, Acts 2:4, 2:38, 10:44, 19:6, Romans 8:9-11)
Yes, the gate is strait (a tight squeeze) and the way is narrow, but the good news is that the way is available to all, and all that walk that path have a 100% chance of avoiding Hell!
Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.
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