Q. After reading your website, I see that you believe in OSAS. However, I recently read a book and also watched a show on (Christian TV) that talked about near death experiences. In both the book and TV show, they reported seeing people in hell who were Christians. The reasons given were because these Christians had refused to forgive relatives in their lives who had offended them. They were told that if they could not forgive others then their Father in Heaven could not forgive them.
Is this possibly true? Please share any insight. This has really confused me.
A. Such scare tactics are becoming popular in the Church again, but have no Biblical support. Those who promote these things are either misinformed about the nature of God’s forgiveness or are trying to frighten believers into behaving better.
The Bible admonishes us to forgive as we’re forgiven but doesn’t threaten us with Hell if we don’t. Such ideas render the Lord’s death insufficient to save us.
These people often use the Lord’s Prayer and especially the verse in Matthew that follows it to support their view. It says:
“But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father in Heaven will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15)
But they overlook the fact that only born again believers who are already forgiven can call God “Father” (John 1:12) as the Lord’s prayer does in its opening phrase.
The conditional nature of God’s forgiveness mentioned in Matthew 6:16 has to do with our relationship with Him while we’re here on earth, not our eternal salvation.
Jesus made it clear that our salvation depends only on believing that He paid the full price for all of our sins. (John 3:16, 6:28-29 and others) The New Testament contains numerous confirmations of this.
Giving more credibility to a man’s dream, or a tv show, than we do to the actual words of God is a strategy sure to cause confusion.
Especially in these last days, we must become Bereans who search the Scriptures daily to see if the things we hear are really true.