If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fire Insurance

Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" (John 21:15)

I’ve heard the argument many times. Perhaps you have, too. It goes something like this: “People buy insurance for their life, auto, home, health. So, in case there is a God and an eternal judgment, why not believe in Jesus and get eternal insurance for the soul?"

Not only have I heard that argument before, I am ashamed to admit, I have also used it as a reasonable reason to ‘come to Jesus.’ But after more than 40 years of walking with Christ and watching one Christian after another turn from the straight and narrow way, I realize that if we ‘come to Jesus’ for 'fire' insurance, we will not stay with Jesus over the long haul. Life is full of too many complications, disappointments, suffering, and sorrows for people to remain satisfied with their ‘fire’ insurance policy, if that is the only reason they pay the premiums of obedience. And Satan is always ready to offer an alternative policy. He always has a boat standing by to take us to Tarshish (a reference to Jonah, if you missed it).

No. The hope of eternal fire insurance holds no one very long. I have learned during my 42 years living for Christ we must come to Him for a completely different reason than ‘fire’ insurance. We ought to come – we must come – because we are terribly sorry for our sins, for the people we have hurt, for our hypocrisies and compromises and pride and selfishness. 

We must come because Jesus is the only One – the only One – who can wash away each of those sins with His blood. We should come because He loves us. We should come because we want to love Him.

If we come for those reasons – His forgiveness, His love, His mercy, His compassion – if we come for those reasons, we are much more likely to stay with Jesus over the long haul, through all of life’s complications, disappointments, suffering, and sorrows.

Oh, Holy God – open the eyes of our hearts and draw us to your great and all-fulfilling love.


Barb Schoeneberger said...

I think the rationale that fire insurance against hell is best to have is a purely intellectual argument - hedging bets, if you will, against believing wrongly. But faith is purely a gift and not by its nature rational.

Once we accept the gift of faith and begin to pursue knowledge of God, and once we admit with dead on honesty exactly what you wrote here about being sorry for our sins, sorry for hurting people, sorry for our hypocricies; once we realize how monumental it is that we are forgiven our sins by the blood of Jesus and that He is always willing to forgive the sincere heart, it becomes unthinkable to want to go ahead and sin. We have developed what is absolutely necessary for us - a relationship with Christ who is a real person to us.

Faith has to be exercised by will, not by feeling. Nobody can be scared into heaven. The emphasis is all wrong because Christ isn't the center of our lives then. We haven't any commitment to the Person of Christ. Our only focus is self - avoiding or running away from something so horrible we can't even imagine the extent of it, but not running toward Love, not willing to strip ourselves of selfishness.

Rich Maffeo said...

Barb, without doubt you said what I said, only much better and more succinctly. Thank you.