Author Archive: Revraney

There is no Plan B – Part 1

Many in our Christianity hold to a form of universalism or pluralism, whether it be intellectual or practical.

Intellectually, this view consciously thinks there are multiple paths to God while practically it is often practiced in many Christian’s lives. Most of the time this is an emotional decision because we don’t like to think about the reality of man’s predicament, but yet we don’t want to do anything about that predicament either.

What about innocent people, you know, the ones who never heard?

What happens to the innocent man in the middle of Africa who has never heard of Jesus? Does he go to heaven? To really answer this question we must look at some absolute truths. And where do we turn to find these truths – the Bible.

Everyone has knowledge of God – “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them… so that people are without excuse.” Rom 1:19,20

Everyone has rejected God – “people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie” Rom 1:18,21,25

Therefore everyone is guilty – “God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.” Rom 2:2

Everyone, because of this guilt is condemned – to death – “for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” Rom 2:8

God has provided a solution  – it is Jesus Christ and it is a universal solution – “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Rom 3:21-22

All are justified freely by His grace – “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Rom 3:23

There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ – “No one comes to the Father except by me” John 14:6

So, what happens to the innocent man in the middle of Africa who has never heard of Jesus? Does he go to heaven?

Answer – he doesn’t exist

“There is no one righteous”

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.” Rom 3:10-12

Some may feel and argue God is not fair for allowing people who have never heard of Jesus to go to hell. In part 2 we will take a look at this very point

Halloween Madness

I’ve never fully understood or I suppose appreciated the fascination with Halloween. Even as a kid I never really got excited about this ‘holiday’. Oh, I get the fun in dressing up as some make-believe character and I certainly understand the allure of free candy. I can even appreciate the fun of the Halloween decorations.

There’s something about getting scared. There’s a thrill that comes with getting scared, especially when deep down you know there’s no real danger. We like scary things when we know they can’t really hurt us.

Having said that I can understand the Halloween hoopla can be fun. But it seems this ‘holiday’ grows in magnitude every year, rivaling Christmas and passing most of the other ‘holidays’ through the year.

What is it with this day and why do I care?

It’s not a Holiday

Halloween (as we celebrate and recognize it) is not a holiday. The word holiday is derived from the two words ‘holy day’. Halloween is anything but a holy day. Granted, many of our ‘holidays’ we celebrate are not holy days; examples, Labor Day, Presidents Day, Mothers Day and Fathers Day, even Independence Day. Factually, only Christmas, Easter and Good Friday are really holy days. But there are others that have a much closer connection to our relationship with God, such as Thanksgiving and Memorial Day than Halloween. In reality, just about every other day we celebrate as a holiday have more to with God than Halloween. Now before you say, “Halloween is ‘All Hallows Eve, with its origins in the church, let me ask if any of you celebrate it in that context (or even think of that in connection with Halloween).

But that’s not really what bothers me. This growing fascination with witches, skeletons, the dead, vampires and many other scary things associated with evil can become unhealthy – it may already be unhealthy.

I realize that all but an extremely small percentage of people, outliers, celebrate Halloween as nothing more than a fun day to dress up and play with things that “scare” us (and of course the free candy). There is a very small percentage of outliers that really do celebrate the things associated with evil and even the evil one himself in some cases. But that’s not what concerns me. There is the fringe, the outliers, in all we do in society. Focusing on them is tantamount to worrying about the “magic” in stories like Snow White and Cinderella and even Santa Claus.

The theme of this day, Halloween, is dedicated to the demonic. Witches and celebrating the dead are strongly spoken against by God. Vampires are demonic and represent the height self-serving violence. Read the actual history of vampires and Count Dracula and you will be appalled. Ghosts are souls that remain here are their death. This stands in direct contradiction to God’s design. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 For the Christian, “To be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46

Obviously people, with few exceptions, dressing up at Halloween and decorating their house with “spooky” things are not thinking about the demonic and evil associated with these things. The problem however, is that we never take the time to teach and explain about this evil. God is very clear about His people not practicing magic. He speaks strongly against the celebration of the dead and fascination of the dead. God is very clear what happens to those who die; “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46

God is very clear about these things but we as Christians are not. You would be amazed how many people in the church really believe in actual ghosts! The truth regarding these things need to be clearly taught. The truth of what God has to say about these things need to be taught and understood – to children and adults alike. Obviously it needs to be taught in an age appropriate manner. It needs to be known that these are all associated with evil, sin and the rejection of God.

We don’t need to throw away the make-believe, but we need to do much more to make it completely clear what the make-believe is and what the real is. There are those who really practice witchcraft. There are those who really love the beliefs of vampirism; the lust for power at all costs. There are those who really do celebrate and even worship the dead and look to them for guidance and wisdom. There are those who believe the souls of people are stuck here after death for a various reasons. This is a denial of who Jesus is.

There is also a God who has real power, not magic. There are spirit beings, both good and evil. There is a destiny for all souls after death; heaven for the righteous and eternal punishment for the unbeliever.

The continued growth of Halloween may indicate an unhealthy infatuation with things God commands us to stay away from. At a minimum it may indicate a blurring of the lines. Satan uses these things to pollute our minds and at a minimum dilute our understanding of the truth. We should make use of the opportunity to teach what makes such things evil and what God says about them. We can keep the make-believe if we want to, but lets make it clear to distinguish what is make-believe and what is real.

If you’d like to know more or have questions you can contact me by email at

So the World is Going to End in 12 Years?

For centuries people have predicted the world is ending soon – religious and non-religious alike. They have a myriad of reasons for their predictions. And by the way, they’ve all been wrong. I suppose if you predict it enough times, eventually someone will accidently end up right.

This time it is the climate doom group. Evidently, the world is going to end in something like 12 years (granted, they’ve hedged their bets by saying, “if we don’t implement drastic changes.”)

The actions of man will not determine or even affect the end of the world. Multiple places in the Bible God has said that no one knows the time which the end will be. 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Matthew 24:35-36

Scientists are not unanimous about climate change. That is simply a lie.

But if you listen to certain politicians and activists, they evidently have some inside scoop. We’ve heard from multiple political figures lately that the world is going to end in something like 12 years. The cause? Man-made climate change.

We hear that scientists are unanimous in the prediction that the world will come to and end or be unlivable in short time due to man-made climate change. Another version says 97% of scientists agree. These are absolute lies. The truth? When asked in a survey 97% of scientists agreed that the climate changes and that man can have some effect on the climate. Guess what? No one disagrees with that. Christians, both those that are scientists and those that are not, agree that man should be good stewards of the world that God has given us. 

The wicked, the secularist, the humanist deny God’s sovereignty over this world because they reject God altogether. Man will not decide or even know when the world will end. God has established the times and the seasons, including the end of this world; it will be so. The world will end when Jesus returns for His church and that day, the day of the Lord, is determined by God. It is not for us to know or even be anxious about. 

It is the height of hubris by the wicked to think man is the determining factor. The wicked delight in elevating themselves to the height of gods. But they will be cast down in their arrogance.

Don’t listen to the lies of such people. Reject these lies and hear and believe the truth of God.

Love and Acceptance – Not the Same

Is the church required to love and accept everyone? This is a difficult topic that the modern church is sadly getting wrong.

Not long ago, some people I was with had a conversation about a gay individual they all knew. All of these people were Christians, active in their churches. One of the people shared that the gay individual had told them he was accepted in the gay community, but not in the church community. This troubled all of them and initially, it troubled me. But then it got me thinking.

What do we mean by acceptance? For years I have heard the phrase, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Is this over-simplistic? What does this look like in practice?

First, there is the truth of john 3:16, that God loved the world so much He sent His Son to redeem it with His own life – while we were still sinners. What an attitude of mercy and grace! Lets look at this a little closer though. Yes, God loved us while we were sinners. But Jesus came to this world to redeem us. We were lost, separated from Him because of our sin. God could not accept us as we were. If he could have accepted us the way we were Jesus would not have needed to die. He couldn’t just accept us with our sin and let us into His kingdom. So God loved us but He did not accept us.

Revelation 21 tells us about the eternal home of the saints, the Holy City of Jerusalem. In verse 27 we read, “Nothing impure (unclean in the English Standard Version) will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” God does not accept the unclean, the impure, those who do what is shameful or deceitful in His kingdom.

So, what about this gay individual, or anyone living in sin, do we just not accept them in our church? To answer this we must clarify two things 1) what we mean by accept and 2) what we mean by church.

Lets look at the second one first, the church. The church is not some building or even some group of people that meet in some building we call a church. The church is the Body of Christ. The only way to become a part of the Body of Christ is through the forgiveness and cleansing of Christ. One can certainly be a ‘member of a local church’ and not be a member of the Body of Christ.

Secondly, what do we mean by accept? Do we just not have anything to do with the unbelievers living in sin? Well, that would be contrary to Jesus’ example now wouldn’t it? But then on the other hand the Bible says in multiple places we should be separate from them. For example, 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.” Paul, even went one further when he instructed the Corinthian church to remove from their fellowship a man who was participating in a sexual perversion (1 Corinthians 5). So, how do we reconcile the example and teaching of Jesus with the instructions to be separate?

We can answer this by taking a closer look at Jesus’ example. Jesus did indeed spend time with the unrepentant sinner, the unbeliever. However, He always did so with the intent of redeeming them. He loved them as sinners but He did not accept them as sinners. There’s an old hymn, “Just as I Am.” We love to sing it as an invitation to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. The song tells us that we can come to God just the way we are. We need not clean up or set anything in order first. We don’t have to rid ourselves of nasty habits or practices, even vices before we come to him for forgiveness and cleansing. But that’s just it isn’t it? We come to Him filthy, so that He might make us clean (because try as we might, we are unable to do it ourselves). God may be fine with us coming to Him exactly the way we are, but He is not ok with us staying that way. From the moment He comes in to our heart as Lord and Savior He is cleansing us from all our sin.

So, God reaches out to us while filthy sinners, but He doesn’t accept us staying that way. The church is to be no different. We can and should love sinners, unbelievers; love them enough to reach out to them and tell them the truth. Remember what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery? He told her TWO things; 1) that He did not condemn her (He forgave her) 2) He then said, “go and sin no more”. To the woman at the well He directly confronted her sinful lifestyle (multiple husbands and now living with one that isn’t her husband) before she found forgiveness upon her confession to Him.

We can love the sinner, but we cannot be ok with their sinful life. We can be friends with them, be kind and caring, but we cannot ignore their sin as if it is ok. As a matter of fact, if we do not tell them the truth of their sin, we show that we really do not love them. They are certainly welcome to attend church gatherings, but they cannot be a part of the church because it is the Body of Christ. They can attend but they cannot influence, cannot partake. This is not simply some kind of rule, it is logic and reason. Being a sinner means you still reject the salvation of Jesus Christ. You cannot partake of something of which you are not a part and you cannot be a part of something which you willingly reject.

God’s Love Justice and with our Free Will

We all love to hear about God’s love. John 3:16 is probably the best known and favorite verse in the Bible. It tells of God’s incredible love for us; how he loved us so much that he did not spare even his son but gave him to die for our sins. God indeed does love us in a manner and at a level we cannot comprehend. After all, God is love. God doesn’t simply possess love. He isn’t just like love, or even the greatest example of love. He literally is love. Love does not exist without God.

But God is also a God of justice. He is a just and fair God. His righteousness is composed not just of his love, but of his justice as well. Like love, it can be said that God is justice. Justice is not simply another characteristic of God. He defines justice. Justice, like love, cannot exist apart from God. We would not know what fairness was without God.

The justice of God by its nature has rules.  Not rules so much in the sense that you better obey these, but more so in a sense that these rules define the order of all things. Similar to the law, or rule of gravity; drop a rock and it falls to the earth. God created all things, not simply material things but also the system of how everything works.

Proverbs 6:7 tells us ‘we reap what we sow’. Just as in physical nature, grass seed produces grass and seeds from weeds produce more weeds, likewise, our choices, our actions, our response to God will produce results in keeping with their quality and nature.

God does not simply sit by and watch His creation float through time. His righteousness reacts to how we live our lives. If it didn’t, He would not be righteous. Ecclesiastes 3:17 says, “God will bring judgment to both the righteous and wicked and will judge every deed.” Consider this  – “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15

The Resurrection of Jesus Caused Problems for People

The resurrection of Jesus caused many problems for different people.

For the Romans

  • Pilate
  • The guards and their superiors

For the Jews

  • Caiaphas
  • The people who cried out for His crucifixion
  • The citizens of Jerusalem who suffered under the oppression of Rome

His Resurrection Still Causes Problems for People Today

His resurrection 100% establishes His identity and His message. Because He is who He is and His message is true, everyone must make a decision what they will do about this truth. We have only three options:

  • Reject the resurrection of Jesus
  • Believe it occurred but largely ignore what it means to us
  • Accept it and believe it in its fulness

There are Natural Results to Every Decision

Choosing one of the first two options places us outside of the salvation of God. Choosing the third provides us salvation. However, choosing the third means dying to ourselves and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. This opposes our human nature and causes many to turn away or turn back.

Why is Life so Challenging?

Seems like the popular message presented in church today is how challenging, how tough life can be. Well first of all, life has always been challenging. There have been many times in history when life was far more challenging or difficult than it is today.

But what is it that makes life challenging? Why is life tough? Is it simply a matter of ‘that’s the way it is’ or is there a real cause?

According to the Word of God there is a very real, definite, singular cause – sin. When God created the world, including man, all was perfect. Life was not challenging. Life was not tough. Then man disobeyed and sin was not only introduced into but took over the world, took over life.

Sin is what makes life challenging. Sin is what makes life tough. Sin brings our temptations. Sin brings addictions. Sin brings hatred and violence. Sin brings racism and all kinds of prejudice and bigotry. Sin brings greed and lust. It is sin that makes life challenging.

First, there is corporate sin. Sin is universal and it impacts the whole world and every aspect of life, even religion. Everyone is affected by the sins of the world. Even when you do not commit a certain type of sin, you are affected by it. Maybe you don’t do drugs but you may be touched by someone who is addicted or even someone who has died from drugs. You may not have murdered or assaulted someone but the existence of this changes how you live your life. You may avoid ‘dangerous’ places because of this violence in society. You lock your doors and buy security cameras. Our laws and rules are a reaction to many types of sin. Often these laws place restrictions even on those who do not commit the sins.

Then there is our personal sin. Sin brings bad decisions and all of the consequences that go with them. We end up either living with these consequences or trying to run and hide from them. Our personal sins not only harm us but also people close to us, people we care about. Our sin can become addictive. It becomes our master and we its slave. Romans 6:16 says, “Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” Along with the consequences there is the guilt. We can try and ignore guilt, but it is difficult and sadly, ignoring it hardens our heart.

So, life isn’t challenging or tough ‘just because’ or because it is unfair. We are not simply victims of life. Life is challenging, life is tough, because of sin. Sin in the world and sin in our lives. Why are so many preachers, so many church leaders, even Christians so afraid to say this? We talk about the toughness of life, how challenging it is and talk about how Jesus is the answer. This is true, He is. But we often do not tell the whole story. Jesus died to provide us a way out of our sin. He died to defeat sin, to conquer it – corporately and personally. We need to admit to sin and its hold on us. We need to surrender sin in our lives, both the corporate around us and our personal sin to Him.

In Luke 9:23 He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” What are we denying and why do we take up a cross? Crosses are made for dying. We are denying our sinful nature. This is how we follow Jesus. Why in our churches when we talk about how tough life is are we so afraid to speak this truth?

Life is indeed challenging and tough. This is caused by sin. Jesus is indeed the answer. He does so by dealing with sin.