When Christians claim to know who’s in heaven and who’s not they get into trouble. This is the reason the Baptists do so poorly in China. If they suggest to the Chinese that their ancestors are in hell, the Chinese laugh and leave. That is condemnation. Jesus came into the world to save it not condemn it.
In fact, most children love their grandparents so I would not suggest a comment like that for any other group, but that message is implicit in saying, you must know the name of Jesus to go to heaven.
The Bible says, many who do know that Name are not accepted by Him.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
The Name of Jesus means the Authority behind the name
Clarifying point: To know the name is simply not to have heard and repeated it. That makes the name of Jesus into a manta. The “name” indicated in Biblical Law the authority and power of that name. Knowing Jesus’ name then means a familiarity with all that He did and can do, the recognition of the divine in Him. Therefore by no other name (authority) can we be saved.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Getting to know the authority of Jesus takes some effort. And if you live in a territory where the literal name Jesus has never been spoken, don’t you imagine God is big enough and smart enough to reveal Himself to that person?
God can reveal Himself whenever He feels like it
Years ago a Jewish fellow I knew decided to commit suicide. He planned to walk down the superhighway and then step out in front of a car. As he was walking he looked up and saw Jesus walking towards him. The event led to his salvation – as you might expect. Religious people have this bad habit of saying God isn’t going to do something. Really?
Meanwhile, the missionaries who are accepting people where they are and working with them one-on-one do much better. I know how Orientals think. The Chinese are materialists and you cannot prove their ancestors are anywhere at all – much less in hell.
You can’t even prove your ancestors are in heaven. But the Word and the Spirit can go anywhere and locate the heart of anyone. The word of God is mighty, and the word is not bound. (2 Timothy 2:9)
It can and does go anywhere. The spirit acts upon the word and hearts are convicted and lo and behold, you have a convert-in-process It takes more time in a foreign culture. They have no cultural norms on which to base our western ideas of freedom of choice.
And in China the government tells them they know everything and they have everything. Without experience in other countries which are largely off limits, how can they get out of the box of ignorance.
They also have a lessened sense of accountability because the government has taken most of that away. The glory of Chinese capitalism is that as it creeps across the land accountability comes with it and a heightened sense of responsibility for one’s own life.
When the ax of truth falls against the rotten tree of the sinner himself, you can actually see people’s hearts and minds change. Of course they won’t tell you that because they are Chinese and they keep everything close to their chests, but I have seen it. You can see something in the face when the truth of conviction hits a heart.
Real change is a changed life
A missionary friend of mine to Africa says that when conviction of sin hits the women they automatically cover their naked breasts. (Well, we won’t see that much in the USA I dare say.) But chorus girls who get saved frequently give up that lifestyle. The only way an evangelist has sure proof that someone is saved is by a changed life.
Ah Yes- God has spoken to his heart and he knows now that his self-will and sin are on the line – and I have not spoken one condemnatory word. How good God is on follow up.
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