Many people believe Jesus taught only love and acceptance. No. He preached repentance and obedience (Matthew 12:50; Luke 8:21; 13:3). The very first word out of the mouth of Jesus was “repent” in Matthew 4:17. Repentance means to turn from our sin, change our ways and follow Jesus. The first thing John the Baptist preached was, “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2).
Jesus did not preach acceptance of everyone’s beliefs; He said He was the only way of salvation (John 8:24; 12:47; 14:6). He said to take up our cross and follow Him, and if we don’t, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:38; 16:24). Jesus called the Pharisees blind guides, whitewashed tombs, hypocrites, serpents, brood of vipers, and told them they were full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. He asked, “How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33)
Thankfully, God is the one who gives us the grace and ability to change. It’s not left to our own strength.
Jesus did preach love and forgiveness, but there is a difference. Forgiveness requires humility. Those hypocrites displayed none of that. Jesus never tried to be politically correct by pleasing His enemies. Acceptance of others’ beliefs is not a demonstration of love, but is actually a demonstration of tolerance. Tolerance has become the high moral ground instead of truth.
It’s interesting that today’s society preaches acceptance of all except for Christianity. People don’t want to hear the Gospel because they don’t want to hear they are sinning. Today, almost nothing is considered a sin. The word “sin” is treated as archaic and politically incorrect.
When Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene, who had been delivered from seven devils, He said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11).
When He healed the man lying at the pool of Bethesda who had been sick for thirty-eight years, Jesus said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14).
Over and over Jesus told those who came to Him, “Your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2, 5–6, Mark 2:5, 9–10; Luke 5:20, 23– 24; 7:48).
He told people not to sin. Today, many people would accuse Him of being prejudice, narrow-mindedness, or even accuse Him of a hate crime, but Jesus told it like it was.
Jesus also said to beware when all men speak well of you (Luke 6:26) yet it’s prevalent in today’s climate of tolerance and acceptance. Men seek the approval of almost every people group in order to gain votes or to be considered caring. This is compromise not consideration.
Jesus was strong and direct in His teaching but He always taught and displayed love. The Bible states that God is love (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 3:19; 1 John 4:16).
A loving message isn’t always gentle and easy. At times the message may be a rebuke or a correction. A message about hell is a message of love because it is a message of warning.
Repentance is preached all throughout the Bible but it takes humility to admit you are a sinner. Turning from our sin and following Jesus, who is the Son of God, is the only way to heaven.
See also: (Matthew 3:2, 8; Matthew 9:13; Mark 1:4, 14–15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 13:3; 16:30; 17:3–4; Acts 3:19; 8:22; 13:24; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Revelation 2:5, 16).
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By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell