“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.Matthew 10:32-39
Those who like to paint Jesus as light and fluffy tend to skip over scriptures like this one. Those who like to think the gospel is all about unity and peace at any expense–at the expense of truth and surrender–are offended by Jesus’s words here. Try as they might to wiggle their way around what Jesus says here, they cannot.
These are not the words of a universalist. Persecuted Christians, particularly in Muslim countries, find hope and life in these words of Jesus. If we find these words difficult it is mostly an indication of the pampered and bastardized Christianity that has been handed down to us in the U.S. The hundreds of thousands of Muslims that are surrendering their lives to Jesus in Pakistan right now understand that the decision to follow Jesus is one that will likely cost them their families and might cost them their lives.
Universalism is not a message of grace and good news in countries where people are literally giving up their lives to follow Jesus. Universalism says their sacrifice was pointless. Universalism declares to them that being ripped from their family, rejected by loved ones, beaten, bloodied, scarred and broken was all very unnecessary. It tells them they could have lived in comfort and ease, rejecting Jesus, and everything would have been just fine. Does that sound like Jesus to you? Or can you now see it for the lie that it is?
Universalism is far from good news to the millions of persecuted Christians around the world. It is a message of mockery to their tremendous sacrifice. It also makes a mockery of Jesus’s own words here in Matthew 10.
The good news of Jesus is that if we are willing to surrender our lives in their entirety, we will find true life on the other side. If we are willing to join Jesus on the cross and in the tomb we will also join Him in the resurrection. If we are willing to make Jesus THE priority in our lives above all else, we will discover a river of life flowing through our life.
Clearly, Jesus is not messing around. He’s not playing church. He’s not interested in establishing a religion. Jesus is interested in sold out, all in, lovers who are willing to surrender everything to Him and His Kingdom.
Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? Are you all in?
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to humankind by which we must be saved.Acts 4:12