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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few that I have received during my years of ministry and via email for this column.

Dear Father Paul: I am 20 years old and a Christian. A friend of mine (not a believer) loudly proclaims that, “I’m not interested in all of that religion stuff. I’m young and I’m having too good a time. I plan to wait until just before I die to ‘get saved.’ Besides, I don’t believe that a kind and loving God will ever send anyone to hell.” What do I say to him? — W.C.

Dear W.C.: Your friend is indeed fortunate to have someone like you who cares about him and who will tell him the truth.

The notion that God is loving and would never send anyone to hell is a lie that the Devil often successfully uses to keep people from their own search for the truth which is found in God’s personal message to mankind ... the Bible. The vast majority of people today know little to nothing about what the Bible says about heaven and hell. They prefer to get their spiritual knowledge and advice from Oprah rather than from God.

Your friend is partly right though. God does not want anyone to go to hell. As a matter of fact, God did not make hell for mankind, but for the Devil and his followers.

Hell is a place of eternal pain, torment and suffering only for those who have rejected God’s free gift of salvation and heaven. God is totally fair and just. By his very nature he cannot send anybody to hell that does not belong there.

The problem mankind has is called sin ... disobeying God’s laws like for instance his Ten Commandments. There is nobody alive on planet earth who has not at one time or the other broken one of the Commandments at least once. In fact we are born with the stain of sin upon us like some kind of spiritual virus. The Bible says that, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, not one.”

Our sin caused a huge problem for God. He had already spoken a decree to the first man and woman, Adam and Eve that if they sinned (by disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit) they would die. God was of course talking about a physical death, but more importantly he was also talking about a “spiritual death,” eternal separation from God.

Besides God’s decree, he had another problem ... how could God let sin enter his perfect sinless heaven and ruin heaven as it has ruined earth? The answer is he can’t and he won’t. So the truth is that unless we can somehow become sinless (an utterly impossible task) every man and woman on planet earth will have to spend eternity separated from God in the place he has created for the disobedient ... hell.

That’s the “bad” news. The “good” news is that God loved his creation (us) so much that he himself (through his son Jesus) took on and bore the banishment and punishment we justly deserve. The blood Jesus shed on the cross now washes us clean from the stain of sin so that when God looks upon those who have believed upon Jesus and his sacrifice he no longer sees sin, but the blood of his perfect sinless son instead. We are washed clean or “born again” as the Bible says.

Many people, possibly your friend, have convinced themselves that there must be other ways to heaven ... a “Plan B” or even a “Plan C,” if you will. Perhaps God does indeed have other plans. But the only plan he has made known to mankind is “Plan A” ... the blood of Jesus. Jesus tell us in John 14:6 that, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father accept through me,” ... Plan A.

As for your friend’s other plan, “wait until a few moments before you die to make peace with God,” tell him Father Paul says his plan is a totally risky and dumb idea. I guess since he plans to follow that strategy, he “knows for certain” the exact time of his death, right? Sorry, I don’t think so. The only people who know when they are “possibly” going to die are the terminally ill and those on death row. The rest of us don’t have a clue. Death could come in 30 - 50 years, or it could come tomorrow. As a matter of fact, even our next breath is not guaranteed. We ... all of us, are literally one heartbeat away from standing before God and facing eternity. Remind your friend of this fact and also the fact that eternity is a long, long time. Pray for your friend and live a Christ-like life before him. Your life may just be the only sermon he will ever hear.

Dear Friends: Today is “Ash Wednesday,” the beginning of the forty day season of Lent leading up to Easter. Somewhere around 1 billion of the earth’s 1.5 billion Christians observe Lent as a solemn time of seeking God, evaluating one’s life and drawing nearer to him. You may see some people today with a ash smudged cross on their forehead. It is a sign and symbol of the seriousness of the fact that life is short ... ”From dust you have come, and to dust you will return.”

Do you have a question? I will try to answer your question in the paper. Email me at or call me at (678) 457-3050.

Do you need prayer for an issue that you or a loved one are dealing with and have no one to pray for you? Email me and I will be glad to pray for your need. I do not need to know your identity.

Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Georgia. Church of the Holy Cross is catholic, evangelical and charismatic ... together ... and is modeled after the ancient, historic New Testament Church. Information, worship times and directions are available at

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Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 5:12pm.

"(Those who) “wait until a few moments before you die to make peace with God,” tell him Father Paul says his plan is a totally risky and dumb idea."

I have a question for you Mr. Massey....What about those pedophile priests who KNOW they are sinning by raping and molesting young children but wait until the last minute of their lives to make "peace with God"? Are these type of sinners welcomed into heaven with open arms while non-Christians, who have always lived good and pure lives, are turned away and banished to eternal hell?

Just wondering what you really think.

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