Can a person attend the church of his/her own choice and go to heaven when he/she dies? In another article (126) we saw that church attendance that is motivated by personal taste, apart from the direction of God, is an abomination to God according to the words of Jesus. Why is this?
The reason is that God is a God of Love. Now, that may sound like a strange answer, but its strangeness springs from our lack of understanding of what love is. Most of us think of love in terms of being gentle, accepting, giving, and supportive. But that kind of love is not the kind that God is best known by. God's love is best described as an unyielding commitment to priorities that produce life for created beings.
There are two elements in this definition. The first is the concept of unyielding commitment. This means that God has set a course that He will not deviate from--for any reason, or for anyone. This tends to make God appear to be rigid and uncaring. But nothing could be farther from the truth. For example: suppose that the Law of Gravity was a whimsical thing that was on some days and off others. No one would be able to make any plans about anything because they would never know whether they could count on gravity to work or be suspended. So, though we may curse gravity's constancy when we bail out of a plane and our parachute doesn't work, it is really better for gravity to always work than it would be for it to work only part time. God is like that--He is more dependable than the sunrise. This is what His love is like.
Now, obviously, His love doesn't seem good to people who don't like the direction He is taking, but it seems enormously good to those who do. So, it is the love of God that divides us. It is hateful to those who do not like His choice of direction, but it is extraordinarily good to those who do. So, the love of God guarantees that those who attend the church of their choice (and not His) will perish simply because they have decided to be His adversaries, and His love is too strong to let the adversaries win.
On the other hand, there is a second part to our definition of God's love: His priority on life for created beings. God isn't primarily interested in mankind's physical or material ease. He is primarily interested in their eternal well being. This is another reason that men get at odds with God. He won't change His commitment to life just because they want to play around with death without having to endure it. What do I mean? Take AIDS for example. The vast majority of people who have AIDS have it because they wanted the freedom to be sexually perverse and enjoy the enormous pleasure of sexual release any time and any way they chose. This is playing around with death with the desire to enjoy life. It is like eating arsenic in order to live better. It simply doesn't work that way. The love of God makes sure it doesn't work that way. What would the world be like if God simply accepted everyone's' personal wishes as the bottom line on how the world would run? Chaos would reign.
God's love means we will perish if we run our own way.