You surely have heard the old proverbial saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” How many people go through life day after day, constantly intending to do something they’ve been neglecting to do or to stop doing something they know they should not be doing? Such intentions cover a wide range of behavior.
How many tobacco smokers, out of personal concern for their health and for others, intend to quit smoking but never quite achieve it? How many alcoholic drinkers intend to quit drinking, because they know their behavior is destructive to themselves and to others who come near them but cannot conquer their compulsion? How many illegal drug addicts find themselves in the same situation? They know their lifestyle is self-destructive, and they intend to get off drugs, but they never seem to do so.
How many people are concerned about their health because they realize they’re seriously overweight? Every month finds another diet routine that seemingly doesn’t work for them. They’re going to lose weight, firm up, look trim and feel good. They’re going to start tomorrow, as soon as they finish that wonderful chocolate cake they just bought. We know the conclusion to that story.
How many unfaithful Christians intend to start back to church services, to renew their spiritual dedication, and get their spiritual lives right with God? However, it seems that there are things they think need to take care of first. However, while they continually intend to take care of those things, they never quite accomplish their good intentions.
How many good Christians intend to talk to a family member, a friend or a co-worker about salvation? They see them often, but they never quite find the opportunity or the courage to speak up. Or, maybe they just can’t think of the right thing to say at the right time. How many keep intending to get more involved in the work and activities of the church? But the time never seems to be quite right. How many members intend to have some of the newer families over to encourage them and get to know them better. But the house always seems to need cleaning, and there’s always something else to do, and we’re tired, and…
How many people who know they’re not walking with the Lord fully intend to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins? But they never seem to make up their mind that now is the right time. Good intentions, every one of them, but so many of them never get past the intention stage. You must have heard the old scenario, “What if a man was on his way intending to be baptized but dies on the way”? Does God save this man? They say yes, and this they do to justify their own procrastination. However, God doesn’t judge us by what we intended to do, but what we actually did. It is true, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”, but the road to heaven is paved by our obedience and faithfulness to his holy Word (Matt 7:21 ff; Mk 16:16; Rev 2:10).