Some of you will hate to hear this, but the Truth must be told, even when it’s inconvenient to hear. In 1964, at age 22, in the prime of his boxing career, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. turned his back on Jesus Christ to join the Nation of Islam. In his conversion to Islam, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He remained an adherent muslim until his death this week. He was vocally anti-Israel, and once referred to Jews and Christians as “devils”. Yet, I see many Christians speaking nothing but praise for him, some of them referring to him as “The Greatest”. Think about that. Would any of us Holy Bible-believing Christians call any other apostate “great”, let alone “the GREATEST”? The trouble that leads to this hypocritical double standard of judgment amongst Christians today is “Celebrity Worship”. If just any muslim or atheist boxer died, and fans of the athlete were speaking of him passing on to Heaven, most Christians would be thumping their Holy Bibles and professing that Jesus is the Only Way. Yet, because this boxer was Muhammad Ali, things are somehow different? Muhammad gets a pass because he was famous?
The Biblical Truth is, whether an unbeliever is a poor man in rags or a rich pauper, a satanist or the President of the United States, anyone who does not accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord will not “rest in peace” upon death. Without the Prince of Peace, no sin-stained human being can ever enter God’s Holy Heaven. Your earthly reputation and standing does not determine your standing in Eternity. No matter how “great” the world or Muhammad Ali himself thinks he was, or how talented of a boxer that he was, all of the world’s titles, acclaim and fortune cannot buy or earn him a place in Heaven.
Pride was the sin which caused Lucifer to fall from Grace, and it takes immense pride to call yourself the “Greatest of All-Time.” Muhammad Ali gave himself this title, and to this day many people, even Christians sadly, refer to him as such. One of Ali’s famous quotes was “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” God desires His children to be humble. Muhammad proclaimed he was “too great” for humility. The fact is, when you do not know the TRUE “Greatest of All-Time”, The Lord, our Saviour, God in the flesh, JESUS CHRIST, then you have no hope for Eternal Life. Sorry to say folks, no matter how popular or beloved that Muhammad Ali was in the “world”, that does not carry over into Heaven.
Lord Jesus taught that the greatest among us would be LAST, and the least among us would be FIRST in God’s Eternal Order of things. So, the homeless Bible-thumping Christian will be a champion in Heaven, while a famous “legendary” boxing champ will be a nobody. You may have your “name in lights” here on earth, but without Jesus, your name will not be written where it truly matters, in the Book of Life. I hope this sobering perspective makes you all focus on the importance of Eternal rewards, rather than on earthly riches and fame.
The Celebrity Worship epidemic in Christianity is harmful to the Faith. It’s not just about Muhammad Ali, but it seems as if Christians like to conveniently ignore the sins of pop “idols” because we are met with angry backlash from much of the “world” when we speak out. Yet, many Christians have no problem calling out the sins of the regular “everyday people” around them all day long. God forbid we speak out against a “celebrity”. Whether it’s Michael Jackson (who allegedly molested children), O.J. Simpson (who allegedly murdered his wife), Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner (who betrayed God’s Will for him and got a sex-change), or the many blasphemous musicians today like Jay Z, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Madonna or Beyonce… Christians don’t want to call out their sins because they are “talented” individuals. Wrong is wrong, and sin is sin, no matter what your name is, or how rich and popular you are.
This hypocrisy and pick and choose culture of modern Christianity needs to end. We need to see people as people, as saved or unsaved, as believers or unbelievers, without prejudice or exceptions. This week a muslim boxer, who turned his back on Jesus and pledged allegiance to Muhammad of Islam, died. Period. End of story. It doesn’t matter to me how many boxing matches he won, how many championships he held, or how popular he was. It wouldn’t matter to me if he ended world hunger. If he was an unbeliever in life, he is an unbeliever in death, and us Christians need to stop sugar-coating the Truth. We need to stop sending “prayerful” condolences as if it would alter the decisions he made on earth, and somehow change his destination for Eternity. We must stop heaping praise on an unbeliever. A talented boxer died this week, and we should leave it at that.
“BE NOT conformed to this WORLD: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may PROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, WILL OF GOD.” ~ Romans 12:2
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” ~ Matthew 16:26/Mark 8:36/Luke 9:25
“A man’s PRIDE shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the HUMBLE in spirit.” ~ Proverbs 29:23
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the PRIDE of life, is NOT of The Father, but is OF THE WORLD.” ~ 1st John 2:16
“Every one that is PROUD in heart is an ABOMINATION to The LORD…” ~ Proverbs 16:5
“Better it is to be of an HUMBLE spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the PROUD.” ~ Proverbs 16:9
“.. God resists the PROUD, but gives grace unto the HUMBLE.” ~ James 4:6
“Jesus said, He that is GREATEST among you shall be your SERVANT. And whosoever shall EXALT himself shall be ABASED; and he that shall HUMBLE himself shall be EXALTED.” ~ Matthew 23:11-12
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth IN HIM should not perish, but have Everlasting Life.” ~ John 3:16
“JESUS said, Whosoever shall DENY ME before men, him will I ALSO DENY before My FATHER Which is IN HEAVEN.” ~ Matthew 10:33
“.. If we DENY HIM, he also will DENY US.” ~ 2nd Timothy 2:12
“JESUS said, I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. NO MAN comes unto The Father (YaHWeH) in Heaven, except BY ME.” ~ John 14:6
“Then JESUS said unto him, Get BEHIND ME, Satan: for it is WRITTEN, You shall worship (YaHWeH) The Lord your God, and HIM ONLY shall you SERVE.” ~ Matthew 4:10/Luke 4:8
“I Am The LORD (YaHWeH) your GOD.. You shall have NO OTHER gods before ME.” ~ Exodus 20:2-3
“For he that serves BAAL (Biblical name for Allah), and worships HIM, shall provoke to ANGER YaHWeH (The LORD) God of Israel..” ~ 1st Kings 22:53
“They have gone and served OTHER gods, and worshipped THEM, either the sun (god), or MOON (god of ISLAM), or ANY of the host of heaven, which I have NOT COMMANDED, saith The LORD God.” ~ Deuteronomy 17:3