Before I start this post, I have to thank my brother and friend David Jeffers, who through his devotional time with the Lord, asked a few weeks ago, that we all read the Gospel of John again. I have had much of these thoughts on my heart for a long time now- aching for people who believe they are Christian, or say they are, but are sincerily lost. By re reading John's words, the Lord showed me the way to get all of my burdens down in writing- this series I am sharing here. Thank you Lord for using David in a way neither of us really knew a way in which this would come about.
Now, in my last post, we were able to see through the Bible who Jesus is, how He feels about us and how we should treat His Word.
People, even non Christians who may believe that Jesus did exist as a "good teacher" from a long time ago, have no problem believing Christ's Word when it comes to His love for us. That's a good thing, but tell me, why do they not believe His Words about other things such as sin, rebellion, condemnation, or hell? The Same Lord who tells us how much He loves us, is the same Holy Lord who can not tolerate sin.
People are offended when they think of sin.
It all comes down to Jesus' question. "Who do you say I am?"
I answer the same as Peter. He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is my savior, He is (well, in all honesty, I am trying to make Him) my Lord. Who He is is all documented in His Word- the Holy Bible. Does Jesus really talk about sin, rebellion, condemnation and hell? Does He really judge people or is He merely that lovable guy who taught good stuff long ago? Is He a Lion or a Lamb?
His Word tells us He is both. He is the Lamb, as John the Baptist described in John 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." He is also the Lion of Judah, as described by John in the Book of Revelation 5:5 ".. behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."
What are the seals all about? If you read the Book of Revelation, you will see that the seven seals are judgements which will be let loose on the earth in the end days. Jesus is the Lamb, who was sacrificed, He will come as the Lion of Judah, of the earthly lineage of David, to rule and pass judgement as King of Kings.
Jesus has told us to sin no more, when He spoke those words to the adulterous woman. He loves us all enough to correct and discipline us, knowing that sin leads to death. Not all sin leads to physical death immediately, but it can cause death eventually, and worse, spiritual death. Sin separates us from Our Father in Heaven. Jesus tells us not to sin so to have a relationship with Him in the Father. What about those who don't believe in Jesus? Does God really send people to hell? Is there really a hell?
Many people, Christians among them, believe if we are all God's children, why would He send His own kids to hell. Are we all God's children as so many people believe? The Bible gives the answers clearly in Ephesians 1:5-8. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, theforgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.. "
The Jewish people, Israel (This is a whole other topic, which I am not going into here) are the Chosen Children of God, but non Jews who have placed their faith and trust in Christ are the adopted children. Those who do not place their faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior have no part in the family of God, and therefore can not be considered His children. Ephesians 9, 11 goes on, showing that those who trust in Christ are not only adopted into the family of God, but we are to share in the inheritance of Christ!
Now, for that little matter of where will we spend eternity after death. Is there really a place called hell? Come on now, you mean to tell me the stories of a fiery pit with some little red horned guy running around with a pitchfork is true? Well, no, not exactly.
A few years ago, I wrote about heaven. The Bible's description of heaven. No mention of people turning into angels, getting halos and harps, floating around on clouds in the Bible. Same with the Biblical version of hell- which is every bit real as heaven. The devil, Satan is real, a real enemy of all God's creation, including humans. Jesus commanded Paul, in Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." In 2Corinthians, 11:14 Satan is described, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
People believe in guardian angels. Many Christians and non Christians talk about, believe in and even decorate using angels, yet many don't know that Satan was once the most beautiful angel, who had the choicest place among angels guarding the Throne of God. I'm not going into any kind of detail here except to say that Satan in his pride filled thoughts believed he could become higher than God. For this, he was stripped of his place. Satan has spent a millenia deceiving, murdering, tricking, lying and causing so much harm, and some day in the end times he will try and claim to be lord of all through the rule of Antichrist. After that, Satan and his demons will be thrown into the pit for a thousand years, then his final battle against the Lord at Armageddon, and the judgement against him: Rev 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled. Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
OK, so the devil goes to hell. What about people? Would God really do that? Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Who are those who are and are not in the Book of Life? We go back to John 5:24 for the answer: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; John 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life;and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Those who Hear and believe on Jesus and His Word have their names written in the Book of Life, and will receive everlasting life. Jesus is given authority to judge, and some day soon He will sit on that Great White Throne.
Does God send people to hell? Is He cruel to send people to damnation? Remember that famous quote. God so loved the world. God Loved the whole world, that He gave Jesus to die in our place on the cross. Jesus gave Himself as the sacrifice for our sins and transgressions, so that non would perish. It is not Jesus who sends people to hell, it is people who choose hell when they do not accept the priceless gift of Christ's salvation.
Now, what do we have to do to be saved? Do you think you need to perform good deeds in order to be good enough? Do you have to go door to door or walk through parking lots to hand out tracts? Do you have to light candles, do penance, work certain hours at a soup kitchen? Well, all those things are good and decent, if done in by the Holy Spirit- but they will never make you good enough. They will not save you. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus has done it all already. That is why He said, It is finished.