Monday, March 24, 2014

The Choice is for Eternity



All of us who have prayed for and spoken with the unbelieving have at one time or another been told, "I don't believe in God, therefore I don't believe in the judgment of God." It's a common mantra of atheism to say such things. But is it correct? Not according the Scripture. The Bible tells us:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. --Revelation 20:11-15

This passage is referred to as the Great White Throne judgment and will come to pass after the Millennial Period has completed and eternity of eternity has come. It takes place at an undisclosed location outside of the heaven of heavens and involves only the wicked dead of all ages from the lowest of their ranks to the highest—the small and the great. It is said these not only die once but twice. The first death is of physical consequence while the second is of the spiritual. Henry Alford has written, “As there is a second and higher life, so there is also a second and deeper death.  And as after that life there is no more death, so after that death there is no more life” John Trapp also concluded, “The devil and the damned have punishment without pity, misery without mercy, sorrow without succor, crying without comfort, mischief without measure, torments without end and past imagination.” This is the result of the second eath.

The cultural Jesus says there is no hell, no judgment, no lake of fire awaiting humanity. But the Biblical Jesus says nothing of the sort. Using such language as, “The worm dies not,” “Eternal punishment,” and “everlasting shame and contempt” so the Bible declares the eternal resting place of the unbelieving as a place that is not as restful as the mocker may think.

Unbelievers today follow the post-modern reasoning that morality is determined by the majority. They cannot make an end-run around the fact that moral choices are made every day–even by them, so they choose to measure their morality by whatever is popular on-the-street. Surely, there is nothing new under the sun and what comes around goes around…and around…and around again.  In the ancient days of the Judges, who ruled Israel prior to beseeching God for a King, the rule of the day was, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). It seems society was too caught up in their own daily lives to consider or even make a stir over spiritual things. With no law being enforced in the land the people lived aloof of God and one another.

And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; …  And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way. --Judges 2:18a-19

Judges reads like a page out of the latter twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Groups like “The Freedom from Religion Foundation” (FFRF) and the “American Atheists” are doing their best to promote a “Jesus free” society in which everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Translated that means living a life that is self-centered just as Eve fell prey to in the garden and as aloof from Christ-centered instruction as their imagination can carry them. They promote a future of nothingness that espouses the drowning of every hope of true and eternal love amongst sons, daughters, parents, grandparents, and close friends as pure fantasy. For their belief to be successful it absolutely must rule out any afterlife, judgment, and any hope for an eternal reunion with all that we have loved and cherished.  

But that’s not all! It also comes with a life devoid of law and rule—a life where one can cast all caution to the wind and live out your wildest fantasies in hedonistic passion. Sound Fun? Sure. Sound rewarding? Sure, at least for now. The Bible never says sinful activity is not pleasurable to the senses, it is! The problem is the arena—the playground in which those activities are pursued. I’m not talking about something physical but rather, what is for-the-most-part, unseen. The hidden playground that espouses a fluidity that so permeates every area of the human conscious that one becomes wont of ever seeking anything spiritual and holy again. It’s a playground whose compatriots roam the depth of the underworld living among the unseen and surfacing among the living. It’s a place that corrals from all the eons past every foul demon that has ever caused human suffering and pain; every foul bird that has winged its way from the depths of hell to deliver its harbingers of a pleasurable death. It is the place of separation from God.

Moses, a man attested to being first in line to the throne of Pharaoh, was also faced with the choice of living a life of incredible pleasure, luxury, and ease or a life of eternal identity with the one and only Supreme of the universe Jehovah God. The author of Hebrews has this to say:

By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. --Hebrews 11:24-27

Moses made the choice to identify himself with the people of God who were in slavery because He knew that their God was God, therefore, His God. In making this choice God raised him up to be the deliverer of God’s people taking them from a life of physical bondage to physical freedom–from spiritual confusion to spiritual opportunity.

The latter playground is upon green hills and pastures full of living color and a clarity of life that’s so peaceful and tranquil that it defies understanding (see Phil. 4:6-7). The former is a dark wasteland strewn with the septic litter of lives gone by, the foul stench of demonic presence, and filth piled so high that its barriers prevent any way of escape. It’s hot—it’s dark—and worst of all it is a place of immense blackness.

The difference between belief in God and selfish unbelief surfaces as your eternal home. There is still time to make the right choice and choose Jesus, but soon that door will close. While it is still day and before the dark sets in choose to believe in Him now (see and believe John 3:16; Rom. 10:9-11).

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