A Sure Judgment

Saturday, May 4, 2019

“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14 KJV).

Here, the Book of Ecclesiastes closes; here, we must rest.

As Bible-believing Christians, we cannot help but yearn for justice. There is far too much evil going unpunished. Even King Solomon, writing Ecclesiastes over 900 years before Christ, lamented: “So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter” (4:1). The downtrodden are helpless—their tormentors are strong!!

Solomon had written earlier, “And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (3:16,17). Even in the court system, evil prevailed when righteousness was expected! Life is quite puzzling—innumerable unanswered questions, inexplicable events, heartbreaking reversals, awful ironies!

Once he concluded his investigation, the King penned (today’s Scripture): “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” While there is much in life we simply cannot understand or explain, there is coming a day when all will be evaluated and set right. Righteousness will triumph in the Earth. The truth will be known, and the lie forever suppressed. Evildoers will be punished; God’s people will be delivered from their persecutors. The Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in Heaven and Earth. Satan will be removed and placed into the Bottomless Pit (and, ultimately, the Lake of Fire).

The lost, or unsaved/damned, of the ages have not escaped God’s justice (see the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15). As for we believers in Christ, our sins are already paid for, and we will not be confronted with them: however, at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9,10), we will give an account for our Christian service on Earth. One way or another, lost and saved alike, justice will be meted out!

What a Stiff Neck! #5

Thursday, April 4, 2019

“For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death?” (Deuteronomy 31:27 KJV).

A Christian lady was expressing her frustration over her unsaved family members being “stubborn” as concerning believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, in Bible terms, they are “stiffnecked.”

Scripture provides a portrait of the “stiff neck,” and it is anything but flattering. Firstly, it is antonymous to “yield yourself unto the LORD” (2 Chronicles 30:8; cf. 2 Chronicles 36:13). Secondly, it means to “resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51)—refusing to listen to His words and obey them (Jeremiah 17:23). Thirdly, it stems from the heart, an internal sin nature that is contrary to how God designed Adam to function before he fell in sin (Deuteronomy 10:16; cf. Jeremiah 17:9). Fourthly, it originates iniquitous and sinful deeds or actions (Exodus 34:9; cf. Mark 7:20-23). Lastly, it results in God’s judgment (Exodus 33:5).

On one hand, whenever God observes anything that fails to meet His righteous standard, He must act to enforce a penalty. He cannot look at sin (Habakkuk 1:13). On the other hand, He is merciful, gracious, and forgiving toward the sinner (Exodus 34:6,7). He can hold back the wrath they deserve, He can give them pity that they do not deserve, and He can cancel the spiritual debt they have incurred. If we study the above verses as to how “stiffnecked” Israel behaved, and His responses, we see both realities on full display.

When they sinned, when they drew back from His leading, when they did the exact opposite of His commandments, there was chastisement to reform them (if they were willing to listen). Yet, He never completely wiped them off the face of the Earth, did He? Many times they deserved it, but He spared them. Despite all they have done against Him, He still has a plan for them even now, to make them His own and bless them beyond belief!!!

Let us conclude this devotionals arc by seeing a parallel concerning God’s dealings with individuals today….

These Three Men

Sunday, October 7, 2018

“Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 14:14 KJV).

These three historical figures—yes, they were real characters—would not have been enough to save Israel’s land from God’s wrath!

Noah lived centuries before the nation Israel was formed. “…Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Second Peter 2:5 remarks concerning the wicked, multimillions of violent people of that day: “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly….”

Daniel, a prophet and descendant of King David, had a ministry throughout the entire 70-year Babylonian captivity and beyond. A believing Jew in pagan and idolatrous Babylon, he risked his life to follow God rather than man. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). “Now when Daniel knew that the writing [law] was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime” (Daniel 6:10).

Job was Jacob’s grandson through son Issachar (Genesis 46:13). His immense suffering under Satan’s hand is highlighted in the famous Bible Book that bears his name. Despite his many hardships, he declined to renounce his faith in his God. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8 cf. Job 2:3). “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).

If Noah, Daniel, and Job lived in the land of Canaan, God would still not spare it. Israel had defiled it with pagan idolatry, especially Jerusalem (His capital city). The Lord GOD would remove those three men and then judge the land (see also Ezekiel 14:16,18,20)!

The Hottest Places in Eternity #11

Thursday, October 4, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Lost individuals who received more Divine revelation will be held more accountable before Almighty God (cf. today’s Scripture): “Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

The LORD God gave His Word to Israel and her leaders (Deuteronomy 4:6-8; Psalm 147:19,20; Romans 3:1,2; Romans 9:4,5; et cetera). Gentiles (nations, non-Jews) were not given the Old Testament Bible. As concerning “time past” (or pre-Apostle Paul; cf. Ephesians 2:11-13), God will judge Israel more harshly than He will the Gentiles. Israel had greater spiritual light than the Gentiles, yet Israel lived just as wickedly (Romans 2:17-29)! Of all those in time past, unbelievers during Christ’s earthly ministry will face more serious condemnation than those who lived previously (cf. today’s Scripture).

Out of all the dispensations, frankly, our Dispensation of Grace will carry the worst eternal penalty. Lost people who have died during the last 2,000 years (and onward until the Rapture) have rejected God’s full revelation. They spurned a completed Bible, the most information the Creator ever revealed to mankind (Colossians 1:23-29; 2 Timothy 3:16,17)!!! If Jesus Christ declared His contemporaries would be more strictly judged than Sodom and Gomorrah because they had more spiritual light (Divine revelation) than Sodom and Gomorrah, how much more judgment for those lost today who have a completed Bible and ignored the LORD God’s counsel entirely? Horrors!!!

Friends, the message of God’s salvation available in the Lord Jesus Christ has circulated the globe now for 20 centuries. How kind He has been, how gracious, how longsuffering! With each passing day, unsaved mankind refuses His goodness. “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5). Indeed, the lost are rejecting the Gospel of Grace and “treasuring up wrath….”

The Hottest Places in Eternity #10

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Returning to Revelation chapter 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. [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. [13] And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. [15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Focus on verse 12, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” The expression “small and great” is ranking: commoners and royalty, irreligious and religious, simpleminded and brilliant, poor and rich, all the unsaved souls of the ages stand before the Lord Jesus Christ individually. Can you picture them? He lets them plead their case before His majestic throne. Why do they think they do not deserve their looming grim destiny? Can you hear their excuses? “But, I did so many good works!” “I was a successful businessman!” “I was a clever philosopher!” “I led millions as a politician!” “I prayed!” “I ‘believed in God!’” “I went to church!” “I loved my neighbors!”

With all their excuses enumerated, the Lord interrupts them. All of that was not enough. Their names, unfortunately, are not written in the Book of Life!! He reviews the written record of their works, and then renders His verdict. They must go to the Lake of Fire….

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The Hottest Places in Eternity #9

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

If God caused a war, and the “watchman” (guardian) alerted the city that he saw danger approaching, those not taking heed would be responsible for their own fate (Ezekiel 33:1-5).

The LORD God continues in verses 6-9: “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou [Ezekiel], O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

In Acts 20:26-27, Paul, God’s spokesman for the Dispensation of Grace, announced he was “pure from the blood of all men.” As a watchman, he had preached the Word of God’s Grace to lost and saved alike in Ephesus. The warning had been sent to the unsaved—Jesus Christ’s shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection as the sufficient payment for their sins. If they died in unbelief and went to Hell, it was their fault. The admonition had been issued to the Christians—God’s Grace, not Law, was the operating principle for victorious Christian living. If their spiritual lives were wrecked, they would be responsible. Paul, however, was guiltless!

Similarly, in eternal judgment, God holds unsaved leaders liable for not warning their people about Satan’s lie program….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #8

Monday, October 1, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

The second factor in determining the intensity of eternal judgment a lost soul will experience is how influential that individual was on the world stage. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation (Matthew 23:14). “My brethren, be not many masters [teachers], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (James 3:1). Religious leaders will be more accountable to God than the congregations they managed.

While religious figures will be most harshly judged out of all leaders, do not suppose that kings and queens, presidents, prime ministers, judges, schoolteachers and professors, media executives, and authors and book publishers, will get off scot-free. These unsaved souls actively and willfully advocated elements of Satan’s evil world system: their programming, legislation, curricula, literature, and policies disseminated and perpetuated his lie program. The Lord Jesus Christ will take all of this into account as each damned soul stands before His throne of judgment.

Of particular note concerning harsh eternal judgment are popes, mega-church preachers, seminary faculty, corrupt Bible editors and translators, and founders of world religions and cults. Doubtless here are Israel’s religious leaders and Rome’s politicians directly involved in Christ’s crucifixion. Judas Iscariot, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet—Satan’s most useful human tools—are punished most severely.

We tremble to consider it, friends, but we must expressly warn. Unsaved husbands and fathers, those whom God commanded to guide women and children in His truth (Ephesians 5:23; Ephesians 6:4), will meet a particularly dreadful fate. For thousands of years, they utterly failed as spiritual leaders. They—more than any other class—contributed to the world’s problems by not training the younger generations. Consequently, those newer generations wreaked worse havoc. Again, to the degree they misled the masses, so is the severity of their everlasting penalty established….