Memory in Hell

Saturday, September 23, 2017

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (Luke 16:23-25 KJV).

Hell abounds with torments of all kinds—especially memory!

Several years ago, before “333 Words of Grace” was launched, you may recall our writing ministry in our local newspaper. First, dozens of letters to the editor were submitted for about three years. Then, I had a weekly column for some five months (before cancellation). A dear elderly lady, whom my family had known for decades, read those Bible studies. The last time I met her was about three years ago, at my grandmother’s funeral actually. She mentioned she had read our newspaper ministry when it was active. I was glad to share the Gospel of Grace with her again there at the funeral home. There was no indication she was saved there or any other time I dealt with her.

Recently, I heard that the dear lady went out into eternity earlier this week. I can only wonder where her soul went. After learning the Gospel of Grace from us so many times, did she ever trust Jesus Christ alone as her personal Saviour? Or, did she remain in her vain works-religion? Wherever she is—Heaven or Hell—she is alive right now. She certainly remembers those Bible studies.

Today’s Scripture is clear that people suffering in Hell indeed have memory of their earthly life. Every last one of those damned souls recalls at least one opportunity of a spurned (rejected) Gospel message. There is not a soul down there that had to go there, and that one haunting thought alone is torment enough. Dear friend, you do not have to go to Hell! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Trust Christ, and Him alone… before it is eternally too late!

Answers in Scripture

Friday, August 25, 2017

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5 KJV).

Are you lacking wisdom, friend? Why not “ask of God?”

Not long ago, Mom and I visited a nearly 96-year-old relative. For a few years now, my parents and I have tried to keep Scriptural dialog open with her. While she is still content in being bound in her works-religion, Mom told me the woman seemed more receptive to truth than usual. She heard the Gospel of the Grace of God many times again during our most recent visit. We tried to emphasize to her that all the “crazy” things happening in the world are the result of sin and that Jesus Christ died to save us from such depravity. She learned once again that the Holy Bible is a beacon of light in this world of darkness, and a solid foundation in this world of uncertainty. Her religion is powerless to help her, educate her, or comfort her in such troubling times.

Another point I stressed with this dear lady is the fact that people are groping around, looking for answers, but apart from God. Notice how the Holy Spirit through James in today’s Scripture encouraged people to consult God when they wanted wisdom. True, the Bible was not yet complete at that time (James was perhaps the earliest “New Testament” Book written); hence, that partially-revealed Word of God left people with various unanswered spiritual questions. Even so, God did not discourage anyone from seeking His truth. He was willing to provide more information if they wanted it!

Many years after James, Paul wrote in the final Bible Book: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). With the Pauline revelations exposed and written down, everything that God wants man to know and do, we find it in the completed Bible. Thus, the way we “ask” God for wisdom today is to submit to His written words, Holy Scripture. If we are in spiritual darkness, God is not to blame!

God Is Not Fooled!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9,10 KJV).

Be not fooled, friend. You cannot fool God!

Long ago, a farmer said, “God, if You give me a good harvest, I will go to church.” Suffice it to say he reaped a great harvest. He then bragged with laughter, “I fooled God! I had no intention of going to church!” This cycle continued for years. The man never purposed to go to church, but he supposedly “talked God into” doing what he wanted, allegedly “making God believe” that he would attend church. This all occurred many decades ago, so he is likely already dead… physically.

When the aforementioned man died, he surely realized he had not fooled God after all. Furthermore, he saw that he was the fool! He wasted God’s grace, God being longsuffering and tolerating his nonsensical rhetoric for so long. Instead of being thankful for God’s goodness, he became increasingly hardened. He continually deceived himself, believing he could actually hide his true and innermost feelings from his Creator (see today’s Scripture).

Many attempt to “make deals with God.” If He will just help them out of their difficulty, they will turn to Him. Some legitimately come to personal faith in Christ. Others, however, have a religious high, mere temporary self-reformation. Still others had no intention of ever doing right—they just wanted to treat God like Santa Claus (“gimme, gimme, gimme”). In the end, however, they manifest themselves as fools. God sees who has a heart of faith in His Word to them, and who is simply speaking empty words out of an ungrateful (wicked and unbelieving) heart.

Hebrews 4:12-13: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Ye Would Not!

Friday, June 24, 2016

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37 KJV).

As in Christ’s earthly ministry, so today—God never takes free will away!

Recently, a brother in Christ shared his heavy burden with me. One of his relatives is in dire health, suffering 99 percent brain damage. His doctors say, even if he survives, he will be in a vegetative state. The brother explained to me that he shared the Gospel with this man years ago, but had not heard from him since. He is still worried the now-dying man never did anything with the Gospel—especially sad now that he is holding to life by a thread and maybe drawing closer to hell.

This brother had to understand it is beyond his control. He has shared the Gospel most faithfully, and there is nothing he can do for his relative but pray for him now. His brain is not functioning properly anymore, but he still may be aware in his soul. We cannot be sure just how alert such people are spiritually. If they so desire, God can always bring His Word to memory in those who have heard it years before.

Beloved, we should never beat ourselves up wondering if we shared the Gospel enough with someone who is dying or who has since died. If they only heard us share the Gospel with them once, that one time was all that we were able to do. While we care for them deeply, we cannot force people to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. The God of the Bible is all about freedom. If people do not want Him, He will not force them to accept Him. After three years of ministry, with a heavy heart, Jesus looked at Jerusalem and wept. They had no interest in Him or anything He had to say to them (today’s Scripture).

God has done everything to keep people out of hell by sending Jesus Christ to die for their sins. If they want to ignore that, that is their choice. Let it not be ours!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Can you explain Jude 9?

Seconds from Eternity

Monday, March 14, 2016

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Corinthians 6:1,2 KJV).

Friend, today is the day to trust Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary. You may not have tomorrow!

Recently, a certain schoolteacher was driving to work. Suddenly, a 200-pound (90.7-kilogram) iron manhole cover inexplicably flew upward from the roadway. It landed right on top of her car’s windshield—driver’s side! Sadly, her earthly life ended right there, instantly. Just like that, with the snap of a finger, a blink of an eye, it was over! There was no turning back—wherever death found her, eternity still keeps her today. Think of how many factors had to occur just right to take her life. The cover flew off precisely at the moment her vehicle was nearby, it flew exactly the distance to her car, and it precisely hit the windshield on her side (not the back, or the passenger’s side, but the driver’s side). We need to appreciate just how close death really is for any one of us!

Imagine when a lost person dies. Earthly scenes fade to darkness. The overwhelming sensation of falling to Earth’s center… the soul plunging into hellfire… the pain of being burned alive becomes more pronounced… screams and wails all around… memories of rejected Gospel messages flood the mind. Horrible, just horrible. Every soul without Jesus Christ will experience it forever!

A lost person’s heart is very deceitful. He or she will continue to put off salvation, saying, “I have plenty of time to get saved, preacher. Let me enjoy having a good time in sin now. When I am ready, then I will clean up my life and trust Jesus Christ.” They will certainly have a good time, but they just may run out of time to trust Jesus Christ. My what a foolish gamble! They just may lose their eternal soul in literally a “heartbeat.” They think they have years to spare, but they may just have a few seconds. Something to think about!

Final Flight

Friday, January 29, 2016

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13,14 KJV).

How our “now-now-now,” “me-me-me” society needs to hear this verse!

Gregory Jarvis, a Hughes Aircraft specialist and engineer, was scheduled to fly the Space Shuttle Columbia on January 12, 1986. His task was to accompany a communications satellite into space and ensure its launch. However, before launch, a politician replaced him, and Jarvis was bumped down to the next space shuttle launch, Challenger’s January 22 launch. When Challenger finally took flight six days later—exactly 30 years ago yesterday—just 73 seconds into its launch, it exploded over 18 miles above earth, killing all seven crewmembers, including Jarvis. What tragic irony!

Life is uncertain in almost every which way. Friendships and marriages come not with a lifelong guarantee. Accidents and sudden illnesses can render you immobile, temporarily, or for life. House fires can consume all that you own. Thus, 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us not to “trust in uncertain riches.” What you have today may very well be gone tomorrow. This is particularly true of your earthly life (today’s Scripture)… and especially your soul!

Gregory Jarvis knew not the future. Mission 51L, the 25th space shuttle mission, was supposed to have been another successful mission. Unfortunately, it would be Challenger’s last mission, and Jarvis’ too. Consider the ill-fated February 1, 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, whose 13th anniversary we approach. Its seven-member crew had no idea they were taking their final flight either. Were any of these astronauts and payload specialists ready to meet their Maker? Most probably were not.

“…NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Not tomorrow—NOW—for tomorrow you have not been guaranteed. Why not trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour today? Why not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins today? Then, when your final flight comes—especially if it comes tomorrow—you will be prepared!

Closed Minds, Closed Hearts, Closed Book

Sunday, September 13, 2015

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV).

“Why do more people not see dispensational Bible study?” Today’s Scripture explains.

A few years ago, a Christian friend invited me to her house to give a Bible study for her friend stuck in a “Christian” cult. Others attended as well. It turned out to be almost three hours of teaching! (Search YouTube for three videos titled, “Intro to Pauline Dispensationalism.”) The woman was without excuse after hearing that clear Gospel of Grace and clear outline of the Bible dispensationally considered.

Sometime later, she told my friend, “I felt so sorry for you all. You are all so deceived.” (Strangely, she never told me that, never corrected anything I said, and never “blessed” the group with any of her “spiritual insight.” In fact, strangest of all, throughout the study, she smiled, cheerfully listening to the verses, and even declared, “I know JEHOVAH God is working here!” Despite her “compliments,” we have not seen her since!)

More recently, I had an online discussion with a Bible critic, atheist, and evolutionist. Several others soon joined in. Once I contrasted their “idle speculation and ever-changing hypotheses” with “the Bible’s clear testimony,” one individual grew ballistic: “The Bible’s plain and clear testimony?!” Even with a saint of the Most High God expounding the Bible for him, he still could not understand it. Why? The Spirit of God was there (with me), but the man did not “receive” the things of the Spirit of God. He was not willing to see. He was no different from the cult member mentioned earlier.

Lost people lack God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. They have no capacity to understand God’s Word. It is foolishness to them. What about genuine Holy-Spirit-indwelt Christians trapped in denominations? They too are guided by the flesh (church tradition perpetuated by lost people), hindering the Holy Spirit from working in them (1 Thessalonians 5:19). However, as Jesus Himself said, whenever they are willing to hear and see, “[they] shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).