Tuesday, October 22, 2013

...A Commentary on Psalm 32:6-7

“Turning To God In Trouble” 

Psalm 32:6-7

6. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.
7. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

The Holy Spirit, speaking through David, promises us here that when the Lord’s children call upon Him, He will be found, and He will protect and deliver us from our trials and troubles. He will give us deliverance and fill our hearts with songs of joy and thanksgiving for His deliverance. We all have troublesome times in our life. That part I do not like so much! But, this is a fallen world that we live in. It is a violent, God-hating world that is in reality, ruled by Satan. Trouble and hardship will come. But rejoice in God’s promise of deliverance. He will surround you, and will be found when you call on Him.

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You (Psalm 9:9-10).”

The “therefore” in verse six looks back to the forgiveness that David found when he confessed his sin. Because of God’s grace, everyone who is godly (worshippers of/believers in God) should pray to Him while He may be found. We have seen in verses 3-5 that forgiveness and restoration with God are as close to us as our own hearts. James said, “draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).”

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).”

“Surely the mighty waters” seems to harken back to the flood waters of Noah’s day. But, like Noah and his family, the waters will not reach those that call on the Lord. God’s wrath and judgment is being poured out on a wicked and rebellious world (Rom. 1:18). His wrath against wickedness does not reach those in Christ, though. God has accounted our sin to His Son Jesus Christ, on the cross, for all who believe in Him. Those that call on the name of the Lord are accounted the righteousness of Christ, and are therefore no longer the recipients of God’s wrath.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved (Romans 10:13).”

“The mighty waters” may also speak of a flood of adversity and trial. Though God does allow trials in our lives, everything that happens to us is allowed by Him and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Notice in verse six that prayer/relationship with God, through the mediator Jesus Christ, keeps us safe in His will, under His wings, safe in His ship, riding the flood waters instead of drowning in them!

He Himself is our hiding place, our refuge and our strong wall of protection from trouble. He has surrounded us with songs of deliverance. We sing out to Him joyfully because of His intercession in the midst of our trials and troubles. He is our deliverer. He reaches into our lives and is the worker of miracles.

When God allows trial and hardship to infringe on my life, many times I just do not understand what is happening or why it is happening. I have to remind myself that God is sovereign over all. He is on His throne. Nothing happens that doesn’t first pass through His counsel. I am a child of God and He has a plan for me. He works all things out for His people according to His perfect plan.

In Exodus, chapter 15, Moses and the children of Israel sing to God a song of deliverance because of the mighty workings of God to free them from the Egyptians. Here are a few verses:

“The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him (Exodus 15:2).”

“Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders (Exodus 15:11)?”

“You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation (Exodus 15:13).”

“You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O LORD, which You have made For Your own dwelling, The sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands have established. The LORD shall reign forever and ever (Exodus 15:17-18).”

Think of all that God has brought us through to this point. Will He bring us this far to forsake us now? No! He will see us through the wilderness. He has already delivered us from our slavery to sin and brought us into the glorious kingdom of His Son. He will see us through our adversities in this life. We will enter into His promised Kingdom.

In Mark, chapter 4, Jesus and His disciples were crossing the lake to the country of the Gadarenes.

“And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith (4:36-41)?’”

At another time, before Jesus raised a little girl from the dead, He said, “do not be afraid, only believe (Luke 8:50).”

And, in Psalm 27, David expresses His trust in God,

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.”

Lord, stand with me in my trial. Be present. Work out Your perfect will for my life. I ask for Your peace and joy. See me through this, Lord. Be my strength. I give my heart and life to you Lord, and pray that in all that is happening, Jesus Christ may be glorified in me. Amen.

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit https://walkingwithjesus.net/vbv/

Monday, October 7, 2013

...A Commentary on Psalm 32:3-5

“The Drought of Summer Replaced With Torrents Of Living Water”
Psalm 32:3-5
3. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long.
4. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Oh, the misery of denial in the heart of a child of God. David attempted to keep his sin from his friends and all of Israel for somewhere around 9 to 12 months, but he was miserable. The conscience of this “man after God’s own heart” was taking its toll on him. J. Vernon McGee suggests that David may have lost weight during this period. So overcome with guilt and the hand of God heavy on him, he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat and he just groaned throughout the days. The NLT translates verse three as follows: “When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long.” The KJV says “roaring” instead of “groaning”. David was living a lie and was not right with God. He was silent in confession, but roaring throughout the day with the heavy burden and horror of his guilt. Psalm 38 further illustrates how David felt during 
this time. Like Psalm 32, it is one of the penitential (repentant) Psalms.

In verse four, David then says (NLT), “Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.” In First Corinthians 11:31-32 and in Hebrews 12:5-13, the Lord reminds us that He does chasten and correct His children, when the need arises. One reason He does this is that “we will not be condemned with the world.” In Hebrews, the writer tells us, “For whom the LORD loves He chastens.” He goes on, “But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness and afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Like a good father on earth, our Heavenly Father does not hesitate to teach us His way when we ourselves are obstinate and unchanging. If we are not corrected, we are not His. If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged (1 Cor. 11:31).

The hand of the Lord was heavy upon David, and like a drought stricken land at the height of summer, his soul was dry. In First John 1:5-2:2, the beloved disciple says that “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

Now, as we transition from verse four to verse five, we remember that this Psalm was set to music. At the end of verse four, we have the musical term “Selah”, which is a rest or pause in the song to contemplate what has been spoken and to wait on the Lord. Spurgeon speculates that moving from verse four to five may have also brought a change to a higher key in the song. With the forgiveness of his iniquity, David advances from the drought of summer to God’s grace poured out on him like the torrents of a monsoon.

In verse five, David says that he will confess his transgressions to the Lord and will acknowledge his sin to Him, that he will no longer attempt to hide it. The last part of verse five is the result: “and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” or, in the NLT, “and you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” As soon as David confessed his sin, God forgave him. In the Hebrew, the language implies that God forgave him instantly. I believe the forgiveness came to David as soon as his heart was set on confession, even before the words got out, and as he was saying it, the love and mercy of God overflowed his drought stricken soul with torrents of living water.

Now, it is important to point out that admitting our sin to God is not the same as confession. Confessing is saying the same thing about our sin as God, seeing it the same way He does. Confession is a true repentance of the heart, and includes a turning away from our sin and giving it to the Lord. Confession softens the heart to receive God’s leading and guidance in our lives, which we will see in verse eight of this Psalm.

This portion of Scripture reminds me of the story of the prodigal son, recorded in Luke 15:11-32. It says that when the prodigal came to himself, he said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Our nature is such that it is always fighting against God’s Spirit within us. The flesh lusts against the spirit. So, daily renewal is essential in our walk with Jesus. Many times we fall short of taking hold of the invitation for renewal in His presence. But as soon as we are still and seeking Him, waves of mercy and love pour forth over us, and we are renewed in His love once again.

Bring me to the cross, Lord. Search my heart and show me where I am off. Renew my soul with your presence, the peace and joy that comes only from you. Thank you for the free gift of forgiveness and your love in Jesus Christ. Move me, lead me and guide me into your perfect plan for the life you’ve given me. In Jesus name, Amen

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit https://walkingwithjesus.net/vbv/

Friday, September 20, 2013

Oh, How Blissfully Happy! A Commentary on Psalm 32:1-2

“Blessed is the One Whose Transgression is Forgiven”
Psalm 32:1-2
1. “A Psalm of David. A Maschil.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.
2. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.”

Psalm 32 is a Psalm of thanksgiving. It is a “Mashcil,” which means to give instruction or to understand; a contemplation. The Hebrew word translated “blessed” could be translated “Oh, how blissfully happy!” Spurgeon noted that this blissful peace came after David’s confession of sin, recorded in Psalm 51. For the full context of Psalm 32, read 2 Samuel 11 & 12 and Psalm 51 first.

In Psalm 32:1-2, three Hebrew nouns are used to denote sin and three verbs are used to describe God’s way of dealing with it. 

“Blessed is he whose transgression…” Transgression is rebellion, a willful and knowledgeable crossing of the line. 

But the “transgression is forgiven”, that is, lifted up and carried away like a burden. 

“Whose sin…” Sin is failure to keep God’s law. The Greek word translated sin in the New Testament means to miss the mark. 

But the “sin is covered,” that is, blotted out from the sight of the divine Judge. 

“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute”… Impute is an accounting term. The Lord is no longer accounting this debt to the sinner’s account, it has been canceled. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).” So, God is no longer accounting our sin against us, it has been laid on Christ, and in Christ we have become the righteousness of God, as His righteousness has been imputed to us! 

“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity.” Iniquity is a crookedness or deviation from the right path, a twisting and a going astray. 

“Blessed is the man in whose spirit there is no deceit” is speaking of self deceit. There is no self deceit because he has faced up to his sin (cf. v 5).

Christ’s atonement is the propitiation, the covering, the making an end of sin. It’s interesting that the Hebrew word for cover is sometimes used for concealing. Sin cannot be covered by God until man uncovers it. This is a bit of a play on words. The man who does not attempt to conceal his sin, but confesses to God that he is a sinner, finds that it is covered by God through faith in Christ’s atoning death. David is here expressing the happiness of the person whose sins have been confessed to God and forgiven by His great mercy. “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him (Psalm 32:10).”

Paul quotes Psalm 32:1-2 in Romans 4:5-8. In Romans 4, Paul gives Abraham, and then David, as examples of those forgiven by God before and after the law was given. Paul used these scriptures as evidence that one is forgiven by God through faith, and not by works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).”

Paul finishes Romans chapter 4 with this, speaking of Abraham, “And therefore ‘it (Abraham’s faith) was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:22-25).”

It is so important for us, as Christians, to keep this doctrine close to our hearts at all times, for the rest of our lives. To walk, day in and day out, in the light of the grace of our God, our Heavenly Father. This is the Good News of God’s grace for a dying world, and it is our joy, our hope and our strength until the Lord calls us home. Oh, how blissfully happy that person is, who has had their sin removed, and who now has the righteousness of Christ imputed to them through faith, because of what our Creator has done for us and His lovingkindness that endures forever!

For the full commentary on Psalm 32, visit http://walkingwithjesus.net/vbv.html

Monday, September 2, 2013

You Must Be Born Again

Jesus answered and said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3, 6)

When a person is born again, their spirit is made alive, even though it had previously been dead for their entire life. That person's spirit is simultaneously united with God's Spirit as one. We then know God personally in the Spirit, not in the flesh, because God is spirit. We see Him, hear Him, and know Him in and by the Spirit.

The spiritual realm is unseen, unlike the material world. The spiritual, the things that are not seen, are eternal. Everything you see in the material universe will one day be gone.

These things I speak to you are spirit and they are truth. If you are not born again, you cannot discern them because you are not in the spirit but in the flesh. No one can see God unless they are born again, born of the Spirit of God.

Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:4-6)

"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (John 3:7)

Being saved is an idiom for being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. What are we being saved from? All people have fallen short of the glory of God and are sinners. God is perfect and we are not. Because of His perfect justice, sin must be punished. The wages of sin is death. But God loves the world so much, He became a man and died for the sins of the world. The eternal Son of God was born of a virgin. He is Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus lived a sinless life, the God-man, the Son of God, completely obedient to God the Father. He then willingly went to the cross, despising the shame of it, and took the sin of the world upon Himself.

He willingly laid His life down and went to the cross because of the joy of knowing that because of the cross, anyone that loves Him and believes in Him will have eternal life, and not spend eternity separated from God because of their sin.

How can our sin be laid on Him and His righteousness be imputed to us? The biblical answer is, "not by good works, but by faith." Only the grace of God can give us the free gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and eternal life in Him.

Sincerely repent (turn from) your sin today, and truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart, and you will be saved, born of God. To know God and enter Heaven, all must be born again, born of the Spirit, united to God through faith in Christ. Turn from your sin and ask Him into your heart today.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

King James Only?

King James only? No, we should not restrict ourselves to just the KJV. It is not without mistakes and its old English is sometimes difficult to understand in our day. But, the manuscripts that the King James translation is based on are some of the best. The KJV is not inerrant or inspired, only the original books of the Bible written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic are inerrant and God-breathed. That is a fact. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are grossly mistaken. The Greek and Hebrew copies of the Bible that we have today are numerous and very, very reliable, but they are not perfect. 

What? Isn’t the Bible inerrant? Yes, the Bible is inerrant, but only the original books in their original languages. The Greek and Hebrew copies of the originals (and the translations made from them, including English translations) have some variations, errors, and omissions, although all of the textual families are very well preserved. 

There is numerous evidence to substantiate that the most reliable family of manuscripts for the New Testament (NT) is the Byzantine, and that the resulting Greek text known as the Textus Receptus (which is Latin for the “Received Text”) is the most accurate Greek NT. The NT of the King James (English) translation of the Bible is based on this family of manuscripts. The Old Testament is mostly based on the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls, among other manuscripts. All of the English versions are translations of the Bible from its original languages, just like any other translations of the Bible, like Spanish or French. 

Most of the other (modern) English versions can be very helpful in understanding what God is truly saying to us in His Word, even though they are mostly based on textual families inferior to the Byzantine. The NT in the modern English translations (except NKJV) are based on these other manuscript families, primarily the Alexandrian family. Although most of what all of the textual families say is the same, there are some important differences. And when translated into English, the modern versions (translations) have more errors than the KJV. I use the KJV/NKJV mostly, but I refer to nearly all of the English versions at some point (like the NLT, NASB, NRSV, ESV, HCSB, NIV and others based on the Alexandrian and/or Western text families). I do this because, for the most part, they are accurate and reliable, and many times they convey the meaning of the verses in modern English in a way that is much easier for people to understand. We just have to be careful of the passages that contain errors. This happens more often in the modern translations, but there are errors in the King James translation, as well. 

Remember, the errors are in translation and the manuscript copies written in Greek and Hebrew. Though they are no longer extant, the original books of the Bible in Greek and Hebrew had no errors. The errors in our Bibles today are few and far between, whether in a modern or King James translation. According to the experts, 95-99% of our Bible today is accurate and reliable. The academic discipline known as “textual criticism” has the task of discovering the true text of the variations in the manuscripts, as well as discovering the true meaning of obscurities in the texts. This field of study has made the Bible texts much more accurate then ever before. The Bible today is nearer to the original than ever. But to get there, we need all of the textual families of both the NT and OT. And, if you are using an English translation, having more than one English version is very helpful in discovering the true meaning of God’s Word. 

There is a lot of disinformation about the English translations and the underlying manuscript copies they are based on. Below is a link to a free class that is at Blue Letter Bible. If you are interested in the truth of the English versions, the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts they are based on and the inspired, inerrant original books of the Bible, you will love this class. Here is an excerpt from the class regarding the Byzantine Text: 

"Okay. Now, we have listed under Byzantine Text, notice it says it is often called Textus Receptus or the “Received Text.” It’s a Latin word that was put on one of these Greek texts. What it means is (it is) the text that was universally read and accepted by the churches. Which text was universally read and accepted by the churches, class? This is not a difference of opinion. This is a fact. What text was universally read and accepted by the churches? What tradition? Was it Byzantine? Was it Western? Was it Alexandria? It was Byzantine. You see the Western Text became (quickly) Latin. That’s all it was. So what Greek text was used universally by the churches? The answer is Byzantine. Not Western. That’s why this whole issue is kind of interesting. When you come to the King James translation, people are always trying to undermine that one. People are always trying to say it was dependent upon a text that is not that reliable. No, excuse me. It’s not only reliable, it’s the one everybody used!"

Especially see the lessons titled "Manuscript Evidence" and "English Versions." Enjoy!


"Which English Bible Translation is the Best?"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blind Faith

Evolutionist atheists just "know" macroevolution to be happening, apparently intuitively, from only tidbits of data here and there, that seem to them to somehow represent precursors, first steps of actual macroevolution (change from one kind into another). And, believe it or not, that's as far as the "evidence" for macroevolution goes! Microevolution is simply adaptation within species. Macroevolution, in fact, has never actually happened. “But that's not the same as having blind faith,” they say! Noooooo. 

On the other hand, Christians do not have blind faith in Jesus Christ.

But set apart the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear... (1 Peter 3:15)

We have myriad evidence from the innerrant Word of God, biblical prophecies, theology, history, philosophy, biology, archeology and geology, among other academic disciplines, to correlate our personal relationship and experience with Jesus Christ. It is not a blind faith, but a defensible, reasonable faith. In addition to this tangible support for historical Christianity, Jesus doesn't just show us the way or give us truth or life. He is the Way. He is Truth. And He is the Life. 

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

Searching for evidence of molecules-to-man evolution (from goo-to the zoo-to you), I looked to the dirt, but I found a complete lack of remains of evolving, transitional creatures in the fossil record. I looked deep inside the living cell, but all I saw were intricate systems of design, operating like machines. I looked around and above, and I discovered a finely tuned earth and universe that could not exist but by a miracle of circumstances magically coalescing, and that in the words of scientists! So, I turned to the scientists for their evidence of macroevolution, and what did they say? I heard dozens of opposing theories, admissions of lack of evidence and grandiose ideas of currently non existent evidence to be gloriously found on some unknown date in the future. Adaptation within a species is a fact. Change from one kind of an animal to another has never happened and will never happen, because it is impossible. 

In the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). (Genesis 1:1)

Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind.." (Genesis 1:24)

To the evolutionist, I say, "when the naive impression that the 'experts' have found all the answers, are competent to do so and are trustworthy in their confidence, when that belief is finally destroyed by the facts, then the reality of Who created all things and sustains all things will finally be liberated for your acknowledgment." I hope that happens while you still have time to trust in His name. 

This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12)

For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Outer Darkness

The doctrine of eternal damnation is an admittedly difficult truth, to say the least. Let me say that this is a horrifying and distressing doctrine for anyone to contemplate and attempt to understand, let alone accept. It is heart-breaking beyond words. I have struggled with it my whole walk with Christ (about 37 years), especially the last 16 years of serious study. This is why some Christians cannot believe in a literal, eternal hell. They allegorize it so that some day everyone gets to Heaven or they believe in the annihilation of the soul. But, a literal reading of the Bible clearly reveals that this is not the case. Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else in the New Testament, and He spoke of it as a real and eternal place.

"But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mathew 8:12, see also Mark 9:43, Revelation 20:14)

What I will share with you is what I have come to understand hell will be like, from a literal, plain reading of the Bible.

First of all, not many people know that the Bible indicates that there are degrees of punishment in hell. The New Testament has a lot to say about degrees of rewards for believers in Heaven (see Matthew 5:11-12, Matthew 6:1-2, 2 Cornithians 5:10). In the same way, there are degrees of punishment in hell. Consider the following Scriptures:

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. (Matthew 16:27)

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile ... (1 Peter 1:17)

"Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town." (Matthew 10:15)

How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)

As he taught, Jesus said, "Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely." (Mark 12:38-40)

“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, 48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:47-48)

Now, this is huge. We haven't dealt with the eternality of hell yet, which may be the tougher issue to comprehend, but in terms of fairness of punishment, this should rattle some critic’s past arguments. We hear all the time about how unfair it is for God to punish some generally nice person in the same way as Hitler. But, as we can see from these Scriptures, it is not true.

Now, Jesus said, “no one is good but One, that is God,” so all that reject Him deserve to go to hell because only God is perfectly good. But, there will be a difference in what is experienced there for each individual person, according to their works. Even though each will get a punishment fitting to their sin, hell is not a place anyone wants to go. It is a place of darkness, torment, weeping and gnashing of teeth for everyone sent there. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, is the only one that can keep you from this horrible place.

So, we have seen that the punishment will be appropriate for each person in hell, but how can an eternal hell be appropriate, just and right? I believe eternal damnation is justified for at least 5 reasons.

1. The punishment will fit the crime, so to speak, in that there are degrees of punishment for the wicked based on each one’s works.

2. God is eternal and created human spirits to be eternal. Because people were created to live forever, hell is necessarily eternal.

3. As a person continues to exist eternally in sin, separated from God, they bring about for themselves "each day" in hell the just punishment for their sin. In order for justice to be served, an eternally sinning person does demand an eternal punishment.

4. God has made hell a choice. It is the option for human beings who do not want to spend eternity with Him. For those who never heard of Christ, before or after the cross, they are saved by faith in God. Each heart will be examined by God for sincere faith and He will not send anyone to hell wrongfully. For those who have heard the good news of the cross of Christ, they will be judged based on whether they have received Jesus as Lord and Savior or not.

5. God has made a way for everyone to avoid eternal damnation in hell, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Anyone can receive Christ by faith and have their sins forgiven, so no one has an excuse for not being able to achieve eternal life with Jesus.

Have you repented of your sin, sincerely and from the heart? Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation? If you have not, there is no sin that is unforgivable except for the sin of rejecting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus paid the price for all of your sin at the cross so that you can be saved freely by God’s grace, through faith in Him. One cannot be made right with our perfect Creator by doing good things. We must be forgiven of our sin by Him. God is love and a God of justice. The Creator of all things became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, and took our punishment upon Himself so that we can live forever in His Kingdom. Ask God for forgiveness now, and receive new life through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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