Monday, December 07, 2009

Chart of Salvation 4: Sinful Man Deserves Hell

Previous: Sinful man cannot please God.

I must admit that this is not one of my favorite topics. But the Scriptures are very clear that those who love their sin and reject the Lord Jesus Christ will face a terrible punishment in the future. But should this really surprise us? When a traffic law is broken, should we be surprised if we receive a fine? When a politician breaks the law, should we be surprised if he faces jail time? So, why is it different when we consider God's judgment against sin?

You have to recognize that your sin is against the One who created you. When you rebelled against his commands in the Bible and chose to go your own way, did you expect that he would simply look away and not hold you accountable? His law is very clear that sin ultimately deserves death. From the very beginning, God told Adam and Eve that their disobedience would result in death. And when they chose to break God's first law, death became the sad reality for us all. And according to our sovereign God, our sin still deserves death.

You have to recognize your sinfulness against God. Most people do not recognize their sinfulness. They compare themselves to those who have done worse and get the idea that they are not that bad. But the Bible says that all have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory (Rom. 3:19-23). Falling short has the idea of shooting an arrow at a target and missing completely. That's the way God describes sinful man — completely off target. But if you still think you measure up to God's perfection, compare your life to the Ten Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

No one can look at that list and still consider himself holy before God. And when you consider that Jesus considers lustful and angry thoughts as bad as adultery or murder, there is certainly no one without sin. All fall short of the glory of God. But what happens after an unrepentant sinner dies?

Recognize the punishment you deserve. The Bible states very clearly that those who have loved their sin and rejected God's salvation through Jesus Christ are deserving of a terrible eternity of punishment. At the end of time, all those who have died without God's forgiveness will answer to him at the Great White Throne judgment.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:11-15

This terrible judgment awaits all who have loved their sin and rejected Jesus. The Scriptures say that without Jesus, all sinful humanity will be judged without partiality according to their deeds. Look at the Scriptures again and see how terrible this judgment will be. No matter how great or small, all unrepentant sinners will stand before Jesus with no excuses to offer. Did you notice that books will be opened with records of each sinner's guilt? It should not surprise us that God knows all that we have ever done and will hold us each responsible. Then at the end of the judgment, the Book of Life will be opened. This book holds the names of all those who have repented of their sins and believed in Jesus. But anyone whose name is not found in that precious book, will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity. This terrible punishment is what God has prescribed for all who reject him. This is why you need God to intervene in your life. Read on.

Next: 5. God must intervene.

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