My lovely wife and I were talking this evening regarding the topic of salvation. One of the main subjects of our conversation was our children and whether or not they will finish the race strong or if any of them have and/or will choose not to follow the call of Christ.
All five of our kids have made a public profession of faith and been baptized. If you asked each one of them they would claim to be a Christian. But as we continued in our conversation together we really struggled with what the future has for our children living in this American culture and we pray daily for their walk with the Lord.
The day I answered the call of salvation I knew one thing, I was a sinner and I needed a Savior. I didn't grow up in the church and finally, after several attempts, I realized God had a purpose and a plan for my life. My initial draw to my new found faith was the hope of eternal life. You know, streets lined with gold, a mansion with many rooms, angels rejoicing... But as I matured in the faith and began to understand my sinful nature even more fully, I realized that being saved isn't fully about eternal life but is primarily my freedom from God's judgment. Just as we have the hope of eternal life, a life free from Jesus has the judgment of God upon it and the sentence of eternal punishment.
Mat 13:40-43 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (esv)
I was listening to a sermon a few days back and a point was made that even though Jesus willfully bore all of our sin on Calvary, it doesn't compare to the horror of hell and eternal punishment. There was hope for Christ, and, after making his appeal to the Father to have the cup removed from Him, (Luk 22:42) He knew that after the third day He would be properly place at the right hand of God. Jesus had assurance that the Father would restore Him as had been written by the prophets. He could see an end and the end was good.
Those who reject the Son have no hope for their souls. The Bible tells us that in hell there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I think of this as a complete and total wailing. Groans of pain and agony that can not be quenched. Imagine for a moment if you will the worst of the worst times in your life being played over and over again. Day in and day out feelings of hopelessness, despair, agony, torment, frustration, depression, horror, guilt, lust... The list goes on.
Matthew 13:40-43 is sour and sweet. Those who are the sinful and the lawbreakers will be gathered up and thrown into the fiery furnace. Regardless of what a person believes about Heaven and Hell, one thing is crystal clear to me... unrepentant sinners will have a really bad existence for all of eternity. Yet, in verse 43 Jesus tells His elect that the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Not because we are so good and worthy of it. On the contrary. Jesus is our righteousness before God. 2Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Where are you going today, tomorrow, the next day? Where are your children going when they move from this life to the next? These are difficult questions for us to ponder, but sooner than later they will be answered. Abidance in Christ is essential to our walk with Him. We show we are His disciples by our fruit and for many of us it is time to see what kind of fruit is springing forth from our trees.
Joh 15:5-7 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Jesus offers the free gift of eternal life and freedom from the Father's justice. Do you hear His call today? If not, I encourage you to listen for it.