Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Archive for June, 2018

Spiritual Child Abuse

With child abuse in the news concerning immigrant children, I thought it a good idea to reflect on the causes of child abuse. Psychologists, psychiatrists, law officials, welfare department officials, and the courts are working on the problem of child abuse daily. They examine child abuse from a social perspective while ignoring the spiritual perspective. I believe child abuse stems from spiritual problems that mankind overlooks.

The Breakdown of the Family

Much of the child abuse is from step-fathers and live-in lovers. Child abuse is a consequence of the deterioration of the family. A society cannot ignore the divine commandments regarding the marriage relationship without paying the price for breaking it. God ordained that marriage be a lifetime commitment (Gen 2:24 f; Matt 19:4-8). Marriage is only terminated by fornication and death itself (Matt 19:9 f; 1 Cor 7:39).  The stable family relationship is the God-appointed environment for rearing children.

Parents who change mates like they change clothes, bringing in someone who has never bonded with the children, create the situation in which child abuse is likely to occur. The “natural affection” which should exist between parent and child is not present (Rom. 1:31).

We can greatly reduce child abuse by mothers and fathers keeping their marital vows to one another and keeping the home intact. As parents who love one another, we can rear our children in an atmosphere of love, not in an environment of child abuse.

Victims Become Abusers

Child abuse is a learned behavior. Children mimic their parents. A child who has been a victim of child abuse in his youth is a potential child abuser. The Scriptures state that the learned habit of sin is passed down from one generation to another (“visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Ex. 20:4). There are second and third generation child abusers prevalent among us. The patterns of conduct learned from the parent are followed by the children and passed down to their children. We can prevent child abuse by being good parents. Let our children see in us a good example of parental conduct and child abuse will decrease.

The Scriptures prescribe the conduct of parents toward children: “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they are discouraged” (Col. 3:20). Verbal abuse would end when parents put away from their lives “bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking” (Eph. 4:31).

Homosexual and Lesbian Parents

It is difficult to miss that child abuse has increased among heterosexual parents but nearly nonexistent among gay and lesbian parents. This is because such parents do not correct their children in the biblical way that society defines as abuse. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Prov 22:15). “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell” (Prov 23:13-14). Whenever we fail to correct our children we are in effect abusing them.

According to the scriptures, when we train up a child correctly, they will not depart from it their whole life through (Prov 22:6). Is not society allowing children to be trained to be LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual), or tolerant of such, by the examples set before them? This is spiritual child abuse!

It is also noteworthy that ungodly parents are training up their children to deny God’s existence and to be a heartless generation. This too is child abuse in the spiritual realm.

A Spiritual Problem

Child abuse occurs because of distinctly spiritual problems which cannot be cured by government programs and organizations. Being a spiritual problem, a spiritual cure is necessary to change the hearts of men and women.

The influence of the gospel on society has always been wholesome. The gospel, even when it does not convert the world, leavens the society in which it is prevalent. As a society becomes more secular, removing God from its classroom and other public forums, the leavening influence of the gospel is methodically eradicated. We can expect more and more social problems to occur, stemming from people who have little or no commitment to live by the ethical standards revealed by God. What a price we pay for leaving God out of our lives!

It is difficult for right thinking people to comprehend the thought of an adult harming a young and helpless child. Social agencies are inundated with investigations of child molestation and endangerment cases. Children are frequently removed from the custody of their biological parents, to be placed in an environment thought suitable for normal development. These are alarming indicators of the value society places on children, and on life itself. However, child abuse is not limited to the dysfunctional misfits of the world but is alive and well among believers. Not necessarily physical endangerment and molestation, but rather spiritual child abuse.

Spiritual Rebellion

Parents breed rebellion when they do not instruct their children to submit to God and require them to respect others. Manifestations of this include, parents permitting their children to rule the home by catering to their every whim, disrespect of teachers, disrespect of adults and disrespect of civil authority. All of which is disrespectful (a sin against) of God’s authority. As adults, these children will have difficulty until they learn to respect authority; whether in the workplace, government, or church. Parents instruct their children in the way of rebellion by poor example by telling them to respect authority, yet demonstrating contempt for God’s authority by refusing to submit to the elders of the church (Heb 13:7), speaking evil of civil authorities (2 Pet 2:20 f; Tit 3:1), and not submitting to one another (Eph 5:21). All of which sends mixed signals. What’s the difference between this and physical child abuse? When you observe out of control children, you are seeing a miniature version of out of control parents. When parents refuse their God-given role to take charge, keep their children under control, and make them obey and respect others, they are sinning.

We are all appalled by the reports of children being physically abused. Are we as equally concerned about spiritual child abuse? Are we concerned enough to modify our actions, and help others too? Parents and grandparents must wake up to the fact that the effects of spiritual child abuse last far longer than physical abuse, and that both are equally deplorable.

Conclusion: In Washington D.C., there are calls from both sides of the aisle to end child separation among illegal immigrants. I would agree that the child should not be punished for the crimes of the parents (Ex 18:20). Stop illegal immigration but don’t abuse children in the process should be the solution.

I am also aware that there are physical and sexual abuse of Children in our society which not only is a crime but is a grave sin. However, the greatest form of child abuse is spiritual child abuse.

I am acutely aware of child abuse by biological parents. More often than not, these are non-Christian families who live riotous lives. However, a Christian family has been proven to be the best place to rear children throughout the ages. They correct their children appropriately when they do wrong. They teach them the ways of God, morally and spiritually, according to the scriptures. They show them by examples how to be future parents by their moral values. Adulterous marriages, gay and lesbian marriages, and fornicators are havens for child abuse. “Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov 22:6).

Christian Love

Loving your neighbor as yourself was called the second greatest commandment, second only to love the Lord your God (Matt 22:37-39). Luke records the encounter between Jesus and an expert in the law, in which Jesus confirms the significance of this command.

The lawyer asks Jesus: “Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus asked the Lawyer: “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him, “Do this and you will live!” The lawyer followed up with a second question, rooted in situational morality: “Who is my neighbor?” (Lk 10:25-29).

Who do I have to consider as a neighbor? Which of my neighbors do I have to love? Are there any exceptions?

To clarify the precept “love your neighbor”, Jesus provides the lawyer with the example we know as “The Parable of The Good Samaritan”. The parable exposes the religious hypocrisy prominent among the Pharisees. The parable also involves divine reversal – portraying a Samaritan as the hero, and definitively depicting love as sacrificial sharing indicative of God’s love:

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man. “If his bill runs higher than that,” he said, “I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.” (Lk 10:33-35)

Jesus concludes this teaching opportunity by charging His disciples to follow the example of the Samaritan; living the second commandment in a way that demonstrates the sacrificial sharing inherent in God’s love:

Now, which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “the one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (Lk 10:36-37).

Our neighbor is not just the ones living next door to us, but every person we come in contact with who is in need of assistance. What is sad is that most Christians don’t even come close to loving their neighbor as themselves. And if that isn’t bad enough, consider this, Jesus added to all Christians a new commandment. This commandment was to love one another even as Christ also loved us. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (Jn 13:34,35). The apostle Paul was to place both of these commandments in perspective to one another when he wrote, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jn 3:16-17). Even as loving our neighbor as ourselves fulfill the royal law (Jam 2:8), by bearing one another burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2). Therefore, if Christians truly love God, they love also their fellow brethren (1 Jn 4:20,21) and love sinners as Christ also loved them and gave himself for them (1 Jn 4:8-11).

The Necessity Of Understanding

Since the gospel was first preached, hearing was the first primary step of salvation. After all, faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17). However, one can read or hear the Word preached their whole life through, but until one fully understands what they have read or heard, what does it profit them?

Before Phillip taught the Ethiopian eunuch, the lack of understanding was a hindrance to his salvation. The eunuch could read the scripture, but he did not understand the content of what he was reading. To this end was Phillip sent to the eunuch. When Phillip explained that the man Isaiah was speaking of was Jesus Christ, his understanding was opened. Phillip then preached to him Jesus, that is, the gospel of Christ, and the eunuch was baptized subsequent to his confessed belief that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 8:29-39).

The reason why the church is not to baptize little children or babies is that neither of them has a full understanding of the Word of God. A baby being baptized is like baptizing a faithless adult: one can’t believe, and the other refuses. The truth is, baptizing either one of these is pure futility, and only accomplishes in getting them wet. Before we are baptized, we must have a good understanding of why we go down into the water, and what to expect once we are raised to walk in the newness of life (Rom 6:3,4).

Many are baptized much too quickly, and too suddenly, not being taught the full gospel. Way too often many are taught to believe and be baptized but are not taught to repent of their sins (Mk 16:16 f; Acts 2:38). Therefore, many so-called Christians today are still in their sins, because they have never departed from their sins. This occurs to many who are living in adultery, and once baptized continue in their adulterous marriage. Baptism can’t wash away our sins until we first repent of them (Lk 13:3).

Many think that ignorance of God’s Word is an excuse which God will pardon come the day of judgment. However, God made it clear that He no longer winks at ignorance, but demands repentance of us all (Acts 17:30). This is why God demands each one who becomes a Christian to study the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15). God wants us to increase and grow in the knowledge of the scriptures (Col 1:9,10 f; 2 Pet 3:18). Christians are to study and learn for multiple reasons: To be able to save ourselves; (Acts 2:40) To be able to save others; (1 Tim 4:16) To be able to defend and contend for the faith against false doctrine; (Philip 1:15-18f ; Jude 3) To be able to stand against the trickery of the devil; (Eph 6:11-17) And to endure temptation and suffering for the cause of Christ (1 Pet 2:21 ff; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Pet 4:16).

We don’t learn the Word of God in one day, one week, one month, one year, and not all in one lifetime. We begin learning from the time we are baptized into Christ from a variety of sources. We can learn from Christian parents, seasoned elders, and mature brethren. We learn from a personal study, and we learn from those who are highly educated in the faith. We have to be careful of the sources we learn and to remember that not everyone is of the faith of Jesus Christ, and can lead us astray (1 Jn 4:1). To this end we must be like the Bereans and search the scriptures to be assured that what we are being taught is from God, and not from the opinions of mankind (Acts 17:11). Be careful what you hear, and be careful how you hear (Mk 12:24 f; Lk 8:18).

Understanding is often a forgotten step of salvation because it demands most of our time and energy. Understanding is a lifetime occupation and never ends as long as we are alive. It’s something we must do every day and night. (Ps 1:2). Phillip may have only asked the eunuch, but his question still resonates with us today. “Understand what you read”?

Vain Worship

Approximately one-third of the world’s population declares themselves as Christians. There are reportedly about 34,000 different denominations (2.42 billion members) in the world which all read the same bible, yet come to different conclusions about its meaning. As it has been said before, no two opposing views can be right at the same time. All of these churches can’t be right, but they all can be wrong. The question is, who is worshiping God in vain?

Denominations vs The Bible

The Catholic church teaches sprinkling of babies. The bible teaches of immersion and that of confessed believing adults (Acts 8:36-38).

The Lutherans and Baptists, as well as many denominations, teach that one can be saved by faith only. The bible teaches faith plus confession plus repentance plus baptism plus faithfulness equals salvation (Mk 16:16 ff; Rom 10:10; Acts 2:38; Rev 2:10).

The Christian church teaches as well as do most all denominations that using instruments of music is justified because “If God does not condemn a thing, then it is all right to do it.” The Bible teaches for churches to sing and make melody in the heart (Eph 5:19). The Bible condemns all who add to God’s Word and goes beyond that which is written in the scriptures (Rev 22:18,19 ff; 1 Cor 4:6).

The Christian Scientist Church do not baptize or partake of the Lord’s Supper. Many denominations partake of the Lord’s Supper quarterly or biannually. The Bible teaches all Christians to partake of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week in memory of the Lord’s death (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor 11:24-26).

The Mormons have their own bible called the Book of Mormon. Contained in their bible are the words: “A man is a fool who says the Bible is sufficient and that it contains all of God’s revealed truth” (2 Nephi 29:2-12). Several religions have published their own Bibles such as the Catholic church and many print their own bibles with subtle changes. The bible teaches that God has given us all things that pertain to life and to godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet 1:3).

The Seventh Day Adventist Church teaches that Christians are to worship on Saturday and that the 10 commandments are still in effect. The scriptures teach that all Christians met on Sunday and that the entire law of Moses, including the 10 commandments, was nailed to the cross and abolished (Acts 20:7 ff; Col 2:14; Eph 2:15).

Conclusion: Countless denominations all wear different names, teach different doctrines, practice different forms of worship, have different plans of salvation, and each has its own earthly headquarters.  How could anyone conclude that scripture authorizes any of this present confusion or that God is at all pleased by the wholesale abandonment of His plan as contained in the Scriptures?  “For God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor 14:33). However, mankind is totally confused which way to follow.  If all the denominational churches were all teaching and following only God’s word as found contained in the Holy Bible, then there would only be one church, the church of Christ.

Jesus warns us against allowing the authority of the traditions of men to determine doctrine.  He says, “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition…And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:6-9).

God’s word warns us to “Beware of false prophets, who come to us in sheep’s clothing” (Matt 7:15), and “many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn 4:1). There is so much false doctrine being taught today, which many people blindly accept. On the Day of Judgment, we are going to be judged only by what the Lord says in the Bible, and not what men falsely teach.  Jesus said, “He who rejects, Me and does not receive My words, has that which judges him: the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (Jn 12:48).

The Bible warns us “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men” (Eph 4:14) Christ is the only “author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb 5:9) If we follow any of the many plans men have devised we will be eternally lost. Our salvation in Heaven is too great to lose because if we don’t go to Heaven we will spend forever and ever in the torments of a burning Hell (Mk 9:43-48).  We can’t afford to be wrong concerning our eternal salvation.

There is only one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism (Eph 4:4-6) This one Lord is Jesus Christ. This one Faith is the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9) This one baptism is the gospel of Christ, and anyone who teaches another gospel shall be accursed (Gal 1:8,9). There is only one Body and that Body was called the Church, which Jesus is the head thereof (Col 1:18 f; Eph 1:22,23). All Christians are baptized into this one Body (the Church) (1 Cor 12:13) If we believe Jesus is the Christ and confess it before men (Rom 10:9,10); If we repent and are baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38); And if we remain faithful to the doctrine of Christ, we shall be saved and receive a crown of life (Rev 2:10 f; Jam 1:12).

All who obey not the gospel of Christ shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power (2 Thess 1:7-9) Obey the Lord today and reject denominationalism before it’s eternally too late (2 Cor 6:2).

God is Both Good and Severe

There are many who say God can’t destroy and kill for God is a merciful God. They will say that hell doesn’t exist, for God would not create such a place. They say that the same Jesus who laid down his life for us would not then come and destroy all of mankind. That’s what the world says, but what does the bible say? (Gal 4:30).

GOD’S SEVERITY

God destroyed the earth and every living creature within it because of their wickedness with the exception of Noah and his family and two of every living creature. God rained hail and brimstone down upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near about for their abominations. God destroyed Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea for the unwillingness to let His people go. God allowed all those who escaped by the Red Sea to perish in the wilderness with the exceptions of Joshua and Caleb. God commands goodness out of man to follow and abide by His laws. However, when they reject it, God will punish them accordingly. Therefore we should fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl 12:13). “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28).

GOD’S GOODNESS

Though God destroyed the earth and every living creature, he spared Noah and his family for their obedience. Though God destroyed every living creature in Sodom and Gomorrah, he spared Lot and his two daughters for their righteousness. Though God allowed all who escaped the Egyptian army to perish in the wilderness, He spared Joshua and Caleb and the children of the children of Israel to enter into the promise land. God rewards all who obey Him and keeps His commandments (Jn 14:15). “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit 1:2).

What About Today?

The scriptures reveal that God never changes. The nature of God was, is and always be the same. What God says, he delivers. God keeps his promises and lies not. This he sealed with his oath and his promise (Heb 6:15-19).

This same God promised eternal life unto all who obey the gospel of Christ and keeps it (Rom 10:10 ff; Acts 2:38; Rev 2:10). This same God promised eternal damnation unto all who do not obey the gospel of Christ (Mk 16:16). Paul said that Jesus himself will come with his angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God and obey not the gospel of Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power (2 Thess 1:7-9). Is it any wonder that Jesus’ cross is in the same shape of a sword. Is it any wonder that the Word of God is also known as a sword of the Spirit, which can cut asunder even the soul and the spirit (Eph 6:17 f; Heb 4:12). Is it any wonder that the same Jesus who laid down his life on the cross for our sins, will gather his mighty angels in revenge for those who reject his Word (Jn 12:48).

“Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity (ISRAEL); but toward you (GENTILES), goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off” (Rom 11:22).   “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either” (Rom 11:21) “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it” (Num 23:19-20).

God promised in days of old, and kept his Word. The question which remains for us today, will we keep God’s Word and obey it?  (Lk 11:28 f; 2 Pet 3:9).

The Bible Speaks For Itself

Many circumvent the laws of man with highly skilled lawyers who twist and manipulate the law in so many directions that hardly anyone can determine if a person is innocent or guilty of the crime in which they have been charged. Is it any wonder that this same mentality has entered into the churches of Christ?

Doctrines and Traditions of Men

One of the easiest ways to make God’s laws void is to blend them with the traditions of men. This was used in the days of Jesus to circumvent the law of Moses. They used their traditions to circumvent what the law actually said (Matt 15:4-6). This practice is used in the churches today to break the laws of Christ.

Jesus said, “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:7-9). Paul said that the commandments of men wiser one from the truth (Tit 1:14). “Therefore, brethren, stand firm and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (2 Thess 2:15). “Holding firm the faithful Word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Tit 1:9).

Question The Bible’s Authenticity

If one is faced with book, chapter, and verse in every direction on a particular subject, the one device Satan uses is to question if those particular passages were inspired by God. This has been done in part or in whole to the writings of the chief writer of the new testament, the apostle Paul. What is strange about this practice is, that these same people who question Paul’s credentials will often use a reference to his writings when it agrees with them, and malign his writings when it doesn’t.

Paul wrote in 4 different places that he lied not concerning what he wrote in the scriptures (Rom 9:1 ff; 2 Cor 11:31; Gal 1:20; 1 Tim 2:7). He certified that the gospel he preached was not taught to him by man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11,12). Paul wrote that ALL scriptures were given by the inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16). Peter confirmed that the ignorant and unstable would twist Paul’s writings, as they also do other scriptures (2 Pet 3:16).

Rewriting The Bible

The bible has been translated into every language under the sun. So, what do those who try and circumvent the law attempt to do? That’s right, they seek to rewrite it. They attack the translators as being imperfect, and non-inspired to question the validity of the scriptures. It’s true translators weren’t perfect or inspired, but accumulatively, time has proven them to be quite accurate. The King James version, though antiquated by today’s standards, contains only handful of proven errors. Since the time of this translation of 1611, there have been updated versions which clarify and erase these errors which were made in the KJV. Such trusted versions are the New King James Version, American Standard Version, and the New American Standard Version.

Novices in Greek and Hebrew often think themselves wiser than teams of Bible translators, and seek to find a path to their own doctrines. Christians are best served to allow the scriptures to define themselves, and not seek to make the laws of God of none effect by reinterpreting God’s Word (2 Pet 1:20).

Breaking Biblical Principles

God set in order basic principles to abide by when reading and learning of His Word. One is to never add to or take from His Word. Moses taught it (Deut 4:2) Joshua taught it  (Josh 1:7). Solomon taught it (Prov 30:6). Peter taught it (Acts 4:19,20). Paul taught it (1 Cor 4:6). And John taught it as well (Rev 22:18,19).

Secondly, we must rightly divide the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15) We must separate the old testament from the new testament. The old testament was for our learning, but not for our obedience (Rom 15:4). The old law was abolished and faded away by the end of the first century (Eph 2:15 ff; Col 2:14; Heb 8:13). The gifts of prophesy, of speaking in tongues and receiving knowledge via the Holy Spirit ended when that which was perfect was completed, that being, the Word of God (Rom 12:2 ff; 1 Cor 13:8-10; Ps 19:7; Ps 18:30).

Conclusion: If we are sincere seekers of the Word of God, we will not attempt to change the truth of God into a lie (Rom 1:25). Everyone should know that all who attempts to change the truth of God shall be accursed (Gal 1:6-9). The bible doesn’t contradict itself and is so plain that the simple can understand it (2 Cor 1:18 ff; Mt 11:26,27; Ps 19:7). The bible is not on trial in this life, we are, and blessed are those who endure such trials and temptations, for theirs is a crown of life (Ps 7:9 ff: Ps 11:5; Jam 1:12). The bible is set in stone and forever is settled in heaven (Ps 119:89).

The Bible never speaks more clearly than when it is allowed to speak for itself (1 Pet 4:11). Hear it (Rom 10:17); Believe it (Jn 8:24); Confess it (Rom 10:9,10); Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30); Wash away your sins by Baptism (Acts 22:16); And remain Faithful unto death (Rev 2:10). The Bible, the truth of God, the gospel contained therein is just that simple (1 Pet 1:25). If we can’t accept the Bible “As Is” we should leave it “As Is”. It all comes down to just one word, OBEDIENCE (Eph 1:13 ff; Jn 14:15f; 1 Jn 5:3).

Hell Revealed

Who believes in hell anymore? If people really believed in hell, would they be doing all the evil they are doing, and that without blushing? Would they be committing adultery, fornication, or homosexuality? Would they be lying, cheating, and stealing?

Most preachers no longer preach or teach about hell, as though it just disappeared or never existed. This has been done to make the church more acceptable to a generation which has rejected the authority of the scriptures.

If we are going to accept God’s plan of salvation we also must accept His plan of damnation. The same Jesus that offers us the great and precious promises of heaven is the same Jesus that said: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (2 Pet 1:4 f; Matt. 10:28).

The Purpose of Hell

Where there is no law there can be no sin; where there is no sin there is no penalty, and where there is no penalty there is no hell. The principles of right and wrong require a penalty to enforce it.

This modern age believes that hell is an antiquated folktale which has lost its power to detour man from sin. Yet, if there is such a place, we are compelled as Christians to warn the lost of their condition outside of Christ. None of us have to go to hell by the will of God, but rather by the will of ourselves (2 Pet 3:9). Every sinner who is lost to hell walks over the crucified body of Jesus and tramples the “blood of the covenant” with no concern for his own soul (Heb 10:29). God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit have already done all that they can do to keep us from this awful place of torment (Jn 3:16).

Hell Described

Hell will be eternal. The same word that describes the existence of God and the Holy Spirit describes the duration of hell. Jesus said, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). This will not be temporary torment, but a punishment which has no end.

Hell Is Dark

Hell will be dark because God will not be there. There will be no hope for the future and no opportunity for change, for our destinies will be sealed (Matt. 25:30). “The sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 8:12 f; Matt 25:30).

Hell Is A Place Of Fire

“And the smoke of their torment will ascend up forever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:11). Jesus warned of the existence of hellfire when he said: “Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matt 5:22 “And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mk 9:43-48f; Isa 66:24).

Hell Is Never Full

Hell was described as a place which is ever growing and expanding and always capable of taking in more (Isa 5:14). Unlike our penal system, none will escape damnation because hell has reached full capacity. Its gate is wide, and its way is broad, and many shall enter into it (Mt 7:13). Even as an evil man enlarges his wicked desires, so hell enlarges itself (Hab 2:5).

Hell Described In Detail

Hell is described as an awful dwelling filled with terror and punishment awaiting those who reject Jesus Christ. Jesus described hell in graphic terms in his story of the rich man and Lazarus. Hell was described as a place of insufferable pain, where one is tormented by fire night and day, with no water to even cool the tongue (Lk 16:19-31).

John described hell being cast into a lake of fire which burns with fire and brimstone, where it’s inhabitants will be punished night and day (Rev 20:10).

Who Will Be Cast Into Hell?

The Devil, and his angels will be cast into hell (Rev 20:10). Whether rich or poor, great or small, those whose names were not written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:12-15). All who add to or take from God’s Word will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 22:18,19). All who teach false doctrine will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10 f; Jam 3:1). All adulterers, all fornicators, all homosexuals, all liars, and all workers of the flesh shall be cast into the lake of fire (Gal 5:19-21 f; Rev 21:8). All those who preach another gospel than what the apostles preached, they shall be accursed (in hell) (Gal 1:8,9). All who obey not the gospel of Christ, and all who know not God will be punished with everlasting destruction (2 Thess 1:7-9) All Christians who remain not faithful unto death will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 3:11).

How Shall We Escape Hell?

How shall we escape if neglect so great salvation (Heb 2:3). It is true that each of us deserves hell because of our sins against the Lord (Rom. 3:23 f; 6:23). However, the wonderful truth is that no one has to go to hell. We can lay hold on eternal life through faith in the divine Son of God, Jesus Christ. God is gracious and merciful and wants to save us, but he gives us the choice! Paul said, “For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man, some would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom 5:7-9).

Jesus put it as blunt and straightforward as anyone when he said, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved (from hell), but he that believes not shall be condemned (in hell) (Mk 16:16). John said if Christians remain faithful to the doctrine of Christ, they will receive a crown of life, which was promised to all who love God and keep his commandments (Rev 2:10 ff; Jam 1:12; Jn 14:15).

The Only Question Left To Answer

Jesus is older than all of creation, yet he exists today, and for all future generations. He is same as he was yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ never changes. So, is it any wonder what Jesus would be teaching and preaching if he walked among men today? Is it any wonder from what source he would have preached?

Can any sincere seeker of the Word say that Jesus preached his own doctrine and his own interpretation of God’s Word? (Jn 7:16,17) Did not Jesus by his own account say that he only spoke what God commanded him to speak, and only did what God commanded him to do? (Jn 12:49,50 f; Jn 5:19) So, if Jesus were present with us today would he not also of necessity preach the exact same Word which is contained within the scriptures without adding his own opinions?

Mankind is always asking themselves, “What would Jesus say, and what would Jesus do”. Yet, we know what Jesus would say and do because the scriptures reveal to us what he said and did, and Jesus changes not.

We are not left to wonder what Christ would preach today, for we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). Jesus would preach the same Word he commissioned his apostles to preach unto all the world (Matt 28:19,20 f; Mk 16:15,16). This is the same gospel Paul certified proceeded from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11,12). This is the exact same gospel which Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. This is the exact same gospel which was preached to every Christian convert in the New Testament.

This is the gospel which was hidden from other ages, but is now revealed by his holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:3-6). This is the same gospel that shall judge us come the day of judgment (Rom 2:16 f; Jn 12:48). And if anyone, including the angels in heaven, preaches any other gospel, they shall be accursed (Gal 1:8,9). A gospel which boldly proclaims that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and arose from the dead according to the scriptures (1 Cor 15:1-4). All who believe and confess Jesus is the Christ (Rom 10:9,10), and repents and is baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38), and remains faithful shall be saved (Rev 2:10). The only question left to answer in this world is not what Jesus would say and do, but rather what we shall say and do once the gospel has been presented to us (Acts 2:37).

Enjoying The Pleasures Of Sin For A Season

We live in a world where men are marrying men, and women are marrying women; A world where men are becoming women, and women are becoming men by the means of surgeons; A world where homosexuality is being condoned by governments, families, and churches.

We live on a planet where adultery is being committed and lived in by more than half the population. Too many think that they have a God-given right to be married more than once without the restrictions of the scripture (Matt 19:9 f 1 Cor 7:39). Adultery has entered the churches and has taken over many pulpits and elderships.

Fornication, sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage, is more common than marriage itself. Society has accepted those who do everything a married couple does, except be legally married to one another. To the wicked, it’s all about love, desire, and being happy. They have ceased to remember, or never have learned, that they who do such wickedness shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven (1 Cor 6:9,10 f; Gal 5:19-21).

Too many are seeking self-gratification of the flesh as opposed to seeking first the kingdom of heaven (Matt 6:33). Too many are saying that they want the pleasures of sin now, over the promise of eternal life later (Heb 11:25 f; Tit 1:2).

Let us never forget that these kinds of abominations were true from the very beginning of time. Society was so evil in the days of Noah that God destroyed the earth by water, with the exception of Noah and his family. Sodom and Gomorrah were no more wicked than we are today, and God destroyed it by fire and brimstone. Babylon and Rome fell because of their decadence, and so will the nations which follow them. Nations that forget God are soon forgotten (Psa 9:17).

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, and he watches the evil and the good (Prov 15:3). This wicked world teaches its children a fantasy of Santa Claus who is able to know when we are good and bad, and yet forget that we have a God who can do so much more than we can ever imagine. God knows everything that we think, say, and do from the time we were born till the time that we die. What is worst, is that once we die we shall be judged by everything that we have done in our life according to the Word of God (Jn 12:48 f; 2 Cor 5:10).

Our Lord and Savior can’t save us until we first put away our sinful ways, and turn to God by our obedience to the gospel of Christ. If we have obeyed the gospel, yet have forsaken God’s Word, our worship and service to Him is in vain (Mt 15:7-9). Too many are living in sin and living it up, but living is sin isn’t living, it’s dying (Col 2:13). Actually, we don’t begin to live until we put our sins far from us, and take hold of the gospel of our salvation, and remain faithful to it (Eph 1:13 f; Rev 2:10).

The good news is that if we slay sin in our mortal flesh, and choose to bury this sin by baptism, we are raised cleansed from our sins to walk a new life with Christ (Rom 6:3,4). Once we have ceased from sin we begin to suffer even as Christ also suffered, that we should no longer live the rest of our lives in the lusts of the flesh, but to do the will of God (1 Pet 4:1,2). The choice is yours: Live in sin now and enjoy the world, or die to sin and forever reign with our Lord and Savior. Paul conclusively said, “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure (suffer), we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim 2:11-12). Do we suffer affliction with the people of God, or do we enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season? (Heb 11:25). Those who endure to the end shall receive a crown of life (Matt 10:22 ff; Jam 1:12; Rev 3:11).

One Chance To Get Right With God

Are there second opportunities after death for those who are not right with God? If that were true it would be a direct contradiction of many clear teachings found in the Scripture.

The apostle Paul taught, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). If we will receive judgment for the things done “in the body,” it is clear that we cannot change our spiritual condition once the spirit has departed from the body in death (Jam. 2:26).

Two realms are separated from one another in Hades. Jesus called one “Abraham’s bosom” (Lk 16:22) and the other “torment” (Lk 16:23). Jesus makes it clear in His account of Abraham’s discourse with the rich man that souls within these realms cannot cross from one place to the other. Abraham declared, “those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us” (Lk 16:26).

It has often be surmised by those who want to circumvent the commandments of Jesus, “What if a man died on his way to being baptized__ would God save him?” Of course, according to God’s Word, the answer is no. The man waited too long. We can have multiple chances while we are alive to obey the gospel, even though we are not promised a set number of chances. Life can end without any warning whatsoever. This is why early day converts were immediately baptized upon their belief and confession that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 8:37,38). We have only one chance to get right with God and that chance is life here on earth. Once we die physically, our soul returns back to God who gave it (Eccl 12:7). The Hebrew writer wrote, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

Once we die, we shall be judged by Jesus Christ according to the gospel of Christ and His apostles (Rom 2:16 f; Jn 12:48). If we have obeyed the will of God we shall hear “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matt 25:21). If we know not God and have not obeyed the gospel we shall hear, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt 7:23). Then shall we be cast into the lake of fire which burns with fire and brimstone (Rev 20:12-15 f; 2 Thess 1:7-9). We have only one lifetime to get right with God, and for our soul’s sake, we better get it right.

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