For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18, KJV)

Restoring People

Christian journalist, Nick Harrison, makes this important comment about the life of the Christian:

My wife is a skilled seamstress. She quickly restores garments that need mending, giving them many months of extra use, whereas they would otherwise be ready for the trash. In our own unique ways we all have talents given to us by God to help mend torn people.

Some may help financially, others may pray diligently, still others may be called to daily hands-on involvement. But whatever our gifts, the mending pile of humanity grows daily.

I think it’s good sometimes to be reminded, that although God is sickened by the sin in this world, He still loves people within it. And the reason He has chosen to delay the Second Coming of Christ is because God the Father is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter. 3:9). But, alas the sad truth is that there are many who will not make it. In the end, of course, this will be their own choice.

You see when God made man He could have “programmed” us to obey Him but the Lord was willing to risk us having a will and allowing us to make the choice in some level to love Him or the choice to reject Him. And God–Who is love–knew that people can’t be forced to love because that would no longer be love it would, rather, be an obligation. You’ve no doubt heard the old saying, “If you love someone, set them free; if they love you, they’ll return.” In the case of our Creator this is essentially what He did with His cherished creation-mankind.

However, because sin has warped our perceptions about God, and with much help from Satan, we are incapable of returning to Him unless the Lord draws us to Himself. And even then we must still make the choice to come to Him. God knew what the cost would be for mankind to be able to live with Him; our Creator Himself would have to come into His Own world and die for us. The Bible calls Jesus of Nazareth – The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the [universe] (Revelation 13:8)

The Other Side Of The Good News

But there is that “other side of the Good News” as Dr. Larry Dixon points out in his excellent book of the same name. And that is, all who die apart from the Lamb and whose name was not found written in the book of life, [will be] thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). This lake of fire being a place Jesus Himself called Hell. It is a very sobering thought, and rightly so, as the Scripture says that – man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment ( Hebrews 9:27). The truth is that every person will have to account for how he lived the life that was given to him by God, and you only have this one lifetime to seal your fate–for eternity.

To clear up a common misconception, God doesn’t so much “send” people to Hell, He simply honors their freedom to choose to go there. That is the cost of loving your own ways above the better ways of Him Who created you. You see that freedom of choice that so many people worship today, well, it comes with a price. As Jesus wept over His beloved Jerusalem He said –
how often did I desire to gather together in one place your children, even as a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you did not desire it”
(Luke 13:34, Kenneth Wuest, An Expanded Translation).

My teacher Dr. Walter Martin stated the truth when he said: We must face the fact that the vast majority of mankind will not make it to Heaven, because they just will not repent. Yes, it is true that John 3:16, which is perhaps the most recognized verse in the Bible, does say – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that John 3:18 reads – Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son – [Jesus Christ of Nazareth].

We are already condemned to Hell because of our sinful nature. And John 3:36 informs us – Whoever believes – I point out the Greek word used for believe in each of these passages is pisteuo. It’s a word that means “to place full confidence in, to trust fully” – not just to acknowledge a fact as it means in our culture. Whoever – [totally trusts in] – believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on Him. As I pointed out a moment ago that choice to remain “condemned” to suffer God’s full anger or to accept the Lord’s free gift of salvation does belong to the individual person.

And you know, to hear people talk today about how they pride themselves for their independence, their freedom of choice and all that, why we wouldn’t want it any other way. In his classic book, All The Teachings Of Jesus Dr. Herbert Lockyer writes these sobering words:

From the [historical] records of our Lord’s ministry among men we discover that some of the most solemn utterances about the eternal [horror] of the lost [came] from the lips of him who died that men might not perish. No matter how men try to do away with hell, it is still in existence and was a grim reality to Jesus who constantly warned his hearers of its terrors. While some of his descriptions of the place of final punishment might be figurative, they yet indicate a dreadful reality.

The words he used all imply utter and hopeless ruin and reveal how candid he was when speaking of the eternal destiny of those rejecting him and his witness. We cannot explain away the revelation he gave men of eternal punishment. It was the savior who came as personification of divine love who…said ‘[God] will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire [of hell]’ ” – Matthew 25:41.

The Good News for you today is that the Bible tells us the right now God still says – “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2) And if you feel your heart calling to Him, and if you hear the Lord’s Voice within mine, I urge you come to home to your God. It truly is as A.W. Tozer writes here:

No matter how insignificant he may have been before, a man becomes significant the moment he has had an encounter with the Son of God. When the Lord lays His hand upon a man, that man ceases at once to be ordinary. He immediately becomes extraordinary, and his life takes on cosmic significance. The angels in heaven take notice of him and go forth to become his ministers (Hebrews 1:14).

Though the man had before been only one of the faceless multitude, a mere cipher in the universe, an invisible dust grain blown across endless wastes-now he gets a face and a name and a place in the scheme of meaningful things. Christ knows His own sheep “by name” (Tozer on Christian Leardership, October 23)

And if you’d like to know more about how to accept Jesus as your Savior or to have more information on how to live the Christian life you may contact me here.