THE CONSEQUENCES OF REJECTING JESUS
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but
whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it
for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit
his very self?
Luke 9: 24-25
The gospel of Matthew puts it in the following way:
What good will it be for a man if he gains the
whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man
give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16: 26
The Lord Jesus is highlighting for us the seriousness of the issue
in terms of the consequences. Whoever wants to save his life will lose
it, but whoever loses his life for the Lord Jesus will save it. The Lord is
telling us that if we cling to this temporary life that the world can offer,
in terms of what the spirit of the world entices us with, we would lose
the eternal and true life, which God offers in Christ, that abides forever.
Even if we were to gain the whole world and forfeit our souls, it is not
worth it. For many of us, gaining the whole world is out of our reach.
We might only gain a small fraction of the world and even this small
fraction may cause us to be shortsighted and we cling to it at the
expense of our souls and eternal destiny.
HELL IS REAL
The Lord Jesus spoke much more than anyone else on the
subject of hell and the reality of eternal judgment.
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it
off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life
maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet
and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you
to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you
to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be
thrown into the fire of hell.
Matthew 18: 8-9
So terrifying is the prospect of hell that it might be better to be
maimed or blind in this life that to be thrown into hell subsequently.
The Lord Jesus Christ will send out His angels and they will weed out
of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They
will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and
gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13: 41-42).
Some apparently said that they do not mind going to hell
because all their friends will be there. Obviously, they do not realize
the terrible judgment awaiting them in hell. It will be in a fiery furnace
burning in an eternal fire that goes on and on forever, and the fire is not
quenched. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth that last for
eternity (Matthew 9: 48).
There are serious eternal consequence in rejecting Jesus as
Savior and Lord and pursuing a life of sin and disobedience to God.
This is not a fairy tale. It is real and ever so true. Our eternal destiny
depends on our response to follow Him or to reject Him. Whether you
are one who has not believed in Jesus or you are one who happens to go
to Church as a way of life, but yet in reality, you do not really know
Jesus, take note that the issue involved is an issue of etenal life or
eternal death. God has given ample warnings in the Bible. When we
come before the judgment seat of Christ, it may be too late.
JUDGEMENT IS SURE
Hell is actually reserved for Satan and his demons. Unfortunately,
those who worship him and follow him would follow him into the place
of damnation. Adam’s failure was not just a personal sin – it was a
disaster at a cosmic level; it allowed Satan to gain the world which God
had intended for Adam to rule. Satan became the prince of this world
and the god of this age.
Jesus, the Son of God, appeared, took on our human nature, shared
our flesh in order to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8;
Hebrews 12: 14-15). He came to undo the disaster that Adam had
effected. By tasting death for us and rising again in power and glory,
Jesus would bring about the pardon of our sins according to God’s
righteous judgment. He removed the power of sin and death that Satan
held over us. What appeared to be a tragic defeat at the cross for Jesus
was in fact the greatest triumph over the evil one. In fact, all the powers
of death and hell were exhausted in Jesus at the cross.
What Jesus did on the cross guaranteed our victory in Him but it
is not the end of the battle. The devil knows that his time is short and he
is full of rage (Revelation 12: 10,12). Spiritual warfare continues and
believers must know that we are waging war against the rulers, the
authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6: 12).
Nevertheless, ultimate victory is secure; every knee would bow to the
Lord Jesus in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue
would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The devil who deceived the world would be thrown into the lake
of burning sulfur, that is hell. The dead, great and small, would
stand before the judgment throne of God and they would be judged
according to what they had done. Anyone whose name is not found
written in the book of life would be thrown into the lake of fire and they would be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20: 10, 12-13).
THE PRECIOUSNESS OF GOD’S GIFT
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in
a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in
his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking
for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went
away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Matthew 13: 44-45
When Jesus calls us today to deny self, to take up the cross and
to follow Him, He is calling us to possess a treasure of great price.
The treasure is so precious that nothing can compare with it – it is the
treasure of being accepted into the kingdom of God and to spend
eternity in wondrous fellowship with God and His people. Do we value
and realize the preciousness of God’s gift that is offered to us in His
Son, Christ Jesus? Do we appreciate that it is worth much more than
anything the world and the enemy can offer us?
Let us be wise in not rejecting God’s gift in His Son Jesus. Let
us not live for the moment and be mesmerized by what is temporary
and passing away. Let us instead take hold of the treasure that is
precious and eternal. It may involve rejecting what the prince of this
world, Satan, offers us; we may appear foolish to the world but in fact,
we are truly wise in giving up what we cannot keep to gain what we
cannot lose forever!
THE SALIENT POINTS
To recapitulate – Christ died as a sacrifice for man’s sin; He died
to make reconciliation for man’s transgression; He died to purge our
sins by the offering of Himself; He died to redeem us from the bondage
of sin and death and He died to satisfy the justice and
righteousness of God. He died to deliver those who follow Him from
the condemnation of judgment and hell, which we fully and rightly
deserve. He lives (following resurrection and ascension) to mold us
and make us a holy people of God, to inherit the new heaven and new
earth and to share His glory, reigning with Him through all eternity.
We are sinners, all of us, but Christ has borne our sins; we are
helpless debtors but Christ has paid our debts; indeed He has paid a full
and completed ransom for those who believe. The person who comes
to Christ by faith should never doubt Christ’s willingness to receive
him. All the unwillingness is on the part of the person, not of Christ.
Christ Jesus, as the second Adam, inaugurates a new people of
God; He became the head of a new body of believers; He is the
bridegroom of the bride, comprised of all believers from all generations.
As the first fruits, the resurrected Christ will resurrect all believers to
inherit the new heaven and new earth, and to receive eternal life in
God. There is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
He has ascended to the right hand of the Father after the resurrection
and He will come again to bring all those who are His to be with Him
forever. Will you be among those whom He will receive?
Will you deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him?