Escape for your life!

We know that it is God’s loving desire that “none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

Yet the sad reality is that many in this dying world will reject the hope and salvation held out to them by God, through Jesus, and will perish in their sins. It is a fearful thing to contemplate that sin and hardness of heart toward God can eventually alienate one from God and result in eternal separation from God (i.e. hell).

“Students of the Scriptures are aware that the Old Testament prophets and the writing apostles of New Testament times foresaw and proclaimed God’s coming day of judgment — the consummate settling of accounts between the Sovereign God and his rebellious and sinful creation. How desperately we would like to believe that in the face of coming judgment, that all lost men and women will cry out to God, but such will not be the case: ‘The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent.’ (Revelation 9:20).” — A. W. Tozer

When the angels came to rescue Lot from the destruction of that wicked city Sodom, Lot hesitated and deliberated. He wasn’t sure if he should really flee. Lot told his family about the warning, that the city was about to be destroyed. But the attitude of Lot’s two sons-in-law was, “Our city will be destroyed? You have got to be joking!!!” They were incredulous and thought it was a practical joke. Lot’s wife may have also been unwilling to leave, because she later looked back with dire consequences.

So there they were, in the city that was their home, being told to leave immediately because the city was going to be destroyed in a matter of hours. Really? Are you kidding me? This is all so sudden.  They could not bring themselves to believe it; they were stuck and could not move. In the end, Lot never left the doomed city by his own volition, but rather the two angels took hold of Lot and Lot’s wife and two daughters and forcibly removed them from city. Note that the sons-in-law never made it out.

When the angels managed to get Lot and his family beyond the city walls, their message was clear and direct and delivered in no uncertain terms:

Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, or stop anywhere in the whole valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed.” Genesis 19.16,17

If not for a clear, sustained and even forceful intervention, Lot and his family would have perished in the flaming destruction of that wicked valley along with all the sinful and wicked people who lived there in open rebellion against God and God’s ways.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “(Hebrews 10.31)

“For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12.29)

“Knowing therefore the fear/terror/dread of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5.11)

Even if we never talk about it. Even if we are not sure we really believe in it. Even if it sounds like a bad joke or the bizarre tale of a science fiction writer. The Truth is that hell is very real before God. Hell is the inevitable eternal fate of all those who choose to embrace rebellion against God and unashamedly practice sin.

In the story of Lot, the scripture says that God was being “merciful” to Lot when the angels took him by the hand and dragged him out of the doomed city…

“When the morning arose, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, ‘Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.’  But while he (Lot) lingered (instead of immediately fleeing), the men (the two angels) seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, for the LORD was merciful to him (Lot); and they (the two angels) brought him forth and set him outside the city and left him there. And when they (the angels) had brought them forth, they said, Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, or stop anywhere in the whole valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed!” — Genesis 19.15,16,17

Today we are afraid of hurting someone’s sensibilities by suggesting that God wants to save them from eternal destruction. Even if we believe it, we keep quiet and try to maintain superficial peace, in hopes that perhaps someone else will come along who can say it without giving offense. But the truth is that God offends people. If we understand what the word “God” means, then we know that what He desires supersedes everything that we desire. He is God, and He has the last say in all matters. If He desires that people everywhere escape desruction by coming to repentance for their hard hearts and sin, placing their faith in His Son Jesus, then there is no resisting the eternal purposes and plans of God. That is His reality and there is no alternative; if we want to be saved from destruction, we will be saved only by believing and embracing His reality. His loving and merciful reality.

Oh how I hope and pray that every jeopardized soul would find a loving friend who will take them by the hand and drag them out of hell’s trajectory, and into the everlasting love and mercy of God though the Gift of His Son Jesus.

The reality that “God alone will decide our eternal fate” is real. Hell is real. Eternal lostness for those who resist God and His ways is real. Hell does not go away just because we are not thinking about it, or because we do not “personally” believe in it. Who does not know that some things are greater than and beyond the control of our “personal” beliefs?  It does not matter what we beleive…if our personal beliefs are not God’s Truth.  The personal beliefs of millions are on a direct collision course with God’s reality.

Oh that we would take the time to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom (Psalm 90.12). Oh that we would respond to the merciful and loving voice of God Who is calling us by name, offering us a way of escape from eternal destruction. Oh come Lord Jesus and soften our hearts that we may hear Your voice and embrace You before it is too late.  Condition us for heaven before we become irrevocably unfit to live with You there!

“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His might, when He comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day. To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” –2 Thessalonians 1:7,12

“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9

“I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear Him, who after He has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna/Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him [God].” –Luke 12:4,5

“Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.” –Matthew 7:13

“Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.” –Acts 22:16

“Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” –Romans 10:13

“Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to you, If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom/reign of God.” — John 3.3

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. –John 3:16,17

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 7:21

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say?” –Luke 6:46

Suffering Messiah

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of Yahweh revealed?

2 For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form nor magnificence that we should see Him; nor form that we should desire Him.

3 He is despised and abandoned of men, a Man of pains, and acquainted with sickness. And as it were hiding our faces from Him, He being despised, and we did not value Him.

4 Surely He has borne our sicknesses, and He carried our pain; yet we esteemed Him plagued, smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His wounds we ourselves are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to his own way; and Yahweh made meet in Him the iniquity of all of us.

7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a ewe before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from justice; and who shall consider His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; from the transgression of My people, the stroke was to Him.

9 And He appointed Him His grave with the wicked, but He was with a rich man in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit was not in His mouth.

10 But Yahweh pleased to crush Him, to make Him sick, so that If He should put His soul as a guilt offering, He shall see His seed; He shall prolong His days; and the will of Yahweh shall prosper in His hand.

11 He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul; He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge the righteous One, My Servant, shall justify for many, and He shall bear their iniquities.

12 Because of this I will divide to Him with the great, and with the strong He shall divide the spoil; because He poured out His soul to death; and He was counted with those transgressing; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for those transgressing.

Daniel 7.25-27

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time.

But the judgment shall be set, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end.

The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

“For I, Yahweh, do not change”
—Malachi 3:6

The suffering you cause

The love of God was revealed to the world
In the Person and Presence of the Son of God

You pierced Him
Over and over you pierced His heart
Pierced and pierced and pierced

The love of God rains down upon you
And envelops you like safety and shelter
You walk away from Him
And embrace sin upon sin

You pierce Him
Over and over you pierce His heart
Pierce and pierce and pierce

God with us, God in us
We gather around you and love you
Hope such wonderful things for you
Pray for you, show Him to you

You pierce us
Over and over you pierce our hearts
Pierce and pierce and pierce

It hurts so much and deeply
And you are so far away now
I pray for you and hope for your turning
Oh that you would turn to Father God through Jesus

Sin upon sin
Wound upon wound
Sorrow upon sorrow
Grief upon grief
The Man of Sorrows
Has a suffering heart
That feels the weight of the sin
Of all the world
Of your sin
He is pierced over and over
By unfeeling and uncaring sinners
Who also happen to be the love of His Life

For God so loves the world
God so loves you
That He provided His only begotten Son, Jesus
That all who believe into Him
Should not perish in their sins
But have His everlasting Life
His Life, True Life, Life to the full

Turn from your sin and recognize the wounds
You are inflicting on the Lover of your soul
So gladly He will receive you, embrace you,
Love you, and delight in your return,
Fill your emptiness,
And be the Love of your Life

So gladly the wounds inflicted
Will turn to rejoicing and thanksgiving
Because you will know Him
And you will be with Him
Not just here in time,
But to the ages without end

Through the night we weep
But our joy comes in the morning

Come to Jesus, the Love Letter of God in the Person of His Son, offered to you.

“He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and acquainted with disease: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we didn’t respect him. Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; everyone has turned to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
—Isaiah 53:3-6

“They made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
—Isaiah 53:12

“Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.”
—Genesis 6:6

“Forty long years I was grieved with that generation, And said, “It is a people that errs in their heart. They have not known my ways.”
—Psalms 95:10

“But they rebelled, and grieved His Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, Himself fought against them.”
—Isaiah 63:10

“Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
—Ephesians 4:30

“I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.”
—Romans 9:1-2

“For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.”
—2 Corinthians 7:10

“Yahweh is near to all those who call on Him, To all who call on Him in truth.”
—Psalms 145:18

“It will be, that whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”
—Acts 2:21

“Therefore God also highly exalted Him, and gave to Him the name which is above every name; that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.
—Philippians 2:9-13

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
—John 14:15

“Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn’t know us, because it didn’t know him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is. Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure. Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whoever remains in him doesn’t sin. Whoever sins hasn’t seen him, neither knows him. Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin, because his seed remains in him; and he can’t sin, because he is born of God.”
—1 John 3:1-9

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil.”
—John 7:7

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.”
—Galatians 5:19-24

“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.”
—Revelation 1:7