I live in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. During the summer months we frequently experience “Monsoon Rains.” Sweeping down from local mountains. These large cells of wind and rain, can dump massive amounts of precipitation in a very short period of time.
Thousands of dry washes cross roads in many communities where flash floods often make crossing these roads treacherous. Signs are placed at the edge of rushing waters, warning motorists to not cross. Despite these warnings, several hundred people each year attempt a crossing at their own peril.
When emergency workers must come out and rescue trapped motorists, they are responsible for the costs of these rescues. Local residents have labeled the law that makes residents culpable, “The Stupid Motorist Law.”
The idea behind this law is that those who are careless and act stupidly to bring their life into peril, as a result of disobeying a law designed to protect and save life, must bear the consequences of their disobedience.
Laws And Consequences
When the God of the universe created all that exists, He made laws to govern the physical properties of time, space, and matter. Those who obey these laws, save their own lives; those who disobey, often lose their lives.
When God created us in His image, He also made laws which govern our behavior and how we must live on His earth. When it became clear that our fallen nature made it impossible for any of us to perfectly keep His moral laws, the world remained under the judgement of God and all human-kind were lost with no hope of redemption.
“Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.” ~Ezekiel 18:4 (NKJV)
Not wanting any of us to perish eternally, God sent His Son to earth to act as our Redeemer. Jesus died at the place of our judgement and took the punishment that we deserved. Being God and Man, Jesus body died for our sins, while His life as the Eternal God, was sufficient to redeem the lives of all people on earth.
Only Jesus was found sufficient to redeem the world of human beings, because no other savior was sinless or possessed a life of infinite value.
God gave us notice that if we neglect HIs warning to repent from our sins and turn to Jesus and receive His offer of salvation, we will all be lost. Despite this solum warning, just like the signs at the edge of rushing waters in Arizona, people persist in trying to cross, and jeopardize their lives.
Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews that after hearing God’s warning, if we persist and refuse to receive the Savior He sent to us, we will suffer the consequences of our refusal.
Paul begins by informing the world that although God has spoken to us many times in the past history of the world through His prophets in the Old Testament, in these last days He is now speaking to us by His Son.
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. ~Hebrews 1:1-2 (NLT)
When certain individuals claim that there is no proof for God, they neglect the massive record that God left for us in His word. He intended that every person might know God, by simply reading His word. This record, beginning at Genesis and continuing through Revelation, is about one subject: God’s promise to send us a Savior. This Savior is His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ.
Paul notes that Jesus is the Creative Agent who made the universe, earth, and all life on earth.
“… and through the Son he created the universe…”
Next, Paul reminds the world that Jesus was able to create all things because He is God.
But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. ~ Hebrews 1:8 (NLT)
Since God is speaking to our world right now through His Son and this message is urgent for all who live, we should pay attention and obey God, for our very lives depend upon our response.
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. ~Hebrews 2:1-4 (NLT)
Paul reminds us that God delivered similar warnings to people in the past that bore extreme consequences. Every warning that God sent the world was followed by the judgement He foretold: The angels who disobeyed God in heaven and were cast out. The whole world during the days of Noah; the men of Sodom and Gomorrah; the Canaanites in Palestine; the people of Nineveh, who listened to God, who did repent and were spared.
First God Warned, Before His judgment Was Carried Out
- The angels who lived in the very presence of God for eternity, knew the consequences of turning against Him.
- God warned the world for 100 years while Noah built the Ark.
- God warned the Canaanites for nearly 1,000 years before they were all destroyed.
- The men of Sodom and Gomorrah had the scriptures of God for hundreds of years that warned them to not participate in perverse sexual relationships, under the penalty of death.
- Jonah went throughout Nineveh for 40 days, warning of God’s coming judgement, causing the entire population to respond in faith and repent from their sins and turn to God
Paul writes this text in the book of Hebrews to remind us of these former judgments of God where people ignored His warning and were destroyed. We are likely the final generation who will also experience the same judgment of God, as our present world has digressed to a point of peril. Paul said that the warning God gave the world in the scriptures should be sufficient to cause us to act:
“What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?”
As God warned the angels, the whole world, and various nations and people, before He destroyed them, we should understand that His warning to us today, will also be carried out.
The Problem With Delayed Judgement
Peter wrote that some people reject the idea that God will judge the world, or that Jesus will return again, because such a great amount of time has passed since these things were preached to the world. God’s mercy in witholding judgment for such a great time, in order to give people time to change their minds, also has an undesired consequence. After a long time, people begin to think that God will not judge, or He doesn’t care how we live.
Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” ~2 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)
When people say these things, they forget that judgment has happened before, and it will happen again. When God warns of a coming judgement, and then waits, it is for the purpose of love, because He doesn’t want people to perish. After He permits time for us to change our mind, eventually His waiting is over and judgment will fall.
And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever…” ~Genesis 6:3
People forget very quickly what God has done in the past. This causes them to imagine that He never did say these things before, or that He will not do them now. Both ideas are wrong. God never said anything that He did not mean, and He always does exactly what He said He would do.
They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. ~1 Peter 3:5-7
Peter reminds us that when God warned the world, which existed during the time of Noah, where “every thought and intent of man was towards evil continually,” that to ignore His warning, would bring catastrophic consequences.
A God Of Love And Justice
We may not understand why God would destroy the whole world, but this is because we fail to understand the Holiness of God and that He will not permit sin and evil to continue forever.
Only on earth, has God permitted His creation to rebel against His law. In heaven the angels who rebelled were immediately cast out of heaven and no plan of salvation was given to save these beings. God has permitted human beings to make their choice and also to bear the consequences of our choices.
If God warns us and we do not listen and do what He said, we have only ourselves to blame. No one can attach harm to the name of God for carrying out judgement upon those who break His laws. No person in the world would choose to live under a government where the people who are charged with enforcing the laws, fail to do so. Nations would exist in chaos and lawlessness when laws are not enforced.
If God could not be trusted to keep His word regarding judgement for those who disobey Him, how could we ever trust Him to keep His word regarding all the blessings He promised to those who obey Him?
Regarding time, God is not under the constrains of days and years, He dwells in eternity. The passing of a thousand years for us is a mere day for God. He waits for people because He is good, kind, and doesn’t want anyone to be lost. This is why God warns first and then waits long periods of time before judgement comes.
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die. ~Ezekiel 33:11
If God is truly mean and cruel as some have alleged, how do we explain His mercy in waiting for such a long time before He carries out His judgement? In the world, when we violate the laws of men, judgement is carried out swiftly. Would we prefer that God judge us immediately after He warned us, or give us time to think about what we are doing, change our mind, and be spared?
Only a Good God would wait for so long for people who are stubborn and resist Him. It is the kindness of God in witholding judgment for a great deal of time, that shows us how good and loving He really is.
He is also a Just God who will punish sin. God must eliminate all rebellion against Him and His laws, or the good people who want to live in peace and safety, will never be able to do so.
We Choose, God Chooses
Would you want to live next door to an active criminal? We have the right to choose who we want to live with, certainly God has this right also.
But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. ~1 Peter 3:8-9
The facts are, the judgement of God will come upon this world. By the present condition of people’s hearts today, it is clear that we are at the same place that the people were at during the time of Noah, “every thought and intent of their heart was towards evil continually.”
But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. ~1 Peter 3:10-12
Our Perilous Condition
Peter finishes at the same place that Paul left us in the book of Hebrews. Since we are at the time promised by God when judgement will fall and each of us will give our own account for our lives before God, we should do the sensible thing and repent from our sins, receive Jesus as our Savior and prepare ourselves for His soon return.
That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. ~Hebrews 3:7-9 (NLT)
Did You Notice The Pattern That Is Being Presented Here?
As God makes His case before us, He presents evidence from the past where the two million people He rescued out of Egypt after 400 years of slavery, turned against Him while on their journey through the desert.
These people saw the Glory of God in the cloud that led them by day, and the pillar of fire at night. They saw the Red Sea open as God led them through. They saw the ten plagues against Pharaoh in Egypt. All these miracles did not prevent people from denying God and refusing to be saved.
How much more today, shall we, who are the final generation before Jesus returns, also see that no amount of proof can ever change the heart of an unbeliever. Either a person sees that they are a sinner, in need of a Savior, or they continue in unbelief and cannot turn to God to be saved.
Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. ~Hebrews 3:12-13 (NLT)
This is our personal warning, coming through 2,000 years of history, “be careful…”
If our generation does not examine our hearts and see how far we have fallen from God, recognizing that we are all sinners who have broken God’s law and we are under His judgement, we will never be saved.
The only sin that will keep us out of heaven is unbelief. God will forgive every sin that you have committed, but He will not forgive your refusal to accept Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins.
We can change our impossible situation by a personal act of faith, to believe what God commanded; turn from sin and receive Jesus’ death and resurrection as our only method of salvation.
So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. ~Hebrews 3:19 – 4:1 (NLT)
Two Types Of Unsaved Persons In The Last Days Who Hear But Are Not Saved:
One: a person who claims to be a follower of Jesus but their life has not changed; there is no repentance from their former sins, they are not saved.
Two: a person who continually hears about Jesus and the salvation He offers, but continually rejects Jesus.
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~Hebrews 10:26-31 (NLT)
Although it is certain that Paul was thinking of those who hear but continually reject Jesus, it is also likely that he is considering people who claim to belong to Jesus, but by the continuation of a lifestyle of sin, they prove they never were saved.
There is a movement today by the LGBTQ community which asserts that they are Christians and believe in Jesus. The problem with their confession is that they have not turned from their sins. Without repentance there is no salvation. God clearly defined what sin is and He lists these offenses throughout the Bible.
The Amplified Bible Is Very Specific About Sins That Keep A Person Out Of Heaven:
Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality, Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. ~1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (AMPC)
Paul clarifies that some of those whom he is writing to, who formerly practiced these things in their life, have now repented and ceased from these sins, and are therefore fit for heaven, and genuinely saved.
What is important is that these individuals, first repented, then they were saved.
And such some of you were [once]. But you were washed clean (purified by a complete atonement for sin and made free from the guilt of sin), and you were consecrated (set apart, hallowed), and you were justified [pronounced righteous, by trusting] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God. ~1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (AMPC)
See The Book: “Sodom And Gomorrah: The Gay Marriage And Same-Sex Controversy”
The later part of Hebrews 10:31, describes God judging His own people. Just because someone claims to believe in Jesus, they are not excluded from God’s judgement for sin. They will not lose their eternal life, but they will certainly be chastened by the Lord and suffer the loss of rewards in heaven and experience consequences while in this life.
The text which describes the judgment of those who “trample on the Son of God,” is descriptive of the mockers of God, the atheist, and critics of His word, aimed at those who seek to reach the lost and preach the Gospel of Christ. For those who openly ridicule Jesus and mock His death and resurrection, publicly, Paul makes a special point of tell these individuals:
“It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Just as people here in Phoenix ignore the signs and cross perilous streams that have flooded, and become stranded or drown, they are responsible for their own stupidity. The State of Arizona will have no mercy on people who approach a sign warning them of impending danger or death, and cross this boundary and are harmed. They will pay for their mistake.
God is the same in this regard. If we hear His words, either in the Bible, or from His messengers here on earth, that to cross the boundary of rejecting Jesus as Savior, which will place us under the judgement of God, we place ourselves under certain destruction.
Arizona’s stupid citizen law is very much the same as God’s stupid citizen warning.
“Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge.”
Better to come to God in sincere sorrow for our sins, willing to turn from them, and receive the mercy that God has provided for us by Jesus’ death and resurrection. All who do, will be forgiven and saved.
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Categories: Disregard for the Bible, Expecting Jesus Return, Forgiveness of Sin, Going to Church but unsaved, How Salvation Occurs, Not understanding salvation, One Way to Heaven, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, Rewards, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation, Salvation is a free gift, The Condition of the Heart, The gay lifestyle, The Importance of the Bible, The Miracles of Jesus, The Time and Season of Jesus Return, The world rejects Jesus, We must repent