The Difference between Saved and Lost

August 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Salvation | 4 Comments
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The distinction between saved and lost, spiritually speaking, is the sharpest, most significant distinction in the world. The difference between “saved” people (those who have been truly born again by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, John 3; Ephesians 2:8-9) and those who have not been saved is more important than the differences between people of different political beliefs, different nationalities, different skin colors, different genders, and different ages. A person who is saved is truly a child of God. His or her name has been written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), and he or she will one day go to Heaven to be with Jesus forever, because his or her sins have been forgiven. A person who is lost is an enemy of God, whose sins are unforgiven. This person, unless his or her condition changes before death or before Jesus comes back, must be punished by the just and living God, and he or she will go to a place of separation from God that the Bible calls hell, and ultimately to a place called the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), which is a horrible place of eternal conscious torment. There is nothing of greater consequence for human beings than believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting Him unto salvation.

God’s Unassisted Bookkeeping

March 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.

Exodus 32:31

Moses acknowledged the seriousness of the people’s sin, and he admitted that it was not just a vague general sin, but a specific breaking of God’s revealed law (“made them gods of gold”).

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

Exodus 32:32

He broaches the idea of forgiveness, but does not make excuses or rationalizations (“forgive their sin”), and he leaves this thought incomplete, because it is too amazing a thought that God would forgive sin, and because, really, what can we possibly offer as an exchange for God’s forgiveness? How can we “pay Him back?” Or bribe Him? We are bankrupt when it comes to righteousness.

Moses was forced to bring up the alternative: “if not…” And he then stated a desire to be judged with the people – to lose his own life. For all Moses knew, he could have been referring to eternal life. This reminds us of Paul’s statement in Romans 9:3: “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”. As a missionary to the gentiles, Paul saw many converted, but his own people – the Jews – were for the most part rejecting the Gospel. He wished he could be accursed if it would mean salvation for Israel.

Moses referred, in Exodus 32:32, to “Thy book,” which lets us know that God keeps books. From the entirety of Scripture we can glean that God keeps at least four books: The Book of the Living; The Lamb’s Book of Life; a book of sins; and the Bible. (There is possibly also a book of works and rewards.)

This was a very pious and unselfish plea by Moses, and there is no reason to think he was not being sincere, but God set him straight:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Exodus 32:33

God is in charge of deciding who will and who will not be blotted out of His book. God also distinguished Moses’s relative innocence compared to the idolaters.

Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

Exodus 32:34

God was telling him that it was time to get moving toward Canaan. Having the “Angel” lead the way was an invitation to see how people would react to having God’s presence somewhat removed from them. “The day” referred to a future time when God would allow the nation to be taken captive to Babylon. This was a yet-to-come judgment against the nation for its sin. Their immediate consequence was a plague.

And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Exodus 32:35

People probably got sick and some may have died. In this plague even the bystanders were affected – not just the active participants in the idolatrous revelry – because passive onlookers who fail to speak out against their nation’s sin are sinners, too – just as the spectators of a violent crime who did nothing to help the victim would be next in line for punishment after the perpetrators.

Standing before the Throne: Man’s Responsibility

August 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Posted in The Great White Throne | 5 Comments
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The Great White Throne shows:

I. God’s righteousness. All those who appear before God for judgment will be judged fairly.
II. Sin’s repulsiveness. God hates sin, and its consequences are severe.
III. Man’s responsibility.

At the Great White Throne where God will judge those who have rejected Jesus Christ, there will be certain books. One of the books will contain the record of the sins of the unredeemed. I believe the Bible will also be one of those books. But there is a third book mentioned.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 (emphasis added)

If you find yourself before this Great White Throne, you will be judged – but you will not be tried. The outcome of your trial would be a foregone conclusion. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your name is not in that Book of Life. If you go to the lake of fire you will have no one to blame but yourself. There was a day when the King of the Great White Throne – when the Judge – hung on a Cross before all men. You weren’t there in person, but you know – deep down – in your heart of hearts – that it’s true. He hung before all men, and one day all men will stand before Him.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

Do you see that if you stand before God without Jesus Christ, you will stand before God completely alone? I’m not talking about the “God” you’ve seen in popular Christian art. I’m not talking about an effeminate male model with a trickle of blood running from his temple, pouting seductively at the artist. I’m not talking about a bumbling old grandfather who stumbles around to a laugh track while younger, cooler people get away with things that he’s too old to understand. I am talking about the God from Whose countenance heaven and earth will flee. You will be alone with HIM!

And I saw the dead, small and great

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

There are men in this world who are thought to be great “movers and shakers.” They have influence and power and authority in this world, over nations, over small groups of people and over vast numbers of people. But they will not be “great” before this Throne and they will not be excused. Nor will those who thought their sins would be overlooked because of their smallness. You may not be a big sinner in a small pond. In fact, you may be a very small sinner in a very large ocean – but, apart from Christ Jesus, you are an enemy of God and your sin makes you abominable to Him.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God…

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

If you appear before the Great White Throne you will stand. There will be no excuses. We live in a day and age of excuses and rationalizations and shifting the blame. Someone commits a horrible atrocity which is unquestionably evil and one of the first things the media wants to do is start looking for someone else to blame: Was it something in his childhood? Was it a chemical imbalance? Was it society’s fault? None of that will wash before the Great White Throne. There, every man will be judged according to his works.

You do not have to stand in the place of the condemned and be judged before the King of the Great White Throne. Believe the Gospel, trust Christ the Lord, and be saved right now.

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