The Scripture, in Luke, also shows that the people God honors are not necessarily the same people the world honors (Luke 16:15). This rich man had a beautiful home, fancy clothes, and the best of everything. He had it all, but he never showed the beggar any mercy. When he died, I guarantee you he had a fancy funeral. Thousands of people may have gathered, all talking about how great his accomplishments were.
(1) Yet the Bible says only that he was buried, left to rot in the grave. On the other hand, the beggar who was most despised on earth was carried away by angels. Which of the two would you rather have been? When you see this from an eternal perspective, it makes the suffering of this earth pale in comparison to what God has prepared for us (Rom. 8:18).
(2) We can also see from Scripture that there are no second chances. There is no purgatory, as the Catholic Church teaches. There is no ultimate reconciliation. On earth, the rich man rejected God and went directly to hell. When the rich man pleaded for mercy, Abraham could do nothing. There will be no mercy, no hope, and no goodness of any kind in hell, ever.
(3) There isn’t a single person on this earth who deserves anything good from God. And there is absolutely nothing people can do to gain His favor. If that offends you, then you have just experienced the offense of the cross (Gal. 5:11). In comparison to God’s standards, man’s righteousness is no better than filthy rags (Is. 64:6). But God loves man so much that He sent Jesus, a Lamb without spot, to be a sacrifice for sin.
(4) If Jesus died for past, present, and future sins—which He did—then what determines whether we spend eternity with Him or in hell? The Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit convicts us of one sin, and it’s the only sin that will cause people to go to hell. That is the sin of rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
“And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove the world of sin [singular], and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me” (John 16:8-9, brackets mine).
(5) To say the least, avoiding hell is big. However, what Jesus accomplished on the cross is far more than the avoidance of hell.
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