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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • Recommended Reading

LIFE IS TOO SHORT!

John Piper:

John Piper“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, and too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, and eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.”

CHRIST’S SALVATION

A. W. Pink:

A. W. Pink“The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”

JOY IN HELL

devilCharles H. Spurgeon:

There is joy in Hell when a saint grows idle! There is gladness among devils when we cease to pray, when we become slack in faith and feeble in communion with God. (1893, Sermon #2303)

FIGHT FOR US, O GOD!

hear_my_cry_o_godJohn Piper:

“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.”

HELL

Flames of HellAnd do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV)

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15 ESV)

Charles Spurgeon said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” The modern church doesn’t talk about Hell as much as it should. Perhaps this is why so many Christians today are not as passionate to share their faith with others. Are we really as concerned as we should be over our neighbors, family, and friends’ eternal future? Do we live as if we believe there is no Hell, and still think of ourselves as Christians?

The Scriptures absolutely teach that hell is a real place where there is eternal conscious punishment of the wicked (Matthew 25:30, 25:41, 25:46, Mark 9:43, 9:48, Luke 16:33-24, 16:28, Revelation 14:9-11, 20:10). In fact, Jesus has more to say about Hell than He does about Heaven in the New Testament.

We may discover a lot about Hell by reading Matthew 25:41–46. For instance, Hell is eternal separation from God and all His blessings. (Matthew 25:41) Hell was created for the Devil and his demons. It is a realm of suffering where the souls of men will be with the being who is most unlike God. It is a horrible place of chastisement and retribution. (Matthew 25:46) Hell is an everlasting place of endless punishment. Continue reading

The Torments of Hell

Thomas WatsonThomas Watson:

The torments of hell abide for ever…. If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand, it would be a long time ere that vast heap of sand were emptied; yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of hell, there were some hope; but this word EVER breaks the heart.

A World of Wrath

From the desk of Jonathan Edwards:

Hell is a place where God manifests his displeasure and wrath. Everything in hell is hateful. There is not one solitary object there that is not odious and detestable, horrid and hateful.

There is no person or thing to be seen there, that is amiable or lovely; nothing that is pure, or holy, or pleasant, but everything abominable and odious. There are no beings there but devils, and damned spirits that are like devils. Hell is, as it were, a vast den of poisonous hissing

Serpents – the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and with him all his hateful brood!

Those in hell hate God, and Christ, and angels, and saints in heaven; and not only so, but they hate one another, like a company of serpents or vipers, not only spitting out venom against God, but at one another, biting and stinging and tormenting each other.

All things in the wide universe that are hateful shall be gathered together in hell, as in a vast receptacle provided on purpose, that the universe which God has made may be cleansed of its filthiness, by casting it all into this great sink of wickedness and woe. It is a world prepared on purpose for the expression of God’s wrath. He has made hell for this; and he has no other use for it but there to testify forever his hatred of sin and sinners, where there is no token of love or mercy.

In hell, there is nothing there but what shows forth the Divine indignation and wrath. Every object shows forth wrath. It is a world all overflowed with a deluge of wrath, as it were, with a deluge of liquid fire, so as to be called a lake of fire and brimstone, and the second death. (Charity and its Fruit)

The Wrath of Hell

From the pen of Jonathan Edwards:

Hell is a place where God manifests his displeasure and wrath. Everything in hell is hateful. There is not one solitary object there that is not odious and detestable, horrid and hateful. There is no person or thing to be seen there, that is amiable or lovely; nothing that is pure, or holy, or pleasant, but everything abominable and odious.

There are no beings there but devils, and damned spirits that are like devils. Hell is, as it were, a vast den of poisonous hissing serpents – the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and with him all his hateful brood!

Those in hell hate God, and Christ, and angels, and saints in heaven; and not only so, but they hate one another, like a company of serpents or vipers, not only spitting out venom against God, but at one another, biting and stinging and tormenting each other.

All things in the wide universe that are hateful shall be gathered together in hell, as in a vast receptacle provided on purpose, that the universe which God has made may be cleansed of its filthiness, by casting it all into this great sink of wickedness and woe.

It is a world prepared on purpose for the expression of God’s wrath. He has made hell for this; and he has no other use for it but there to testify forever his hatred of sin and sinners, where there is no token of love or mercy. In hell, there is nothing there but what shows forth the Divine indignation and wrath.

Every object shows forth wrath. It is a world all overflowed with a deluge of wrath, as it were, with a deluge of liquid fire, so as to be called a lake of fire and brimstone, and the second death. (“Charity and its Fruit”)

Thoughts On Predestination

Quoting R. C. Sproul:

“What predestination means, in its most elementary form, is that our final destination, heaven or hell, is decided by God . . . He chose some individuals to be saved unto everlasting blessedness in heaven and others He chose to pass over, to allow them to follow the consequences of their sins into eternal torment in hell.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 22)

“[I]f the final decision for the salvation of fallen sinners was left in the hands of fallen sinners, we would despair all hope that anyone would be saved.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 33)

“Calvinism assumes that without the intervention of God no one will ever want Christ. Left to themselves, no one will ever choose Christ.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 34)

“We do not believe in order to be born again; we are born again in order that we may believe.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 73)

“All that God has to do to harden people’s hearts is to remove the restraints. He gives them a longer leash. Rather than restricting their human freedom, He increases it. He lets them have their own way . . . It is not that God puts His hand on them to create fresh evil in their hearts; He merely removes His holy hand of restraint from them and lets them do their own will.” (Sproul, Chosen By God, 145)

There Will Be A Future Punishment Of The Wicked

If the discourses of Christ Himself do not teach us that punishment comes to some after death, then we might as well give up all hope of learning anything from the Bible. Archibald Alexander provides us with scriptural evidence for this teaching:

“And if your hand offends you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:43-44)

Our blessed Savior says, “Fear not those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The same solemn truth is repeated in Luke: “But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell.” Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:5. Here the casting into hell comes after the death of the body, and must therefore mean future punishment beyond the grave. The truth is so plain, that argument or comment seems to be superfluous: it cannot be made more evident. . . .

[T]hose who have done good, [go] to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:29. These are also the words of Him who is TRUTH itself, and they teach as clearly as words can teach, that after the bodies of the wicked have lain for a time in the grave, they will come forth unto the resurrection of damnation. . . .

“Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” “Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal.” Matt. chapter 25. Is there no reference to future punishment in these solemn declarations of our Lord? If not, then there is no reference to the future blessedness of the righteous. If ten thousand people were set to read this portion of Scripture, and each to declare what he believed to be the plain import of the words, can it be believed that there would be found one individual who would doubt whether or not future punishment was threatened here? Certainly not, unless he had been perverted by the false glosses of Universalist teachers. . . .

Our Lord, in the explanation of the parable of the tares, says, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. 13:40-43. And in the parable of the net cast into the sea, in the same chapter, our Lord, in the application, says, “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. 13:47-50. In these passages the punishment threatened is to be inflicted by the ministry of angels at the end of the world, and must, of course, be future punishment. And as this tremendous punishment of being cast into a furnace of fire is threatened to all workers of iniquity, it must be endured after the resurrection. There is here no need of exposition. (“Future Punishment: The Universalist Refuted”)

Everyone Will Think You Insane

Joseph Charles Philpot

J. C. Philpot reminds us below that we cannot see real things without heavenly eyes:

“The Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.” (John 14:17)

The world—that is, the world dead in sin, and the world dead in profession—men destitute of the life and power of God—must have something that it can see. And, as heavenly things can only be seen by heavenly eyes, they cannot receive the things which are invisible.

Now this explains why a religion that presents itself with a degree of beauty and grandeur to the natural eye will always be received by the world; while a spiritual, internal, heartfelt and experimental religion will always be rejected.

The world can receive a religion that consists of forms, rites, and ceremonies. These are things seen. Beautiful buildings, painted windows, pealing organs, melodious choirs, the pomp and parade of an earthly priesthood, and a whole apparatus of ‘religious ceremony’, carry with them something that the natural eye can see and admire. The world receives all this ‘external religion’ because it is suitable to the natural mind and intelligible to their reasoning faculties.

But the quiet, inward, experimental, divine religion, which presents no attractions to the outward eye, but is wrought in the heart by a divine operation—the world cannot receive this—because it presents nothing that the natural eye can rest upon with pleasure, or is adapted to gratify their general idea of what religion is or should be.

Do not marvel, then, that worldly professors despise a religion wrought in the soul by the power of God. Do not be surprised if even your own relatives think you are almost insane, when you speak of the consolations of the Spirit, or of the teachings of God in your soul. They cannot receive these things, for they have no experience of them; and being such as are altogether opposed to the carnal mind, they reject them with enmity and scorn. (Sermon: “The Abiding Comforter,” 1858)

Was Jesus Just A Great Moral Teacher?

C. S. Lewis

Quoting British author C.S. Lewis (1898-1963):

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

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