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Tag Archives: the Law

The Finality of Hell

Prior to sharing the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus is having a heated discussion with religious leaders about the Law. According to Luke, Jesus goes from a debate over wealth to what defines adultery. When you put two and two together, Jesus tells this story to convict the hearts of any Pharisee who was willing to listen. The purpose of this parable is meant to serve as a warning to the spiritually proud about the finality of hell.

And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish, Luke 16:23-25.

Jesus clearly states that there will be no second chances following death. I guess the only exception would be those individuals who have testified about having a near death experience. The medical world refers to these miracles as the Lazarus Syndrome, pronounced dead only to come back to life. Jesus includes the request from the rich man while in hell to clarify that the Torah and Prophets already serve as a warning to steer souls toward heaven and away from hell.

And [the man] said, Then, father, I beseech you to send him to my father’s house—28 For I have five brothers—so that he may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment. 29 But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear and listen to them. 30 But he answered, No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent (change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). 31 He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead, Luke 16:27-31.

To the uncertain, wanting to make sure that they are on the right path, Jesus leaves behind another clue in Matthew 7:12-14. This is a good way to assess your motives. Do I go with the flow or am I more concerned with pleasing God? Am I seeking temporary pleasures or storing up eternal treasures? Are you bearing spiritual fruit or indulging your sinful nature? These are just a few questions that you must consider. Since there are no second chances after death, may this blog inspire you to choose Christ over self.

by Jay Mankus

Grace Comes First

After sin entered the world following the fall of Adam and Eve, grace was merely a promise.  To restore that which was lost, God revealed the law to Moses, a series of standards, regulations and rules to abide by.  Animal sacrifices served as a temporary means to obtain forgiveness.  This grueling pattern continued until Jesus arrived early in the first century.  One of the many lessons Jesus taught audiences during his three year ministry is that grace comes first.

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace, Romans 6:14.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul hints about his own internal battle with sin.  Paul chooses the term dominion, referring to the struggle that exists prior to accepting, believing and trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Those who attempt to be good without a personal relationship with God continue to live under the Old Testament law today.  Thus, the concept that grace comes first is still foreign to those without faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast, Ephesians 2:8-9.

As the apostle Paul matured spiritually, he began to educate new believers on the power of grace.  As a former religious zealot, Paul’s former attempts to be perfect fell well short of God’s glory.  Thus, Paul became an advocate of grace, encouraging others to avoid basing your salvation on works alone.  Grace is a gift from God, aided by faith in Jesus.  May you come to the same conclusion today that grace comes first.

by Jay Mankus

Writing in the Sand

The idiom “caught with your hand in the cookie jar” is used when a person is caught doing something wrong.  Meanwhile, the phrase “caught red-handed” refers to being caught in the act of committing a misdemeanor, with the evidence there for all to see.  Either way you want to express or slice it, sooner or later everyone will be exposed as a sinner.  This is the situation you will find a woman, caught in the act of adultery in John 8:3.  Eager to follow the Law Moses commanded, the religious leaders are waiting on Jesus for final approval, to commence the stoning.

Seeing right through them, Jesus turns to an unusual but effective strategy, writing in the sand, John 8:6, 8.  Up to this point, Jesus had always followed a question with a question, not responding directly to the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  However, readers are left wondering, “what in the world did Jesus write in the ground with his finger?”  This debate continues today with suggestions of biblical laws, jotting down the thoughts of these leaders, secret sins each accuser had done or was in the process of committing.  Unfortunately, no one will know for sure until heaven, left to ponder what written words could have caused each Jew to drop their stone and leave the temple courts.

As Easter Sunday, 2013 draws near, you must remember Jesus’ spoken words to this woman, “Go now and leave your life of sin,” John 8:11.  Even if you have been caught with your hand in a cookie jar, there is redemption available to those humbled and sorry for their sin, John 3:16-17.  However, if you fail to leave your sin at the altar, relapse is almost assured, ruining Jesus’ sacrifice, Hebrews 10:26-27.  Thus, embrace Jesus’ writing in the sand, receive God’s faithfulness, 1 John 1:8 and flee from darkness by walking in the light, 1 John 2:6.

by Jay Mankus

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