Today’s Bible Reading: Ezekiel 21-22:31; Hebrews 10:1-17; Psalm 108:1-13; Proverbs 27:12
When God says something He means it. I can’t count all the people I’ve met who believe that God will let them into heaven even though they have never tried to have a relationship with Him on this earth. They look at God like a parent who threatens punishment but doesn’t follow through. But God is not like that. He is 100% just. He says what He means and He means what He says. And when someone who never had their sins forgiven dies and comes face-to-face with Jesus, Jesus will have no choice but to cast that person away forever to a place we call hell (Matthew 7:21-23). Even the strongest personality will become weak upon receiving this news (Ezekiel 21:7) as he/she realizes what an eternally tragic mistake they made in this life.
Its bad enough to sin. Its even worse to not care and to not hide it as the people of Jerusalem did (Ezekiel 21:24). If someone sins and they try to keep it a secret it shows that they knew it was sin and they are at least somewhat remorseful. God can work in the heart of someone like this.
But when a person sins in the open for all to see, it indicates that they are proud of their behavior. They don’t consider their behavior to be wrong. But it doesn’t matter what we think. It matters what God thinks.
The sins of Jerusalem (and Israel and Judah before it) were many: bloodshed and idol worship (Ezekiel 22:4); disrespect for parents, oppression, taking advantage of the economically weak (Ezekiel 22:7); lying (Ezekiel 22:9); sexual sin (Ezekiel 22:10-11); murder, financial crimes (Ezekiel 22:12); corrupt leaders (Ezekiel 22:25); false religious leaders preaching misinformation about God and leading people to hell (Ezekiel 22:26); denying justice (Ezekiel 22:29). Whew! That’s a lot of sinning. But the sad truth is you could pick up a copy of any newspaper in America tomorrow morning and read about these exact same things. After thousands of years the human race has not changed. We are still deeply addicted to sin.
Under the Old Testament system people had to repeatedly offer up sacrifices to cover their sins. This repetition was meant to remind them of their sins (Hebrews 10:3). Animal sacrifices could never cleanse people of their guilt. They could only “cover” it for a time being.
But God always had a better plan and He instituted that plan when the time was right – about 2,000 years ago (Hebrews 10:10). God’s plan was to send His Son into the world to offer His life as a one-time sacrifice by which people could be perfectly and permanently cleansed (Hebrews 10:14). Notice the emphasis God places on “one time” and “single sacrifice”. Jesus died once and will never die again. This clearly refutes Catholic teaching that Jesus is sacrificed every week during the communion part of their Mass. Such doctrine goes against God’s explicit teaching and is sin.
By the way, we also die once and will never die again. Just like Jesus’ body died but He lived on, so will we. Upon death we will get new, permanent bodies that can never die. For people in heaven this will be a wonderful blessing. For those in hell, it will be a curse as these people will forever wish they could die again.
The coolest result of what Jesus’ death did was to cause God to forget the sins of those who believe in Him and what He did for them (Hebrews 10:17). At the moment I was born-again 21 years ago the punishment for all my sins was transferred to Jesus and God declared me “innocent”. He now does not look at me as a sinner but as His son.
Notice that none of my sins went unpunished. God is just… all sins must be accounted for. But I will never have to pay the penalty myself because Jesus paid it for me. Think of yourself receiving a speeding ticket and someone else offering to pay it for you. Or imagine you were about to be sent to prison for a crime you did commit, but someone else offers to go in your place. You wouldn’t turn down either of these offers. Yet so many people turn down God’s free offer to take the punishment for their sins simply because they are too proud to admit they are sinners. That will be a fatal mistake.
When we have 100% confidence in God we can praise Him with all our heart (Psalm 108:1). Praising God takes many forms – its not just singing songs to Him or throwing our arms up in the air and praying. It is thanking Him and telling others about Him (Psalm 108:3) and wanting to see His greatness known all over the earth (Psalm 108:5).
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.