“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Some claim that the biblical God is a fictitious character, an invention based on man’s deep longing for such a being to exist. This notion may in some feeble way explain the origin of the belief in God, but what are we to make of the doctrines of future judgment, the condemnation of sinners, and eternal conscious torment? No Christian doctrines are as downright disagreeable as these. No one is thrilled about the prospect of people spending eternity in an awful place separated from God. Surely such teachings were not invented as a kind of “wish fulfillment.” If it were up to us, we would have God forgive everyone their sin debt and invite all of humanity into His heaven. The problem of course is that God is not only merciful, He is also just. He will not pretend that moral evil has not occurred in His universe. God demands that the penalty for sin be paid before the forgiveness of sin can be extended. This is the center of Christ’s redemptive work and the very heart of the Gospel. Christ is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2). The whole world, however, is not saved. In fact, of the thinking, conscious bulk of humanity, comparatively few will receive Jesus for salvation. “Enter ye in at the strait gate” said the Lord, “for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). What prevents people from finding forgiveness and admittance into heaven? Today’s verse passage holds the answer. Light has come into the world in the form of God’s self-disclosure, which He has granted to all men (Romans 1:18-20; John 1:9). Because men love their sin, however, they reject God who prescribes against such things and Who promises a future day of reckoning. The key issue will be over what we have done with the truth God has granted to us. People who suppress and deny the truth will find themselves no longer able to make good use of their rational faculties (Romans 1:28). This is God’s punishment on those who refuse to make honest and godly use of the intellect God has granted to them. “Unto you that hear” said Jesus, “shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath” (Mark 4:24-25). May we be people who not only enjoy the benefits of responding affirmatively to God’s self disclosure in the Gospel, but who encourage others, through word and deed, to do likewise.
God bless you,