As Christians, we believe that it is God’s wish that none should be lost, “for the Son of Man,” as Matthew 18:11 says “has come to save that which was lost.” But in Matthew 7:21 Jesus makes it known that “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.”
What happens to those who do not do the will of God the Father in Heaven? Jesus makes it perfectly clear in Matthew 25:41 as “Then He also shall say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” Jesus repeats it in v46 saying “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.” Yes, the wicked will go to hell while the righteous into eternal life in heaven. That is exactly what Jesus says.
But there is more, as in Hebrews 10:31 we read a solemn warning that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
But we all know this. Preachers have been teaching this for generations after generations and practically all the prophetic posts on this website from Jill MacKillop are on the theme of repenting, for the wrath of God will soon be upon us.
Praying the “Sinner’s Prayer” will not make the difference as to whether heaven or hell, for as Romans 3:28 says “a man is justified by faith without the works of the Law,” not by repeating a man-made prayer. It is our faith which makes the difference and for Christians, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (Second Corinthians 5:7).
Practically all the Christians I have talked with think that the wrath of the Lord will come at the ‘end,’ whatever we mean by that; but not for Christians. I wish I could be as certain as that.
I was reading a story in the Old Testament which I would like to share with you from First Kings 13:1-30. Succinctly put, God charged a prophet to deliver a message to King Jeroboam and when on the mission, not to eat or drink or to go back the same way he went. After the message was delivered an elderly prophet lied to the young prophet and got him to eat and drink. As a direct result of that, the young prophet was eaten by a lion as he returned home.
This is from Eugene Peterson’s everyday English version of the bible The Message:
“And then this happened: Just as Jeroboam was at the Altar, about to make an offering, a holy man came from Judah by God’s command and preached (these were God’s orders) to the Altar: “Altar, Altar! God’s message! ‘A son will be born into David’s family named Josiah. The priests from the shrines who are making offerings on you, he will sacrifice—on you! Human bones burned on you!'” At the same time he announced a sign: “This is the proof God gives—the Altar will split into pieces and the holy offerings spill into the dirt.”
When the king heard the message the holy man preached against the Altar at Bethel, he reached out to grab him, yelling, “Arrest him!” But his arm was paralyzed and hung useless. At the same time the Altar broke apart and the holy offerings all spilled into the dirt—the very sign the holy man had announced by God’s command.
The king pleaded with the holy man, “Help me! Pray to your God for the healing of my arm.” The holy man prayed for him and the king’s arm was healed—as good as new!
Then the king invited the holy man, “Join me for a meal; I have a gift for you.”
The holy man told the king, “Not on your life! You couldn’t pay me enough to get me to sit down with you at a meal in this place. I’m here under God’s orders, and he commanded, ‘Don’t eat a crumb, don’t drink a drop, and don’t go back the way you came.'” Then he left by a different road than the one on which he had walked to Bethel.
There was an old prophet who lived in Bethel. His sons came and told him the story of what the holy man had done that day in Bethel, told him everything that had happened and what the holy man had said to the king.
Their father said, “Which way did he go?” His sons pointed out the road that the holy man from Judah had taken.
He told his sons, “Saddle my donkey.” When they had saddled it, he got on and rode after the holy man. He found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the holy man who came from Judah?”
“Yes, I am,” he said.
“Well, come home with me and have a meal.”
“Sorry, I can’t do that,” the holy man said. “I can neither go back with you nor eat with you in this country . I’m under strict orders from God: ‘Don’t eat a crumb; don’t drink a drop; and don’t come back the way you came.'”
But he said, “I am also a prophet, just like you. And an angel came to me with a message from God: ‘Bring him home with you, and give him a good meal!'” But the man was lying. So the holy man went home with him and they had a meal together.
There they were, sitting at the table together, when the word of God came to the prophet who had brought him back. He confronted the holy man who had come from Judah: “God’s word to you: You disobeyed God’s command; you didn’t keep the strict orders your God gave you; you came back and sat down to a good meal in the very place God told you, ‘Don’t eat a crumb; don’t drink a drop.’ For that you’re going to die far from home and not be buried in your ancestral tomb.”
When the meal was over, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. Down the road a way, a lion met him and killed him. His corpse lay crumpled on the road, the lion on one side and the donkey on the other. Some passersby saw the corpse in a heap on the road, with the lion standing guard beside it. They went to the village where the old prophet lived and told what they had seen.
When the prophet who had gotten him off track heard it, he said, “It’s the holy man who disobeyed God’s strict orders. God turned him over to the lion who knocked him around and killed him, just as God had told him.”
The prophet told his sons, “Saddle my donkey.” They did it. He rode out and found the corpse in a heap in the road, with the lion and the donkey standing there. The lion hadn’t bothered either the corpse or the donkey. The old prophet loaded the corpse of the holy man on his donkey and returned it to his own town to give it a decent burial. He placed the body in his own tomb. The people mourned, saying, “A sad day, brother!”
What can we learn from this salutary message?
- The Lord God Almighty hold each one of us individually accountable for hearing the word of the Lord for ourselves and obeying it. If we disobey the Lord, the consequences are with us and us alone.
- God will not allow us to blame a prophet or a word for God, for any of our problems in life.
- We are held accountable for the words which the Lord gives us, not the words gives to others.
- We are responsible for our own actions.
- When God tells us to do something, we must do it exactly as God instructed.
- Justice from the Lord can arrive at any time and in any way without prior warning.
- It is only by the grace of God, that the wrath of God has not yet arrived. Certainly, we live under grace.