The default position on earth for every adult is hell. That is the destiny. If a person dies outside of Christ, they will remain outside of Christ for all eternity. Further, because they have sinned against Him and hadn’t dealt with those sins prior to death, they will endure His punishment for all eternity. (Matthew 3:12; 2 Thess 1:9).
But here is the GOOD NEWS.
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” (Colossians 1:13).
Hell, though prepared for the devil and his angels, became the permanent abode for humans. (Matthew 25:41). UNLESS… before a person dies, he repents of his sins and appeals to the Lamb who was slain. Jesus died on the cross as the sacrifice to satisfy God’s wrath. As a sign of that acceptance, God resurrected Jesus. Jesus now reigns and will come again- to judge the earth. (1 Thessalonians 4:14; Romans 14:9).
People don’t realize how close hell is to them at any moment. (Deuteronomy 32:35). Unbelievers are unaware of the gossamer wispiness of the silk net upon which they tread. At any second, it could tear. Your entire life, and your physical body, will slam down into the miry pit. Jonathan Edwards wrote about this in his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” He wrote:
“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.”
“God abhors you.” Quite a different story than the one we hear from the Prosperity Gospel preachers, the Gnostic/Mystic teachers and the Emergent pastors, isn’t it?! “God abhors you.” You don’t believe it? Read Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5, Lev. 20:23, Prov. 6:16-19, Hosea 9:15, Jeremiah 12:8…
Let’s focus on the Colossians verse for a minute: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” (Colossians 1:13).
Rescue? From what? What is the rescue about?
I think of the Twin Towers. Our national day of remembrance for the terrorist hate attack on the US on 9/11/01 is just a few days past. I thought a lot about 9/11 on Tuesday. Eleven years later, it still hurts.
The life we live can be compared to the moments during the time when the planes hit. When the planes hit, people above the strike zone did not know that they needed rescue. They continued to work, they went to different rooms as instructed, or they waited. But they did not know that a fiery death was a short time away. The fires were igniting and the floors were softening under their feet. But they didn’t know it.
When the people above the hole realized the situation, they expected rescue. A fire ladder…a helicopter, something. Their minds would not let them believe that they would end up in the fiery pit. When it became apparent that no rescue could come, they knew that death awaited.
For most people, they do not have that luxury- knowing that death was coming for them and that the ground under their feet would fall away. They made calls, they wrote notes, they said goodbyes. Hopefully, some prayed to Jesus and were saved. Normally the floor is softening under the feet of every person on earth. At one unknown and unforeseen moment, it will give way and they will die.
Man rescues only the body. It is JESUS who rescues the soul and then gives a new body. That was the ONLY rescue awaiting the victims of the terrorist attack on the upper floors. In the world, it is like every person on earth is dwelling on the floors above where the planes hit. They don’t know they need rescue. If at some point, they do become aware, will they wait for man to rescue them? Or turn to Jesus?
Rescue is in Jesus. He rescues from having to spend eternity in the fiery wrath. He abhors sinners, but He loves to forgive.
Edwards wrote: “And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.”
“Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: “Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”