By Elizabeth Prata
Charles Spurgeon’s morning devotional for December 15 was about the decision that Ruth and Orpah made with Naomi. Spurgeon wrote,
BOTH of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends.
At first both of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord’s people; but upon still further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother in law. It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties.
The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter.
There are many who profess Christ, but do not possess Him, as Sproul used to say, There are other folks whose thin veneer of Christianity is only for cultural purposes; others whose conscience doesn’t allow them to unhitch completely from attachment to a nebulous being called Jesus they don’t understand but cling to anyway. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
These people are deceiving themselves. Their eternity will be inconceivably painful. We can’t comprehend it. Just as the demons see the light and comprehend it not (John 3:19) we see the darkness of eternity and comprehend it not. And who can understand the length of time of eternity? Only God.
Therefore, because of hell’s inconceivable, punishing pain, or because of the difficulty in understanding the time frame of “forever”, we tend to push thoughts of hell’s existence and the reality of the dreadful future of those who will experience it out of our minds. But that’s just when it should be more present, more palpable, more real to us.
The lightly professing Christian does possess something … they have a future where they will face Jesus, and unable to stand, they will cry out for mercy. None will be given.
He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:48)
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.‘ (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)
Spurgeon concluded with this uncomfortable phrasing about Orpah’s decision:
in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death
If you have friends/family who aren’t saved, or who use the Christian name for a cultural cover, or who are simply deceived as to what salvation is all about, I understand. It’s one of the toughest mission fields. It’s zeal without knowledge, fervor to get favor, deceptive deception. But persevere, no matter the consequences. The possibility that Light will come into their heart is always worth the risk.