Whether you believe it or not, this will happen, and it will be devastating for many. Scripture says, “the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These people will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
How do we know this is soon? Again, we go to Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But realize this, that in the last days, difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power.”
Does that sound familiar, maybe like current events? We don’t know exactly when Christ will return, but every day brings it closer and if you are not in Christ, you are in trouble. God’s standard is His perfect Law. So, if you have done so much as taken a pen from work or told a white lie, you are, at the very least, a thief and liar. Christ Himself said, “everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
In 1 John 3:15, “Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.” So, then, it’s probably safe to say that all of you are lying, thieving, adulterous, murdering sinners. The Bible backs this up in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Yes, you have sinned, which is bad news, because Romans 6:23 informs us that “the wages of sin is death,” and remember, Christ is coming to deal out retribution.
Thankfully, the second half of Romans 6:23 informs us of the good news, “but the gracious gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So, even though you deserve eternal death, God provided a way in Christ Jesus, by taking our sins and placing them in Him. Christ was nailed to a cross and God’s wrath, for our sin, was poured out upon Him. John 3:16-18 expounds on this good news, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
At this point, many of you may be thinking you’re safe since you’ve asked Jesus into your heart or said the ‘sinners’ prayer’. Some of you may think you’re good because you belong to a particular denomination or religion. Others of you could even be thinking you’re okay because you’ve done more good than bad. Sadly, all that guarantees for you is Hell.
Those are all works and if you are relying on anything you’ve done for salvation, then you really don’t believe in Christ and what He did on the Cross. Ephesians 2:8-9 explains the means whereby we receive salvation, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
So how do you know if you’re safe from this retribution when Christ comes?
Scripture tells us that when we believe in Christ, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). When you are saved, you become a “new creature in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And while your works absolutely DO NOT save you, it is, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever follows His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says that he remains in Him ought, himself also, walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).
Are you following Christ?
Dr. J. Dustin Jenkins, DMIN, MBA
Heritage Bible Church