God’s deadline beckons – Part 2
God reproves, instructs and corrects believers by: (1) the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth and convicts of sin; (2) His prophets and servants – leaders and preachers – who are bold enough to confront erring believer; (3) the written Word; (4) the voice of conscience; (5) parents (spiritual parents) and friends; (6) the judgment of others; and (7) providence and circumstances. But as clay exposed to the sun continually gets hardened, the hearts of many so-called believers have become hardened, because of continual and repeated exposure to sin. Hardening the heart, a process that ends with eternal damnation, runs a full circle from: (1) repeated procrastination (Acts 24:25); through (2) diversions and amusements (Mark 4:19); (3) levity, treating serious matter without the seriousness it demands (Genesis 19:14); (4) deliberate, planned and habitual disobedience (Jeremiah 44:16,17); (5) proudly turning the heart away (Nehemiah 9:29); (6) scornful rejection (Luke 7:30); to (7) divine abandonment (Romans 1:24,26,28). The essence of God’s warning is to bring us back to our first love, consecration and conviction.
The destruction of unrepentant sinners/backsliders will be sudden or unexpected because “he, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Although Saul knew that his heart was not right with God, he went headlong into battle and died miserably (1 Samuel 31:2-6). Some professing believers act like Saul. Even when they are sick to the point of death, and healing is even delayed, they care less about the eternal destiny of their souls. Instead of examining themselves and pleading for mercy, they are desperate to get healed. There is, therefore, need for constant self-examination to ensure that there is no iniquity in our hearts before presenting our requests to God, because “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).
People, who continue in sin and rebellion without repentance, will experience “calamity (that) shall rise suddenly… For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them?” Genuine believers need to quickly take the gospel to sinners before they perish; we need to let them know the need for constant readiness because the end can come at any time. To escape God’s righteous judgment, everyone must allow His word to transform, influence and draw him closer to Calvary. His grace is available for everyone, who desires to obey Him unreservedly.
When anyone crosses God’s deadline, he is destroyed “without remedy.” People who reject reproof, mock God’s messengers, despise His words and misuse His prophets will definitely incur His wrath. “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die” (Proverbs 15:10). Hardened scorners, who, like Belshazzar, have no regard for God and His word, will end up without any hope of spending eternity with the Lord. Saul crossed God’s deadline; he sinned against the Light. He protected the crown without preserving his conversion.
Seeking honour was more important to him than securing holiness. He was crowned on earth, but condemned to hell. To avoid humiliation and shame on earth, he asked his amour bearer to kill him, but he refused. Saul committed suicide and brought himself to shame, sorrow and suffering in hell forever. Believers must avoid a similar fate by living a consistent life of holiness till the end, as preserving our title or position in the church and involvement in religious activities without a current relationship with the Lord is useless. Have you counted the cost, if you exhaust the depth of God’s love and mercy, and your soul is lost?
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 Samuel 31:3,6a; Mark 8:36,37; 1 Chronicles 10:13,14; Hebrews 9:27; Proverbs 29:1; Proverbs 29:1a; 1 Samuel 6:6; 2 Kings 17:13-15; Jeremiah 7:23-26; Proverbs 29:1b; 6:14,15; 24:22; Ecclesiastes 9:12; Psalm 78:30,31; Zechariah 7:11-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Proverbs 1:22-33; Proverbs 29:1c; 6:15; 2 Chronicles 36:15,16; Proverbs 15:10; Daniel 5:20-28,30; Isaiah 48:2-4,18.
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