“And what abominable lasciviousness have some of you been guilty of! How have you indulged yourself from day to day, and from night to night, in all manner of unclean imaginations!… What foul-mouthed persons have some of you been, often in lewd and lascivious talk and unclean songs, wherein were things not fit to be spoken! And such company, where such conversation has been carried on, has been your delight. And with what unclean acts and practices have you defiled yourself! God and your own consciences know what abominable lasciviousness you have practiced in things not fit to be named, when you have been alone; when you ought to have been reading, or meditating, or on your knees before God in secret prayer. And how have you corrupted others, as well as polluted yourselves! What vile uncleanness have you practiced in company! What abominations have you been guilty of in the dark!… What lying have some of you been guilty of, especially in your childhood!… What fraud, and deceit, and unfaithfulness, have many of you practiced in your own dealings with your neighbors, of which your own heart is conscious, if you have not been noted by others…”
This excerpt is from a sermon titled, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners” preached by the puritan, Jonathan Edwards in the early 1700’s.
1 John 2:15,16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
There they are! There are those glittering attractions that so vex our every waking moment, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”. No different in our day than from Jonathan Edward’s. And, the resulting end of the lust is ultimately the same as well- death.
James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It is a death that brings an existence filled with a punishment so lasting and profound that our minds cannot begin to comprehend the extreme nature of the everlasting torment that accompanies it. What?! What am I referring to? Why, an eternity in hell of course. That is the destination of all who chose the love of this world over the love of God. It is an existence that can only be pointed towards and not actually perceived. How could it? An eternal, never-ending, everlasting place of unimaginable torture. Outer darkness; a place of gnashing of teeth; the bottomless pit; the lake of fire; where the flame is never quenched; the worms never die, these are just a few of the ways used to describe the indescribable. And, this is waiting for all those who reject the way of salvation furnished by God over living a life of selfish desires.
How is that fair? How is it not fair? You know what sin is, and that it resides in your heart. Pride, envy, vanity, love of self over sacrifice, hatred, malice, anger, on and on it goes. Who do you live your life for, yourself or God? In simplest terms, you awoke this morning with breath in your lungs and a beating heart in your chest, God gave you those. What thanks did you give Him? Now apply that to everything in life. God formed us in the womb, God numbered our days before the first one. God holds all things together by the word of His power. He is everlasting, and omnipotent, He is the One who created everything. The Creator God is an infinite God, infinite in His holiness, purity, righteousness and His justice. Every sin we commit, everything that we do that opposes His holiness is a sin against God directly. To sin against an infinite God requires an infinite punishment. This is why lying and disbelieving is just as chargeable as murder and idolatry…
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Revelation 20:11-14 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Sin is still the same, and so is the reward. But it does not have to be. There has been made a way of escape from the bondage of sin. A remedy has been given from the curse of sin, from the addiction to it. There is a hope of salvation in Jesus Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. Scripture is replete with recognition of this fact, that Jesus is salvation from sin unto everlasting life, for He is the Lamb of God.
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself (Jesus) for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 5:25-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
This is the gospel, the Good News. Our sin has been atoned for by another, Jesus. He has done the work, He has died the death that sin requires for us. To receive this life we must relinquish ownership to our lives and surrender to Him.
Mark 8:34-37 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
What indeed would you trade in this life for your eternal soul? Does that excerpt from Jonathan Edward’s sermon expose your heart? Is your life just a continual seeking to capture the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life? Will you spend eternity in the lake of fire?