Friday, August 5, 2011

Crime and Punishment

Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:45-46 NAS)

Crime and Punishment“On one count of theft, the Court imposes upon you a fine of one thousand dollars,” said the district court judge.

“But Dad,” said the defendant, a teenager. “You’ve always forgiven me when I did wrong; why are you punishing me now?”

“Son, you have broken the law, and the law requires that you pay for the wrong you did, regardless who you are or who you are related to.”

The enactment of the courtroom proceeding was a scene from a slide show presentation on the big screen of a church gospel event some years ago. Voiceovers by different people representing the different characters in the story were used, and I was the one providing the voiceover for the district court judge. The defendant teenage boy was the main character of the story.

As the story progressed, a message began to unfold of One who paid with His life for our sins—the just for the unjust—once for all and for all eternity (1 Peter 3:18). This message still stands today. Regardless who we are or who we are related to, rich or poor, ruler or commoner, the fact remains that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The price we have to pay for our sins is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). If we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:10). Whoever believes in the Lord, the Scripture says, will not be disappointed (Romans 10:11). For our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

As Christians, we know the message of the gospel very well, and we know the price our Lord paid to save us all. Our Lord was pierced through for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). Will we then be the ones to deprive the unsaved from coming to the Lord? We know it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Can we with sanctified eyes see how the end will be for someone we know to come before the judgment throne and be sentenced to eternal death?

The Lord had said that when the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them from one another as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33). In that day, the unsaved, even those who may have heard of Christ or attended church, will come before the Lord and say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” Then our Lord will say to them, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from me, all you evildoers” (Luke 13:26-27).

For to the extent we do not do what is right to one of the least of these, we fail also to do it for our Lord, and the consequence for them who are yet unsaved is eternal punishment (Matthew 25:45-46). Let us therefore not hesitate or neglect to do our part to bring the unsaved to the Lord.

Direct us in Your paths O Lord and make us know Your ways, that we may not stand ashamed before You for failing to do what is right. Lead us in Your truth and teach us Lord, for You are the God of our salvation. Help us not cast a blind eye on the yet unsaved, but steer our hearts and move within us that we may cry out to You for the salvation of these who are lost. Open our eyes dear Lord that we may see with sanctified eyes the consequence the lost will face if we do not reach them for You.

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