Life or Death Choices

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. —Second Peter 3:9

To keep the whole Christian witness in balance we must teach what the Bible teaches about the future of the impenitent. But we should watch over our own hearts lest, unbeknown to us, we unconsciously welcome the idea of hell as the revenge we take against those who do not believe as we do. Just as the fear of excommunication or purgatory serves to keep the faithful Romanist in line, so it is entirely possible to use the fear of hell to make people knuckle under to the dictatorial pastor or the evangelist trying to fill his quota of converts for the evening.

The idea of hell found in the Scriptures is so fearful that the first impulse of a loving heart is to wish it were not so. But human pity is both a beautiful and a dangerous emotion. Unless it is subjected to the sharp critique of moral judgment it may, and often does, put our sympathies on the side of the murderer instead of on the side of the dead man and the widow and children he has left behind him. Unholy sympathy moves starry-eyed women to send flowers to the criminal awaiting execution while the innocent child he may have raped and mutilated scarcely rates a fugitive impulse of pity.

In the same way uninformed and unreasoning sympathy tends to take sides with the fallen and rebellious race of men against the Most High God whose name is Holy. That He gave men life and intelligence, that He has been patient with them while they defied His laws, killed His only begotten Son and scorned His dying love, is overlooked completely. That men use their gift of free will to reject God, choose iniquity and with wide open eyes persistently work to prepare themselves for hell, seems not to matter to some people. In a welter of uncontrollable emotion they throw themselves on the side of God's enemies. This is unbelief masquerading as compassion.

Prayer
Thank You for Your patience, Lord, and thank You for life in Christ Jesus.

Thought
God has not created us automatons. Within certain areas we are free to choose. God does not want any to perish but if we want to do so He will allow it. We may choose life through Christ or eternal death.

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