Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mark 9:38-50 Judgment by Fire

KEY TEXT: Mark 9:43-49 “And if your hand causes yu to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' For everyone will be salted with fire.”

KEY THOT: We live in view of the fact that one day, we will have to go through the judgment by fire. For unbelievers who refuse to turn from their sins, they will share their ultimate destiny with Satan and his angels—into hell, the unquenchable fire. However, even believers will have to be put through the judgment by fire, for Jesus says, “everyone will be salted with fire.” Paul mentions this judgment by fire for believers too: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done… If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor 3:12-13, 15). 

The purpose of the fire is to burn up whatever is not of God. For unbelievers who do not have any good works done in the name of Jesus, they would be thrown straight into the lake of fires where the devil and his angels will be. But for believers, though we will not be thrown into the hell fire, we will still be judged by fire for our good works: "everyone will be salted by fire". So, the fire will show up what kind of salt we are made of. If we lose our saltiness (that is, our ability to preserve society from turning bad), then we will have nothing to show on judgment day. There are only two things that will survive the fire: the Word of God and the redeemed souls of men. Nothing else can survive this fire--not our wealth, our titles, our earthly achievements--nothing but God's Word and redeemed souls awaiting the resurrection of their bodies at the return of Christ. 

We have to take radical steps to rid ourselves of things that cause us to stumble and fall. Jesus went as far to say: if our bodily members (hand, foot, eye) cause us to sin, we must remove them from our body so that we will not be thrown into hell fire because of them. What Jesus is saying is that in view of the eternal judgment of fire, we have to take radical measures to rid ourselves of things that cause us to sin, and not mollycoddle ourselves. To be a disciple of Christ takes discipline; and self-discipline doesn’t come with self-indulgence; it comes with self-denial and self-death. 

When certain parts of my body are causing me to sin, I mustn’t deceive myself by saying “I’m under grace, so it’s fine to continue to indulge in this sin—God loves me anyway.” That is spiritual mollycoddling and it will lead me to a tragic ending—into the wrong kind of fire. Once we are aware that certain activity is leading us into sin, we must immediately cut them off. There is no compromise with sin.

Father, I thank You that You have given us wisdom to do the right thing. Deliver us from the self-indulgence of this world to take radical steps of self-denial and self-death, so that we are fit to follow You as true disciples. Amen.

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