Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Revelation 21:5-8 Two Destinies - Eternal Life or Eternal Death

KEY TEXT: Revelation 21:5-8 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

KEY THOT: There are two destinies awaiting all mankind: the first is with God who is the Alpha and Omega--forever. This first group is described as being thirsty for God and has overcome the trials and tribulations. They have remained faithful to Christ. This group will have access to the "spring of the water of life, without payment" (v.6), a picture of the new Edenic Paradise. However, the second group will consist of all who have not availed themselves to the grace of God offered in Christ. They are described as "the cowardly,, the faithless, the detestable... the murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars". Their destiny will be in the lake "that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (v.8).

If we were to ask to describe the first group in contrast to the second group, we may say that they have opposite characteristics to the second group: instead of being cowardly (kiasu and kiasi), they are found to be bold (speaking the truth in love); instead of being faithless (unbelieving), they are full of faith (believing); instead of being detestable (ungodly), they are godly and God-fearing; instead of life-denying as murderers (e.g. advocating abortion, the murder of the unborn), they are life-affirming as pro-life advocates; instead of practising a sexually immoral lifestyle (gay, promiscuous, sex without marriage), they reserve sex for the "one-man, one woman" married life only; instead practising witchcraft and idolatry to gain power or wealth through demonic powers, they renounce all association with Satan and his dark forces; instead of speaking lies, they live a life of integrity, speaking the truth in love.

Again, some may object that I am advocating salvation by works. But Jesus has said: "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16-20, NKJV). 

The grace of God transforms a bad tree (sinner) into a good tree (saint). This good tree will then bear the fruit of Spirit because they have accessed God's grace through their genuine faith. This is not a call to work for your salvation but a call to work out your salvation: "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

So, if we see no fruit in someone who professes faith in Christ, we should help that person examine if their faith is genuine. The only test of real faith is real fruit, which alone qualifies one for eternal life with God. Without good fruits, their destiny will be eternal death apart from God in the lake of fires.

Abba-Father, it is indeed a sober truth--that we will either share eternity with God in the new heaven and new earth or we will share eternity with the devil and his angels in the lake of fires by the choice we make today. Help us to repent from unbelief and ungodliness, so we may have access to Your Spirit of life. Amen.

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