• Ed Hlad

Thanks Paul

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I have been publishing my blog on Wednesdays for years now. Now Paul Tripp (preacher, author, counselor) publishes his on Wednesday also. Coincidence? Don’t think so. It reminds me of the little, old lady who attended a small church and when she went and heard John MacArthur speak she went up to him and scolded him for stealing messages from her pastor (think about it, true story). But Dr. Tripp said some good things this morning and so I decided that since he stole Wednesday’s from me, it would be ok to share one of his blogs with you. Before you dig in, let me ask you one question, “When was the last time you repented of sin before your holy God?”

Are you an effective salesperson for sin?

No, I’m not referring to causing others to stumble—although the Bible has harsh words for when we do. "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea." (Mark 9:42, ESV) What I meant was, are you able to persuade yourself of sin’s pleasure without ever mentioning its pain? I will admit it: sin doesn’t always appear sinful to me. Sometimes I am skilled at seeing beauty in what God says is ugly. Arguing my wife into a corner to get my way sometimes looks more pleasing to me than serving her sacrificially as Christ loved me. I don’t know if you can relate, but a brief moment of lust can look more attractive than the wholesome beauty of a pure heart. Being the center of attention can feel better than humbly pointing to God’s glory in everything I do. Do you experience similar struggles?

God calls us to be people on guard, always warning ourselves that on the other side of his boundaries is danger, destruction, and death. The Word of God is full of warnings and case studies that hold before the reader the bitter harvest of rebellion. Hell is one of those reminders. I’ve been writing about hell recently—an uncomfortable, terrifying, but necessary doctrine. Yes, the doom of hell awaits with unending torment and inhumanity, but the warning of hell is a beautiful display of mercy from a just and loving Judge. Hell reminds us that nothing in this present life is more important than a relationship with God. The dark side of eternity prompts us to please God more than ourselves. Eternal damnation spurs us on to pursue spiritual blessings more than physical pleasures. If hell is real and as full of torment as the Scriptures describe, then we must live with that same kind of seriousness in the here and now. We must prohibit ourselves from minimizing what God says is wrong, and we need to surround ourselves with people who encourage us to take God at his word.

Since one of the devil’s principal tricks is to present sin as significantly more harmless than it is, the commitment to name sin as nothing less than evil must stay with us as long as sin remains inside us and outside temptations continue to entice. Be sobered by the existence of hell, and be thankful for the final justice of God. Eternity reminds us that there is a Judge of all things who keeps perfectly accurate records. No evil escapes his eye. He will never be tricked into seeing evil as good or injustice as just. The day will come when he will say, "Enough is enough," and will proclaim just judgment on all that is evil.

Until then, we should be thankful that his justice waits. Each day he gives every human being one more opportunity to confess, repent, and accept the gift of eternal life. All of us deserve the penalty of hell, but Jesus came to live the life we could not live and to die the death we deserved to die so that we might know God’s forgiveness and eternal acceptance and escape the eternal doom of the dark side of forever. Now that is reason to celebrate.


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