"AND these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."– Matt. xxv. 46.
To those who fear the Lord it is a painful thing that in the churches of God there should arise perverse men speaking perverse things, bringing in damnable heresies. Although we are forewarned in the Scriptures that such characters shall creep in, and plague the saints with their deceivings, yet it abides as a vexation, and bitter matter to the souls of those who are of the truth to have to know of the mischievous work of such ungodly men. The sport delights in his sporting; sporting himself with his own deceiving. (2 Peter ii. 13.) The scorner delights in his scorning, and scoffers find satisfaction in their scoffings; for their ears are turned away from the truth and turned unto fables. (2 Tim. iv. 3.) Lies and fictions soothe their itching ears. "Reprobate concerning the faith."–2 Tim. iii. 8. How dreadful! The shadows of the evening time are stretched out, and the judgment of the great day approaches. The Lord will come; he shall descend from heaven with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. He shall come to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (Jude 15.) The Lord shall come, and those who hated him and despised him, who knew not God and Jesus Christ, shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. But he will be the delight, the welcomed One, the everlasting admiration of all the loved ones, who love him, who have believed in Christ in that day. (2 Thess. i. 9, 10.) The hypocrite with dissembled love, and feigned faith, and who with lip service professedly worships God, and who with flatteries and much wantonness allure and win disciples to fellowship them. But even though some of the dear children of God may for a time be deceived by carnal professors of Christ's name, our Lord is not mocked; all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Our gracious God discerneth all the pretensions of the ungodly, and he knows them that trust him. The true worshippers worship him in spirit and in truth. The Father seeketh such to worship him. Truly it is all of the sovereign grace of God that a sinner receives the love of the truth unto salvation. This is the fruit of the teachings of the Holy Spirit in the soul. He gives us a heart to know the truth. He sends forth in the soul of the quickened sinner light and truth, and brings us into agreement, into acquiescence with the doctrine of God our Savior; we bow to it, love it and delight in it. A minister of Satan once said to me, it did not matter what ye believed, we were all aiming for the same place, etc. I told him it was a matter of much importance with me what I believed, and that I would sooner believe the truth than believe a lie. They that are Christ's are sanctified by the truth. (John xvii. 17-19.) It is in God's riches in mercy unto us that we are manifestly of the truth, that we love the truth, walk in the truth, that the truth dwells in us, and shall be with us forever. (2 John i. 2.) Blessed indeed are all such. "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in." Isaiah xxvi. 2. Men destitute of the truth (1 Tim. vi. 5) have no harmonious views of divine revelation, yet they are wiser in their own conceits than seven men that can render a reason, and their utterances are nothing but a maze of confusion, a wresting of the Scriptures, handling it deceitfully, and corrupting the word of God, in all of which it is manifested that they are unlearned (2 Peter iii. 16), untaught of God, destitute concerning the truth. None of the comfort, that appearance of pleasure which spurious professors of Christ's name find in their errors is of the Holy Ghost, for He, saith our Savior, shall guide you into all truth. (John xvi. 13.) Satan's devices are many, and entangle many, and one of his masterpieces of deception is to get them to believe that he himself, the devil, has no personal being, and that at death mankind are annihilated. This nonentity is a devilish dream in the souls of men who are captives of the delusions of Satan. Sometimes quickened sinners, under the guilt and bondage of their sins, feeling the just and holy wrath of God in His law against them, have meditated terror in their hearts (Isaiah xxxiii. 18), yes, dreadful apprehensions of the wrath to come (1 Thess. i. 10), have overwhelmed them, and in their souls' miseries have envied the beasts of the field, and have wished they were such for they are not sinners, there is no everlasting punishment for them; they die, and that is the end of their being. But this no hell doctrine, no hereafter, no future torment, punishment for those who die in their sins is contrary to the experience of every sinner who is convinced of his sins, and of the wrath to come by the Holy Ghost. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."–Psalms ix. 17. The Son of God thus speaks, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."–Matt. x. 28; Luke xii. 4, 5. If in their guilt and desperation wretched sinners have wished there were no God and no hereafter, and thus all would end in annihilation it avails us nothing. But the poor, wretched, law-condemned, self-condemned, afflicted sinner fears to die lest he should be found, justly so, as the rich man who died, and was buried, and in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment. (Luke x. 22, 23.) "And the smoke of their torment ascended up forever and ever."–Rev. xiv. 11. The called of God, the convicted sinner under his soul's heavy load of sin, under the curse of the law, knows that he must be pardoned or damned, and it becomes a matter all-important how he shall escape the damnation of hell. (Matt. xxiii. 33.) How can the Lord pardon, justify and save a sinner like me? "God be merciful to me a sinner."–Luke xviii. 13. Men who teach the nonentity of the personal being of the devil tell us that the devil is man's corrupt nature. But the devil came to Jesus in the wilderness temptng him. (Matt. iv. 1.) This was not His corrupt nature, for Christ Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. (Heb. vii. 26.) "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me."–John xiv. 30. We read that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot. (John xiii. 27.) Christ declared the personality of the devil, and he is under law a transgressor, saying, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."–John viii. 44. "The devil sinneth from the beginning."–1 John iii. 8. And as to the denial of the everlasting punishment of the wicked, who die in their sins (Matt. xxv. 46), not only does such denial contradict the explicit teachings of the Holy Scriptures, but it shows how utterly such erroneous men have failed to understand the sufferings of our precious Christ for the sins of his people to bring them to God. What! Was Christ bruised, wounded, put to grief and his soul made an offering for sin, and all the sins of his enemies, of the nonelect for whom Christ did not give himself a sacrifice, winked at by the Lord, and go unpunished? Oh! no creature could suffer as Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God. Oh what a cup he drank! What agony for the church, the elect's sake was his in Gethsernane. and on the cross of Calvary!
"'Twas here the Lord of life appeared,
And sighed, and groaned, and prayed, and feared;
Bore all incarnate God could bear,
With strength enough, and none to spare."
But we, if we are of God, wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. i. 10.) But the Sadducees, the annihilationists, deny that there is any wrath to come, after death, and scoff at the doctrine that any beings are tormented for their sins forever and ever, even though the Scriptures say so. (Rev. xiv. 10, 11.) Annihilation! This is a fleshly pleasing morsel. So much so that many millions of the human race have in Buddhism made the ultimate height of desire to be what they designate Nirvana, signifying the cessation of all conscious beings, personal extinction, ceasing to be; annihilation is its equivalent. Thus they wish to be, and they make and love this lie. (Rev. xxii. 15.) Annihilation! But there is no fear of God before the eyes of those who reject the solemn words of Jesus Christ who thus speaks in Matthew xxv. 41, 45, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Rev. xx. 10-15.) Though the ungodly lull their guilty fears, dope themselves, and sear their defiled consciences with the seductive delusions of annihilation at the moment of death, so that they need have no thoughts about a future condition, nevertheless how dreadful it is to go into perdition with a lie in their right hand. How shall such wicked people who hold and teach such wicked conscience-searing doctrines escape the damnation of hell? Annihilation! In the instant of its infliction upon any being would cease to be punishment. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."–Rev. xxi. 8. But men of corrupt minds, destitute concerning the truth, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God, are ever teaching pernicious errors, they live and thrive and sport themselves with their own deceivings; though they are ever learning they are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Those who fear the w6rd, and have that anointing which they have received of the Lord, and abideth in them, and which teacheth them of all things, and is the truth, and is no lie, can find no place in their hearts to wish such characters God-speed. For "whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." – 2 John 2. Poor sinner, muse on this:
"Love moved him to die, on this I rely,
My Savior hath loved me, I cannot tell why;
But this I can tell, he loved me so well,
As to lay down his life to redeem me from hell."
FREDERICK W. KEENE.
RALEIGH, North Carolina.