Hell is Real, Eternal and Consistent with the Love of God 

Around Easter it was reported that the Pope was unsure as to the existence of hell.  The Vatican unsurprisingly said that the Pope’s comments had been misrepresented.  Nevertheless, a survey in the USA came up with the statistic that 30% of people identifying themselves as Christians did NOT believe in hell.  (Evangelicals  – 25% not believing in hell, ‘Mainline protestant’ 40%, Mainly-black Pentecostal’ 18%, Roman Catholic 37%, Orthodox 41%).  Surprisingly 36% of those who said they had no religion DID believe in hell. (Source Pew Research Center – Belief in Heaven and Hell among US Adults 2014).
This cause me to look into what J N Darby had to say about the subject, and found he was battling with ‘universalists’ who said that God was such a loving God that everybody would be saved, even if they had to wait a bit, and ‘annihilationists’ who believed that the fire would consume souls completely, so nothing would remain.  Of course, both are wrong, and both views continue to be prevalent today.
Whether we have many old-fashioned hell-fire sermons designed to frighten souls into submission, I don’t know.  But one thing is certain ‘Hell exits; hell is eternal, and we all deserve to go there as sinners.  ‘By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’  (Eph 2:8).  We are called on to warn souls of the consequences of rejecting God’s grace in the gospel, whilst saying, ‘Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?’  (Rom 2:8).

JND and Hell

 JN Darby did not write much about hell, but a paper met the then-current thought (and just as current now).   ‘Brief Scriptural Evidence on the doctrine of Eternal Punishment, for plain people’.  Collected Writings Vol 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 1.
This is summarised in our posting ‘Hell is Real and Eternal’
And the backup scriptures

The Lake of Fire and the Love of God

A couple of snippets from ministry:

It may be said that the lake of fire is the result of righteousness and not of love, but it is the outcome of love in God.   From Reading on 1 Cor 13 – Ministry of James Taylor Vol. 10 page 62.
The lake of fire is consistent with God’s love.  God has almighty power, and it would be inconsistent with divine love to tolerate lawlessness.  God may tolerate it for the moment, but in result He will limit it in the lake of fire.  From Righteousness and Salvation Ministry by F E Raven Vol 18 p 117

What about those 36% of who said they had no religion and who DID believe in hell.

 What must grip them. FEAR!  How do we reach them with the glad tidings?

Remember it says:   ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, . . . and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)
And
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Heb 2:14-15)
And
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:15-21)
What could be more eloquent than scripture?
Greetings in the Name of our blessed Saviour who has redeemed us from Hell by His blood.
 Sosthenes Hoadelphos
May 2018

Eternal Punishment – Where JND Points to it in Scripture

It is clear that in the 1800’s J N Darby and other godly men and women had to contend with those who taught that eternal punishment in hell was inconsistent with a loving God.

Darby produced a paper ‘Brief Scriptural Evidence on the doctrine of Eternal Punishment, for plain people’.  Collected Writings Vol 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 1.

This is summarised in our posting ‘Hell is Real and Eternal’

In it, Darby listed a number of scriptures to arrest believers and make them consider that is certainly the truth. Hell, the Lake of Fire, is eternal. He wrote that ‘God meant to produce on the mind of the reader the conviction that eternal misery is the portion of the wicked, and I do not believe that He meant to produce the conviction of a lie, nor frighten them with what was not true. Now I shall quote many plain passages, adding my unhesitating conviction that the attempts to undermine this doctrine of scripture (and I have been compelled to examine a good many) have entirely failed, and that the arguments used are either dishonest, some of them flagrantly so, or contradictory and fallacious, and that all of them subvert other fundamental truths.

Here are those passages:

 

Scripture: Text Notes
Matthew 3:10, 12 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. . . he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

Mark this and chapter 10:33, because it is impossible to believe that Christ could say these things of those who were redeemed and saved as much as others, though to be punished awhile.
Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Matthew 10:28, 33 And 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. . . .But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. See above
Matthew 12:31-32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemny against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Matthew 13:40, 49-50 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. . . So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. In those two verses, 40 and 49, it will be said “world” means age or dispensation; be it so, I believe it does; but that does not affect the judgment pronounced as to that which is to follow
Matthew 18:8-9 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Here everlasting fire or hell-fire is in contrast with life; if they go into one, they do not go into the other; nor is any particular word used which. might, as they allege, make it apply to a peculiar period of happiness. Life and hell-fire are contrasted.
Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

 

 

Now here in Greek “everlasting” and “eternal” are precisely the same word; and what one means for life, the other means for punishment.
Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 
Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils
Mark 8:36-37 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 

 

Mark 9:43 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 
Luke 12:4, 5, 9, 10 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. . . But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores, and it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
John 3:3, 15 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:36 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

 

Here, they will tell you, “damnation” means judgment. So it does; but it is in contrast with having life. And in judgment “no flesh living shall be justified.” The judgment is at the end of all.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
John 8:24  said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Acts 1:25         That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Romans 2:5-16 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) in  the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

 

God is minded to shew His wrath and make His power known. Though love, He is God, and His majesty must be maintained against rebellion and sin.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

 

Now in this, as in Mark 16:16, perishing and being damned is contrasted with being saved, so that any plain person must conclude that they are not saved. Some are saved, and others perish because they reject the cross.
Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 

Hebrews 11:27. By faith he [Moses] forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.
2 Peter 2:13, 17, 20-21 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. . .

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. . .For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

 

1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Jude 7, 11-13 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of. . .

 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Revelation 14:9-11 If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 20:9-15 And they [Satan and his army] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever .

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Revelation 21:5-8 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  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.

 

Sosthenes

April 2018

We are Temple of the Holy Spirit

Wonderful and Profound Things presented in a Familiar yet Reverent Way

As we read the sayings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles in the gospels and the epistles, we cannot but be impressed with the familiar way in which wonderful things are presented.  As we are near to God, we should be able to present things in a familiar way by reason of our own experience. Of course, we speak of these things very reverently, especially as we recognise our own imperfection.  We can, at the same time, show reverence whilst being familiar with such blessed things.  We say, ‘The Father loves the Son’. What could be simpler or profound?  Apart from it being in scripture (John 3:35, John 5:20), we know it because we ‘have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things’ (1 John 2:20).

 

God has given us the Holy Spirit

God has revealed Himself in love and light, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  But God has given us the Holy Spirit, to indwell us, so that we become partakers of the divine nature.  The Spirit assures us that we have been accepted in the Beloved (see Eph 1:6).  The more we know the Holy Spirit, the more we know that He is God.

 

In Ephesians we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, and are able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height and know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge (see Eph 3:16-19).

 

Eternal Life

By the Spirit we enjoy eternal life.  But to fully enjoy eternal life, our thoughts and actions must be more controlled by the Spirit.   Christ expressed this perfectly.  He is‘declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead’ (Rom 1:4) The power of the life is in resurrection, and Christ is our life. He created a path for believers to walk like Him in wisdom and patience.  We must remain in the path to do right.  If I leave the path I cannot do right, however much I try.  But I can return to the path.

The life of Jesus should be manifested in us.  Our life should express something totally new: divine life in the midst of a world that is away from God.  Only in the new man can this be done ‘the new man which after God is created in righteousness and in true holiness’ (Eph 4:24).   It is not the old man reformed: the old man could never have divine motives, even if it seeks to walk correctly.  It may be decent and respectable, but it never can be right.  It is the nature that has departed from God, and it cannot be right before Him.

 

Spiritual Knowledge

But we have spiritual knowledge. We have ‘put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him’(Col 3:10). Now we know that our bodies are not our own

  • they have been redeemed
  • They are temple of the Holy Spirit
  • They are members of the body of Christ

What a feeling God must have about me – to make a poor creature like me His temple – the dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, seal of His love and of the redemption.  But for this we are absolutely cleansed.  The Holy Spirit could not dwell in a defiled tabernacle.   The Holy Spirit’s presence is the expression of God’s perfect love; for ‘the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us’ (Rom 5:5).

 

The Result:

–  We are not to sin.  How can you go and sin with a body that is the temple of the Holy Ghost? We do fail, and that humbles us.  If we feel our wretchedly low ways and shortcomings, so much the better.

– We have a desire to glorify God, knowing that we are not our own – my body (formerly a slave of sin) no longer belongs to my corrupt will.  We have been bought with a price: we belong to God.  As we walk in His Spirit, our motive is Christ, and have a power the world knows nothing of.

– We have joy of heart and thankfulness of spirit.

 

Sosthenes

April 2018

 

Based on J N Darby: ‘Indwelling of the Holy Ghost – 1 Corinthians 6’ – JND’s Collected Writings Vol. 21 Evangelical 2 page 215.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eternal Punishment

Christians have differed as to the subject of everlasting punishment.

Simple Bible-believing Christians accept that the consequence of rejecting the gospel is eternal punishment in hell. Unfortunately, many modern teachers proclaim lies:

Eternal does not mean ‘without end’
Everybody, including unbelievers, will be saved – Universalism
The wicked will be consumed and annihilated – Annihilationism.
Souls will return in another body – Re-incarnation

 

J N DarbyChristians have differed as to the subject of everlasting punishment.

Simple Bible-believing Christians accept that the consequence of rejecting the gospel is eternal punishment in hell.  Unfortunately, many modern teachers proclaim lies:

  • Eternal does not mean ‘without end’
  • Everybody, including unbelievers, will be saved – Universalism
  • The wicked will be consumed and annihilated –  Annihilationism.
  • Souls will return in another body – Re-incarnation

The simple believer has no doubt that persons who reject the glad tidings will suffer in hell eternally.   The English Bible leave him/her in no doubt that the punishment of the wicked is eternal.  ‘And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever … And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. …And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Rev 21:10,12,15).

However, the theological intelligentsia has created alternative arguments:

  • The Greek word αἰώνιος/aiónios/Strong 166 does not really mean ‘eternal’. For example, some confine both life and punishment to the next age, i.e. the millennium.  But that cannot be eternal.

 

  • All will be saved: God is too loving to allow such a thing as eternal misery in the lake of fire. (Universalism)

 

  • The wicked will not be saved. Their souls will no longer be immortal, for that the fire of hell will in time consume (or annihilate) them.  (Annihiliationism).

 

  • I add re-incarnation – that the soul is reborn into another being

 

These arguments are mutually exclusive.

 

The Greek Word αἰώνιος

Darby was a Greek scholar and he was perfectly satisfied that the word meant ‘without end’  God warns the reader that eternal misery is the portion of the wicked.  If that were not the case, would God frighten people with something that was not true?  Strong defines αἰώνιος as ‘age-long, and therefore: practically eternal, unending; partaking of the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting’.

Rev 5:14 says, ‘And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.’  The worshippers worship for ever and ever.  On the other hand, ‘The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name’ (Rev 14:11).  For ever and ever is just that – eternal.

 

 

All will be Saved – Universalism

These persons call themselves Christian universalists.  The idea that all will be saved is monstrous and unscriptural lie.   Scripture makes it clear that some are saved and others are damned.  If this were not the case what would be the point of Christ’s atonement, because those who rejected Christ’s work would be saved anyway?  It would follow that even the devil would have to be saved – without Christ.  When scripture says ‘should not perish’ – they argue that none would perish; when scripture says ‘whose end is destruction’ – they have no answer since they believe that all will come into happiness, but the wicked would have to wait a little longer.  They argue that the condemned are such for a time only – like the Catholics believe in purgatory.

 

Hell will in time consume (or annihilate) the Souls of the Wicked – Annihilationism

This view, Darby said, was much in vogue in Britain during his lifetime.  I believe it still is.  Annihilationists say that death means simply ceasing to exist, as it does for the animals.  If life is to be found only in Christ – ‘He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life’ (1 John 5:12), then those who do not believe have no life.  They claim that after a certain quantity of punishment, the wicked will be turned out of existence, annihilated or consumed by the fire of hell, and exist no more.  However, if when they died they ceased to exist, how were they to be made alive (without the work of Christ) in order to exist?  Are they to be revived just to be punished?

Both of the above subvert God’s claims and the work of Christ.

 

Reincarnation

As far as I can see, there is no reference to reincarnation in Darby’s writings.  I am adding it though since, sadly many Christians have, in more recent times, borrowed this notion from Buddhism and Hinduism.  It becomes a way of avoiding having a direct experience with God and accepting the work of Christ.  ‘Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation’ (Heb 9:26-28).

The Truth

Christ endured the wrath of a majestic and holy God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.  Eternal punishment is the terrible consequence of the enmity of man’s heart against God; eternal blessedness is the result of God’s free and blessed grace. Simple-minded Christians believe this, as they believe scripture.

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’ (1 John 5:10-11)

 

An Appeal by J N Darby

Poor sinner, you are to meet God.  Are you competent to judge how much punishment He should assign to you for your quantity of sin.  He is to judge you in love.  Love is what He is. But He is God, and does what pleases Him.  His love for His Son; His love for those who have accepted the work of His Son, obliges Him to punish you eternally if you refuse His love.  Mark this:  if the Spirit of God has touched your conscience, you know that you deserve to be shut out of the presence of God for ever.  You are conscious that you have deserved eternal wrath and punishment. You are a sinner: — What, in your own conscience, does sin deserve?  And further, if it is a question what sin deserves, it is a question of what Christ bore, what His atonement was; for He bore our sins and was made sin for us.  (Lightly edited by Sosthenes).

 

This is a summary of a paper by John Nelson Darby ‘A Brief Scriptural Evidence on the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment, for Plain People’. It is published in Collected Writings Volume 7 (Doctrinal 2) page 1. 

Sosthenes

August 2017

 

The Woman at the Well

What is this gift, and the Giver?

The gift – a well of living water – the Holy Spirit
The Giver – Christ.
It is not a pool, which, even if full now, can dry up. It is a fountain which can never dry up. The believer has it in himself, and he has for ever. But first the believer must first get to know the Giver.

A short summary of a preaching by J. N. Darby entitled  ‘The Woman of Samaria’ – Collected Writings volume 12 (Evangelical 1) p. 1..  Click on link for original.

This was the first of series of thirteen preachings. Unlike his wrigins, the preachings are much easier to follow – so – if you have time, read the original.

John 4:1-26

John 4Three chapters in John’s gospel speak of the effects and operations of the Spirit of God.

  • John 3: New birth – the power and efficacy of the Holy Spirit in giving life
  • John 4: The Well – a well of water springing up into everlasting life
  • John 7: Rivers of living water – the internal effect of the indwelling Spirit

The Lord Jesus Christ is the giver of the Holy Spirit to them that believe.   As sinners, we have no relationship with God – that relationship had been lost forever.  However, because of Christ’s sacrifice and intercession, it has been restored for the believer.  All our blessings are through Him.   He died for our sins, and rose again.  He was made ‘sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Cor 5:21).  The knowledge of God’s righteousness is by the Spirit.  Knowing it we can share in God’s happiness, having fellowship with the Father and unhindered communion with God.  This is the gift of God: there is no other way

The Pharisees were jealous because Jesus was making more disciples than John. In order to follow peace with all men, Jesus left Judea for Galilee, passing through Samaria on the way.  It had been a long journey and He was weary, so He sat down by a well to recover His strength.  It was not just that journey, He had left His home of glory and of blessedness, and come down to this weary, sinful world.   There everything around would make Him weary – sin, hatred, ingratitude, ill-will, open opposition, and toil.  However, He was never weary of love.

So what do we find?  The Lord of glory, the Son of the Eternal God, sitting alone with a wicked sinner by a well, asking her for a drink of cold water – the humblest request possible.  He was to settle the great question of eternity with her, showing her what she was herself, and telling her who He was.   In love the Lord is still humbly asking people for a drink – that is, to be reconciled – ‘We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God’ (2 Cor 5:20).

Among the Jews it was considered obnoxious to have anything to do with the Samaritans, let alone to be beholden to them for a favour.  Despite what the woman asked, the Lord did not enter into argument about the prejudices of the Jews, but focused instead on her salvation.  So He says, ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water’ (v. 10).  Her carnal mind could not take that in, it just did not mean anything to her, and it does not mean anything to people now: divine things appear stupid and valueless.  Nor did she know the Giver.  She said, ‘Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?’ (v. 11).

So what is this gift, and the Giver?

  • The gift – a well of living water – the Holy Spirit
  • The Giver – Christ.

It is not a pool, which, even if full now, can dry up.  It is a fountain which can never dry up.   The believer has it in himself, and he has for ever.  But first the believer must first get to know the Giver.

The woman was occupied with her worldly duties and pursuits, and could not rise to anything higher.  Satan uses these mundane things (even a waterpot) to keep souls from Christ.   Dear reader, is there any waterpot which is keeping you from knowing Christ, and seeing His great salvation?  It may be harmless, innocent or even praiseworthy – your family, your job or your pastimes.

Now, all of a sudden, the woman realised that there was something in what the Lord had been saying.  She said, ‘Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw’ (v.15).  Though she was still thinking naturally, and may even been sceptical, the Lord persevered with her in love.  The Lord is always patient: He never gets weary when it comes to souls.   He says ‘Go, call thy husband’, and follows this up with ‘Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband’ (v. 16-18).  In effect, He showed her that she did not realise the wretched, ruinous state she was in.   Her conscience vibrated.   In the presence of One who was acquainted with the hidden recesses of her heart, she was stripped of her self-disguise.  She had never really believed that she was a sinner.  Now she knew that she was, like the man who came into the assembly in 1 Cor 14:24, ‘He is convinced of all, he is judged of all; and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.’

There was some discussion as to the Lord’s being a prophet, and the arguments as to where one should worship.  The Lord bore with this.  But she was in the process of leaving her waterpot and coming to know the Saviour.  She even appeared to be looking forward to His (the Messiah’s) coming.  The Spirit lead her to say, ‘I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things’. Jesus’ reply, ‘I that speak unto thee am he’ (v. 25-26).

The woman had wanted water and had come with her waterpot.  Now she had a well of water and had left her waterpot.   Christ had revealed Himself to her soul; the Messiah’s glory was now her aim and end.  She knew Him, not from hearsay but personally, and immediately she preached Him to others.  ‘Come, see a man that told me all that ever I did: is not this the Christ’ (v. 29).  A total revolution had taken place.

It is a process in which we are taken out of a former position, as strangers, even enemies, and are introduced to a new position, where we are brought near to God.  We no longer have a worldly but a heavenly portion – Christ’s portion.  The Spirit shows us that our new life is the life of Christ.  In fact, we are in the same position as Christ Himself!

The world’s wealth, power and distinction now has little value to us.  We find no wealth but in Christ; we find no power but by Christ; we have no distinction but from Christ.  Our joy is full.  We have a fresh spring, drawing from the Lord of glory, giving us fellowship with millions of others who have had the same experience with the Lord, and who have received the Holy Spirit.

Dear reader, how is it with your soul?  Have you asked for the living water?  Is there this well within you?  Do you have it yourself, or you relying on others? – that will not do.  Now, if you have it, what practical influence has it had?  Are you separated from the world, and separated to God?  Do you think about your high calling? – heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ!  (See Rom 8:17)  Are you imitating Him?  He was ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners’ (Heb 7:26).   Are you?

Do you have this spring, this well of water?  If not, you do not yet know the gift of God.  if you have not got it in you, you’ve got nothing.  Don’t deceive yourself, nothing else will do.  When temptation, trial, or affliction comes, your pool will be dried up without any resource – a useless pool without a spring,

 

Summary by Sosthenes

November 2016

Darby on Romans 6 – Dead to Sin, Alive to God

Walking in the path of obedience to Him, the soul is delivered evil – will and lust – which is not obedience. We grow in the knowledge of God and in intimacy with Him. We cannot do this in our own will. But we live more in His things, and that is holiness: that is more than obedience. But that is the gift of God. The path to it is the path of obedience and holiness, but itself is the gift of God. Death is the wages of sin; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The gift of God is nothing less than eternal life. God gives it to us.

RomeIn Romans 6 we have the practical consequence of deliverance from sin. in the first part of the epistle (Rom. 1:18; to 5:11) we read nothing as to practical conduct. The guilty sinner is cleared, but nothing is said as to our consequential conduct. The conclusion of Romans 5 is that by one Man’s obedience we have been made righteous, and that, by having part in Christ’s death, we have part in this righteousness.

But having part in death (that is, dying) is, of course, not the way to live. How shall we who are dead to sin live in it any longer?  By our profession of Christianity, we are baptised unto His death, the old man being judged and crucified. Now as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father (God’s power), so our life is to be a new resurrected one.

Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin’ (v.6). This means that sin as a whole is annulled or rendered powerless: it has closed its existence. ‘He that is dead is justified from sin’ (v.7). Here it is not here sins or guilt: a dead man may have to answer for his sins, but he cannot sin: he does not have evil lusts nor a perverse will. However for us, the power of death has been destroyed by the resurrection of Christ. He came to take our place as sinners and deal with the question of sin: He died to sin, once for all. On the cross sin was the question – He was made sin. Now He is risen; He dies no more; death does not have dominion any longer. Now He lives and lives to God, sin having been done with for ever, to the glory of God

In His life down here Jesus served God perfectly. He lived by the Father, having Him always before His mind. Before He died on the cross, He had to do with sin – though He was sinless.   Sin was all around Him: it grieved Him; He was a Man of sorrows because of it, and He had to be made sin for us. In love He manifested God; as Man come to do God’s will, when fully proved to be the sinless One Himself – who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). But now He has done with it for ever. Now He is risen into a new state as Man: in thought, object, and life, He lives to God. Now everything serves God’s glory. Though the flesh is always the same, the life of Jesus is manifested in our bodies (see 2 Cor 4:10). This is what the true Christian state is.

So we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God through Him, our old man being crucified with Him. We are not physically dead, but have a new and free life, alive to God, not through Adam, but through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is not that we never sin or lust; but we do not let sin obey its lust: we walk in the power of a new life. Instead of being slaves to sin, we hold the reins, and yield our members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Sin does not have dominion over us any longer, because we are not under law, but under grace. Being under law leaves us under the dominion of sin. What we need is freedom from the bondage of sin; for the law forbids sins, but gives us neither the life nor power to obey it. But under grace we have the power, sin having no dominion over us. The power comes from on high, so we are set really free, and can give ourselves to God willingly and freely. Shall we sin because we are not under a law which forbids it, and which curses us if I do it? God forbid!

Now Paul returns to the Gentile condition. If we yield ourselves to sin, we are its slaves. Even without law, death and the consequent judgment of God, were the appointed wages of sin.   But now we are alive to God, and that must involve obedience. Christ was the obedient Man: His Father’s will was the motive of everything He did. He lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. (See Deut 8:3). His path was practical righteousness, and He was the pattern of it. So the apostle thanks God that, whereas they had been slaves of sin, they had obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine that had been delivered to them (v.17).

It is the obedience of faith. As we receive the word of God into our hearts, we are linked with the life-giving God. It is the true life of Christ, the obedient Man. As free from sin, we yield ourselves to obey, becoming ‘slaves’ to righteousness. [Note that JND uses the word ‘slave’ here, whereas in the Darby Bible he uses the word ‘bondman’. A ‘slave’ is someone bought and owned by another. A ‘bondman’ on the other hand, is someone who was a slave, been given the opportunity for freedom, and has decided to remain for life in the service of their Master.]* Hence it is true liberty: we were fruitlessly wasting our members as slaves to uncleanness and lawlessness. Now we freely yield our members to be slaves to righteousness. The blessed result is holiness, our hearts separated to God, knowing Him, the soul brought into His image. ‘And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him’ (Col 3:10).

This is the general doctrine: Christ having died, we reckon ourselves dead as if we had died. We have died – we have been crucified with Him, and, as Christians, we do not consider the flesh to be alive any more. I speak of all that has happened to Christ as if it had happened to me, because He is become my life, and I live by Him. I am a son whose father had not only paid his debts, but made him a partner in a business. He speaks of ‘our capital, our connections,’ though the son brought nothing into the business, everything having been done and acquired beforehand. We have therefore a living association with the Lord. It is neither ascension, nor union, nor resurrection with Him, but the death of the old man, and a new life in Christ with freedom from being slaves to sin. This is the full answer to the allegation that, having righteousness in Him, we have license to sin. Instead of sin reigning in our mortal bodies, having dominion over us, we enjoy subsisting power.

Walking in the path of obedience to Him, the soul is delivered evil – will and lust – which is not obedience. We grow in the knowledge of God and in intimacy with Him. We cannot do this in our own will. But we live more in His things, and that is holiness: that is more than obedience. But that is the gift of God. The path to it is the path of obedience and holiness, but itself is the gift of God. Death is the wages of sin; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The gift of God is nothing less than eternal life. God gives it to us.

A simplified summary of part of the introduction to John Nelson Darby’s  Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans

* Acknowledgments to ‘Underground Theologian’ http://theologicalmuse.christianblogsites.com/blog/post/2009/04/24/slave-or-bond-servant

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – John’s Epistles

John shows us the divine life and it’s characteristics, and proves it to be in the person of Christ.
Whereas in 2 John it is a question of refusing entry to one not bringing the doctrine of Christ, in 3 John the apostle urges the reception of those who go about preaching the truth

Outline of Bible cover1 John

John shows us the divine life and it’s characteristics, and proves it to be in the person of Christ. He first speaks about this life as he had known it in Christ when He was here on earth. He then shows it as the means of communion with the Father and the Son, so that our joy may be full.

But He who was, and is this life in Himself, has given us the absolute revelation of God as light. We are therefore placed here to walk in the light, as God is in the light, the blood of Christ cleansing us that we may do so. Thus we have fellowship together.

But chapter 1 shows the sin in ourselves. We have the intercession or advocacy of Christ with the Father, founded on His being the righteous One. His is the propitiation for our sin: this is the means of our being restored to communion in the light, after we have failed through weakness, in our walk down here.

John next presents in ch. 2, obedience to Christ’s commandments, practical righteousness and love of the brethren. These prove our the possession of this life. Before this though, he gives the ground of writing to the saints: that all are forgiven, and that babes in Christ have the Spirit of adoption.

He divides Christians into three classes – fathers, young men, and little children. This classification he repeats twice:

  • The fathers have but one mark; they know Him who is from the beginning.
  • The young men are strong, are in conflict, have overcome the wicked one, the word of God abiding in them. They are warned not to love the world.
  • The little children, while knowing the Father, are warned as to deceivers; but they are competent, as having the Holy Spirit, and hence they are responsible to judge the spirits.

In chapter 3, he shows them that as sons, they have the same name as Christ. They know that they will be like Him when He appears, so they purify themselves as He is pure. The contrast of the new nature and sin is brought out distinctly, sin being lawlessness (not the transgression of the law). This new nature is evidenced in their practical righteousness and love for the brethren. Moreover, the obedient person dwells in God, and God in him. The proof of God’s dwelling in us is, that He has given us the Holy Spirit.

He then gives directions to distinguish the Holy Spirit from evil spirits, by referring in chapter 4 to our owning Christ as come in the flesh.   John had introduced the Holy Spirit in connection with the new nature. He now shows that this new nature involves partaking in the divine nature, which is love. Hence, he that loves is born of God and knows God, for God is love. This love is displayed in that He first loved us; and if this is true, we love the brethren. God has commanded us to do that.

The term ‘ brethren’ includes all that are born of God but the truth of this love to the brethren is tested by love to God, which is proved by keeping His commandments. To this end faith overcomes the world.

Eternal life is given to us. This life to is in the Son, so that he that has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son has not life. The life is in Christ, not in the first Adam or his children. We therefore have a threefold witness – the Spirit, the water, and the blood: the water and the blood coming out of Christ’s side in death, and the Holy Spirit given consequent on His ascension. This gives us confidence for asking everything according to God’s will. So we can pray for a brother who has failed, provided it is not a sin to death.

The new nature that we have received is incapable of sin: he who has it keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. Finally, an absolute distinction is made between Christians and the world. “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (Ch. 5:19).  Further, we know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, that is, in His Son Jesus Christ, who is the true God and eternal life.

 

2 John

Written to a faithful lady, John Insists upon love being governed by the truth. Whoever does not abide in the doctrine of Christ has not God. Also, one who brings a doctrine denying Him is not to be greeted nor invited into the house.

3 John

Whereas in 2 John it is a question of refusing entry to one not bringing the doctrine of Christ, in 3 John the apostle urges the reception of those who go about preaching the truth. John denounces one who hindered the functioning of the local assembly, but he commends Gaius, and as a fellow-helper of the truth itself.

He supports the doctrine of reward to the workman engaged full-time in the Lord’s service. He commends the perseverance of his spiritual children in v. 4.

Notice that v.7 throws light on the word ‘ours’ in 1 John 2:2 (He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world)

  • Firstly, towards us, by God sending His only-begotten Son, that we might live through Him, and to make propitiation for our sins.
  • Secondly, as dwelling in love, we dwell in God, and God in us, He having given us of His Spirit. Thus His love is perfected in us. This is true of every one who really confesses that Jesus is the Son of God.
  • Thirdly, the love of God is perfected in us, so as to give us boldness in the day of judgment. Christ is our life, and the Spirit of God dwells in us. As Christ is so are we in this world. We love God because He first loved us.

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  September 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original