"I love you, so go to hell!"
Thursday, February 23, 2006
How can a loving God send a good, decent person to hell?

This question is based on a premise that must be addressed before it can be answered:
  • In order for a person to be called good, there must be a moral law by which good and evil are measured.
But you can't stop there:
  • If there is a moral law, there must be a moral lawgiver
  • If there is a moral lawgiver, then that lawgiver gets to define the rules for morality.
Our ability to assess our own or another's morality is perverted, for our hearts are deceitfully wicked [Jer 17:9, Ezekiel 33:13, Isaiah 64:6]. We have to defer to the lawgiver. If God is the lawgiver, then what are the rules He established for defining who is good and who is evil? In Matthew 7:22-24, Jesus explains that a relationship with God is necessary to be called good: "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." The rules for a relationship with God are simple:

1. Admit that you are guilty of sin and deserve to die [John 3:16]
2. Accept that Jesus paid your sin debt by dying in your place[Hebrews 2:9]
3. Abandon your old, sinful life. [ 2 Timothy 2:19]
4. Allow His Word to guide your new life [Romans 8:1]

How can a loving God send anyone to hell? You can look at it this way: If you do not want a relationship with God while you are on earth, it would be cruel and unloving for God to insist you spend eternity in His presence. But in deference to your will and honoring your wishes, He gives you what you desire: eternal separation from Him--in hell [2 Peter 3:9, Matt 25:41].

Now that's an act of love!

posted by K. Geffert | 6:11 PM


Anonymous help said...

what happened to the wonderful children stories Virtual church had on the internet. I tried to pull some up and they are not on anymore. These were great helps for children's church.

8:32 PM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger K.Geffert said...

They will be coming back soon. Bible stories were the most popular item on the old side. As soon as I can get them ported to the new format, they will be posted. Check back often....

10:48 PM, March 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes,but why make hell the 'bad' painful place. That would be like being offered icecream or dogcrap. What's the obvious choice?

2:05 PM, March 10, 2006  
Anonymous Sheri said...

Nice illustration, I always knew there had to be a good answer that question. Your blog is a blessing.

1:23 AM, March 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erm...i have never been to this site before and i am in the middle of a lesson now so bye bye

p.s. i might come again!

9:13 AM, March 13, 2006  
Blogger Dan said...

Listen to the words of Origen as he battles with a Greek philosopher named Celsus:
"The Stoics, indeed, hold that, when the strongest of the elements prevails, all things shall be turned into fire. But our belief is, that the Word shall prevail over the entire rational creation, and change every soul into his own perfection...for although in the diseases and wounds of the body, there are some which no medical skill can cure, yet we hold that in the mind there is no evil so strong that it may not be overcome by the Supreme Word and God. For stronger than all the evils in the soul is the Word, and the healing power that swells in Him, and the healing He applies, according to the will of God to every man. The consummation of all things is the destruction of evil"

The highly acclaimed Didymus writes: "Mankind, being reclaimed from their sins..are to be subjected to Christ in the fullness of the dispensation instituted for the salvation of all" (Comm. in 1 Peter 3)

Titus, bishop of Bostra, writes: "Abyss of hell is, indeed, the place of torment; but it is not eternal, nor did it exist in the original constitution of nature. It was made afterward, as a remedy for sinners, that it might cure them. And the punishments are holy, as they are remedial and salutary in their effect on transgressors; for they are inflicted not to preserve them in their wickedness but to make them cease from their wickedness. The anguish of their suffering compels them to break off their vices" (Lib. 1, ch. 32).

I guess you might say, I strongly believe the early Christians did NOT believe in Endless Hell.

3:51 PM, March 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Dan that early Christians didn't beleive in a Endless Hell, in fact I don't beleive in a endless myself. When Christ gave His life on the cross, He was saying that with my sacrifice will pay the price that humans owe for sin and allow them to live with Him forever. Also it was the sin that sin would eventually be eradicated from this universe. With a concept of a enternal Hell it says that sin not end and still be a stain on the universe. Christ death meant that sin will one day be wiped clean and the Devil has lost. Logicaly I can't see how the Devil and Hell can exist for is Christ death is to mean anything

9:13 PM, March 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how I got here, I was just searching for some sweet music for sunday's class. So I'll be on my way

2:19 AM, March 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, tell me this. A person who gives charity, helps the poor, devotes himself to the salvation of man, without giving a rats ass about God and finding some illogical way of what God really is and rephrasing it to some higher-than-thou 'God works in mysteeeeriioouus waaaaays' whenever he stumbles upon an issue like why people are made into beautiful and ugly and then given the preference of beautiful gets damned to hell simply because he doesnt believe in the way God makes things work?

Woooow. Apparently now God sends people like these to hell and its an act of kindness. How He gets away with these things is AMAZING.

Bravo, Jesus, Allah and Vishnu.

5:52 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger K.Geffert said...

Dear Anonymouse @ 5:52 AM:
I'd be interested in knowing your definition of "salvation of man," particularly since the person you describe doesn't care a whit about God. Furthermore, your comment doesn't make any sense. If a person isn't religious, then why would they care about where they spend eternity or whether there was a heaven and hell. And if God does exist, how could they even dare think that God would want them in Heaven?

6:01 PM, March 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous - 5:52AM,
It's interesting that you say "bravo Allah" when talking about "people who gives to charity, helps the poor and devotes himself to the salvation of man, without giving a rats *** about God." The most prominent (in the news) followers of Allah are not recognized as givers to chairty and caring about their poor but are known for oppressing their women, violence and intolerance toward other religions. Besides, followers of Allah care about their God. I agree. You don't make any sense!

6:13 PM, March 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would they care to spend an eternity in eternal paradise? Giant boobs and free booze, orrr... a fiery torment? Crap for breakfast, lunch and dinner, oh, and excruciating pain 24/7. Why geffert... you got me there. I honestly dont know which one to choose. =P Oh well. Its not something one would care about i suppose. *sarcasm sarcasm sarcasm* (Just in case you don't get it, since you asked a pretty dumb question.)

And anonymous the 2nd, you're on a religious site, picking on other people's religions based on what you see on the NEWS. (and you completely missed my point by the way, but i'll let that pass since you don't seem too smart in any case) Why bravo to you too. NOW i feel like i should embrace christianity because of your ever enlightening and loving fact that muslims are women oppressors. How enlightening!

Anyone else?

12:19 PM, March 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and btw, my point, since i need to spell it out is that OF COURSE there can be someone who doesn't gives a rat's ass (ooh, i said ass, blasphemy anonymous 2!) about God since, well, i don't know... God made man suffer in the first place? He created famine, poverty, disaster, disease, pain, suffering? Why wouldnt there be someone who's kind enough to his fellow humans but hates God for putting all that on them and calling it a 'test'?

You know, i think my Toyota might be able to withstand a head on collision with a school bus, but guess what? I'm not about to take it out and ram the first school bus I see. Because i dont have this spontaneous tendency to test everything to see how well they crack under pressure. Or famine. or poverty. Or... (oh cmon. Would you really want me to list down everything? its a long list, people.)

12:25 PM, March 31, 2006  
Anonymous kb said...

This has gotten me onto an interesting train of thought... since heaven is supposed to be a place free of pain, it would make sense that there is so much pain and suffering in the world today, otherwise there would be no heaven. Let me make my point clear-- those who suffer most in life are supposed to have a high position in heaven, as long as they have lived a life that does not upset God, correct? Therefore, pain and suffering is a key to heaven. If there was a heaven-on-earth where no one suffered and everyone was happy all the time, no one would be granted entrance to heaven based upon the aforementioned statements. Which either means that they are condemned to hell or are in some limbo, which would be more likely since they really have done no wrong, but yet they still cannot get into heaven... This can be an explanation for why there cannot be complete peace everywhere, lest no one wishes to spend eternity with God, once he or she is deceased.

6:13 PM, April 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why, in all logic, would it be a better way to have people in heaven and people in hell to validate happiness and pain and suffering?

This, world, this, universe, it seems to me, is less and less perfect.

"You rested on the 7th day. Perhaps you should've spent it on compassion."

7:41 AM, April 02, 2006  
Anonymous Jon said...

Karen you have done a fantastic job, your lesson incorporates the correct Bible verses and is very plain and clear.

Reading through all the "Anonymous" comments is just a pure example of how the enemy and the world makes it so simple to confuse people and distort the Word of God.

The Anonymous comments - most of them - are obviously not Born Again by the Blood of the Lamb and quite clearly dont have a relationship with Jesus Christ, therefore their want and need to make an argument out of it.

Hebrews 13v8 says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever more.

This goes to say that His Word is the same yesterday today and Forever more, therefore as much as people want to argue, the Word is plain and simple and straight forward.

Everyone wants to change it to suit themselves, this is why man will never be perfect like Jesus Christ, because for the World to conform to Jesus's standards is just too much to ask, so He must conform to the World?

This will never happen, all the short years on earth are worth just one second in Jesus' company and nothing, not anything could change that.

Hell is a place for those whether good or bad ( to worldly standards ) who do not accept Jesus Christ, this is where they will all end up, it is said by God and it is plain and simple, there is no getting around it.

You dont get into heaven by good deeds, tough luck, God has spoken, either accept His son or you dont go to Heaven.

Jon Amira - Evangelist - South Africa

10:42 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful site that I stumbled onto.....The earlier person who commented sarcastically and tried to get "logical" on everyone, well...I just wanted to tell you, my friend in the Lord, there is no logical explanation to the feeling that enormous, life-changing feeling in the pit of your heart that brings you to your knees making you want to surrender all to HIM, our God, our Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that you find comfort and peace.

4:26 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna say something, and I hope to make a point: Immortal life is a gift, not a right. I firmly do not believe in the innate immortality of human beings or their souls. If it were innate, then the reward of the righteous would not be eternal life (Matthew 25:46), but eternal joy, or happiness, or satisfaction or similar. The Old way of viewing things, much like the belief that the earth is flat, has never really been accurate, it just seemed right to roman-influenced Catholics who set up the church that stood as the foremost western front of christianity (and it was and is a good front.) for over 1,600 years. Its similar to a somewhat silly idea of hell where the devil rules it, we got it from the Roman God Plute, or Hades, and the actual basis is somewhat vaunted.

7:06 PM, April 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

because he hates us all really

12:02 PM, April 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God doesn't exist. If he did he wouldn't let the things that have happened occur. Don't depend on him. If you go to hell then thats your problem, not his!

10:13 AM, May 03, 2006  
Blogger Jerry said...

I want you to understand that God doesn't SEND anyone to Hell. You choose to go there yourself by not believing that Jesus died on the cross so that you could have forgiveness of your sins. The only reason a person goes to Hell is because of disbelief. Sin does not send anyone to Hell. Only unforgiveness for your sin is the reason a person goes there.

6:37 PM, May 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is important to remember that God created a world without pain or evil. These things became a part of the world because man, Adam and Eve, rejected the authority of God to make themselves "like God". God gives everyone a free will to make choices and we seem to make so many bad ones. We reject God because to admit his existance means we have to change our selfish ways. Evil is something man created, not God. If every man would accept Christ and follow God there would be no evil.

5:02 PM, May 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone's comments have been very interesting. I really enjoyed reading them. I myself do not attend church and do not consider myself a religious person. I do however believe in some form of greater power. Someone created man and is watching over us, but ultamitly man is responsible for creating their own destiny. I live by honesty, respect and compassion. Would I meet heavens requirements?

6:10 PM, May 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just happened on here...quite interesting!And really,it's all quite simple,Man chooses to go to hell by refusing to yield to God and accepting His gift of salvation which ,by the way, is our only ticket to heaven.Forget it,we could never be good enough on all our best days to get there!We either yield to God's law or the devil's.And I agree that from day one satan has tried to destroy man and earth with all the suffering and pain he causes.

10:40 PM, June 03, 2006  
Anonymous Astral said...

I have a disagreement with what was said in original comment. God does not SEND anyone to hell. He gave us free will to choose, He loves and wants everyone with Him but in the choices we make in what we believe and how we live it is us that choose hell over God. Imagine how terrible that must be for Him to see that which He created in love snub Him after all He has done even to the point of damning themselves to an eternity away from a perfect Father who loves them enough to sacrifice His most precious Son. No He doesn't send us we choose to go. Not me!!!!!

6:14 AM, June 10, 2006  
Anonymous Mei said...

Hi! I come across this in reading Lee's Strobel's Case for Faith and remembered that the definition of hell raises some discussion in the study group.

Being an asian, hell is normally associated with burning fire, intense heat.. however, we read that hell is eternal separation, rather than a place. Did you come across any reading that clarify that?

btw, read your 'about this site' and though there's not much info about you, it's great to know that you're developing adventure games with christian theme. Sounds like a wonderful evangelistic tool!

6:04 AM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger Tim N said...

I have been taking classes that encourage me to look over these cyber churches, and thus far, they have been very interesting.
I must say that I am very disappointed in some of the earlier comments that have come from people who claim Christianity. I know nobody is perfect but we are supposed to be an example of Christ. Some of the earlier posts were way too harsh. Being a fisher of men means reaching out to them and meeting them where they are at. This seems to have escaped some of those who posted earlier in this blog.
To the person who has been argueing against a caring God. I want to know more about what you believe. Do you believe in a God at all? If not, then what do you believe started the earth? Evolution, the big bang, etc. You seem to believe that there is a god because you write with such a passion about a cruel god. Do you have a history with the church? You have obviously thought about these things before.
I know what I believe, and am willing to share if you would like to hear, but I hope moreso to learn about what you think and believe.

3:56 PM, June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey i was just wondering if ur not saved or baptised does that make u a non-christian and ur not a christian untill u've ither been baptised or saved ??xx

5:47 PM, June 23, 2006  
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2:38 PM, September 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23)

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2)

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

It's pretty clear. It's eternal. But it's also avoidable.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

If you want to know the truth and are really open to hearing it, then honestly ask someone who believes. I'm sure they'd be happy to explain it to you.

9:04 PM, September 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahmen to your site

8:05 AM, September 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Dan's post on 13th March ....

There is an inaccuracy in what you have quoted. Hell was not made for sinners. The bible tells us that hell was prepared for Satan and his fallen angels/demons. Those who choose to align themselves with him by failing to align themselves to God, end up receiving the same punishment that he is due.

5:59 PM, December 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really see what you are talking about. It shows me as a sinner what I need to do to be a child of God.This site is great.Thanks.

5:18 AM, February 20, 2007  
Anonymous littleone said...

This site really is great, talking with other Christians normally just makes me feel useless, but reading through these comments and the things on the site gives me soem fresh hope.

so glad i'm saved

3:44 PM, May 31, 2007  
Anonymous Praveen Joseph said...

I liked the explanation in the post. I think it was well supported from the Bible.. But how is it fair that a person living on this earth for a brief period of time (say 80 years), who decides he/she doesn't want to accept God, is condemned to an eternity of burning (must be painful) in hell. Doesn't that defy every sense of Justice we as humans possess. Eternity is a very long time, isn't it? How could a good and just God, from whom we mortals get the basis for goodness and justice, torture a finite sinner infinitely?

12:28 AM, June 18, 2007  
Anonymous Fading Faith said...

Hello All,

I didn't know how to contact the website So I decided to post a comment here. You can make it into an actual post later.

I've been reading the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri recently (Inferno) and I've become interested in the concept of hell but also the history of christianity.

The christian concept of Hell is apparently taken from a whole variety of pagan ideas. The work of Dante, which is universally considered one of the first christian epics, refers and describes hell particularly in terms of pagan imagery. The first section in the poem has groups of characters like Charon, who is a boatman who takes the living across the Acheronte river which stands between life and death (on the hell side).

I am a christian who has to a certain extent become disillusioned with christianity. Many of it's traditions like Easter are not originally part of the christian tradition but are actually absorbed from pagan rituals. For example the Easter as I mentioned in fact was originally added to christianity in Roman times. The pagan god Ichtar was the god of plenty, growth etc and apparently farmers and others would sacrifice small animals like rabits and eat eggs (which are seen as symbols of growth). It is also fact that the christians were originally seen and treated as a minority cult. The spread of christianity was not due to the work of christ himself so much as Saint Peter, who actively worked spreading Jesus teachings.

So what is my point again? Doesn't it seem a problem that the Church is continually changing its doctrine in order to accommadate the wishes of the masses?? I think that it may be part of the reason that christianity has remained in power. It is willing to adapt and change. Look at the middle ages for example. Science, Art, Music and Literature were all originally treated as creations or works of the devil. Later, when it became clear that they could not be discarded, they were reabsorbed into christian doctrine, with christian music, christian artworks and literature becoming disseminated to the masses.

BTW the very idea of a fiery hell comes from pagan images. It seems that the more I learn of the history of christianity, the less I feel the kind of spiritual feelings I had before. Again this may be due to the fact that I am confusing Christianity as an ideal and religion, with the Church, which is the organisation that represents it.

I actually consider it a distinct and SERIOUS problem that an all good God would allow a finite sinner to spend an infinite eternity in hell suffering for their earthly sins. More problematic to me is the very existence of evil. It seems to me to be a very serious dilemma that a good or all powerful god would allow evil to exist in the world, even to allow free will. I wonder sometimes, what is so good about free will that requires that evil should be in the world. I seem to be allowing for a totalitarian control of human society and behaviour and I think if a human being were try to lead such a construct it would be a complete failure. However, doesn't it seem a problem that the all powerful, all knowing God would CHOOSE that evil exist in the world.

A lot of literature based on sections of the Bible such as Paradise Lost portray God as having chosen to allow evil to enter into the world in order to later allow a greater good. Yet I ask. What greater good could there be than for Human beings to live in innocent harmony in the Garden of Eden?

Many people jokingly, but still relevantly, ask the question. If God didn't want Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, why did he put it where they could reach it.

It was this section that led to the original banning, of science, art, music etc because it was believed that it had led to the original fall and also that faith was infinitely superior to reason and knowledge. I still think the changing interpretation of the church of the bible over the last 2000 years presents a serious problem. The fact that much of the Church no longer treats the Bible as a literal fact, but rather a spiritual guide. That's not to say that the bible does not contain historical events in it. It just doesn't describe them as accurately as other sources.

To be fair I won't be visiting this website again, so I will leave my Hotmail address for you to send replies to me. I can understand that my comments seem like trolling and it's only fair that you get to reply to defend your views. you can reach me at:


6:04 AM, August 11, 2007  
Anonymous rafael said...



Mr dawkins and his arrogance on the subject of God's moral standards are very naive yet subtle , and his advocates do not fall far from the tree.
“Dawkins later talks to Reverend Michael Bray, who speaks out in defence of his friend Paul Hill, who was sentenced to death after murdering an abortion doctor and his bodyguard. Although Bray was actually quite articulate and in some ways more serious and intellectual in defence of his beliefs, he was still blinded by his faith, which leads him directly to the justification of murder.
And Bray doesn’t stop there; here’s Bray, who Dawkins describes as “fighting to reverse centuries of human progress”, talking to Dawkins about adultery:Bray: “I think that execution for adultery is not rejected…”
Dawkins: “Not rejected by whom, by you?”
Bray: “No, by the New Testament…”Dawkins: But what about you, do you favour execution for adultery?”
Bray: “I think it’s fair to say that it’s still a proper punishment that the state ought to prosecute.”
Who wants to put their hands up and agree, and say that this biblical inspired morality is one you’d like to sign up to? Religion doesn’t seem to doing much good in a moral sense, especially among those that take it really seriously. But what about the message in the printed book? Doesn’t that say what’s right, and provide a map for a moral life?”

Is the bible, not religion , that does not have as a subject moral standards, neither good ethics, or holiness. Is higher than theese.
Please before you judge God and the bible on the grounds of morality, think before you speak or at the least read what you call the text book.


Please read the this:
This portion of the Bible is a parable told by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He said that two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, one of the best of persons, and the other was a tax collector, one of the worst of persons. The Lord Jesus said that as a result of their prayers, the wicked tax collector was justified and the good Pharisee was not justified. What does "to be justified" mean? To be justified is to be declared innocent in a law court. To not be justified is to be declared guilty and to receive punishment. "Justified" is what believers usually mean by "saved." Making it more plain, "to be justified" is to go to heaven. To not be justified is to perish and go to hell. The Lord Jesus said that a good person goes to hell and a wicked person goes to heaven. A good man goes to hell! And a wicked man goes to heaven! Yes, this is what the Lord Jesus said.We all think that the good person should go to heaven and the wicked to hell, but the Lord Jesus said that the good person would go to hell and the wicked person to heaven. Do not be surprised and think that this is new or strange. If any person is going to heaven, he must be a sinner. In heaven you cannot find a good person. In heaven everyone is a sinner! What about hell? There are plenty of good people in hell! Do not think that you will not go to hell because you are good. Let me say that there are plenty of people in hell just like you! Some are even better than you! By themselves, those who are both wicked and good should go to hell. By believing in the Lord Jesus, however, good men can go to heaven and wicked men also can go to heaven. In this parable, our Lord Jesus Christ told a story of a good man going to hell and a wicked man going to heaven. Those who label themselves as a righteous person and think of themselves as an excellent man among men, please listen to the Lord Jesus' words: good men may go to hell! Those who humble themselves and confess that they are sinners, judging themselves not worthy to be saved, should not be discouraged because wicked men may go to heaven!We need to consider the good man, whom the Lord talked about, who was perishing. We want to see how good he was, and if he was a good man, why he would still go to hell.Verse 10 says that he was a Pharisee. Very often we think that Pharisees were hypocrites, the worst people. But this was not always true; they had many good qualities. Pharisees zealously kept the law (Phil. 3:5). They were not like the modernists, the Sadducee's, who did not believe this or that. They believed in God's Word and kept God's law and dared not doubt one word. Even so, the Lord Jesus said this Pharisee perished!Christians, when coming to revival conferences and walking on the street, often feel shameful when they are seen carrying a big heavy Bible. We would rather leave it at home and come to the meeting without a Bible or with a small New Testament to avoid men's eyes. We are afraid that people will call us superstitious. We are afraid of being ridiculed. But it was not so with the Pharisees: they wrote Scripture on the fringes of their garments, they were not afraid of being ridiculed, and they were bold to confess to everyone that they believed in God.I know of many Christians who dare not pray and give thanks for the meal before men when they go to an unbeliever's home or an unbelieving friend comes to their home for a meal! Since their consciences bother them if they do not give thanks, they pray to God in their heart with open eyes! How shy they are! How timid! They dare not admit that they are Christians before others. This was not the situation with the Pharisees. They would pray at the crosswalk. Let us not mention what kind of motive they may have had; their outward performance alone was much higher than that of ordinary Christians. However, the Lord Jesus said that this Pharisee was fallen and would go to hell. Pharisees were high class people in the society of those days. They were a very gentle, noble, and cultured people. But God does not care for social status. He is righteous; He will not regret sending you to hell if you deserve it. Do not say in your heart, "Is it possible for people like me—so fine, so gentle, so smart with a Ph.D. degree, and so rich—to go to hell?" Let me say that there are plenty of people just like you in hell, even some wiser, prettier, richer, and gentler than you! A person is never too good to go to hell! The Lord Jesus said that this Pharisee would perish. Although he was one of the high class, he would perish. So please do not depend on your social status. When this gentle Pharisee came to pray at the temple, he prayed, "God!" (Luke 18:11). Please listen to this word, "God." He was neither an atheist nor a fool, since he did not say that there was no God; neither was he a wicked person doing evil and abominable deeds (Psa. 14:1). He believed that there was a God. Even though he could not see Him, he knew that God is clearly seen since the creation of the world (Rom. 1:19-20). He was not an nonreligious person; he believed that there was a God. In spite of this, he still was not saved. He could not avoid going to hell and perishing. He was a very pious and religious man; he came to God's presence and prayed. He was a good man. Nevertheless, the Lord said that this pious, good man was going to hell. Please remember that a good man, who even believes that there is a God, can go to hell! What will happen to those who do not believe!The Pharisee prayed, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men," and then he named many types of sinners. He told the Lord that he was not evil like the rest of men, that he had not committed as many sins as others and that he was among the best of men, unlike others. Indeed, this Pharisee was a good man! He was rare among men! Yet the Lord said that this unusually good man would go to hell and perish forever. You may think, "Perhaps this Pharisee was going to hell because he was a hypocrite. If he was genuinely good, he would surely go to heaven." But there is no indication that he was a hypocrite. I can tell you that he was indeed rare among men, yet there are other people who are also moral. He was truly a morally perfect man. He prayed saying that he did not sin as others and had many good points. The Lord did not deny this; He did not say that the Pharisee's words were false. For this reason we know that he must have been a good person. Furthermore, in verse 9 the Lord indicated that he was "righteous." This proves that he was an ideally good man. But good men go to hell, and good men should go to hell!We should remember that he said to God, "I am not like the rest of men." Many times when I preach the gospel, I ask, "Do you know that you are a sinner and that you need a Savior as a substitute to redeem you?" Many have replied, "I have never killed anyone and burned down buildings. In what way have I sinned? I do everything according to my conscience. I am much better than my friends and neighbors. I am better than all." An unbeliever might add, "I am even better than many Christians! I am better than they without even believing in Jesus." Yes, maybe you can say this to me, but can you say to the Lord, "God, I thank You that I do not sin like the rest of men. I am better than all others"? I am afraid you can only utter self-justifying words to me but not to God. You dare to boast before men of your virtues. But you would not dare to say before God that you are better than all others. You may deceive men but not God. You may boast to me. You may deceive parents, husband, wife, children, relatives, friends, and the world. But you cannot deceive God. What you dare to say before men, you dare not say before God because God examines your inward parts. The Pharisee acted according to his conscience. He not only boasted to men that he was a perfect and righteous man, unlike others who had committed sins, he dared to say even to God, "God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers." His conscience did not even slightly condemn him; he could boldly declare his righteous acts before God. Truly, he was better than others, better than you and I. But the Lord said that this good man, who was rare among men, would go to hell. If such a good man will go to hell, then what will happen to those who are not as good as he, who do not come up to his standard, and who have sinned as the rest of the world? Should they go to hell and receive more punishment? "If they do these things with the tree full of sap, what will happen with the one that is dry?" (Luke 23:31) If an extremely good person goes to hell, what will happen to us sinners? Do not be so self-confident. Although you are good, you cannot escape the fire of hell. Oh, you who are self-righteous, please do not be at peace. Your own righteousness cannot save you.He was not an extortioner. Extortion is taking what should not be taken by force or by power. This Pharisee did not extort others, even though he had the power. I wonder how many of you reading this message have extorted someones riches by your own power. You know it; God also knows it. What a common thing it is to dominate others by means of your power! But this Pharisee did not do this; he did not extort. Yet the Lord said that he could not be spared from going to hell. Good men go to hell. If a good man like this Pharisee was going to hell, then what about extortioners?Furthermore, he was not unjust. Whatever is not fair is unjust. Being unjust is the most common sin today. Not only is there much unjust conduct, but there are many unjust objects. In your home, bedroom, classroom, living room, and office is there anything that is not yours, but has become yours? Please search your bedroom, living room, closet, pocket to see if there are items that were obtained in an unjust way. Please check your own heart, and ask yourself if there is anything that you have gained in an unjust way. It is still unjust, even if it is only one dress or one penny. To put it politely, we acquired these things in an unjust way; putting it frankly, these things were stolen from others! To be unjust is to steal! Did you ever steal any money from others? Did you ever steal any article? Did you borrow from others and never return the borrowed thing? All this is unjust!Once I held a meeting at Changchow. A young student who had stolen five dollars from her teacher was there. After she attended the meeting, she realized that what she had done was a sin. The Spirit urged her, and she confessed to her mother and returned the money to her teacher. Another young girl student who had stolen two loquats from her supervisor was also there. Her supervisor was a very strict person; the students were afraid to talk to her. After this young student received the Lord's grace, she realized that she should clear up this unjust matter; she went to her supervisor and boldly confessed her sin.Two weeks later I went to the Kulangsu Bible Association. The manager told me that he had received a letter and dictionary from Changchow. In the letter the writer stated, "I took this book from the Association without paying for it. I now know that this is unjust so I am returning it." Oh! Brothers and sisters, I do not know if there is any injustice among you; I hope that there is none among you, but I am afraid that there are some unjust ones among us, and I am also afraid that there are some unjust things among you! This Pharisee was not unjust. He dared to say to the Lord that he was not unjust. But the Lord said that even though he was a good man and not unjust, he was not justified and could not be saved! A good man can go to hell! If a just man can perish, how much more will unjust ones perish and go to hell? Needless to say, you and I should go to hell.He did not commit adultery. I do not know how many reading this message have committed adultery. You know and God knows. The sin of adultery is filthy! But many have defiled their beds through their flesh! If we agree that lusting in the heart is committing a sin, then there will be very few perfect people in the world! The Lord said, "That every one who looks at a woman in order to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). Today few keep their bodies clean; even fewer keep their minds clean. God surely will punish those who commit this kind of sin. He has to punish sin. This Pharisee was a moral person; he did not do anything unclean. He never committed adultery. But the Lord said that the good Pharisee, who did not commit adultery, would perish and go to hell. The destination of a good man is hell! If such a good person is going to hell, then what about evil ones and adulterers? Will not adulterers, all the more, go to hell?The Pharisee not only abstained from many evil things on the negative side, but did many commendable things on the positive side. He "fast[ed] twice a week" (v. 12). I am afraid that many people have never fasted once since they became a Christian! They may not even know what it means to fast! But this Pharisee was very strict; he mastered his body and did not give in to the passion of his lust. He was a self-disciplined person. He served God in a godly and dedicated way. The law did not require a man to fast twice a week. He had even fulfilled what the law did not require of him. Despite all this, the Lord said that he would perish and go to hell. Surely those who are worse than he will receive a more severe punishment. If this is the case, how can one hope to be saved?He gave tithes of all that he had acquired. He was not a miser; he was a very generous person. His principle was to tithe. Very few Christians today give even one percent, much less ten percent. When offering time comes, many think that a silver dollar is too big and a silver dime too small. But a copper coin is neither too big nor too small, so they offer it! This was not the case with the Pharisee. He was full of thoughts about accumulating wealth in heaven. Yet the Lord said that he would go to hell. A person who gives his labor and money still can suffer perdition! If a good man can go to hell, what kind of punishment will miserly ones receive?From these points we can see that the Pharisee was a good and perfect man. Not only was he good in men's eyes, but he was also perfect and without blemish in his own eyes. We cannot say that he was a saint, but he was a very rare and good man in this world. Nevertheless, the Lord declared that he was not justified, that he was not saved, and that he was going to perish! If we think that we can be saved by doing good or that we are saved because we are good, we should realize that even if we are as good as this Pharisee, we still cannot be saved. How can we be saved by doing good? How could the Pharisee possibly have been saved just by being a good man? Therefore, good people should not be complacent! We should not think that we can be saved because we are good. We have to realize, according to the Lord's judgment, that we still belong to hell! Sinners, do not think that we should improve ourselves gradually and then be saved after we have been good. Let me tell you that this is Satan's gospel. Not only are we incapable of doing good, even if we could do as well as this Pharisee, we would still go to hell! What use is it to do good? The Lord purposely chose this ideal and good person and said that he was still going to perish in order to disappoint those who rely on their self-righteousness and let them know that their self-righteousness cannot save them. The way of salvation has nothing to do with ourselves (Eph. 2:8-9). If anyone wishes to be saved, they should not look to the way of self-improvement. In order to be saved, one has to believe on the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31).Since this Pharisee was such a good man, why did he end up going to hell? What are the reasons? Now we will see the reasons why this good man would go to hell.First, he was one like those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous" (Luke 18:9). He was an outstanding person according to moral standards. He was very content and thought that he could be saved. It seemed that no one else could go to heaven if he could not go. To "trust" means to depend upon. He depended upon his own righteous works and thought his righteous works could justify or save him. He did not realize that "all of us became like him who is unclean, / And all our righteousness are like a soiled garment" (Isa. 64:6). None of these things can cover our shame and shelter us from God's condemnation. He did not know that in God's eyes, "there is none righteous, not even one" (Rom. 3:10). He thought that he was "not like the rest of men," that he was the one and only righteous man on earth! He thought that he conducted himself according to the law and even did more than what the law required. Therefore, he thought he would surely be justified. He is just like many others who think that they can be saved by good works. But the Bible says, "Out of the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before Him" (Rom. 3:20). It also says, "For we [the apostles] account that a man is justified...apart from the works of the law" (Rom. 3:28). "A man is not justified out of works of law...we might be justified...not out of the works of law, because out of the works of law no flesh will be justified" (Gal. 2:16). "By law no one is justified before God" (3:11). "Not out of works in righteousness which we did...He saved us" (Titus 3:5). "The works of law" mean good works. Not being justified by the works of the law means that one cannot be saved by doing good works. This has been repeatedly made clear in the Bible. Although the Pharisee had righteous works, he did not realize that his righteous works could not save him. He was one of those who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous." He wanted to go to heaven, but eventually he ended up in hell. How pitiful! He thought his own righteousness was sufficient and did not seek the righteousness which was prepared by God in Christ Jesus. As a result, he fell into perdition. Man's righteousness does not satisfy God; He will not save anyone unless He sees His own righteousness. Because this Pharisee was "ignorant of God's righteousness and sought to establish [his] own righteousness, [he was] not subject to the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3). To not be subject is to rebel. This man was a rebel in the face of God. How could he have any hope of being saved?Oh, how numerous are the descendants of this Pharisee today! Many still think that they are a good man, that they are therefore saved. Many think that they should do good in order to be saved. But the Lord said that good men go to hell. If you are this type of person, please turn back quickly and believe in the Lord Jesus because your good works cannot save you. Nothing in this world is less dependable than your own righteousness. The righteous Pharisee who depended upon his own righteousness has already gone to hell and has become a pattern to those who want to be saved through doing good works. Why should you suffer by following in the same footsteps?He not only was one who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous" but also "exalt[ed] himself" (v. 14). Self- exalting ones go to hell. As a preacher, I have never seen a proud person become saved. If a man wants to be saved, he must admit that he is a helpless and hopeless sinner, unable to save himself and unable to trust himself. He must admit that he deserves hell. He needs to prostrate himself before the cross to beg for grace and believe in Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified in a shameful way to be his vicarious Savior. How humbling this is! Without humbling ourselves, who can do this? There is nothing under heaven more humbling than to believe in the Lord Jesus as the Savior! Worldly people are very unwilling to confess that they cannot do good! Self-exalting ones are not willing to come to the despised cross to seek grace. A self-exalting man cannot be saved. He likes to say that he can do good and can patch up all his wrong doings with his own good works. Even if he cannot, he will try to bear his own responsibility. It is hard for him to confess that he is a sinner and that Jesus Christ is his Savior! Oh, proud one, please do not be so proud anymore. Humble yourself before God. Otherwise, your pride will cause you to go to hell!Moreover, the Pharisee did not ask God for grace. He thought that a person as qualified as he was did not need to ask God for grace. If a righteous man like the Pharisee is sufficiently qualified to be saved, why ask God for grace? Since he already has done good works, why is there a need for him to lose face by asking for grace? Although he went up to the temple to pray, the Lord said that he "prayed these things to himself." Please read verses 11 and 12 again and see whether or not he prayed. He did not come to the temple of God saying, "God, I have this and that shortage. Please fill me." He did not say, "God, I cannot save myself. Please save me." Rather, he said, "God, I thank You, because I can be good without Your help. I never did this or that evil thing. On the contrary, I have done many good things." He did not pray! He did not beseech God! He thought that he was the top person and that he was good to the uttermost. He did not come to pray; he came to give a report! He came before God just to give Him a report and to let Him know all his merits. He seemed to be saying, "God, I thank You, I did not do many sinful things; instead, I did many good things. I am afraid that You do not know about it, so I came to give You a report." He did not ask God for grace. He was truly a good man, according to his own estimate and others' evaluation. But he was an outsider to God's holiness. He had never seen God; he did not know God. So he dared to boast before the God of all holiness and all goodness! If the eyes of his heart had not been completely blinded, he would not have been so foolish. Even though he and all the others thought he was a good person, in God's eyes he was still a sinner. He was not justified, and he needed to be saved. If he would not be saved, he would perish and go to hell. In the same way that a great sinner needs a Savior to redeem him and suffer the penalty of sin for him, this so-called righteous person needs the same in God's eyes. But he was blind to this need. He never knew God or God's grace. Therefore, he did not know that he was also a sinner before God. He also needed a Savior. He was too self-content and too proud! He thought that he was capable and able! When he arrived in hell, he surely was shocked and thought he had gone to the wrong place! Little did he realize that this very place was his real home!The Pharisee had already perished. We need to take this case as a warning. He made two great mistakes regarding salvation: (1) he thought that in order to be saved he should do good, and (2) since he was good, he was surely saved. He did not know that these thoughts were absurd. When we read Ephesians 2:8-9, we can see that we are not saved by our good works but by believing in the grace of the Lord Jesus. "He who believes into Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe has been condemned already" (John 3:18). Whether a person will be saved or will perish depends on whether or not he believes and receives the salvation that has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the cross. It does not depend on our own goodness or badness. Since we are not saved by doing good, someone who is just good cannot be saved. Dear readers, do not think that you can be saved by accumulating good works little by little. I know and God knows that you are unable to do good. Even if you are able, the God of all goodness does not consider your goodness as good. Good works can never save you. You cannot buy God's salvation by doing good. You should first be saved, then do good works. Do not change the order, thinking that first you should do good works, and then you will be saved. Please come now and receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and be saved.Now we are going to see the wicked person who was saved, and find out how wicked he was and why he could go to heaven. He was a tax collector (Luke 18:10). According to the situation in Jewish society at the time, a tax collector was the most despised among all classes of people. The Chinese consider a robber to be the worst man and a harlot to be the worst woman. We have a saying, "a man-robber and a woman-harlot." For the Jews, the lowest, most ignoble, wicked, and dirty profession for a man was to be a tax collector! For a male to be a tax collector and a female to be a harlot is the most despicable thing! But the Lord Jesus said that even though he was despised by men, he was justified by God; he was saved and could go to heaven!In those days the Jews were under the dictatorship of the Roman government, and the Romans taxed the Jews by the system of collecting tribute money. The government would set the amount of tax in a certain place and then hire people to collect it. These tax collectors collected tribute for the Roman government. When they took the job of collecting tribute, they would extort a tribute of their own choosing, so that the excess tax would be theirs. As a group, they helped evildoers do evil and cared for even the smallest, trifling amounts. They only cared for their own gain; therefore, they were considered by society as the most low and despised of men. This was the tax collector in the eyes of the world. If you asked a Jew which kind of person was the worst, he would certainly answer, "a tax collector." But the Lord Jesus said that the tax collector would go to heaven. Wicked men can go to heaven! If the sinful and wicked, such as this tax collector, can be saved, what is possible for those who are less sinful!He was a sinner (v. 13). His own conscience accused him. Everything he did was against God's laws. He could not keep God's commandments. His thoughts were filthy. His eyes beheld things that should not be seen. His mouth spoke things that should not be spoken. His hands did evil and his feet walked in wickedness. He was totally filled with lusts and all things of ungodliness. He only knew how to take advantage of others. He was a miser; he only cared to fill his own bag. He did not care for anything, much less righteousness or morality. He turned his ear away from the cries of orphans and widows. As long as he accumulated thousands and tens of thousands for his wealth, he did not care whether others were sinking in the mire. He did not worship God. His deeds, behavior, and motives were all against God. In brief, he was a sinner. But the Lord Jesus said that this tax collector was justified and that sinners can go to heaven.O sinners of this world, you know that you are a sinner. You think that you are incurable and not worthy to be saved. When you examine your own thoughts and behavior, your conscience condemns your sins and convinces you that you deserve to perish. Dear sinners, let me say that you do not have to be disappointed or worry. The Lord Jesus said that the wicked can go to heaven. Oh, distressed ones, you do not have to be discouraged. Here is the gospel. Even though you are a sinner, sinners can obtain eternal life. You cannot save yourself, but you can be saved. The way of salvation is in the Lord Jesus. Come and receive His salvation! The Pharisee said he was "not like the rest of men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector" (v. 11). From this statement, we can deduce that this tax collector was an extortioner, an unjust person, an adulterer, and one with all kinds of sins. This tax collector usurped power to oppress and extort people. Everything he did was full of injustice. In his house there were articles which he owned illegally; he had used crafty methods to obtain them. He committed adultery, sinning against his own body. He got involved in all kinds of unclean things and committed all kinds of sins. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus judged and said that this tax collector could go to heaven.From a worldly point of view, this type of sinner deserves more than perdition. According to worldly judgment, nice people should go to heaven and evil ones to hell. If we made the decision, only good people would be saved and wicked people would perish. If we made the decision, the Pharisee would certainly receive eternal life, and the tax collector would be sentenced to condemnation. Fortunately, there is no room for men to say anything regarding salvation and perdition. Fortunately, it is our Lord Jesus Christ who set the rule by saying that good people should go to hell. Since the evil ones can go to heaven, we have a chance to be saved. There are very few good people in the world; all are sinners (Rom. 3). If only good people can be saved, then how many will be saved? Will not all perish? Fortunately, the Lord Jesus made the rule that sinners can go to heaven. Therefore, we sinners have the hope of being saved. Praise the Lord!Once I took the Lien Shien Steamer from Shanghai back to Fukien. I shared the gospel with a well-known businessman from Fukien. I told him the gospel of the Lord Jesus' vicarious death and His redemption. He answered by saying, "What Confucius said was the best: `One who sins against heaven shall not be forgiven.' " I asked him, "Sir, according to what you have heard and seen, how many people have not sinned against heaven?" He was silent for a while and answered, "I am afraid that there is not one!" I asked, "Very well then, since all have sinned against heaven, can anyone be forgiven? If this is so, what else can be said? We are all here waiting to be sentenced." He could say nothing. Yes, we all are sinners and should perish. But God is full of grace; He has the gospel. Although everyone thinks that they have sinned against heaven and cannot be forgiven, God has bestowed grace upon everyone who has sinned against heaven. He has prepared a Savior to die for them to redeem them so all sinners can have a chance to be saved and go to heaven. Therefore, sinners, come quickly and receive God's salvation. The evil can go to heaven; this is the gospel.This tax collector was a most wicked person. Yet he was saved. Does this mean that we should commit sins and become evildoers in order to be saved? Does this mean that we can sin as we please in order to obtain salvation? No, absolutely not! The Lord Jesus said that sinners can be saved. He did not say that sinners would be saved because they commit sins. By himself, a sinner will perish. If he relies on a third party, he can be saved. Now we want to see the reason why this tax collector, who had committed such sins, could actually be saved. In this way we, who are sinners like him, can learn from him and obtain salvation, so that evildoers like us can also go to heaven.Although he was sold to sin, he was not proud before God and did not presume that he had anything. The Lord Jesus said that he humbled himself before God. The Scriptures say that "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). He knew his own deeds. He knew he had nothing to boast about. He saw his many defects. He knew he deserved to be condemned. So he humbled himself before God. When he came to the temple of God, he stood "at a distance, [and] would not even lift up his eyes to heaven." He knew that God is most holy and most righteous and that a person like him was unworthy of coming close to God or looking to Him. He had no good works to report to God. He knew he could not save himself, so he came to God for grace."God...gives grace to the humble." If you are proud, thinking you have everything and are short of nothing, may the Spirit open the eyes of your heart so that you will see all your shortcomings and come to God for grace. If you know your shortcomings, I hope you will not be proud and deceive yourself and end up perishing. Pride has misled many to not believe in the Savior, and therefore, they perished. I hope that pride will not mislead you! He prayed before God, "God, be propitiated to me, the sinner!" (v. 13). He was not like the Pharisee who despised "the rest," speaking about the sins of others. He confessed that he himself was a sinner: "me, the sinner!" How hard it is for men to utter these words! Men are willing to admit that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23), but are not willing to say "I have sinned." Men are willing to admit and say that all are sinners (Rom. 3:10-12), but they are not willing to say "me, the sinner!" Saying this is very shameful! This tax collector put himself in the position of a sinner. This is the position that everyone who wants to go to heaven should and must put himself. Let me say, if there is a saved person in this world, that person must be a sinner. No one who is not a sinner can go to heaven. If you go to heaven and ask those who are already there about their past qualifications, they will unanimously answer and say that they all were sinners in the past. Everyone who is in heaven is a saved sinner who has received grace. They have nothing special. Heaven is specifically prepared for sinners. If one does not confess himself that he is a sinner, he has no qualification to enter into heaven! Heaven only welcomes tax collectors and harlots. All the sinners who believe in the Lord Jesus may come!The Lord Jesus said, "For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matt. 9:13). He also said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10). If you are a righteous man, His coming is not to call, seek out, and save you. But He will save you if you admit that you are a sinner and are lost. Putting yourself in the position of a sinner is the first step in salvation. Although this tax collector was a sinner, who should have perished, he was saved because he did not pretend to be a person without sin. He admitted that he was a sinner.The renowned British preacher Spurgeon had a dream one night. In the dream he saw himself standing outside the gate of heaven, and a group of bright and glowing saints were standing in a line holding banners of victory, singing and marching through the gate of heaven. As soon as they entered through the gate, Spurgeon heard many joyful voices and praises welcoming them. Then he asked one angel, "Who are these ones who are so welcomed by heaven?" The angel answered, "They are the ancient prophets." Spurgeon said, "Alas, I am not a prophet, I am not worthy to enter in with them." Later, another group also marched through the gate and received a great welcome. He asked the angel again, "Who are they?" The angel answered, "They are the ancient saints." Spurgeon knew that he was not one of the ancient saints and felt unworthy to enter through the gate with them. A little later, another group came; they were the ancient martyrs. Spurgeon dared not join in with them either. Finally, another group with a multitude much greater than the first three came. Among this group Spurgeon recognized two people. One was the woman who anointed the Lord with ointment; the other one was the robber who was crucified with the Lord. Spurgeon thought that when this group entered into heaven it would be quiet, but to his great surprise, the welcome and applause was seven times greater than the welcome for the first three groups. Spurgeon asked, "Who are they?" The angel answered, "They are ones who were dead in sin and were made alive by the Lord Jesus." Then Spurgeon rejoiced and said, "Praise be unto the Lord Jesus forever! The people in this last group are my companions." Then he woke up. Although this was a dream, it was real! The Lord of heaven welcomes sinners.The first step the Holy Spirit takes in the heart of a man is to make him realize his sin. The first step God takes in saving a sinner is to send His Spirit to work in his heart and convict him of his sins. I once held a meeting in a certain place, and some grade-school girls were deeply moved by the Holy Spirit. They deeply realized that they were sinners. After the meeting they waited for me to fellowship with them. I saw that none of their eyes were dry. Every one of them was sorrowful for her sins. They told me that they were very sorry. They knew that they were sinners but they did not know whether they could be saved. I told them that knowing that they were sinners was proof of the Holy Spirit's working in their hearts. I then read John 3:16 and 5:24 and other promises to them and helped them realize that since they knew they were sinners, they could receive eternal life and be saved if they believed and received the Lord Jesus as their Savior. The Holy Spirit opened their eyes and they experienced the salvation of the cross and the enjoyment of salvation. They are still joyful and rejoicing in the Lord every day. Therefore, if this very hour the Holy Spirit shows you your sins, it is because He wants to save you, not because He wants to condemn your sins.This tax collector not only put himself in the position of a sinner; he was also genuinely grieved because of his sins. He "beat his breast." He hated himself. When he considered how he committed sins in the past, sorrow uncontrollably rose up within him. He was in anguish and beat his breast. Certainly those who overlook their sins and do not feel sorrowful for them will easily commit sins again. "For sorrow according to God works repentance unto salvation, which is without regret" (2 Cor. 7:10). The Bible says that God dwells "with the contrite and lowly of spirit, / To revive the spirit of the lowly / And to revive the heart of the contrite" (Isa. 57:15). "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: / a broken and a contrite heart, O God, / thou wilt not despise" (Psa. 51:17). Therefore, dear sinners, it does not matter how great your sins are; what matters is that you do not want to admit that you are a sinner and feel sorrowful for your sins. If you overlook your sins and refuse to put yourself in the position of a sinner, you will surely not seek after the Savior. Even if the Savior is sent to the door of your heart, you will not receive Him. Actually, humbling yourself is not worth anything. Neither is putting yourself in the position of a sinner or being sorrowful for your sins worth anything. However, unless a man humbles himself, unless he sees himself as a sinner, and unless he feels sorrowful for his sins, he surely will not seek after the Savior of sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ. This tax collector's humbling of himself, acknowledging himself as a sinner, and sorrow for his sins could not save him; it could not give him eternal life. These steps only prepared his heart to receive salvation.The one and only reason this sinner was saved was because he believed the vicarious salvation of the cross. Even though he humbled himself, the humbling could not save him. Even though he was sorrowful, the sorrow could not save him. Even though he confessed himself to be a sinner, the confession could not save him. Even though all these prepared him to receive salvation, these could not save him. Although without these you will perish, these things alone will not save you. A sinner is saved only through the salvation that the Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross and not through anything else.He prayed, "God, be propitiated to me, the sinner!" Other ways to translate this phrase in the Greek text include: "God, make propitiation for me, a sinner!" or "God, allow me, a sinner, to be propitiated." This is the cross. No one can be saved without the cross. Perhaps when the tax collector was standing in the temple praying, the Holy Spirit moved his heart to convict him of his sins. Perhaps he saw from far off the priest in the outer court offering sacrifices. He saw the sacrifices slain on behalf of the sinners. Therefore, he asked God, "Make propitiation for me, a sinner." He knew he was a sinner. He knew that there was a punishment for sins. A sinner could never be justified or go to heaven. He also knew that if there was not a redeeming Savior for his sins, he would perish. His heart looked to the Savior; his heart looked to the sin offering. He cried out to God and was saved. Surely heaven was his.He came to God not to ask God to help him change himself when he went home because he knew that he could not change. He could not improve or correct himself. He knew he had sin. He would perish because he had sins and did not have the One who could substitute for the punishment for sins. He looked to the substitutionary Savior; therefore, he was saved. Dear readers, we all are sinners and cannot save ourselves. Therefore, the Lord Jesus came specifically to save us. He did not come to be our model or to be our pattern, He came to die for us. He came to die for you and me. You and I have sins and deserve to die. The Lord Jesus came to die for your sins and mine. Therefore, you and I do not have to die. "Who Himself bore up our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). "For Christ also has suffered once for sins, the Righteous on behalf of the unrighteous" (3:18). "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). This matter is most important. Since the Lord Jesus died and propitiated for us, now we do not have to perish but can be saved. If the Lord Jesus did not die and propitiate for us, we would have to bear our own sins and die, that is, perish. It is true that the tax collector was a sinner. But he depended on the Savior who died for him and who propitiated for him. Therefore, he had no sins and did not have to die or go to hell. The tax collector was able to go to heaven not because of his own merit but because of the merit of a third party, the merit of the Savior's saving work. Likewise, all those who go to heaven are justified not because of their own righteous deeds, but because they rely on the work of the cross of the Lord Jesus.The tax collector came before God for the propitiation of sins. "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call upon Him into whom they have not believed?" (Rom. 10:13-14). The tax collector cried to God because he first believed in God. He was saved because he believed God would propitiate for his sins. Justification is by faith and salvation is also by faith. He knew well the truth concerning salvation: "For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8). He knew he lacked something. He also knew that except for God's mercy, nothing else could make up for his lack. He asked God to have mercy on him. He knew that salvation was by grace and "not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). He knew God gives grace through the Savior and that he needed a Savior to die for him to propitiate for his sins. He prayed for God's grace and beseeched for God's redemption. He asked by faith, and He believed in his heart. Therefore, he obtained it.The tax collector went to heaven because he obtained God's mercy and received the Savior's propitiation for him, not because he was remarkable and outstanding. For a sinner to go to heaven, there is no need to pay a price because the Lord Jesus has already paid the full price on the cross on our behalf. The Pharisee perished because he did not have a Savior. The tax collector was saved because he had a Savior. Salvation and perdition have nothing to do with you or your behavior. A man as good as the Pharisee could not avoid going to hell, while a man as wicked as the tax collector could go to heaven. One went to hell not because he was wicked, and the other went to heaven not because he was good. The difference between them was whether or not they believed in the Lord Jesus who died for us on the cross. That was all! "He who believes into the Son has eternal life; but he who disobeys the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him" (John 3:36). The decision between eternal life and eternal death depends solely upon whether or not one believes. Today I beg and beseech you to quickly believe in the Lord Jesus' vicarious death, and you will be saved.The good man went to hell and the wicked man went to heaven. The good man did not go to hell because of his goodness, but because he did not believe in the Lord Jesus as his Savior. The wicked man did not go to heaven because of his wickedness, but because he believed in the Lord Jesus as his Savior. Therefore, if you want salvation, you must realize that salvation is not merchandise. You do not have to gradually behave yourself better and earn your salvation as a reward. Salvation is God's free grace, freely given to all sinners who believe. God does not care how wicked you are. If you are willing to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior and if you believe that His death was for you, you will be saved. The Lord Jesus has already borne all the punishment for your sins; no sin will be able to stand up to accuse you in the day of judgment. You are completely and absolutely saved. God does not care how good you are. If you do not receive the Lord Jesus to be your Savior and if you do not believe that His death was for you, you will surely perish. Your goodness cannot cover your wickedness and cannot redeem your wickedness; you will still perish. God has ordained that those who believe in the Lord Jesus will be saved and that those who do not believe will perish. Good unbelievers will go to hell, but wicked believers will go to heaven.Therefore, good man, please do not be proud, because your goodness will not save you! Therefore, wicked man, do not be discouraged, because your sins will not condemn you. Thank and praise God! How wonderful is His salvation! The people of the world are like this tax collector, helpless and hopeless sinners, and we all deserve eternal punishment in the future. Yet God caused the Lord Jesus to die for us on the cross, so that when we believe in Him and receive Him as our Savior, we will be saved. How great is this grace! So sinner, please follow the tax collector! Humble yourself before God. Confess your sins. Come before God with faith, asking God, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Save me by the Lord Jesus' substitutionary death on the cross!" God will surely save you. Thank God that He has such a salvation.

12:17 AM, December 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

None of us will ever figure out Why God does this or Why God does that. Don't try to figure it out, just take the Gift that God has given, his son Jesus Christ. God also knows who will go to Heaven and who will not. We won't know until that day comes for each of us. Only God knows your true heart. I know that my life changed when I received Jesus as my Savior.
I hope that all of you will know that love.

6:53 PM, February 15, 2008  
Blogger Rafael said...


Regarding the scientific explanation of the earth’s creation, there are ways to know it by natural speculation or by a historical record. A cording to natural speculation, one meditates observe and conjectures about the creation. In a historical record, we go by what it says.
Consider this:
The earth does not have six thousand years it has billion of years.
It was created, then judge, became void, the big bang happened, finally restored.

We believe that the entire Bible is the Word of God, and every word of it is inspired. A very grievous thought in the mind of godly ones is that men have despised and opposed His Word. God's children are grieved because men do not respect God's statutes. Among the sixty-six books of the Bible, Genesis has been subjected to the most doubt. Those who oppose the Bible often try to overturn God's clear revelation with geological ages and prehistoric discoveries. The evidences in geology prove to them that the earth has been in existence for tens of thousands of years, and that the record of six thousand years of history in the Bible is untrustworthy.
In the name of science, the world hurls its attacks on the book of Genesis. Many dear brothers in the Lord are not that scholarly (the author being one of them) and become lost in this storm. Although geology does not form part of our meditation, for the benefit of all, we will study the Word of God by the Lord's grace at the commencement of our meditation and will consider how perfect is His Word, so that we can silently behold His beauty in His presence.
Genesis is God's revelation, while geology is man's invention. God knows the whole truth. As such, His revelation can never be wrong. Man only sees in part. As such, his conjectures are not accurate. When we place Genesis side by side with geology, we should follow Genesis and not geology, because it is God who stands behind Genesis. If there are any basic differences between Genesis and geology, the error must be on the side of geology. The authority of the Bible is undisputed. Everything that is contrary to the Bible is wrong. Thank God our Father that He has given us such a complete revelation. If there are any incompatibilities between God and man, we would rather give up man and accept God.
Men often laugh at the ridiculous stories of creation circulated among the Chinese, the Babylonians, and other countries. No scientist has to spend much effort to refute these myths. The reason is that there is not much weight to these traditions. This is why they have not attracted much attention.
But men's attitudes towards the Bible are very different. The very fact that they have tried their best to resist the Bible proves the power of the Bible. They cannot treat the Bible the same as the traditions of the nations because they have recognized the extraordinary nature of the Bible.
All those who have read Genesis 1 cannot fail to marvel at the beauty of its record. How ordinary it is, yet how marvelous! It is a plain record and contains no theory or arguments to prove its authenticity. The writer of the book was not bound by the book, but was transcendent above its record. The true author of the book is the One who is far above the universe it describes—God. Had the recorder of the book, Moses, written this book according to his own learning and ideas, his thoroughly Egyptian-trained intellect would surely have been influenced by the Egyptian theory of creation. Yet who can detect a trace of Egyptian philosophy in Genesis 1? Why is this? It is because God was the One who inspired Moses to do the writing. Otherwise, how could Moses know that the land came out of the water? This is, of course, a fact established by geology and is a modern discovery.
Had Moses not been inspired, it would be difficult to explain this fact. As to the development of life on earth, although the Bible does not support the theory of evolution, it does not altog

7:19 PM, June 15, 2008  

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