Weekly Devotional 3-26-18
The Eternality of Manís Spirit Follow-UpIn last weekís devotional (3-19-18) we considered the eternality of Manís spirit. That even though oneís body must and will die, yet his or her spirit lives on. We also considered that the destiny of oneís spirit, and eventually their resurrected body, is determined during his or her present experience of life. Jesus gave us a great picture of this in His parable about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Consider:
“19There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24Then 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.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ 27Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
29Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead’ ” (Luke 16:19-31).
As we consider this story, we should realize the physical death of both men was not the end of their existence. They lived on in their spirit. Secondly, we should consider that their destination had been secured by how they lived their lives before they died. Thirdly, the location of the rich man could not be changed.
All of Jesusí parables had spiritual implications. Therefore, as we consider this parable we must look for a spiritual intent. In context, Jesus had been teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. This parable was one of several that addressed who would be accepted in this Kingdom. Those who would be accepted were those who had been sought by the Lord, who had realized their poverty, who had come to faith in Him, and who had committed themselves to serving Him. Even though not stated, Lazarus was one of these. The rich man on the other hand, by implication, was one who trusted in his riches and position not admitting that he had a spiritual need. This was proven by how he treated the beggar.
The beggar and all others whose destiny is heaven may suffer tremendously during this life-time, but their destiny is secured by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He paid the price of their redemption when He willingly gave His life for them on the cross of Calvary. The rich man and all others who reject Jesusí sacrifice will suffer eternally for their rejection.
Given two thousand plus years of testimony about Jesusí sacrifice, why do persons today reject His sacrifice, Godís provision for them? Jesus gives us the answer in his conversation with the Pharisee Nicodemus. Consider: ď18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposedĒ (John 3:18-20).
The rich man of Jesusí parable was given enough spiritual light to know that he was a sinner, but he rejected the light because of his attraction to that which was found in the darkness of sin. Many today are like him. Rather than turn to the light that God has given them, they reject it because of that which possesses them, their love of sin. What a tragedy. Because if they die in that situation they are destined to be eternally tormented.
The testimony of John 1:1-4 is that God has provided spiritual light to mankind and has given His Spirit to convict everyone one of sin (John 16:7-11). Turning to this light will place you in the arms of God. Rejecting it will end in eternal suffering.
Transforming power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
All Scripture is from the NKJB