The Daily Word of Righteousness

Diversity of Destinies, #9

And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" (I Peter 4:18—NIV)

Have they never considered the prolonged, fiery trials the most obedient of the Lord's servants endure, and then deduced what will be true of the careless and disobedient Christians? Do they not understand that even the righteous are saved with difficulty?

Many of the Lord's elect will be punished in this world for their sins and disobedience. If they still have not repented to the Lord's satisfaction they will continue to be punished after they die. We base this understanding on the Lord's Words in the Gospel accounts and we know of no Scripture to the contrary.

It is our point of view also that the "stripes" the saints suffer in the present world, and perhaps in the next as well, are for their salvation. Stripes are not the same sentence as that horror of all horrors—to be cast into the Lake of Fire without hope of release.

We assuredly do not believe that all people will be saved eventually. The Scriptures clearly teach the contrary, as we understand them. Neither are we suggesting the concept of a "second chance."

Some may study our arguments and reason they can be disobedient to Christ in this life, suffer for a season in the next, and ultimately be saved and rewarded with glory. Such do not understand that God takes the wise in their own craftiness (Job 5:13). God knows the reasonings of their hearts and will deal with them accordingly.

God may decide there is such wickedness and guile in their hearts their names should be blotted from the Book of Life—professed Christian or not! The Lord God cannot be mocked!

Our Lord Jesus is the great and terrible LORD, as well as the gentle Shepherd. If we are wise we will love Him and serve Him with all our heart.

Being saved by fire is a fearful prospect indeed. The operation may prove to be very, very prolonged and very painful.

The current Christian teaching is that only two destinies are available to people: the highest Heaven or the deepest Hell; to be a king and priest of God or to be tormented in the Lake of Fire for eternity.

It is true that we either shall be saved or lost. But in between the extremes of being one of God's kings, or being tormented for eternity in the Lake of Fire, there are many diverse states to be considered.

One major problem with the current Christian teaching is that we add to the two-destinies doctrine the idea that once we make a formal profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ our destiny will be to ascend the highest throne of glory after we die and we never shall experience pain, or even rebuke, in the spirit realm no matter how we behave ourselves in the present world. This concept is unscriptural. It tends to remove the Divinely ordained motivation for overcoming sin, which is the rewards and punishments held before the believers.

Many passages of the Scripture point out the diversity of destinies available to the believers in Christ. They are dramatically different destinies in glory, in opportunities for service, in degrees of eternal life, in the type of body with which we will be raised, in authority, in power, in relationships with God and with people.

To be continued.