April 14, 2018
THIS IS NO PARABLE AND THERE IS NO PURGATORY
Jesus told a story concerning the eternal destiny of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. Some call this a parable, but it is no parable. A parable, according to the dictionary, “is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.” The Greek word, päräbolā’ (παραβολῇ ), literally means “to throw beside.” So, a parable is a simple story that “throws” or points to a deeper, spiritual truth. The rich man and Lazarus story does not follow this pattern. It begins and ends as a spiritual story that pulls back the curtain on our future eternal destiny and the importance of choosing to follow Jesus in this life.
So, it is not a parable. And it clearly shows that there is no purgatory. Those who believe in purgatory see it as “an intermediate state after physical death in which some of those ultimately destined for heaven must first undergo purification” (Wikipedia). Yet, Christ’s account of the afterlife shows this doctrine to be false. He says that there is a “great chasm” of separation between heaven and hades. There is no going back and forth between them. There is no second chance after death. What we choose to believe in this life, will determine our eternal destiny in the next.
April 13, 2018
DO YOU HAVE A PUBLIC PERSONA?
Jesus accused the Pharisees of being hypocrites. They liked to appear as righteous in public, but privately their true nature was revealed. Jesus saw through their public persona. He saw their true nature. “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
One of the amazing gifts of salvation is our sanctification. We are being made holy. We are already counted as righteous the moment we receive Christ’s righteousness as our own. This is justification. Yet, our public and private lives are still in process. Part of being made holy is being made whole. So that we are the same through and through. Our public and private selves become indistinguishable. What you see is what you get. And what you get is a new heart and a new life that are in alignment with God’s.
April 13, 2015
Many have started out loving God, but when resulting blessings come, switch allegiance. Rare is the rich man who holds wealth with an open hand, serving God with it. However, one doesn’t have to be rich to love money. The poor man can struggle as severely with the covetous love for the riches he does not have, as the rich man struggles with his unquenchable desire for more. Serving mammon never satisfies. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). Yet, those who serve and love God are fully satisfied. Who have you chosen to serve: God or mammon?
April 14, 2014
This was Abraham’s response to the rich man who while in torment in Hades begged for Lazarus to return to warn his brothers of the reality of heaven and hell. This dialogue was the conclusion to a story that Jesus told to illustrate the way people would continue to doubt Him even after His resurrection. The intellectual pride of the skeptic cannot be overcome with persuasion or evidence. The agnostic’s resistance to the gospel is not so much intellectual as it is willful. It’s not that they “can’t” listen to the evidence. It’s that they “won’t listen.” Believing in the resurrection of Jesus involves not only intellectual assent but a submission of the will, so that we confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
April 13, 2014
People are often heard saying, “If I had more, I’d start giving, but I’m just too broke to give right now.” Yet, Jesus taught that faithfulness in large things begins with faithfulness in little things. Stop waiting for a better job, more money, a bigger house, or a nicer car before you start being faithful with what you have. Having more and bigger things won’t change you. You’ll still be unfaithful until you start putting God first. Be faithful with the little things and trust God for the rest.
April 14, 2011
Neither the Written nor the Risen Word of God will save those beyond listening or conviction. Pray that their deaf ears are opened and their darkened minds enlightened, so that the spiritually resistant become receptive.