READING: Luke 16:19-31
“And being in torment in Hades . . . .”
I was just a young preacher at the time, and I wanted everyone to get saved. In fact, I wanted everyone to get saved the way I got saved: a friend told me that I was going to hell, and I needed to follow Jesus if I did not want to go there. I know now that a “fire escape” is not the best motive for following Jesus. I also know, though, that God used that time in my life to draw me to Himself, make me His child, and begin the process of growing me. The reality of hell was one truth God used to capture my heart.
While I’m careful to avoid scaring people into responding to Jesus today, I do wonder if I’ve somewhere lost my burden over the truth of eternal judgment. Jesus’ story about the rich man may be only a parable, but the picture is nevertheless graphic: the man was in torments, and he was suffering agony. So deep was his pain that he wanted someone to “dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue” (Luke 16:24). The problem was that his eternity had already been settled by his decisions in this life.
I don’t know your spiritual condition, but I am praying today that some folks reading this devotion will turn to Jesus, confess their sin, and experience God’s forgiveness – not just because they want to escape hell, but because they want to follow God who loved them enough to provide a way out. Perhaps you might be one of those persons today. Or, if you are already a believer, maybe God will increase your burden for the lost as He has mine today.
- If you are not a follower of Christ, confess your sin today and ask Him to forgive you.
- If you are a Christian, pray for someone who is not.
PRAYER: “God, thank You for loving us enough to provide a way out of eternal judgment. Thank You, Jesus, for bearing our judgment for us.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9; John 11:55-12:36; Matthew 21:1-22; Mark 11:1-26; Luke 19:28-48; John 2:13-25