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The Eternal Chasm

Luke 16:25-26
‘But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” (NIVUK)

Adventure stories often include some impossible barrier which has to be overcome for the hero to survive: locked doors, ravines, crevasses, or wide fast-flowing rivers.  Somehow, in the fiction and against all logic, a solution is found and the main character wins through.  Such fiction does not translate to eternal life.

Many people think that there is no existence after death.  Others think that everybody goes to ‘a better place’.  Some believe that if they have done enough good deeds they will go to heaven.  And many assume they will be able to manage or negotiate their life after death and become their own eternal hero.  But they are all seriously deceived.  Few grasp the reality of hell as the only eternal destination for those who do not receive Jesus through repentance and faith; and that is why Jesus was telling this parable.

Jesus said that the gap between heaven and hell is so vast that there is no way to cross over.  The decision about eternal destiny is made in this life alone.  For those in hell, there is no turning back, no second chance and nothing to relieve the agony (Luke 16:24).  There is no comforter, no saviour and no love for those who have rejected the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, the atoning sacrifice of Christ and the loving invitation of Father God.  See www.crosscheck.org.uk to know more.

That is why Jesus came: to bear the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:24), to enter the heart of every repentant believer who is then born into an eternal life with God - which starts now and continues for ever (John 1:12).  God is not unjust; He is kind and loving but His salvation must be gladly received in this life or never .  2 Corinthians 6:2 says, "… I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation."  Wise people realise that God does not offer us salvation as an optional insurance policy or convenience commodity.  No, the salvation which comes through Jesus is to rescue us from the wrath of God against our sins and from hell itself (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).  So, this teaching of Jesus is essential to clear our mind, alert our soul to eternal danger and stir our spirit to ensure we have peace with God and a confident expectation of heaven (Romans 5:1).  It should also put fresh urgency into our prayers for our friends and colleagues, that they may understand the gospel and respond to God's grace.

Dear Lord God and loving heavenly Father. Thank You for the clarity of Jesus' teaching, reminding me that hell is a reality and that eternal salvation through His blood can only be received in this life. Help me to treasure this truth, to share it and to live by it. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams