There is a message that serves
as a common foundation for almost all the other messages in Scriptures:
"Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." This may be seen as a
summary of all the Israelite prophets (Jeremiah 25:5). It preceded the
coming of Yeshua (Matthew 3:2); forms the first part of the gospel (Acts
2:38, 17:30-31); and is repeated before the end-times' apocalypse
(Revelation 2:5, 14:7).
The logic is that at the coming of the kingdom, each person will be
judged and have to give a moral account for what he has done. Each of us
will be rewarded for good and punished for evil. The reward will be
better than we can imagine, and the punishment will be worse than we can
imagine. The hope of reward inspires a positive motivation to do right.
The punishment inspires a fearful motivation to stop doing wrong.
It is that fearful motivation that forms a bottom line, "no frills",
understanding of the rest of the kingdom messages. This kernel of truth
is subtly difficult to grasp. I call it simply "GPS" ... not Global
Positioning System ... but ... GOD PUNISHES SIN.
The First Lie
The first lie of the devil was to tell Adam and Eve that God does not
punish sin. "You will not die" (Genesis 3:4). The first lie is:
"You can sin and not be punished." It is the father of all other
lies. There are thousands of subtle layers of deception to cover over
that lie. The prophets simply told the truth, "The soul who sins will
die" (Ezekiel 18:20).
There are different types of punishment for sin. The worst is eternal
damnation in the lake of fire (Luke 12:5). But there are other
punishments of lesser degree. Some take place in this lifetime and others
in the world to come (Luke 12:46-48). Yeshua teaches that the fear of God
is based on the different types of punishment for different types of sin.
We human beings have a difficult time seeing our own sin. It is easier
for us to see the wrongdoings of others. We have a horrible tendency to
deceive ourselves that we can do something wrong and not be punished. The
art of blame-shifting and excuse-making goes back to the Garden of Eden.
The concept that God punishes sin is logically and morally obvious.
However our tendency toward self-deception makes it difficult to grasp.
Let us run to God, our Father, who loves us;
Let us quickly repent of our sins;
Snap out of self-deception;
Learn the pure and beautiful fear of the Lord;
Receive our cleansing by Yeshua's blood;
Be filled with the Spirit of holiness, wisdom and revelation; and
Walk in the joy of our salvation.
This article was previously published on December 29th 2016
on the Revive Israel website, and on January 11th 2017
on the Kehila News Israel website.