Many in the world struggle with the existence of evil, the abuse of the innocent and a lack of justice across multiple spectrums of life. The struggle can be so intense that it leads many to disregard any acknowledgement of the existence of a Higher Being. Even Christians can fail at times to keep our eyes focused upon the crown to be given after the race is over.
I believe the late brother Burton Coffman used some wise words concerning these issues. It’s a little lengthy for posts here, but I believe the read is worth the time:
“Great and terrible as the concept of eternal judgment admittedly is, the most profound necessity for it is evident. Most of the truly difficult problems connected with the life of faith, and with reference to the entire system of Christianity, are directly related to the doctrine of eternal judgment. Heaven, hell, eternal punishment, eternal joy, Satan, and the problem of evil – all these things pivot in the last analysis upon the scriptural teaching of the judgment. All of the problems, great and small, eventually fade into insignificance before the pressing question, “Is this universe just?” The underlying assumption of revealed religion as set forth in both the Old Testament and the New Testament is the concept of a just universe; and time and time again it is unequivocably declared to be just (Psalms 45:6,7). The father of the faithful, Abraham, idiomatically inferred it when he asked, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The existence of laws in the natural realm, the moral law within people, and the sacred revelation all alike proclaim the justice of the universe; and if it is not so, life indeed becomes “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth, Act V). Sanity in any true sense turns upon the question of justice in the cosmos. If the righteousness and justice of God do indeed establish his throne and undergird all things, then WE ARE SAFE; and every man shall receive the reward of the deeds done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10); if not, then any true security of the soul is a fool’s dream, and man himself is but an infant crying in the night with no language but a cry!
But if the universe is just; if the righteous shall be rewarded and the wicked punished, AN ETERNAL JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED, a judgment in which all inequities and injustices shall be corrected, an eternal judgment presided over by infinite justice, wisdom, mercy, and love – in short, the judgment revealed upon every page of the sacred scriptures, or if not revealed, then certainly implied. The widespread neglect and apparent disbelief of this doctrine suggests that it is true of our generation, as it was of those to whom this epistle was first addressed, that we “have need again that someone teach us the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God” (Hebrews 5:12)” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Volume X, Hebrews 6:1-2; p.116; A.C.U. Press, 1971)
One part of scripture that I try to remember when my heart and mind ponders these issues is Psalm 73. While struggling over the existence of the wicked and their bounding prosperity over the righteous, the psalmist reminds himself and all of his readers about an extremely important point. He says in verses 16,17 – “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me — Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end.”
Although at times it’s hard to see and comprehend in this life, God’s word assures His people there will be universal justice one day; and this day will not have anything to do with any man-made court (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29).
Hebrews 4:12 is one of my favorite scriptures. It can be comforting or it can be chilling. It depends on us.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
I saw the other day where someone at an auction recently paid $94,600 for Elvis’ personal copy of the scriptures! It left me wondering whether that person was more interested in owning a Bible or in owning the Word of God. It left me wondering who was “king” in that person’s life. It left me wondering if they knew that one “king” is dead while the other King still lives and reigns. It left me wondering because I cannot see the thoughts and intents of that person’s heart…but I know what can whether they do or not.
Would you agree with this overview of Heb. 3:1-6?
First, the builder of a house has more glory than the house. Christ is the builder and Moses is the house; therefore, Christ is superior to Moses in glory (3:3-4). Second, the son in a family is superior to a servant. Christ is the Son and Moses is a servant: therefore, Christ is superior to Moses in rank (3:5-6). Third, one over the house is superior to one in the house. Christ is over the house and Moses is in the house; therefore, Christ is superior to Moses in position (3:5-6).
Quote is from James R. Allen, writing on Hebrews in Don Shackelford, ed., New Testament Survey (Search, AR: Resource Publications, 1987): 398.
The writer of Hebrews warns us of the danger of drifting from God. Drifting is always a movement from stronger to weaker. A river never runs uphill, it is always headed downhill. So a life that is turned loose to drift is always headed down. Much success may have been accomplished, high ideals, past victories, but if one does not continue to build, he begins to drift. It takes effort to go upstream, but it takes no effort at all to drift. A young person doesn’t set out to be an alcoholic. But a drink here and a pint there, throw in some friends, pressure at school and home, and see what happens. A banker doesn’t intend to be an embezzler. But a few dollars here, some unpaid bills there, a falsified report thrown in and see what happens. Christian parents don’t intend to become unfaithful. But a Wednesday skipped here and a Sunday there, throw in some overtime, ballgames, and shop¬ping and see what happens. This is Just-a-Minute with Ed Boggess
No doubt Joseph felt like his life was going in circles on more than one occasion. Get rewarded, get punished! Get rewarded, get punished! Read Genesis 37:12-36 and all of chapters 39 and 40 and you can definitely see the circular pattern there.
But one thing that Joseph didn’t see, at least until later, was how God was using these “walking in circles” moments in his life to bring him “full circle” before it was all said and done. When speaking to the very betraying brothers who started the whole pattern, Joseph said, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
When we are introduced to Joseph in chapter 37, Joseph has some dreams. Before we leave Joseph in chapter 50, the dreams become a reality. Joseph didn’t get to where he was in relation to his brothers in a straight line, but with the help of God, he made it.
So, the next time you feel like your walk of faith toward Heaven seems to be taking you in circle after circle after circle and you want to quit, remember – there’s a difference in “walking in circles” and “coming full circle.” We just have to wait around long enough to see it played out.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them…22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.” (Hebrews 11:13-16, 22)
Once we become a Christian, immersed in the waters of baptism (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4), cleansed in the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7), and sanctified from the world by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), can we ever be lost?
We know that if we walk in Christ, bringing glory to God, as we find in Scripture, we will remain in the arms of God (Ephesian 2:19; 3:20-21; 4:1).
There are those who teach that a true Christian can never be lost. I agree (Romans 8:1).
However, the question remains as to whether we can leave the Lord by exercising our freewill? Scripture says that we can (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31).
The following articles examine this very important question:
No Condemnation in Christ
Once Saved, Always Saved 1
Once Saved, Always Saved 2
Once Saved, Always Saved 3
I hope you will diligently study these passages and pray about them.
I may be going to a class on Wed. Morning in Hebrews. The teacher has asked the question: “Who wrote the Book of Hebrews.”
I was hoping that someone might give me some of their insight on this with the reasons they hold that opinion.