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Monday, January 30, 2012

Conqueror or Coward?

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Revelation 21.1-7 is all about Heaven.  It’s about God eliminating death and all that comes with it:  tears, sorrow, crying, and pain.  Verse seven speaks of the conqueror that overcomes, inherits all things, and enjoys an eternal relationship with the Father as His child.  Verse eight speaks of the coward that falls short, has his part in the Lake of Fire, and burns in torment for eternity. 
  • Fearful is mentioned first because it is meant to form juxtaposition with overcoming in verse seven thereby connecting the two verses.  It is an apt description of those in the churches who fail to conquer and will instead be cast down. 
  • The unbelieving are those who have rejected saving repentance.  They would not agree with God’s revelation of Jesus Christ.  They would not trust in Jesus for eternal life.
  • The abominable are those given over to immorality, lies, filth, and defilement.  It must be remembered that anything causing an abomination will by no means enter Heaven (cf. 21.27).
  • Murderers are present throughout the Revelation.  Believers are often the victims.  There are those slain for the Word of God (6.9), killed with the sword by the antichrist (13.10), and martyrs of Jesus due to the bloodlust of the harlot (17.6). 
  • Whoremongers are the sexually immoral – especially as it relates to religious ritualism.
  • Sorcerers are those that work deception by using magic.  Often this sin is connected with sexual immorality in the Revelation (see 9.21; 22.15).
  • Idolaters are those who worship something or someone other than the one true God.  It is the heart of all sinful activity.
  • Liars identify themselves with Satan.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14.6).  The devil is a liar.  When we lie we align ourselves with everything that Jesus is not.

All of these sins form a summary of all the sin that send people to the second death.  The first death is physical; the second spiritual.  Death means separation.  We die physically and are separated from all we love and have known.  Those who die spiritually will be separated from Love forever.  God is Love.  They will be consigned to a Lake of Fire that burns forever and never exhausts itself of pain and torment. 

The bad news is that all of us deserve this eternal torment because all of us are sinners (Romans 3.23).  Still further, we must pay a price for the sin we commit.  That price is the second death (cf. Romans 6.23).  The good news is that God has shown His love toward us by sending Jesus to die for us even though we are sinful (Roman 5.8).  “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2.8-9). 

Still, even those who place their trust in Christ for eternal life sin.  Christians even commit the sins listed in Revelation 21.8.  Of course, the difference is that we no longer practice these sins but stumble into them.  When we do sin, we now have Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2.1).  As Christians, we desire to stop sinning and express our gratitude to God for our deliverance by living a good life.  That good life is only possible because of the fact that we trusted and continue to trust in Jesus.