Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Test all Things!

Meditation for the week of March 27, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:20-22:  Do not despise prophecies.  Test all things; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.

Today, many preachers claim to be prophets in the modern day sense.  A modern day prophet is one who speaks for God just like old testament and new testament prophets did.  The difference is that today we have the new testament epistles to help guide us in knowing whether a prophet is really speaking for God or whether he is misleading the people.

We are not to despise prophets.  I believe that means we are not to despise those who publicly preach the truth that the Lord would be proclaiming Himself if He were here.  Some of that truth is truth that we like and some of it is truth that we don’t like. 

In religious circles right now, there is a popular author who says he is rethinking the concept of hell.  He is telling people what they want to hear.  He is selling books and making money and influencing people.  Those who believe that hell is on earth as he is teaching will one day find out that they didn’t test what he said against the word of God.  They held fast to that which is bad rather than to that which is good.  They will find themselves in this hell that they said did not exist.  God says that there is a place of eternal torment where those who have rejected Christ go after they die.  If according to this modern thinking, that makes God a mean God and not a God of love, then I wouldn’t want to cross this mean God and get on His bad side.  He says that people who “do not believe” have his wrath abiding on them (John 3:36). 

Fortunately, the God who has revealed Himself to me through His written word,  IS a God of love.  He has shown that to be true through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  The Lord was willing to suffer “the just for the unjust” so that sinners can go righteously free.  If people reject that awesome sacrifice, I personally believe that God has the right to be angry.  Unbelievers will have crossed Him and gotten on His bad side.

Another issue that often comes up has to do with whether or not God intends for everyone to be saved from that real eternal place of torment.  While I understand that the majority of adults who hear the Gospel will not be saved because they will reject the Lord Jesus, I still believe that God wants everyone to be saved and provides salvation so that all can be saved.  I believe that Judas could have been saved.  God called him the son of perdition because he knew his heart.  He knew that Judas would “use” the Lord to make some money rather than “trust the Lord” in order to be saved.  He didn’t cause Judas to be like that, but He knew Judas would be like that so he was able to use Judas in the great plan of salvation.  Judas, however, had only himself to blame. 

Recently, I was in a Bible Study where we were looking at people who cannot be saved in Hebrews 6:4-6.  They are people who have “fallen away” from the true Gospel.  As I test all things, I believe the Scripture is clear that it is possible for every person born into this world to be saved.  It is God’s desire for every person born into this world to be saved.  So then how can there be people for whom repentance is impossible?  Some would say that they could have been saved but in falling away they have crossed a line from which they cannot recover.  I do not believe that.

I may not have the final answer on these verses, but I really believe that the point of Hebrews is that Christ is the end of the law (Romans 10:3-4).  A true believing Hebrew should see that Christ is what the law was really all about.  These verses are in the plural and are talking about Hebrews who know the Gospel and as a people have been brought face to face with God and the work of the Holy Spirit in their tabernacle worship in the wilderness.  However, they have not accepted the fact that the fulfillment of the old testament is seen in Christ.  They have not let the immature doctrines of the old testament become the mature or perfect doctrine of the new.  They are still expecting their Jewish religion to save them and they have not accepted Christ as their Messiah.  They have fallen away from what was available to them and not from what they actually had.  That group of people cannot repent and be saved because they have rejected the only means of salvation which is Christ.  However, individuals within that group can still change their minds about Christ and be saved.  With God that is possible.

God does have a place of eternal conscious punishment.  He will not save by our keeping the law or by our going about to establish our own righteousness.  God  will save from eternal conscious punishment everyone who believes what He says and who trusts In the Son. That is good.  I intend to hold that fast.

Bruce Collins

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