PREPARE FOR JUDGMENT
Friend, the condition of your eternal soul before God in the day of coming judgment should be a matter of great concern to you. You may hope for acceptance with God (Prov 14:12), but are not 100% sure eternal life is yours as the Bible says you can and ought to be (1 Jn 5:13). Perhaps you have never received the true gospel (Gal 1:8-9); in any case, you lack the God-given new birth, the supernatural conversion, without which the Lord Jesus Christ said that none can enter His kingdom (Jn 3:3). Consider the consequences of a lack of certainty in this matter! How dangerous is your carelessness! The Lord has warned that “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it,” but you do not care to diligently seek for it; do you think you will be among the “few” that “find it” when you do not even seek? He said that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Mt 7:13-14)—will you follow the crowd down this broad road to ruin? Heed Christ’s command: “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28). You face an eternity in this very hell, a place of “unquenchable fire” (Mt 3:12), where you will “dwell with the devouring fire . . . with everlasting burnings” (Is 33:14, Mt 25:41, Jude 7), being “tormented in this flame” (Lu 16:24). The fires of hell will continually cause you unspeakable misery, and they will never cease burning you, for you will face “everlasting punishment” (Mt 25:46, Lu 16:25) and “everlasting destruction” (2 Th 1:9). You will be cast out from the dwelling of the redeemed, where “the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [Jesus Christ] is the light thereof” (Rev 21:23), into “outer darkness,” a place of total blackness, where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30), weeping on account of a suffering so intense that you will gnash or grind your teeth in agony. You will long for utter annihilation, but—woe to you!—you will never finally be consumed, nor have any ultimate escape, after, perhaps, countless trillions of years, to a happier dwelling, for between you and the redeemed there will be a “great gulf fixed” so that you cannot “come from thence” (Lu 16:26) and escape your “place of torment” (Lu 16:28). You will abide forever in “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev 19:20, 20:14, 21:8, Ps 140:10); the fire will surround, penetrate, fill, and overwhelm you. Here “their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mr 9:44,46,48, Is 66:24); not only will you face an unbearable fire, but loathsome worms will everlastingly torment you. You will wish for one to “dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool [your] tongue” (Lu 16:24), but you will not receive even this smallest of all deliverances from your suffering. Furthermore, you will “remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things . . . but now . . . art tormented” (Lu 16:25). You will vividly recollect all the good things you had in this life, how you took these gifts from God but rejected their holy Giver. You will remember your material things, which “shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire” (James 5:3). You will remember warnings to seek for God, such as this tract, and your refusal to do so. The countless blessings and mercies God gave you in this life will bring you a greater eternal curse (Lu 12:45-48). You will remember that you chose to “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb 11:25), and will curse your unutterable folly as you see these sinful pleasures return upon your head in woe and anguish infinitely greater in extent, and infinitely greater in duration, than the enjoyment you got from the sin for which you lost your soul. You will recognize then that in God’s “presence is fulness of joy” and at His “right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps 16:11), but you will be shut out from this eternal joy and pleasure, to “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and [you] shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of [your] torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and [you will] have no rest day nor night” (Rev 14:10-11). The wrath of God will fall upon you to the uttermost. “Who knoweth the power of [His] anger?” (Ps 90:11). The Lord Jesus Christ warned that it would be better for you to suffer deformity or a horrible death than to be damned, “for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Mt 5:29-30, 18:9, Mr 9:43-48). “[I]t had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Mt 26:24), who dies in his sin. You do not face the anger of a mere mortal, but “the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev 19:15), who is “willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known” upon “the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Rom 9:22)—He has determined that He will show to all what the infinite weight of the unrestrained wrath, fury, and fierceness of the Almighty is upon the damned. How will you endure it (Eze 22:14)? God “hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps 5:5, 11:5), so, as a sinner, you are inexpressibly loathsome and hateful to God, a rebel against His infinite holiness, goodness, and majesty. Consequently “He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone [upon you], and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of [your] cup” (Ps 11:5-6). “The LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you” (De 28:63). God has said, “Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them” (Eze 8:18). “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me” (Prov 1:26-28). “I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment” (Is 63:3). You will soon face the wrath of the all-powerful God in hell! He tells you, “consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (Ps 50:22).
This is exactly what you deserve for your sins—your eternal damnation is a matter of strict justice for your infinite crimes against God. The “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), including “the lake of fire . . . the second death” (Rev 20:15), and you have “sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). God’s Law says, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal 3:10), but you have not continually obeyed all He commanded. You are so far from this that you are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1), in which you walk “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit [Satan] that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2), and so are “of your father the devil,” (Jn 8:44), conducting yourself “in the lusts of [your] flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and [are] by nature the [child] of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:3, 5:6). You are not only guilty, then, of innumerable sins, every one of which merits God’s eternal curse in hell, but are by your very nature a sinner. Even worse, you are unable to change your sinful nature and make yourself acceptable to God. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one” (Job 14:4). No works, religious rituals, attempts at reformation of life, or anything else whatsoever you can do will save you or help save you, for “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Rom 3:20). You are “as an unclean thing” and “all [your] righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Is 64:6). One not born again “cannot please God” (Rom 8:7-8, Jn 3:3-7), but the new birth is not something that some other person can give you, or something you can produce in yourself; it is “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:13).
Face the question that the Lord Jesus asked unconverted sinners in His day: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Mt 23:33). If you think you are not wicked enough for hell, and so rebel against what God says about your condition and deny that your “damnation is just” (Rom 3:8), you will certainly eternally burn there: “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished” (Pr 16:5, Rev 21:8). If you think that God will not infinitely punish all sin, just as He has said in His Word, you follow a false god, and “idolaters . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Rev 21:8). If you flatter yourself with hopes of salvation through some supposed goodness in yourself, or believe in salvation by works and law- keeping, or believe that baptism, communion, prayer, attempts to change your life, seeking to endure to the end and stay in a state of grace, or anything else in yourself, will save or help save you, you will surely be damned, for “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7), and He “by Himself purged our sins” (Heb 1:3); to believe that any of these other things is necessary for salvation nullifies the cross (Gal 2:21). God’s Word says, “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Ro 4:5), and “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9). If you say that you have been saved the Bible way, by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, but God has not radically transformed your life so that you love Him, hate sin, and characteristically obey the Bible, you have never been made a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) and will certainly be damned; all those whom God has saved “not of works” (Eph 2:9) are also “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). When God saves someone, He both certainly delivers him from hell, so that once one is saved he is always saved (Jn 10:28-30, Rom 8:28-39), and He always frees him from his old sinful nature, so that he now loves and serves the Savior who “loved [him], and washed [him] from [his] sins in His own blood” (Rev 1:5). Many who think they are saved (Mt 7:22) will hear the Lord Jesus Christ say to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt 7:23).
If you do not care enough about your eternal state to seek for salvation and make sure that you have a place in heaven, you will also certainly be damned (Lu 13:24). Think about the awful danger of your unconverted condition! You do not yet feel it, but you are “condemned already,” because you have “not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn 3:18); God says “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” (Mt 17:5), yet you will not hear Him, but reject His love, suffering, and death to save you. “He that despised [God’s] law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God” (Heb 10:28-29)? Even now “the wrath of God abideth on [you]” (Jn 3:36); God is more angry with you than with many who are in hell already, and every moment His fury against you grows hotter as you continually provoke Him with your sinful acts, thoughts, and nature (Ps 7:11-13); however, nothing but the will of this angry God, whose outraged justice demands your condemnation, who has bound Himself with no promise of mercy to you, keeps you breathing and your heart beating, and so keeps you out of hell one moment! Oh sinner, “[F]lee from the wrath to come” (Mt 3:7)! Awake from your careless sleep of death, and take thought for your soul! “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found” (Is 55:6), for “ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jam 4:14). Consider, “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mr 8:36).