Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Goodness and the Severity of God

All scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible
In Luke 13:23-24 one of Jesus' disciples asked Him, "Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." That sounds on the face of it that God must be pretty severe. But listen to what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 11:22  "Behold... the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Paul said if we continue in His goodness we shall be saved, otherwise Paul said we shall be cut off! I, for one, do not want to be cut off from the goodness of God.

We have an example of both the goodness and the severity of God in the story of Noah found in Genesis 6:5-17. The Bible says that "GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them..." It was a severe judgment upon all that drew breath that God had created, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." Thank God for His goodness and mercy. He showed His goodness by allowing His graciousness to be found in Noah. Noah was commanded to build an ark and instructed to take two of every beast into the ark along with his family, for God said, "behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die." Pretty severe, don't you think?
The Apostle Peter spoke of that story in 1st Peter 3:18-22 when he said, "once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." I know that Peter was comparing the suffering of Christ for our sins but I am using this part of the scripture to illustrate the goodness and the severity of God. How much was the population of the earth in Noah's day? The Bible doesn't say, but estimates vary form a few hundred thousand to multiplied billions. However many there may have been, Peter said that "...few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." 

Few saved by water? Let me say clearly that I do not believe in baptismal regeneration! I do, however believe in what Peter said in Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Are there few that be saved? Based on Jesus' answer to that question, the answer is yes! But what about all of those millions, no, billions of people who have never been baptized in Jesus name? Acts 4:12 declares plainly that there is no other name that can save us for, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." 

If you haven't obeyed the command the Apostle Peter gave to those Jews on the Day of Pentecost (and it was a command) then you are not ready to meet the Lord Jesus when He returns for His church. In short, you are not saved! Let me encourage you, whoever you are that reads this post, if you have never done so,  believe God's word, repent and be baptized in Jesus precious name "for the remission of sins," and God has promised to give to you the baptism of the Holy Ghost, without which, you do not belong to Him. (See Romans 8:9b)

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