14 day plan

Divine Judgment

Day 13 of 14

Isaiah 55:6

6Turn to the Lord and pray to him,

now that he is near.

Reflection: This verse raises – but does not itself answer – a chilling question. When is the “cut off” point at which a person forever loses the chance to find God? The traditional answer is, of course, the moment of physical death: until that moment, salvation remains possible (consider the penitent thief hanging beside Jesus on Calvary [Luke 23:39-43]); but, after that moment, the state of one’s soul is, as it were, “fixed”, and judgment by Christ will be rendered accordingly. In other words, there are no “second chances”. Yet so-called
“universalists” – and there have been some mighty theologians among them, from Origen to Karl Barth – believe otherwise. In their conception of God’s infinite grace, and based on certain passages of Scripture (e.g., Lam. 3:31-33, Col. 1:17-20, 1 Tim. 2:3-4 and 4:10, 2 Pet. 3:9), everyone will, eventually, find God. For many people that will happen in the afterlife, after a scarifying process of “refinement”. Universalism is attractive, but to put it mildly, has always been a contested minority view. For it is very hard to reconcile with Scripture as a whole. For one thing, Jesus insisted that there is one sin – blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – which will not be forgiven ‘in this age or the age to come’ (Matt. 13:31-32). No one can quite know for sure, but the traditional view seems by far the safest basis on
which to live one’s life and to evangelise to others.

Questions: Do you hold out hope – for others, if not for yourself – that it may be possible to be reconciled to God after death? Is such hope soundly based?

Prayer: Father, I know that Jesus will judge justly. I know that you are a God of mercy. I know that you want all people to be saved. But if it is your will that a person must find you in this earthly life, help me to be convicted of that fact. In the meantime, I promise to evangelise with all urgency. Amen.

Isaiah 55:1-13

God's Offer of Mercy

1 The Lord says,

“Come, everyone who is thirsty—

here is water!

Come, you that have no money—

buy grain and eat!

Come! Buy wine and milk—

it will cost you nothing!

2 Why spend money on what does not satisfy?

Why spend your wages and still be hungry?

Listen to me and do what I say,

and you will enjoy the best food of all.

3 “Listen now, my people, and come to me;

come to me, and you will have life!

I will make a lasting covenant with you

and give you the blessings I promised to David.

4I made him a leader and commander of nations,

and through him I showed them my power.

5Now you will summon foreign nations;

at one time they did not know you,

but now they will come running to join you!

I, the Lord your God, the holy God of Israel,

will make all this happen;

I will give you honor and glory.”

6Turn to the Lord and pray to him,

now that he is near.

7Let the wicked leave their way of life

and change their way of thinking.

Let them turn to the Lord, our God;

he is merciful and quick to forgive.

8“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours,

and my ways are different from yours.

9As high as the heavens are above the earth,

so high are my ways and thoughts above yours.

10 “My word is like the snow and the rain

that come down from the sky to water the earth.

They make the crops grow

and provide seed for planting and food to eat.

11So also will be the word that I speak—

it will not fail to do what I plan for it;

it will do everything I send it to do.

12“You will leave Babylon with joy;

you will be led out of the city in peace.

The mountains and hills will burst into singing,

and the trees will shout for joy.

13Cypress trees will grow where now there are briers;

myrtle trees will come up in place of thorns.

This will be a sign that will last forever,

a reminder of what I, the Lord, have done.”