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“But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:21,22).

IF WE COULD SEE OURSELVES AS GOD SEES US, WE WOULD PROBABLY BE SHOCKED AT HOW CONTRADICTORY OUR LIVES LOOK TO HIM. We say we desire life, but so much of what we do is inconsistent with that goal, it must be sad for our Creator to observe.

If we persist in sin, hell is the only place we can get to. The path that leads away from God is never going to get us back home to Him. But foolishly, that is what we seem to believe. We don’t want to change paths, but somehow we suppose that the destination of the path might change. Yet the law of cause and effect applies to all of us. No special exceptions are going to be made. And one definition of insanity is, as we’ve been told, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Solomon observed, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12). That is the very point Paul made in the text above: “the end of those things is death.” In other words, eternal banishment from God is not an arbitrary punishment — it is the telos (a Greek word meaning “goal” or “result”) of our decision to refuse God’s rule. God is not going to force us to love Him in eternity if it has been our decision not to love Him in this life. So it is a very serious thing to refuse (or even procrastinate) reconciliation to God. And we are not in a position to dictate to God what the terms of our surrender will be. If He has chosen that it is through Jesus Christ that He will save us, then refusing that plan can’t be anything but disastrous.

As Robert Louis Stevenson famously said, “Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” Ultimately, there are only two paths available. Jesus counseled us to be careful. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13,14). It’s time to clear up our contradictions. Let’s choose the path that goes where we want to end up.

“The way to Babylon will never bring you to Jerusalem” (Old Saying).

Gary Henry — +

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