Lately I've been reading some blogs and comments in regards to whether or not God will issue punishment. I'd like to post the following for consideration. While comments are permitted, if you wish to present an opposing view, please do so on your own blog. As I said, I am posting this for consideration, not argument.
Here's the scenario to consider:
A man chooses to break the law. He knows there's a penalty for the crime. However, he chooses to do it regardless for whatever reason. He may not think that the law is fair or right. He may think he is above the law. He may believe he won't be caught.
The man is caught and brought before a judge. He is found guilty. The judge issues the sentence. The man will have to face punishment and in this case, the punishment is say, a life-sentence in prison with no parole.
Whose fault is it that the man went to prison? Is it the fault of the judge or is it the fault of the law-breaker?
The Word of God makes it very clear that we have all sinned.
The Word of God makes it very clear that while the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, the punishment for sin is death.
The Word of God makes it very clear that we must repent (confess and turn away from our sin) in order for our sins to be forgiven. Jesus preached repentance. and Jesus repeats this again in verse 5. Jesus clearly wanted to emphasize the above. The Word of God makes it very clear that there will be a judgement. The righteous will be on his right. The unrighteous (apparently God will not consider everyone righteous) are placed on his left. Remember, this is Jesus talking.
The Word of God makes it very clear that there is punishment for those whose names are not in the Lamb's Book of Life. It is very clear there are individuals whose names are not listed.
I am now going back to my original question. Who is responsible for where you spend eternity? Is it God or you? While God extends his gift of salvation to all, you have to take the necessary steps to receive it or take possession of it. If I purchase a beautiful new house for you but you do not take the key from me, sign the papers, etc. you will never take possession of that house. You might drive by it. You might tell other people I purchased it for you. You might admire the beauty of it and talk about how much you want to live there but you have not taken the required steps to make it yours. A lot of people like to do this with salvation. They talk about what a good thing it is. This is something they should have. They like to look at it and maybe even pretend they have it but they never take the required steps to take possession of it. Something is either yours or it isn't yours.
We know what God has required us to do in order to have our name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We know the consequences of doing so. We also know the consequences of not having our name written down (see Rev. 20:15). I don't think God could have made things any clearer. If we refuse God's salvation then we are choosing to accept the consequences of not having it. It seems pretty obvious to me that I and I alone am responsible for what happens to me in the end.
May we all take heed as to what God has said...whether we like it or not.