What is the one reason God sends someone to Hell?
II Corinthians 4:3a
“If our gospel be hid…” (or veiled)
Something is over it so that hearts cannot comprehend it. What has to happen? Well someone has to remove the veil, and in this case who is holding the veil in place? Satan is, as we’ll see in the next verse.
II Corinthians 4:4a
“In whom the god of this world…” (Satan)
A lot of people don’t like to talk about Satan. They think of him as a cartoon character in a red underwear suit, and a pitchfork with some horns on his head, but listen, that’s not the Satan in The Bible. The Satan of The Bible is a powerful being. Paul says in another place that he can transform himself into an angel of light. So this is what Satan is doing so expeditiously today. Satan is constantly confusing the issue with his seeming light, but remember it’s Satan who –
II Corinthians 4:4b
“…hath blinded the minds of them which (will not repent and be baptized? Notice it doesn’t say that. So what is God’s controversy? They won’t believe. They) believe not,…”
It’s not that we have to repent, it’s not that we have run down some aisle in repentance. But rather what does God demand for salvation in this day of Grace? That we believe the Gospel. Now is a mighty good time to look at the Gospel of salvation that saves us and places us into the Body of Christ. Jerry Pool isn’t here with us today, but if he was here he’d be winking at me, and I know what he’d be saying. So turn back with me to I Corinthians Chapter 15. And bless his heart, Jerry started coming to my classes about 16 years ago and I guess one of the first Thursday nights he attended I must have struck a cord with these first 4 verses in I Corinthians, “The Gospel!” There is no clearer place in the whole Bible where the Gospel is laid out in full. This beats John 3:16 a hundred miles. Now I have nothing against John 3:16, but John 3:16 can’t even come close to what Paul writes here. Remember any time that Paul makes a reference to the Gospel in any of his epistles it’s always this one. All right verse 1:
I Corinthians 15:1,2
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (absolutely. Today there is only one Gospel of Grace.) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (that was all it took. When they believed the Gospel then God literally moved heaven and earth to bring that person to place of enlightenment. And as soon as we believe the Gospel this Book begins to open up to understanding. And it begins to make sense) By which also ye are saved, (it’s by this Gospel and this Gospel only that we’re saved. I don’t care if it was in Corinth or any other area of the world, whether it was back in 50 AD or in the present year it makes no difference because this is the Gospel that saves lost people.) if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”
Paul is saying, “Don’t believe the wrong thing for salvation.” Listen God is meticulous. Again this same Jerry had been to a funeral of a dear friend, a good person, and I’ll never forget the look on Jerry’s face when he said, “Les is there any chance that God might compromise this a little bit and let this person in?” No way! Because God is not a compromiser. God has made the plan of salvation so simple, and plain that He is not going to let someone slip in a side door, and say, “Well I thought…” You see that’s what Cain did. I always have to go back to Cain and Abel because they were so typical. Abel did just exactly what God said to do. Abel believed what God said and he acted on it. But old Cain rationalized, and said, “Yeah but I think that if I do this and if I come on with all of this effort then God will accept me.” But did He? No! I’ve often said that Cain was probably a better person than Abel. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Because Cain tried, but what was his problem? Cain didn’t believe what God said.
And it’s the same way today. If people are going to somehow or other connive around this simple Gospel, then I don’t believe that God is going to accept them. Now I don’t know hearts, and I never pretend to, but I have to go by what The Book says, and The Book says that this is the Gospel by which people are saved. Here it is in verse 3 and 4.
I Corinthians 15:3,4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, (now here we come back to the revelation that Paul received from the ascended Lord, and not from Christ’s earthly ministry. Christ had the finished work of the Cross now behind Him. So this is what was revealed by the ascended Lord for us to believe for salvation) how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (This was in that whole preordained plan of the ages that Christ would go to the Cross) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures;”
Now folks that’s the Gospel that you must believe in your heart for salvation. And isn’t it so simple. Oh there is no string attached, there is no prescribed ritual, there is no particular way that you have to do this. You can believe it at the kitchen sink, you can believe it driving down the road, you can believe it when you wake up in the middle of the night. You can say, “Yes I see it. For me there is only one remedy, and that is that Christ died for my sins, and He arose from the dead!” Then God does all the rest. God saves us. God sets our feet on a Rock, and He begins to open up the Scriptures, and then we begin to comprehend the truth of The Bible from cover to cover. Now this isn’t going to happen all at once, but salvation happens all at once. I told a class many years ago that salvation is not a process, but rather salvation is an event. Salvation is an instantaneous event. Christian growth is a process. Bible understanding is a process, but salvation is a one time event. And what an event to be translated from darkness to light! To know your sins have been forgiven, and to know that you’re justified! And all this happens instantaneously.
I noticed in my studies of this past week that in all of Paul’s letters that we never have to beg God to forgive us of our sins. Think about that. And yet for most people who are putting out the plan of salvation they say, “You have to ask God to forgive you of your sins, you have to repent.” Well I can’t find any of this in Paul’s letter to the Church Age believers. It’s not in here, but rather my Bible tells me that when Christ died the death of the Cross, He took on Himself not just the sins of those who are saved, but rather He took on the sins of every human being that has ever lived or will ever live. And when He took every human being’s sin then He could cry to the Father, “Those sins are forgiven,” All of those sins are buried in the deepest sea, never, never to be brought before us again. So even when lost people slip out of this life into eternity, their sins are already forgiven. But they had not believed unto Salvation. Now when we get into Chapter 5 of II Corinthians we’re going to find the word “Reconciliation” and the same thing applies. Every human being that has ever lived has now been reconciled to God by virtue of the work of the Cross.
But now I have to clarify that don’t I? I think this will be a good illustration. Those guys in Congress who hold the money bags, and can hand it out by the billions. For a particular program they can appropriate millions of dollars, but that money stays in that account until somebody out there starts drawing on that account. Am I right? Is that government process? You know it is. All right the money is already appropriated, but it won’t do a nickels worth of good until somebody draws on it and puts it to use. Now that is God! At the Cross God paid the payment for every person’s sins. He paid their eternal doom, He did everything that needed to be done. So now all that lost people have to do is draw on that account. And how do they do that? By simply believing the Gospel for their salvation. But the reason they will never enjoy all the ramifications of that finished work is that they are never going to draw on it by believing. They will never exercise the faith that God demands. Now isn’t that sad? You know I think when people go to the Lake of Fire for all eternity, they won’t be going there for all their sins. They’re not going there because of the drunkenness, and adultery and whatever you want to call sin. They’re going there because of their unbelief! And if I’m not remembered for anything else I want to be remembered for that. That lost humanity is going to their eternal doom for only one reason, and that is they refuse to believe that everything is already done. And isn’t that sad. And who is keeping them from seeing all of this? The powers of Satan as we see in II Corinthians 4:4:
II Corinthians 4:4a
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,…”
And how does Satan do it? I think his favorite choice today is to keep people so busy. Everybody is so busy. Our kids are all involved in sports from the time they get old enough to walk. And so it is a constant bombarding of our time with everything except the things that count. And so I believe this is Satan’s biggest instrument. And there is nothing wrong with a lot of those things. There’s nothing wrong with kids playing T-Ball, or basketball; but what’s it doing? It’s keeping their minds so occupied that they never have time to think in terms of the spiritual. Oh, the old Devil loves it when we’re preoccupied. The more he can keep people in programs, and the more he can keep people with their eyes on material things the more old Satan can say, “I’ve got them veiled, I’m keeping them blinded, and I’m the winner.