Dr. David Jeremiah Presents
Living inthe Ageof Signs
Living in the Age of Signs
The Real Deal Dad: Authentic Fatherhood
Today’s Audio Devotion:
The Real Deal Dad: Authentic Fatherhood
We all have one; many of us are one—a father, that is. As we honor the fathers in our lives this weekend, it’s a good time to ask: What is an authentic father like? Books are available on the subject, but is there one infallible source by which to evaluate fatherhood?
Not even the Bible says, “These are the traits of a good father.” We have something else, however. We have the example of our divine Father, our Heavenly Father, who is the spiritual Father to all who believe. And “all” includes today’s dads. The Bible makes a clear point of saying we have been adopted into God’s family, the head of which is God the Father. So we do have a perfect example of the traits of an authentic father: God Himself. There are many traits of God revealed in Scripture, but how about the traits manifested by God the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Dads, the more you know and spend time with your Heavenly Father, the more like Him you will become.
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.
One of the questions I'm regularly asked is, "Pastor, can I commit a sin that God cannot forgive?"
Jesus answered this question in Mark 3:20–30. According to Him, there is one thing a person can do for which there is no forgiveness either in this age or in the age to come: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. But what does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit?
Let's examine Jesus' concluding statement in verses 28–30:
"Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation,"—because they said, "He has an unclean spirit."
This paragraph has often been misunderstood by Christians. To arrive at the correct interpretation, we must begin with the last phrase, which explains why Jesus made this statement. He gave this teaching because His critics were accusing Him of being demon–possessed (verse 22). Our Lord was telling them, in essence, "There is a sin that you are on the verge of committing. You should be very careful, because you're about to do something for which there is no forgiveness."
What were they about to do?
It's Not a Thoughtless Mistake
Let me take a moment and say the unpardonable sin isn't something that someone commits accidentally. The scribes who came from Jerusalem didn't jump to a conclusion about Jesus. If you follow the references to these scribes throughout the book of Mark, you'll see there is a progression to their unbelief. They were initially curious about Jesus and His ministry. Then they had questions. In time, they grew indifferent; but then their indifference metastasized into a malicious attitude that became so hateful that it ultimately nailed Jesus Christ to the cross.
In our story in Mark 3, there's an important distinction that is lost in our English translations. It is only apparent in the Greek New Testament. According to verse 22, the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebub." The verb form for "said" is in the imperfect tense. It can be translated as, "They kept on saying." The scribes didn't utter a sudden thoughtless word or shout an instant reaction. Their words represented a hardened attitude and an embittered, impenitent heart.
It's a Progressive Rejection
When God convicts us of sin and presents us with the Gospel, it's dangerous to neglect it, especially if our procrastination becomes chronic. After continued resistance, we become so hard–hearted and sin–hardened that we grow calloused of soul. Our ears can't receive the truth. Our minds shake off the conviction of the Spirit. We become cynical of conscience. And although the grace of God is still available to us, we push away from it.
These scribes had become Jesus–resistant because of the time–lapsed attitudes of their own evil hearts. It's tragic, for these scribes had devoted their lives to copying the Word of God. Note the relationship between the words scribe and scribble. These men had copied and recopied the Old Testament. Every day they copied an ancient Scripture scroll by hand.
They had copied Isaiah 53, about the Suffering Servant. They had copied Psalm 22, about the death of the Messiah. They knew Micah 5 and the prophecy of our Lord's birth. Yet their hearts had become so hardened they couldn't receive His grace when it arrived in the person of Jesus.
It is possible to become hardened to spiritual truth by living in the middle of it. The scribes had come to the place where they were so familiar with religious things that when the Son of God showed up, they didn't know who He was, and they accused Him of being from Satan.
It's Denying the Deity of Christ
By ascribing the miracles of Jesus to Satan, the religious leaders were denying the deity of Jesus Christ. They were saying He could not be God. Yet by His miracles He was showing Himself to be nothing and no one less than God. Only God Himself could do what He had done. His followers believed in His deity.
It's the Holy Spirit who witnesses to the deity of Christ in our world today. If you refuse to accept the ministry of the Holy Spirit or you ascribe His ministry to Satan, you are denying Christ's deity. You must believe in Jesus as the Son of God. You must accept the witness of the Holy Spirit and act upon the conviction He brings.
Have You Committed the Unpardonable Sin?
The thought of an unforgivable sin has haunted sensitive people in every Christian century, and maybe it has haunted you. I want to be clear in saying that if you're bothered in your spirit that you may have committed a sin God will not forgive, the very fact that you have anxiety over that is evidence you've not committed the sin. If He is still working in your heart, it's not possible to have committed the unpardonable sin. The very fact that you're reading this article is a tremendous indication you've not committed the unforgivable sin described in the Gospel of Mark.
In its essence, the unforgivable sin is hardening your heart against God by repeatedly refusing to respond to His entreaties to your soul. By continuing to resist and reject the Lord, you build calluses on your soul until the conviction of the Spirit of God no longer registers in your heart. Over a period of time, you become hardened. You hear the Word of God, and it makes no impact on you. If you die in that condition, there's no further forgiveness available. For those who reject Jesus Christ, there's no forgiveness anywhere else, anytime, either in this world or the next. He died for you, and if you reject that, there's no other sacrifice for sin.
Don't worry that you've committed the unpardonable sin. But if you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, be concerned that you might. If you've resisted Christ and refused Him as your Savior, and if something happens and you die, you will have committed the unpardonable sin. You won't get a second chance after death. Whatever we do concerning Christ, we do in this life. Don't gamble that you will have time or that you will be able to respond later. The Bible says, "Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6).
You can trust that Jesus is who He claims to be. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the only way to God. He is Son of God and Son of Man, our Savior, the Word made flesh, the Firstborn from the Dead. He is our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend. He is Christ the Lord, the Rock of Ages, the Sure Foundation, the Cornerstone. When He is your unforgettable Savior, you'll never have to worry about the unforgivable sin.
After the events of the Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon, it would be tempting to think things couldn't possibly get any worse. For some, that will be true. Christians, including those who accept Christ during the Tribulation, will enjoy peace and prosperity during Christ's Millennial Kingdom and then throughout eternity. For others, things will become eternally worse.
No one can escape the judgment of God. The Bible describes two future days of judgment in which every human being who has ever lived will be judged by Jesus Christ. Christians will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Everyone else, those who does not know Jesus as their Savior, will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Let's take a closer look at the details surrounding this event.
The People Before the Great White Throne
Revelation 20:12–13 describes the people at the great white throne: "I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God.… The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them."
As John views the great white throne, he sees the dead—all who died without trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior. These people are spiritually dead because they died apart from Christ. Their bodies are summoned from their graves and from the sea. Their souls are called from Death and Hades to stand before the Judge of all the earth. And John says this group will be made up of both "small and great." That expression appears often in the Bible—over five times in the book of Revelation alone. It reminds us that there will be rich and poor, famous and obscure, powerful and weak.
Erwin Lutzer says this multitude is diverse in its religions.1 There will be Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus and Protestants and Catholics and Baptists and Presbyterians. There will be those who believed in one God and those who believed in many gods. There will be those who refused to believe in any God at all. There will be those who believed in meditation or mindfulness as a means of salvation and those who believed that doing great deeds was the path to eternal life. We see the moral and the immoral, the priest as well as the minister, the nun as well as the missionary.
What will happen to the religious people and the humanitarians when they stand before God? The Lord Jesus answered that question. "Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' " (Matthew 7:21–23)
Contrary to popular opinion, believing in your chosen truth does not make it true. There is only one truth, and that's the truth of Jesus Christ. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). There is only one way to the Father and one way to eternal life.
Where Will the Great White Throne Judgment Take Place?
Revelation 20:11 says, "I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them." The Bible does not specify where the Great White Throne Judgment will take place, but we do know where it will not be. It will not be in heaven, nor will it be on earth.
It cannot take place on earth because the earth and skies will have fled away at the appearance of the Lord. It cannot take place in heaven because no sinner can enter God's presence there. So, the Great White Throne Judgment takes place somewhere between heaven and earth. It may happen on a distant planet we don't even know about, but it will take place.
Perhaps its name is more important than its location. The word great speaks of the infinite One who is the Judge. The word white speaks of divine holiness, purity, and justice. And throne speaks of the majesty of the One who has the right to determine the destiny of His creatures.
The Judge of the Great White Throne
Revelation 20:11–12 provides the identity of the Judge: "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it…. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God."
Who is the Judge on the Great White Throne? He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Some people like to imagine Jesus as nothing other than a mild–mannered teacher, but His own words confirm His role as Judge: "The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son…. and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:22, 27). The only One who has ever been completely holy and yet completely human is the only One who will judge mankind.
Paul wrote to the Romans, "God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ" (Romans 2:16). In Acts, Peter declared that Christ "was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead" (10:42).
Christ will judge the living at the Judgment Seat of Christ when believers stand before Him after the Rapture, and He will judge the spiritually dead at the Great White Throne Judgment. Jesus Christ will conduct the trial, and no one is better qualified. He did everything possible to redeem mankind. Anyone who has accepted His redemption will receive grace and be judged mercifully at the first judgment. Anyone who rejects His offer will receive the full penalty due for every offense at the second and final judgment.
Blotted Out in the Book of Life
Revelation 21:27 says only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be admitted into heaven—so what is that book? It tracks every person's birth. When we are born, our names go into the Book of Life, and we have our entire lifetime to accept Christ. If we come to the end of our lives and we haven't accepted Him, our names are blotted out of the Book of Life. No one can go to heaven whose name is not in the Lamb's Book of Life.
We can speculate that every person's name is written in the Book of Life with the time of conception and the time of birth. The age of accountability might be next to his name. And then, if he's a Christian, the date of his conversion to Christ as His Savior is there. If there are no entries for the last items by the time that person dies, the entry will be blotted out (Revelation 3:5). An awful blank space will be left in the book at the place where that name should have been. Displaying this blank spot in the book will be the final and conclusive evidence that the person being judged must be consigned to life forever without God.
What If I'm Not a Christian During the End Times?
The One who spoke the world into being is the One who will ultimately make all things right. The Bible says we will be with Him forever because we put our trust in Him. Those who know Christ and are alive when He returns will be caught up into the air with Him and will be taken to heaven.
Those who die before He returns will rise from their graves before everyone else and be caught up together to be with Him. From then on, they will always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Christians can rejoice knowing they will not face God's condemnation (Romans 8:1). For everyone else, the only way to receive protection from the Great White Throne Judgment and from eternal punishment in the lake of fire is to trust Jesus as Savior and obey Him as Lord. Those living during the Tribulation will still be able to accept Christ, but why would anyone wait? Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
1Erwin Lutzer, "Is God Unfair?" 2011, https://www.moodymedia.org/articles/god–unfair/, accessed on April 16, 2019.
A final judgment is coming. The Bible states it this way, "It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Every man, woman, and child will face judgment, but many don't realize that there will be two different judgments—one court date for believers and another date for everyone who has rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The Judgment Seat of Christ, also known as the Bema seat, will happen in heaven immediately following the Rapture of the Church (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). This is the court date for Christians. No one judged in this court will be condemned. Everyone present will be a follower of Christ who surrendered their life and believed in Him. All their misdeeds will be covered by grace. For Christians, the Judgment Seat will be a ceremony, a way for Christ to assess their good works and assign their rewards for faithfulness to Him as their Savior.
The final judgment for everyone else will be vastly different.
Judgment for Unbelievers
The final judgment—The Great White Throne Judgment—will be a day when all unbelievers, including those who pretended to be godly, will stand before God. Here they will face the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. It is the final bar of justice in God's plan for the inhabitants of planet earth, and the accused will be judged by the black–and–white standard of absolute truth.
In Revelation 20:13, John tells us that every unbeliever who has died will be resurrected to be judged by Christ: "The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works." This resurrection takes place at the end of the Millennium. All the unsaved dead from Creation to the end of the Millennium will be included. After this resurrection, there will be no human bodies left in a grave anywhere on earth.
Where Is the Great White Throne Judgment Going to Happen?
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them" (Revelation 20:11).
Somewhere between heaven and earth this judgment will take place. Jesus Christ Himself will conduct the trial (John 5:22, 27), and no one is better qualified. He did all He could to save man. Since man has rejected Him, mankind must be judged by Him.
All the unsaved dead will be standing before the throne, the great and the small from all ranks in the Church and in the world. The greatest and the most famous down to the least and unknown will step forth at the awesome and majestic throne.
Everyone summoned to the Great White Throne Judgment, regardless of their status on this earth, will have one thing in common: they will have died without Christ, and they will have no hope.
The Purpose of the Final Judgment
Revelation 20:12 says the "books were opened.... And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books."
The purpose of the Great White Throne Judgment is not to determine if a person is saved. Anyone God calls to this judgment is not saved. This is a sentencing for the evil works of the unsaved. Men are not sent to hell because they are murderers or liars; they are sent to hell because they are unrighteous—they have not been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
John tells us that men are judged "by things which were written in the books." We aren't told specifically how many books or what is written in each, but we find verses throughout Scripture that give us clues to this final judgment:
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12:36–37, KJV
"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14, KJV
"In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." Romans 2:16, KJV
Each person will have to an account for their actions and words, whether secret or public.
Finally, we are told that "another book was opened, which is the Book of Life…. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12, 15).
What Is the Book of Life?
The Book of Life is mentioned often in Scripture (Exodus 32:32–33; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1 Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 21:27; 22:19).
Cities in John's day had a register that contained the name of every citizen. If a person committed a serious offence, he could be called before the town tribunal to witness the blotting out of his name from the register. That meant he was no longer considered a citizen of the town and would be forced to move elsewhere.
I believe this is a fair representation of the Book of Life—a register containing the name of every person born into this world, but they are subject to being removed. Revelation 3:5 records Christ stating that He "will not blot out [the name of the righteous] from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." Presumably, at the Great White Throne Judgment, a "blot" in place of a name in the Book of Life means that person will not gain access to heaven.
The Final Sentencing
John clearly viewed what happens when a person's name is not found in the Book of Life: "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).
The first death is experienced by humans (except those alive at the Rapture) when we die and our soul is separated from the body. In the second death, the physical body and spiritual soul—having been reunited—are both cast into the lake of fire forever. The unsaved person, raised from the dead, is judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, found wanting, and consigned to eternal separation from God. At the first death, the soul and body are separated from each other for a time. At the second death, both body and soul are separated from God's presence for eternity.
Scripture offers a grim picture of hell. It is a place of "torment" (Luke 16:28); a place of "wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42); a place where "their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48); a place of "fire and brimstone" (Revelation 14:10; 21:8). It is also the final abode of the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Revelation 19:20; 20:10). At the end of the Millennium, Satan is cast into the lake of fire to join the Antichrist and False Prophet, to be "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Finally, after the Great White Throne Judgment, the unsaved are also cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
One does not have to be the worst sinner in the world to land in the lake of fire; one just has to be an unbelieving sinner. There are only two choices: accept Him now as Lord and Savior, or face Him as Judge, Jury, and Executioner at the end of the Millennium.
The book of Revelation is like all other biblical prophecy: It is an accurate foretelling of future events that provides an opportunity to prepare for and respond to that which will unfold. Those who hear and believe God's Word will not "come into judgment, but [will pass] from death into life" (John 5:24).
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God Loves You!
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God has a wonderful plan for your life!
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Walking Down the "Romans Road" to Salvation
Because of our sin, we are separated from God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The Penalty for our sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Discover Your New Life in Christ
Your Greatest Turning Point will guide you through the foundations of Christian faith — to encourage and challenge your as you seek information about salvation, baptism, prayer, the Bible, and much more.
To receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, pray this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I'm like everyone else - I can't make it through life on my own. I'm imperfect. I'm prone to sin. I have come to realize that there's nothing in the world I can do to make myself acceptable to You. But I know that You have loved me so much that You were willing to submit to the cross and die on my behalf. That's a grace so amazing I cannot understand it; I can only accept it. And I do. I accept Your free gift, and I know that from this moment on, I am saved. I am a child of God. And I give the rest of my life to serving You and experiencing the joy that only You can offer. Fill me now, dear Lord, and raise me to walk in the newness of life. I thank You and praise You! Amen.
Now that you are a "new creation" in Jesus Christ, the road ahead will be full of life-changing experiences. Growing in knowledge and understanding of the Bible and your Christian walk with God is essential for your spiritual growth.
Here are some ways that you can grow as a Christian:
Baptism identifies you with Christ.
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
Study the Bible.
The Bible will guide you through life and answer life's questions.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15)
Share your faith with others.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.
(2 Timothy 1:8)
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witness to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Be part of a local church.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Fellowship with other Christians.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:24, 25)
God desires to meet your needs! Make prayer a part of your daily life.
So He said to them, “When you pray, say: our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
If you would like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, request your FREE copy of Your Greatest Turning Point here.