People who have truly believed in the Lord at any time in their lives have been born again with the Holy Spirit giving them the divine and eternal life so they will not perish. There is no sin that they can commit which will take the eternal life away. Otherwise it would not be eternal. “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” (Heb. 6:4-8) It is impossible to renew them again to repentance because the divine life, once born in us, cannot be reborn again. It never dies. But it puts the Son of God to open shame because it says his death and resurrection, the dispensing of the life-giving Spirit, did not work in them. Their own wills took over and they did not submit to Christ to allow him to live out of them. What they produce is thorns and thistles, which are worthless and close to being cursed, ending up being burned in God’s fiery furnace. These Christians are worthless to God and are close to being curse—not cursed—but close to being cursed because the eternal life is still within them. They need to “press on to maturity.” (Heb. 6:1)
Realize if we reject the will of God and operate on our own wills, it bears a consequence. God uses his fire to purify and sanctify us. God’s fiery furnace is for our purification, it is not for our punishment (although it might feel like punishment). It is for our disciplining because God loves us. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Heb. 12:6) People whom He has established a covenant with, whether it be in the first covenant as with the nation of Israel, or in the second covenant with born-again Christians, He will discipline. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi. 1:6) We could be purified with God’s fire today in this age, or in God’s fiery furnace at the day of Jesus Christ when He returns. That is our choice. If we allow Him, Christ will gradually purify us today. That is how we “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phi. 2:12) “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29)
When Christ returns, realize God’s fiery furnace is not the lake of fire. His fiery furnace is for our purification. The lake of fire is for eternal punishment. These are two separated things in the Bible. God’s fiery furnace is to smelt our dross away. “I will also turn My hand against you, and will smelt away your dross as with lye and will remove all your alloy.” (Isa. 1:25) Our impurities will be burned away in God’s fiery furnace. We are being purified today, right now at this very moment, for today in a day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). We are learning to submit our wills to his will today so he would head up all things in us (Eph. 1:9-10). Realize the will of God is our sanctification.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 The. 4:3) The will of God is our sanctification. If we abide by His will, we are sanctified. The reason that Jesus Christ came down to us is to sanctify us so we could be brought back up to the Father in heaven to be one with Him. To be brought up to the Father, realize Christ is changing our leprous condition in sin to a glorious condition in holiness. To transform us from these extremes, he needs to burn all our dross away so we become pure like him, in the same image of Christ. This transformation is his workmanship. His goal is not to get a huge number of people, but to get a few whom he has purified and sanctified. That is why only the remnant will return (Isa. 10:20-22; Mic. 5:7-8; Acts 15:17). Purification is to cleanse us of sins; sanctification is to cure us of our sinful nature. Purification is on the outside; sanctification is on the inside. Purification makes us not leprous in appearance; sanctification cures us of our infection of sin making us holy and acceptable to God. In living in us, Christ is perfecting us today, so we would be perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect. “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48) We are his workmanship today as he perfects us. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) We are the project he is working on today, created in Christ Jesus when we were born in him to be righteous, and now he is perfecting us, by growing in us so we express his divine nature and walk in righteousness. Realize transforming us into the same image as he is is what he is doing today. All other things, as serving in the church, caring for the poor, missionary work, even preaching the gospel is secondary to perfecting us. As we are being perfected, these things will come out naturally. They become a spontaneous expression of our divine life, of the Spirit inside of us, whom we have let free to do as He will. We would work tirelessly to serve in his church, to care for the poor, to do missionary work, and to preach the gospel. These are the different gifts the Spirit gives to all the saints. “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1 Cor. 12 :4-11) We exercise our gifts as He wills. As the Spirit burns within us, we begin to burn and express who he is. We become like the burning bush in the wilderness, expressing Christ in our humanity—a frail bush that is not consumed by his holy fire.
(Read this prayerfully in front of the Lord because it is not easy nor light.)
As Christians, we are all trying to discern the will of God so we could be aligned with it. What about Christians who do not want to follow the will of God? What about those Christians who exert their own wills and continue to sin and do not let God purify and sanctify them? When will they be purified and sanctified?
Realized they will be purified when the Lord comes back. When He comes back, He will test all our works with fire. If we do not build on the foundation of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11) our work will be burnt up. “Each man’s work will become evident, for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:13-15) (Realized those who do not build of the foundation of Christ are still saved because they have the divine life which is eternal, yet they are saved as through fire.) What is the reward that some will receive, and what is the loss that some will suffer?
To end on a positive note, I will talk about the loss those who do not surrender their wills to God will suffer first. The Word says they will be thrown into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. All references to “weeping and gnashing of teeth” will be reviewed so we have a clear understanding that it is for believers who have received Christ. It may not be a place, but a condition of extreme regret that these believers will feel for not submitting themselves as a living sacrifice to be transformed by Christ prior to his return.
The first instance is about the faith of a Gentile centurion who believed that Jesus could heal his paralyzed servant at home by “only saying the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Mat. 8:8). Jesus marveled and said, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from the east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 8:10-12) God made a covenant with Abraham so all his descendants are part of the kingdom. Those who do not believe in Christ have not seen the light, so they are thrown into outer darkness. In that place, when they see Christ return in his glory, there will be much regret. They will be in a place with weeping and gnashing of teeth when they see the Gentiles, like this centurion, reclining at table with their forefathers. Realize the Jewish people are saved if they abide by the first covenant.
The next incidence concerns the tares among the wheat. The Lord explains, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sow them is the devil; and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has an ear, let him hear.” (Mat.13:37-43) Realize the tares are the ones who seem to be growing with us. They grow according to not what the master has sown, but what the devil has sown. They rely on their own strengths to grow. Not with the power of the Spirit. Because they succeed in growing outwardly, they become stumbling blocks for God’s children. They too have built, so they appear to be growing, but their building is in wood hay and stubble. So at the end of this age, when their works are tested by fire, it will be burned. If they do not believe in God, they will also be burnt.
“Again, the kingdom of the heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 13:47-50) Realize Christians today are the fish that has been caught by the Lord so we don’t remain in the world, the sea, anymore. But among us, there are bad fish that are wicked and not righteous. These fish express their own wills, their own desires and not God’s will and God’s desire. Righteousness does not originate from us. It is a quality of God. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’” (Mark 10:18) Even Jesus could not call himself as good. It is the divine life of God in him that makes him good. Only by living through us do we become transformed into the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21) So if we think we are somehow righteous in our flesh, at the end of this age, God will throw us into his furnace of fire to purify and sanctify us.
“Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then he will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. And they came from the east and west and from the north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:24-30) We may do many things for the Lord, but if we do them in our own strength, He will not know us because his Spirit has not been free to live within us. We may even think we ate and drank in his presence, but we did not eat and drink Him. We may understand many things in our minds because He “taught in our streets”, but we must let Him live the truths out of us as the Spirit of reality. “That is the Spirit of truth (reality), whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) Realize when we know the Lord, the Lord will know us. We do not want to go to that place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat. 24:45-51) In this parable, Christ is our master and we are his slaves. If we are faithful and sensible, we will follow our master’s will. Realize we have been put in charge of giving food to his household. We are responsible to “Feed My sheep” (John 21:17) if we love Him, following his will. But if we say that he is not coming for a long time and even beat our fellow slaves, becoming a stumbling block to them, and indulge ourselves, we will be placed with the hypocrites and sent to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This parable is for Christians and not unbelievers because we have a master in Christ.
In the parable of the talents, the master gives to his slaves various amounts of talents and the faithful slaves multiply them. But the slave who was given one talent said, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. ‘Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Mat. 25:24-30) As slaves to the master, all Christians are given a gift, a talent, that they need to exercise. The Lord is giving us a warning that no matter what little we think we have been given, we must use it to enlarge his kingdom. If we don’t, even that talent will be taken from us. If we exercise our talents, realize they will multiply. The more we utilize or have fellowship with the Spirit within us, the more we will realize the power that is in us and be filled to the fullness of God. The more we will realize that Jesus Christ is in us. (2 Cor. 13:5)
Just prior to the parable of the talents, is the parable of the ten virgins (Mat. 25:1-13). These virgins are pure and separated to Christ, the bridegroom, already. Yet they needed sufficient oil in their lamps. The virgins with little oil are not filled to the fullness of God as their spirits. Christ has not entered into all aspects of their lives. They have not presented their bodies completely to God as a living sacrifice. They have not submitted their wills fully to His will. So the bridegroom says, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” (Mat. 25:12) To know someone is to have the same spirit with them. When we exert our own wills, Christ does not know us.
Enterance into the wedding feast of God will be a reward to those who are faithful and sensible. This is the reward in 1 Cor. 3:14. We have to be faithful and sensible to Him, having become filled to the fullness of God by eating Him. Christ has been assimilated intrinsically into our beings. Our wills are subject to his will, like a slave to his master. Our spirits have become one with His Spirit so “He who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17) We are prepared for the wedding feast so we are dressed appropriately. “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mat. 22:11-14) “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb…These are the true words of God.” (Rev. 19:9)
Be prepared. Surrender your will to His will in this age.
If not, realize He will purify and sanctify us at the end of this age in the day of Jesus Christ in his furnace of fire, a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “For I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phi. 1:6)
For those who are prepared in this age, they express the will of God and are being purified and sanctified. As such, they are like Christ, transformed into the same image. They are the “true words of God” (Rev. 19:9). As Christ is our great high priest today (Heb. 4:14; 10:21), they will be priests of God and of Christ to the nations. “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection, over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6) Maybe this is their reward.
By His mercy and grace, I urge you to be part of this group by surrendering your will to His will. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Rom. 12:2)