WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 30, 2022
TOPIC: ETERNAL COMFORT OR ETERNAL TORMENT: THE CHOICE IS YOURS
BY T. O. BANSO
“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented’” (Luke 16:25 New King James Version).
Different religions teach different things about death, final judgment, and hellfire. There is a religious belief that after someone has died, his relations or loved ones can perform some religious obligations on his behalf that will save him from hellfire and the angels or God would welcome him home. In other words, people can offer prayers to God for the forgiveness of the sins of the dead. But this is not what the Bible teaches.
Indeed, when someone dies and we observe one minute of silence in his/her honour and we say, “May his/her should rest in perfect peace”, we are just saying a religious prayer but not biblical. If we like, we can bury him/her or refuse to bury him, that’s our problem! Whether the burial is befitting or not, it doesn’t change anything about the person’s destination. I am not saying it’s wrong to bury the dead. I am talking about eternity.
Praying for the dead is unbiblical as it does not affect where they spend their eternity. There are no religious obligations we can perform on behalf of the dead or for the dead that can change where they will spend their eternity. Nobody’s sins can be forgiven after his death. Forgiveness of sins is only possible when the person is alive. Whether you bless the dead or curse them, you cannot change the final place they have decided for themselves while they were on earth.
According to the Bible, everybody decides for himself while alive where he will spend his eternity. After death, nothing can change it. It is your relationship with Jesus Christ while you’re alive that determines where you spend your eternity. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). 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 (John 3:16).
If you want your sins to be forgiven and want to spend eternity with God, not in hellfire, you have to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour while you’re still alive. There’s nothing like post-death forgiveness of sins or salvation. Nobody can pray for your salvation after your death. Only you can decide that now.
Everybody will choose for himself eternal comfort or eternal torment after death. It is appointed for men to die once but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible says, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 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” (Revelation 20:12-13 New King James Version).
Eternal comfort and eternal torment are real. Both are unending. And now is the time to make your choice. Nobody can make it for you now or after death. In Luke 16, the story of the rich man and Lazarus underscores this truth.
The rich man and Lazarus chose how they lived their lives and, after death, they both found themselves in two places that were complete opposites. The rich man while alive was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But Lazarus was a beggar, full of sores, and was laid at the rich man’s gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. The dogs came and licked his sores (Luke 16:19-20). But they both died eventually. Whether one is rich or poor, one will die one day.
Nevertheless, the condition of Lazarus and the rich man changed after death. “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:22-23 New King James Version). While Lazarus was in comfort, the rich man was in torment. That was a reversal of fortune. The rich man cried to Father Abraham, to have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue because he was tormented in the flame (verse 24). But he didn’t have mercy on Lazarus when he was on earth.
The rich man had chosen torment while on earth whether he knew it or not. He was tormented not because of his wealth but because of his attitude to Lazarus. He did not take care of a poverty-stricken beggar who was laid at his gate. Lazarus must have been a righteous person for the angels to have carried him to Abraham’s bosom when he died. So wealth is not proof of God’s approval of someone’s life.
Anyone who rejects Jesus today has chosen eternal torment instead of eternal comfort. He may call himself an atheist, a free thinker, a non-religious person, a traditionalist, or whatever. But after death, everybody’s choice becomes irreversible.
Luke 16:25 says, “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented’” (New King James Version). Did you see that? The rich man was tormented but Lazarus was comforted. The rich man had called Abraham “father” in verse 24 and Father Abraham called him “son” in verse 25 but Abraham couldn’t help him. Do you want to enjoy eternal comfort or suffer eternal torment? The choice is yours and it is now. After death, nobody can cross over from comfort to torment or vice versa. There is a permanent separation (verse 26).
Father Abraham rejected the request of the rich man. No water for him! Even his plea on behalf of his five brothers, so that they would not come to the place of torment was rejected. “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead’” (Luke 16:27-31 (New King James Version).
Whoever rejects Jesus is playing with eternal torment, everlasting fire, hellfire. The worm there does not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Isaiah 66:24). It is incomplete truth to read only what the Bible says that for dust you are, and to dust, you shall return (Genesis 3:19b; Ecclesiastes 3:20). But the Bible also talks about the final judgment after death. Eternal torment or eternal comfort: the choice is yours.
In Matthew 18:8-9 and Mark 9:43-47, Jesus doesn’t mean you should literally cut off your hand and foot or pluck your eyes to escape being cast into the everlasting fire, eternal torment. He is emphasizing the need to remove whatever can take you to hell. The everlasting fire was originally prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Why should anybody choose this place of eternal torment for himself?
Choose eternal comfort, not eternal torment, by giving your life to Jesus today. Accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. You must be born again (John 3:3).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and was raised on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, cause those who are yet to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour to make the decision today so that they will enjoy eternal comfort after death and not suffer eternal torment. Whatever is preventing them from receiving Jesus into their hearts, they are delivered from it in Jesus’ name. Eternal comfort is my portion, not eternal torment.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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