Summary: I can wager all my GOOD WORKS against the WORK OF CHRIST on the Cross. Even when my chips are down I can throw the DICE OF DEATH on the chance that I will win.
Part 5 - Genesis 18:16-33 - THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!
A person recently said to me as they were dying that the Bible was just a series of myths and stories, and if I want to, I can choose to live my life assuming that it is. I can choose to treat heaven like a GAME OF CHANCE and the Bible as something less than a sure thing. I can wager all my GOOD WORKS against the WORK OF CHRIST on the Cross. Even when my chips are down I can throw the DICE OF DEATH on the chance that I will win.
Or perhaps it's the Roulette Wheel. As the marble dances on the roulette wheel, I am saying in effect "I have not sinned to any great extent. Why should I repent and accept the work of Jesus Christ as He paid the penalty for my sin by dying on the Cross." I can place all I have on the highest number of GOOD WORKS that I can, but as the wheel spins I will inevitably LOSE EVERYTHING - my life and any chance of eternity with God. The only sure thing is that I will lose.
In John 14:5-7 (NLT) Jesus gives me the winning tip that I need if I am to STAKE MY LIFE on winning the incredible dividends of going to heaven. Jesus said this. "... I am the way, the truth, and the life. NO ONE CAN COME TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME."
WANT ANOTHER TIP? Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it this way. It says "For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favour) that you are saved (delivered from judgment) through (your) faith (in Christ and what He did on the Cross, paying the price for your sins). And this (deliverance from being judged) is not of yourselves (It is not of your own doing, or your own good works), but it is the gift of God; Not because of works (no matter how good you may be), lest any man should boast. (Heaven is not the result of what anyone can possibly DO, so no one can pride themselves on how good they are or take the credit of getting into heaven on the basis of their good works. It is entirely dependent on faith in the work of Christ.)
The stakes are as high as they can get.
And a similar game is taking place in Genesis 18:20 (NLT) It says "So the Lord told Abraham, "I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know."
Isn't God omniscient? (all knowing). Why does He have to check things out first? It seems to me that when God appears to Abraham in the FORM OF A MAN (a Theophany) then He also uses HUMAN WAYS to communicate His plans. He shows to Abraham that He is not about to ACT OUT OF IGNORANCE. He doesn't act on HEARSAY. This is not a game of chance. He EXAMINES THE FACTS PERSONALLY and ACTS JUSTLY (He is totally and absolutely fair in His decisions).
God's grace and love have given the people of Sodom every opportunity to repent. They have even had the example and leadership of Lot in their midst. Now their evil has reached the point of no return and judgment is imminent. An outcry for justice, perhaps from those who were oppressed in Sodom, has risen to God and the only appropriate response is about to take place.
But did you catch the contrast. God comes personally to EXAMINE ABRAHAM'S RESPONSE to Him and finds BELIEF, evidenced by his SACRIFICE, HUMILITY, SERVICE AND WORSHIP and He declares Abraham RIGHTEOUS (Genesis 15:6). THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!
God then comes personally to EXAMINE THE RESPONSE of the people of SODOM and finds total UNBELIEF evidenced by their wickedness, violence, perversion, the outcry of those oppressed and He DECLARES JUDGMENT upon them. YOU LOSE! GAME OVER!
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 speaks about a time yet to come "...when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power."
God bless you Church as you stake your life, not on chance, but on the assurance of the truth of God's Word (a sure thing) and on your response to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
Acts 4:12 (NLT) says "There is salvation in NO ONE ELSE! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved."