“And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments. . .”

Luke 16:23a

     Even now, his mournful wails can be heard.

     “Too little, too late.”

     That’s the mantra of hell, for memories are quite vivid in that place of torment (vv.27-28).  But this is no place to suddenly become concerned about lost ones’ spiritual condition—for “there is a great gulf fixed” (v.26) and there can be no three-day pass to go back and warn them.
     We must do it now—for there is no assurance of another opportunity to do so (Prov. 27:1; James 4:13-15).

     But, the rich man didn’t believe that while here on earth.  In fact, such thoughts seldom even enter his mind (Ps. 10:4).  He was too rich and proud of his accomplishments and possessions (v.19).  He was blind to the things of God and deaf to the cries of those around him (vv.20-21).  Such is always the nature of self-centeredness and self-sufficiency.
     Yet, rich men die even as sore-ridden beggars do (vv.22-23).

     The difference is one is “carried by the angels into a ‘Place prepared’” (v.22a; Jn. 14:1-3), while the other suddenly “lifts up his eyes in hell, being in torments.”

    No angelic escorts.  No sounding trumpets and welcome cheers of those who’ve gone before.  Only lonely passage. . .deep darkness. . .and the wails and weeping of those who “lived their lives in riotous living” and never “arose to go to the Father” (Lk. 15:11-20).
     Yes, hell is a horrible place.  A place of torments as one sees what could have been (v.23) and realizes how far he/she is from God and there’s no way to get there (v.26).

     But, such doesn’t have to be the case, dear Pilgrim—not when God has done everything in His power to make a way of escape through Christ (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 10:9-10, 13; Eph. 2:1-9; II Pet. 3:9).
     Although a poor beggar and riddled with sores, Lazarus still trusted the God of Abraham.  Even though the only ones who showed him compassion as he lay at the rich man’s gate were the dogs (v.21), the starving, “desiring to be fed with crumbs from the rich man’s table” beggar still knew the One Whose eye is on the sparrow (Mt. 6:25-30; 10:29-31) was also the One Who was watching over him.
     That’s why “he was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (v.22).  He was already resting there before he died (Eph. 2:4-7).  Although poverty-stricken in life, he was wealthy in death—for he “had a Place prepared” (Jn. 14:1-3).  Hallelujah!!
     And, so can we if we, like Lazarus, have made preparation before the Death Angel thrusts his sickle into our harvest field (life).

     How can we be prepared?  By simply “believing and receiving” (Rom. 10:9-10, 13). . . trusting only in Christ as our means of salvation (Rom. 5:6-11).  Yes, hell is “the Place of eternal regrets.”  And, there’s no need for anyone to go there—not when we’ve been invited to come to the Father “by a new and living Way in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:19-22).


By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated March 13, 2010

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