God is sharing with His prophet Amos what He is going to do because His people have chosen to reject His ways by mixing in other gods with their worship of Him along with their mistreatment of other people by stealing from them. God has reached His limit on patience and now He is going to judge the people for their constant rebellion.
A point of no return with God is not something that gets discussed and is not a popular stance but God reveals in His word that there will come a time when people will no longer be able to seek forgiveness of their sins. Religious pluralism which says any way you worship is correct was rampant in Amos day just like it is in our day. According to Robert Bellah’s book “Habits of the Heart” he says that 80% of Americans agree with the statement ‘an individual should arrive at his or her own religious beliefs independent of any church or synagogue.” Although this is popular in our own time it is not what God has said at any time and we must accept the God that is revealed and not a God of our own making.
One of the most important questions we must all answer is “What happens to us when we die?” Universalism is the belief that Jesus died on the cross for all mankind and therefore all people make it into Heaven no matter if they accepted or rejected Him on earth. This is being taught by popular so called Christian authors by twisting the word of God to make it say what they want it to say.
Another question we must ask is, “If everyone goes to Heaven then what about God’s justice?”
We are going to take the next few blogs and talk about “The point of No return” as we look at what God says to those who continue to rebel against Him. We are going to look at what happens to those who reach the point of no return and what the Bible says about their destinies. Hell is not an easy topic and there are many who disagree with what the Bible says about Hell, but we must look at it since eternity is at stake for those who ignore the Bibles teachings about it.
Amos 8:7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Your Sins will no longer be forgiven.
“I will not forget any of their deeds”
This will be such a sad day that the singing will turn into a funeral and joy into mourning. It will be a sad day for sure for those who think they have time to give their lives to God yet find that there is no longer an opportunity to turn to Him. They will be invaded by an army and every one of them will be affected and most of them killed with those who remain left to bury the bodies.
Many people know that God is loving, patient and kind showing mercy to those who do not deserve it but it is because of those attributes of God that many ignore God and just think that everyone will be accepted by Him.
Romans 2:4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
The good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins is some of the most wonderful news sinners can hear knowing that by their own actions they cannot be in a right standing with God.
Jeremiah 31:34 “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
The people looked forward to receiving the forgiveness of God and all of their sacrificial systems were based on the promise of God forgiving their sins. Jesus met every one of the sacrifices that were commanded in the Old Testament so that now we no longer offer sacrifices for our sins but we only give our lives to Him knowing He met perfectly what the law required.
What Amos tells them is the opposite of the good news of Christ which is not what they expected. The Choice has always been repentance or rebellion and God offers complete forgiveness of all your sins but only while you are alive or while your heart is not so hardened toward Him that you can hear His call to you. When you reject Gods offer of salvation you reject the opportunity of the forgiveness of sins which is needed to be in the presence of God. Because they chose not to repent (change their ways) God is now going to hold them accountable for all the sins that they have done. The problem was the people were claiming the promises of God without the conditions of God.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To confess our sins means that we realize we are bankrupt on our own and by our own works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The Bible says if you break one commandment you break them all (James 2:10) but we live in a culture who believes that their good outweigh their bad and that many of the things they are doing are not even sins. Repenting is admitting that we have things in our life that offend God and we are surrendering our lives to Him by obeying what He says. (Luke 9:20)
“The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob” which is Gods way of saying that He is judging people based off His own character or it could mean that it is their pride that keeps them from repenting. Timothy Keller in his book “The Reason for God” says a woman came up to him after a service and told him that a God that judges people is offensive. He asked her why she is not offended by the idea of a forgiving God. Keller goes onto explain that in America we like a forgiving God but in other cultures they like a God of judgement. Which God should we be more offended by; a God that judges or a God that forgives? A forgiving God should offend us more than a judging God because by accepting Jesus Christ a person is relinquished of the punishment they deserve for the wrongs they have done. We think a God that Judges cannot be a God of love but the Reason that God judges is because God loves. When God sees how sin and evil hurt people it is His love that compels Him to judge it correctly and punish it accordingly. People who want to accept Jesus on their own terms in their own way are missing out on the forgiveness He is offering or the punishment they will experience. God does not force people to love Him but offers them a choice to be in a relationship with Him but that relationship can only come by accepting the punishment that Jesus paid on the cross.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
People do not see that they are separated from God because of sin but that is the assignment we have been given as Christ followers is to bring people back into a right relationship with God by explaining what Jesus Christ did on the cross on our behalf. For those who say that Christ already reconciled every person back to God I want to know why would we be given the ministry of reconciliation if everyone is already reconciled.
Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
In order for your sins to be forgiven you have to ask for forgiveness but the Bible uses a word called repentance. It is more than saying you are sorry or that you messed up it means a change of mind leading to a change in actions. We have to remember these were church going Torah believing people. I say that because I am concerned that many church goers are going to be shocked in eternity when they think they will be going to Heaven when in reality they will not have their sins forgiven.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (See Also Ecclesiastes 12:14; Revelation 20:12-15)
The people in Amos day thought they were good with God but they weren’t because they were living for themselves and not for God. Many people in our culture think they are good with God because they do not see their sins as that big of a deal or they do not believe that what they are doing is wrong.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
Christianity is a personal relationship with God and He is the only God to step on the earth for His people and live, suffer and die. He is a God who went to great lengths to reconcile a broken relationship by providing the way through Jesus (John 14:6)
The contrast to what God said to the people of Amos day and what we can have as people that put our faith in trust in God is amazing. Look at these two verses and see the difference that repenting and giving your life to Jesus will do.
Amos 8:7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a]
What is the difference between Amos 8:7 and Romans 8:1? The difference is when we accept what Jesus Christ has done we will stand before God without one sin being brought up from our lives. This is why the prostitutes and the tax collectors found what Jesus was saying as good news because they knew that there was nothing they could do to make up for the evil they had done. In Romans 8 the Apostle Paul is talking about not being condemned even though in Chapter 7 of Romans he talks about the sins he fights within his flesh. We are accepted and not condemned not because of our acts but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. When we accept the free gift of Jesus Christ by repenting to Him by faith we are totally forgiven of all sins.
Psalm 103:10-13 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
There are so many promises in the Bible for those who turn to God for salvation and repent from their sins and unfortunately there are many promises for those who do not. We cannot allow religious pluralism taint our view of God and see what He says about how we receive forgiveness of our sins. We all will face eternity one day and the question of where will we spend eternity is too important to ignore. Do the claims of Jesus Christ sound too good to be true? In a world that says you have to earn your way to Heaven by doing good things it does but the Bible tells us that Jesus died so that our sins will be taken care of.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We become what He was because He became what we were.