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August 24                  Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 17-19

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Ezekiel 18:20


There is nothing in all the Bible more clear than this fact: — All men, women, and children are sinners. Every child of Adam is born in sin and spiritual death (Romans 5:12). And I know that God almighty will punish sin. — He must punish sin! The righteousness, holiness, truth, faithfulness, immutability, and justice of God demand that he punish sin. If sin could go unpunished, the Bible would prove to be a lie and God a myth. The infinitely holy and just God of heaven must demand an infinite satisfaction for sin.



Hell is a real place, a place of eternal, unlimited, unalterable woe for both body and soul, a place where God punishes sin relentlessly. Some who read these lines are, perhaps, running full speed to hell. You have made league with death. You are bent upon eternal damnation. You refuse to bow to Christ. You refuse to trust him. You despise his righteousness, and his substitutionary atonement, and his glorious exaltation. You will not have Christ the Lord. If you die in your rebellion and unbelief, hell will be your eternal portion. God will be perfectly just in sending every rebel to hell. As I think of this fact, it has a profound effect upon my heart and soul.



There are certain emotions which arise in my heart, when I think of sinners suffering forever in hell. When I look upon the torments of the damned, I bow in submission to the will of God (1 Samuel. 3:18; Leviticus 10:3). I know God is just and righteous. No one will be found in hell but those who have well earned it.

A sight of the damned in hell fills my heart with gratitude for the grace of God (Ephesians 2:4-5; Galatians 1:15). I deserve to go to hell. I did everything in my power to secure my place among the damned. But God intervened to save me! Considering the misery of those who are eternally lost, a deep feeling of humility comes upon my soul (2 Samuel 9:8). Who am I that God should have mercy upon me? I am but a brand plucked from the burning.

And a sense of solemn fear takes hold of me, when I think of the multitudes in hell who perished with a false peace. I fear lest, after all, I should come to that awful place of torment. I fear religious deception, the deception of my own heart, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness. I fear missing Christ! Dear Savior, take me, hold me, keep me by your grace! I am sin. I can do nothing but sin. I have no righteousness of my own. I have nothing to bring to commend myself to my God. Precious Christ, you alone are my trust! You alone are my hope!



There are certain facts that grip my soul, as I think of             the torments of the damned. Sin is an infinitely evil thing. Hell itself is not sufficient punishment for sin. The Lord God is infinitely and inflexibly just. He will not pass by sin. Yet, “He delighteth in mercy!” God almighty is willing to save sinners (Ezekiel 33:11). No man would ever go to hell were it not for his own willful unbelief! And I find comfort here; — All of God’s elect have been effectually and fully redeemed from the pit of destruction by the precious blood of Christ (Job 33:24). — “The soul that sinneth, it shall die!” — How sweet it is to look to Christ, and, trusting him, know that when he died, I died in him! — “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).






Don Fortner








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