Some sad words are found in the Bible

By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist

Words are used to convey thoughts. That being said, some words will instantly blossom into feelings of joy and smiling faces, while other words can bring anguish of heart and tears streaming down faces. Words can indeed be powerful. Certainly there are many words and statements found in the Bible that will bring glad tidings among men and hearts bursting with joy. Just as certain is the fact that there are words that are sad words to say the least. In the judgment day scene of Matthew chapter twenty-five, these words are found: “…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).

Among many things Jesus spoke in His sermon on the mount, the following will apply for our thought at this time. He said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23). In both of these cases, statements made by those being told to depart indicate that they thought they had been doing right. They thought they had been living in a way pleasing to God, but obviously they thought wrong. Sad indeed to think of souls being cast into hell for eternity because they thought wrong.

With the first group, there is no mention of anything they were doing that was wrong, only that they failed to that which was right. It is clear that the second group consisted of those who were actively involved, yea, even zealous in serving God, yet failed in doing what God had actually commanded. These may be much like Paul’s fellow Jews of which he wrote, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:2-3). Sad indeed when people out of ignorance fail to serve God, even to the point of attempting to serve God in ways or means outside of those authorized by God.

Following are some words from two prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, which come from the mouths of those who are God’s chosen people and supposed to be following His will. “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16). “As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth…” (Jeremiah 44:16-17).

“And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:12). “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isaiah 30:10). “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jeremiah 5:31). Certainly, such an open, bold and callous rejection of what God has commanded will be recognized as sad indeed. There is no way that anything good can come from such words of rejection. The apostle Paul said that the things written aforetime “were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).

We can look back on these sad words and boldly say, “we shall not use such sad words in this age of man”. However, we can open our eyes and see that multitudes are just as rebellious of God’s word now as they were then. Jesus spoke of those of His time who had hearts waxed gross, ears dull of hearing and eyes they had closed (Matt. 13:15). Paul told Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). That time is certainly here.

People are much more interested in having a church that tells them what they want to hear than one that tells them what they must hear and obey if they are to have eternal life. They are interested in a church that makes them feel good rather than one that will expose their shortcomings. Too many are looking for the church of their choice when the Son of God built the church of His choice to which all those that will be saved are added by the Lord (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47). God has commanded by way of the gospel of Christ that one must do in order to be saved, yet too many argue against doing what God commanded and insist upon one being saved without doing anything at all.

Those who do not do anything toward salvation can be likened to those of the judgment day scene and the slothful wicked one talent servant, condemned not for what they did, but for what they did not do. Words of rejection are sad today, but not nearly so sad as they will be to the one who utters them when the day of judgment comes.

By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

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Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]