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It is surely true that the penalty of sin is death, for we read in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.” Adam was warned of this penalty in Genesis 2:17 which reads, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The very moment that Adam partook of the forbidden fruit he died “spiritually” and he began to die “physically.” Physical death had its origin with him, as we see in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

But is death the only penalty for sin?  Hebrews 9:27 reveals to us another penalty, for it says, “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” I recall a conversation I had with an elderly man in a nursing home and when I asked him if he knew where he would spend eternity he replied, “Young man there is nothing after death. I will die soon and they will place me six feet under and that will be the end of it.”  I quoted the verse above to him, hoping that he would listen to the Word of God and realize that THERE IS SOMETHING AFTER DEATH, and that something is JUDGMENT.  But he turned a deaf ear to the Word and sadness filled my heart as I left this dear soul who was, perhaps, on the very brink of eternity. This was many years ago and I can assure you he now knows that death does NOT end it all, and that every unsaved soul will indeed stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to be judged.

We read of this solemn judgment in Revelation 20:11-15. It says, “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hades delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged according to their works. And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” This judgment takes place at the end of time when every soul who died without Christ as their savior will stand before Him. The “book of life” will reveal that their names are not in it and because they lack eternal life, which fits one for heaven, they will be separated from God forever in the lake of fire.  Other “books” will also be opened, which no doubt contain a record of every thought, word, or deed of each person standing before the Great White Throne. What is recorded will determine the degree of punishment in the lake of fire; for, the more one sinned, the greater will be the punishment. I have often likened it unto a prison where you have criminals of all kinds. They are all in prison because they broke the law, but their punishment in prison will vary according to their crimes. All who die without faith in Christ will be sent to God’s eternal prison, the lake of fire. But their punishment in the lake of fire will vary according to their sins.

The man or woman who has no love for Christ would like to believe that “death ends it all,” but we have seen that death is the portal to eternity and if one is unsaved, eternal punishment will be their portion. We would appeal to any that may be unsaved to consider this and to flee from the wrath to come by fleeing to the cross of Calvary where the Lord Jesus took your place in death and judgment. In 1 Peter 3:18 we read, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” We have seen that sin has a two-fold penalty: death and judgment.  In love for the sinner Christ was willing to stand in our place and suffer that two-fold penalty for sin. For three hours, God’s wrath, in all its fury, fell upon Him. After exhausting God’s wrath, John 19:30 tells us that He cried out in victory, “It is finished.” The JUDGMENT upon sin had been accomplished! Yet there was one more penalty for sin to endure, and thus the same verse tells us that “…He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.” DEATH too had taken place!  Dear friend, in love for you Christ took the death and judgment you deserved and He waits for you to turn to Him in simple faith and be saved. Acts 16:31 tells us, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…”  We would plead with you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ before it’s forever too late.  (132.5)  (DO)