“And He spoke this parable unto certain ones which trusted in themselves that they were righteous…” Luke 18:9
On Christmas day 1946, W.C. Fields, the comedian and actor (and staunch atheist) of the early 40’s, died in his hospital room at the sanitarium in Pasadena, CA from complications due to alcoholism. He died on the very day that he said he despised more than any other day…Christmas day. A friend came to see him one day, and upon entering his room he noticed W.C. reading a bible, and he said to him, “W.C., I’ve never seen you read a bible before; what are you reading it for?” And W.C. replied, “Looking for Loopholes.” Shortly thereafter, W.C. died holding to his atheistic beliefs…and took that long dark leap into eternity.
In many of my teachings at churches, overseas, jails, prisons, and elsewhere; I always try and have a question and answer session at the end of my teaching. Over the years I’ve been amazed at some of the questions I get. And I’ve come to the conclusion that many are trying to live the Christian life as close to the flames of hell as they can without falling in. As one brother so aptly stated: “It might surprise us to know just how many professed Christians search the Bible for justification for what they believe, say, and do—loopholes! Rather than go to God’s inspired word to see what God desires, many in the religious world decide how they want to live and then search for that one verse that, taken out of its proper context, “supports” their belief.”
I saw something on Facebook the other day that I just loved. It said, “Most people don’t really want the Truth. They just want constant reassurance that what they believe is the truth.” Believe me, I see this everywhere I go. People will gravitate towards the slightest thing if it will alleviate their conscience, and excuse what they are doing.
Here’s an example: whenever I teach on the last 10 verses of Romans chapter 7, and I begin to systematically prove that Paul is NOT talking about the Christian experience at all; but rather his experience before becoming a Christian (which is easily established by verse 5), I get the meanest looks, emails, comments, outbursts, etc. Just the other night a man became so enraged during the teaching that he jumped up and ran out. He wanted a biblical excuse to sin and still make it…and I burst his bubble that he trusted in. I wouldn’t give in to his belief for one single minute…I shattered what he trusted in by the Word of God. Someone told me on Wednesday night that he argued about it for a week after I left….trying to convince others I was wrong.
Concerning this section of scripture, here’s a precious gem from the writings of Charles Finney on Romans 7:14-24: “You see the state of those who are encouraged by the seventh chapter of Romans, supposing that to be a Christian’s experience. If they have gone no further than that, they are still under the law. I have been amazed how pertinaciously professors of religion will cling to a legal experience, and justify themselves in it by a reference to this chapter. I am fully convinced that… interpreting [verses 14 to 24] as a Christian experience, has done incalculable evil and has led thousands of souls there to rest and go no further, imagining that they are already as deeply versed in Christian experience as Paul was when he wrote that epistle. And there they have stayed, and hugged their delusion till they have found themselves in the depths of hell.”
People put their trust in many things. Psalm 52:7, Isaiah 47:10, Jeremiah 48:7 all make reference to the different things that men trust in. But the most revealing one can be found in our opening text, which again, says, “And He spoke this parable unto certain ones which trusted in themselves that they were righteous…”. Many people put their trust in that they are a good person, a moral person, a giving person, a compassionate person, etc., etc., etc. Hell is full of poor lost souls who trusted in themselves that they were righteous. They wanted to do it their way…on their terms. They wanted to live as close to the flames of hell as they could without falling in. The problem though with a moth that flies too close to the flame (or a light bulb) is that they play around it for so long that it eventually burns them up. And all these people eventually fell headlong into hell, because they loved their sin and they loved living in it. In truth they were monsters of iniquity who thumbed their noses at God by their living…thinking they could still make it in the end.
And to this mindset God says, “Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee.” Jesus dealt with this issue over and over and over again. Men were constantly coming to Him arguing their position of why they were righteous. And almost all of these men (with the exception of two) were “religious” folk that attended Synagogue every sabbath, and even tithed. They trusted in their religious duties, their birthright, their works, their position of Rabbi, Pharisee, Sadducee, Scribe, etc. And 20 times we find the Lord Jesus calling them “hypocrites.” And we know from Matthew 24:51 where all the hypocrites go.
So if you are reading this today, and you’re “looking for loopholes” to justify your living…all that you’re really doing is strengthening your position against God. In effect, you’re saying that what God said in His Word (the Bible) couldn’t possibly be true. Friend, hell is for people who hate God. And many people show their hate for God by their living. You don’t have to actually say, “I hate God” – your actions (your living) speak much louder than your words ever will. Hell is packed full of professing “Christians” who allowed themselves to be deceived, and who deceived themselves. And the problem with a deceived person is that there is no reasoning with them. Sin has deluded them…they actually think they’re okay. And millions and millions…yea billions, are in hell right now saying, “Why am I here? I don’t understand. It’s not fair.”
It’s more than fair. Romans 1:27 and Hebrews 2:2 says so. What will it take for you to see the truth? It was too late for the rich man in Luke 16 who died and went to hell. He saw the real truth then (see v.24, 27, 28), but it was too late. That was over 2,000 years ago, and he’s still down there in torment with no cold water, no cool breeze, no mercy, no light, no friends, no second chances, and no eternal future. Luke 16 is not a parable…it’s a true story and a true account. Because Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man…” This man’s name was blotted out of the book of life the moment he died in his sins; and in eternity future he will be cast into the lake of fire for all of eternity. That’s why his real name is not even given; because in the book of Psalms it is recorded that when a man goes to the pit, his name is blotted out and no longer remembered. Wow…that’s scary.
4.5 billion people perished in the great flood in Noah’s day. Think of it!! 4.5 BILLION people. Only eight souls made it. And they are all there (the billions that went to hell) because they wanted to have Heaven on their terms. Their minds created a god that didn’t exist. Sin is so ugly, so foul, so grotesque, and vomitous; yet people continue to eat it like candy…and it’s actually sweet to their taste. Their darkened heart tells them it’s sweet…but their consciences are telling them it’s poison. Eventually though their consciences will come into agreement with their hearts…and then it’s all over. They’ve sealed their own fate…they’ll literally drown in their own sin (vomit). And I actually see this same phenomenon among many church folk.
It is my job as a Christian, as a brother, as a minister, and just as a decent human being, to warn men to flee from sin. Because all that is awaiting the ones who live for themselves and unto themselves is the blackness of darkness forever. The Lord told me specifically to “Warn My people of who is really going to make it, and who isn’t…and WHY!!” This is me warning you. Paul said in Acts 20 that he warned men for three years with tears. John Ben Zachariah (John the Baptist) warned men to flee from the wrath to come. Ezekiel warned men for 22 years. And the Lord even told him that very few would listen…but He had Ezekiel do it anyways as a record of witness to be used against them in that day.
So quit looking for loopholes…knowing that those who do, end up eventually putting a “loop” around their own necks and falling down a long dark “hole“. It’s very simple: Jesus, the Father, the Holy Spirit, Paul, John, and Peter all say that those who really love God hate sin, and will do whatever it takes to not do it.
Looking for a way out –
Looking for a way in
Looking for loopholes –
To continue in sin
But God is not mocked –
As you’re soon bound to see
The sin that you’re sowing –
Will be reaped back on thee
This is your warning –
From the great God above
To flee from the wrath –
And run to His love
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot out of my Book.” Ex. 32;33