In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man is suffering the pains of hell while pleading with Abraham to send someone to tell his five brothers about the reality of hell. He was convinced that if his brothers talked to someone sent back from the dead, they would believe.
Abraham responded, “They have the Old Testament prophets, obey them.” This is the message of Abraham through Christ’s message to the world. If you want to know the reality of eternity, then learn well the revealed word of God and obey what you find there. If the rich man’s brothers would not respond to the major message of God in His word, then they would not listen to a messenger, even if he came from the grave.
God is amazingly gracious with His creatures, but they have to choose. If they choose to live life without God, paying no attention to His word, then God will let them do so in this life and then forever live without God in the next life.
God’s primary means of communicating His will and hope for mankind is through His written word. It seems men want any other means to hear from God except a revealed written word. Jesus came to declare God’s will and then inspired His chosen disciples to record His will for all time. Now the only way we will ever know His will is to search it out in His written word.
Second, He reveals the principle that it is not miraculous messengers or signs that will convert a soul. The brothers would be shocked or awestruck by the appearance of such resurrected souls with a message directly from hell, but this would have no life–changing power. They might be so awestruck that they would superficially worship God even more, but they would ultimately fail to yield to His commands.
A follower must believe from the heart—-that is, he must want His word to apply to him. He must want Jesus to be his authority and constant companion in this life. Miracles are only effective in convincing people that God is real, but they do not make a person want Jesus as a permanent part his life.
Abraham in essence told the rich man, “No! This is not how God works with men.” The only way to know the truth that will free the sinner from his sins is through the written word of God. Have you responded to all you know in His word? Will you share these thoughts with someone?
“Forgive me, Lord, for not being satisfied with Your word alone for my guidance in life. Give me Your wisdom to apply all that I learn from Your commands.”
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