by Mark Calhoun, founder of Disciple Life
“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 8:12
“And when He [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” – John 16:8
WHY I WRITE
I don’t know why I am writing this today. I was sitting here at the computer, and suddenly felt an urge; a nudge from God to do so, I guess! A strange compelling it has been. In fact, I had much to get done this afternoon, and had no intention to write this even three hours ago. But I was strangely interrupted by that small, quiet voice; a compelling from God.
I haven’t written much on this subject in the past, nor have been overly compelled to do so. Perhaps I have avoided doing so because I haven’t really wanted to ‘re-live’ what I am about to share with you. But strangely, as I sat here this afternoon, I have been compelled of God to write.
So I pray my words and the short testimony that follows will be carried along by the Spirit of God to the one who HE intends this for. Someone is on His mind today, someone who needs to read these words! May God use them to awaken that soul to the awful truth about himself as a sinner in the hands of an angry God, and to the truth of the horrible consequences of his being separated from God for all eternity— by being cast into outer darkness. May God use this to save, perhaps, just one!
WHAT GOD HAS COMPELLED ME TO WRITE
When I was truly born-again in 1989–after “thinking” I’d been saved for 16 years–the Holy Spirit overshadowed me with a very deep sense of conviction of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. With the eyes of my heart I was made to see the Lord high and lifted up, His train filling the temple and the beauty of His holiness [righteousness], while simultaneously sensing just how unholy and sinful I was [conviction of sin] against that backdrop of His Holy nature. I was also made to see–with the eyes of my heart–that I deserved to be separated from God for all eternity, and that upon my death I would surely be cast into “outer darkness” [judgment to come]. I have never gotten over what God showed me!
As I fearfully pondered these hard and horrible things, while under deep conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, God Himself made me to see and understand that outer darkness means to be separated from all light and all life–that is, to be separated from God Himself, who is Light and Life. I rightly perceived by God’s grace that the blackness of outer darkness stems from the fact that there is no light in outer darkness–none at all! For all light and all life originate and emanate from God Himself. So, to be cast out of His Presence forever is to be cast into outer darkness–forever!
Such is where all who do not know or live for Jesus Christ are heading! Such are traveling upon ‘the broad way that leads to destruction! Outer darkness is the destruction of all living things! After all, no light means no life!
While under divine conviction it dawned on me that outer darkness–the darkest of dark–must by its nature necessarily exclude all of God’s ‘common graces:” all those things that ALL MEN living upon the earth now enjoy. God made me to understand that there will be no sunlight in outer darkness–and hence, there will be no life in outer darkness. Consequently there will be no green grass, no beautiful trees, no flowers, no beautiful blue sky, no rain, no animal life, no fresh air to breathe–nothing that lives, whatsoever, for without light nothing can live, except for maybe, mold! Outer darkness then means no light! And it necessarily means no life!
Thus I was made to understand the severity of such eternal punishment; that which was actually awaiting me, and that awaits all who do not know our Lord Jesus Christ … or all who profess to know our Lord Jesus Christ but do not obey Him and live self-centered and unholy lives. For such have been deceived into believing they are saved when they are not, for their actions speak louder than their professing words!
Oh, consider the horror of it my friend!
The Spirit of God opened my spiritual eyes and made me to perceive outer darkness, and then made me to understand, to literally feel the awful hard-swallowing truth, that I not only deserved to be cast into outer darkness, but was absolutely assured of going there. I was made to own up to the truth of it all— the truth about myself as a sinner who was unable to stop myself from sinning, and the truth of the consequences that awaited me because of it. I was literally confronted with these things in real-time. I was made to feel the weight of my sin and the consequence of outer darkness that was awaiting me upon my death.
In fact, I was made to feel that I could go to that awful place at any moment, and that only God Himself– as my Judge–could prevent it from happening. It was He, being the only one, who stood between me and it! He held my life in His hands. And He only need say the word and I would be cast into outer darkness! I was hanging by a thread! God held that thread! Outer darkness loomed large before me! I was at His mercy!
There alone with God in His holiness, I could only agree with Him that He would be just in sending me there. I knew it was real! And I knew I deserved it! And I knew it awaited me! Oh, I could only beg Him for mercy, while simultaneously praising Him for the beauty of His holiness and His just nature!
The amazing thing about it was just that! While I was crying out to God for mercy, literally feeling the weight of my sin and the judgment that awaited me for it, I was also taken back, amazed and intrigued with the absolute beauty of God’s holiness! He was pure! I wasn’t! He was holy! I wasn’t! I understood that I could not be allowed in His presence. And so the words of Isaiah 6 flashed across my heart and came alive:
“I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke” (Isaiah 6:1-4).
Like Isaiah, I too could only express from my heart such words as these: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips. And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; FOR MY EYES HAVE SEEN THE KING, THE LORD OF HOSTS” (Isaiah 6:5).
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” ( Romans 1:18-19).
Such were the circumstances, some twenty-one years ago that God chose to bring me to Himself. Such were the circumstances by which I was made willing to bow down before a Holy God and acknowledge Him as Lord; as the Sovereign over all. Such was His method of granting to me repentance (the ability to turn from the practice of my sins). And such were–eventually–His means of bringing me to depend wholly and fully upon Jesus Christ for forgiveness for my sins, and for salvation from the wrath of God which abided on me–and would result in outer darkness!
But I must add here that God’s mercy was not granted right away; not before experiencing the ‘weight’ of my sin, coupled with ongoing glimpses into the reality of the outer darkness which was so real, and so awaiting me. Oh, the terror of it all! The reality of outer darkness, and all that it meant, loomed large before me, as did the reality that at any moment I could be cast into it, and with no way of escape–ever!
No sir! My cries for His mercy were not granted right away! Rather, God allowed me to wallow in it for a season before granting to me His mercy! Three grueling weeks, in fact, before God finally opened my eyes to recognize that He was, in fact, in the process of granting to me real repentance unto life! Oh such relief when I finally was able to turn to Christ and be saved from the power of sin and the consequences awaiting me as a sinner!
To this day, 21 years later, the reality of separation from God eternally weighs heavily upon my heart. Oh, not for myself [though by way of regeneration and my subsequent conversion I came to fully understand what it means when the Scriptures say ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’], but rather for so many who have never been truly awakened by the Holy Spirit to the truth of their need to be born again of God from above. Oh, how often I have contemplated the fate of loved ones, of friends and of many who say they know Christ, but who have never truly been born again, as evidenced by their living for themselves!
ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE SAVED? IF NOT CONSIDER THIS!
My friend, are you sure you are saved? Have you met the Lord? Have you been born of the Spirit of God? Oh, think with me for just a moment, of the horror of it! Think of it again! Let it settle in upon your mind … and then your heart! Outer darkness! No light! No life! None of the common graces we enjoy each day of our lives here on earth. No sunshine! No joy! No laughter! No satisfaction whatsoever! And no escape! Doomed to the blackness of blackness forever and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and …
Yes, forever! Here was the worst thought about outer darkness for me. Here is what the Spirit of God kept pressing heavily upon my heart: that the punishment of being cast into outer darkness would never end! That it is forever, ever, and ever, and ever, and ever and ever, and ….
Oh, such will not be like a horrible nightmare from which we eventually awaken and find ourselves relieved to discover that it was only a dream, but rather it will be a nightmare from which you’ll never awake; a nightmare that will never end! Oh, consider it! An eternity separated from God; and because of that, separated from all life; from all light; from every living thing we are now accustomed to living with and enjoy on earth!
Oh, my friend, realize that God’s common grace is all around us! The rain falls on both the just and the unjust! The sun shines on both the just and the unjust! Both the just and the unjust enjoy the common graces of God in this world. But it won’t be so in the world to come! No! Only the just–those who have become partakers of the divine nature, having been born of God’s Spirit— will enjoy endless life, light and bliss in the ongoing and fully manifested Presence of God.
Oh, my friend, to be separated from God means outer darkness. And such is hell!
A LOVING BUT URGENT PUSH!
I have written this brief testimony at the compelling of God today, to alarm you and to encourage you to look to Jesus Christ alone to save you; to look away from yourself and to God to save you from your sins and from the consequences of your sins, and to save you from your SELF, so that you might enjoy living in the Light and Life of God forever; so that you might escape God’s wrath and the sure reality of outer darkness that awaits all who are outside of Jesus Christ–who have not His life living in them!
“And this is the testimony: that God has given ME eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5)
I plead with you then, friend, whoever you are, look to Him and be saved! Know that the time is short! Your days are waning. The darkness is already here, you just don’t perceive it! So I beg of you, face the truth about yourself with yourself head on, and cry out to God for His mercy.
Look to Jesus Christ as your only way of escape! He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE! He is our Salvation! He is the Light of Life!
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes on the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:35-36)
It is our faith placed entirely in and upon Jesus Christ by which a man can only be saved. Turn to Him and escape the darkness that will go on forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and …
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