•••by Russell Young
In light of current teaching, living a lie is an easy practice. This is a serious and is costly for the uninformed and for those who promote it. John wrote: “If we claim to have fellowship with him [Christ] yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:6, NIV) “Walking in darkness” is failing “to walk in the light.” It is the Holy Spirit who provides light, so walking in the light means walking as led by the Spirit. Think about this! Do you walk seeking, and in obedience to the Spirit’s leadership, or do you give no conscious thought to His call upon your life. It is those who walk in “obedience” to the light who will dwell eternally with their Lord. (Hebrews 5:9)
What about those who don’t follow the Spirit? There is a place for those who love to live a lie… “walk in darkness.” “Blessed are those who wash their robes (“do his commandments” KJV), that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. [the New Jerusalem] Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood [“love to live a lie.”, NLT] .” Rev. 22:14-15, NIV) Those who “love to live a lie” or “walk in darkness,” who are not Spirit-led, will dwell apart from Christ OUTSIDE the walls of the New Jerusalem.
Some have said that such an understanding is not revealed in the Word of God, but a careful study points clearly to this reality.
The revelation of Christ reveals the presence of an outside and an inside of the Royal City. Those inside will have obeyed the Spirit, while those on the outside are the redeemed who, although they have confessed Christ as lord/Lord have not subjected themselves to His rule. They have denied the Spirit and have lived on their own terms… they will have lived in darkness, have loved to live a lie.
In considering this portion of Christ’s revelation, some claim that the outside references hell. However, the Word reveals that “the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it [the New Jerusalem].” (Rev. 21:24) There will neither be kings ruling hell, nor will there be any splendor there.
Perhaps the best way to understand this teaching is to examine those who are to dwell outside the city walls. They are the “dogs,” those “who practice magic arts,” the “sexually immoral”, “murderers”, “idolaters,” and “everyone else who loves and practices falsehood.” The “dogs” are the evil of the house of Israel (Philippians 3:2), the sexually immoral may have committed adultery with their eyes (Matthew 5:28), murderers are those who have hated their brothers (1 John 3:15), the idolaters are the greedy (Colossians 3:5), and those who practice falsehood may be those who walk in darkness (1 John 1:6) after having proclaimed Christ as their lord/Lord.
Will there be a separation of the redeemed according to their walk? The NLT of 2 Thessalonians 1: 8-9 reads: “He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who do not know (appreciate/see) God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.” In Malachi the LORD revealed, “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who don’t.” (Malachi 3:18, NIV) Daniel 12:2 also referenced some who following the Great Tribulation will be resurrected either to eternal life or to shame and contempt: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (NIV) This is the first resurrection and precedes the rule of Christ on the earth…the resurrection of the redeemed.
- The inside will be lighted by God and the Lamb. (Revelation 21:23) Outside it is darkness and a reference in the parables has been made to either the unrighteous invited (Matthew 22:13), to the worthless servant (Matthew 25:30), and some faithless Israelites (Matthew 8:12) who will be thrown “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
- Christ has referred of the necessity of doing God’s commands in order to be invited in. (Matthew 7:21, Revelation 22:14, KJV)
- Paul cautioned his readers not to be deceived because those who sow to please the sinful nature will be destroyed, while those who so to please the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
- The writer of Hebrews has presented that “eternal salvation” comes through “obedience.” (Hebrews 5:9)
- Hypocrites and wicked servants will be assigned a place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:51)
- There is the possibility of “negative rewards” for at least some of the unfaithful redeemed. (2 Peter 2:13-19) “for who blackest darkness has been reserved.” (v. 17)
- “Without holiness no one will see [set eyes upon] the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) Holiness is developed from righteous practices. (Romans 6:19, 22)
- The writer of Hebrews records the pronouncement of God on the Israelites: And to who did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not those who disobeyed. So we can see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18-19)
Are you living a lie? Those who will dwell in the Holy City will have been led by the Holy Spirit into walking in the light. They will have learned to live as Christ did. (1John 2:6) And, they will have been conformed to the likeness of the Son of God. (Romans 8:29). “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish.” (John 20:27, NIV)