Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Repay them, O Lord, according to the works of their hands. Give them hardness of heart, your curse unto them.”
The greatest curse of God on living men is not simply unbelief, but unbelief that thinks it is believing. The priests and elders who conspired to have Jesus slain thought that they were pleasing God, and when the gift of God, the holy Ghost, fell on Jesus’ followers on the day of Pentecost, those elders were thankful they were not among that ecstatic, tongues-talking crowd. They were cursed with the curse of God. They were happy not to be among the blessed. They continued to worship God, to occupy seats of honor among men, and to feel superior to others in every way, especially religiously.
When the holy Ghost fell upon those humble, despised disciples, what the elders and priests in Israel heard was the voices of men and women shouting and “babbling” incoherently. But what they were really hearing, without realizing it, was the voice of God, for he said, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people . . . yet they would not hear” (Isa. 28:11-12). And it was not a meaningless voice that was heard, for it signified that His vengeance was accomplished on the cruel pride of those who rejected His Son. Isaiah prophesied of the day when God would speak, and His vengeance would thereby be revealed: “A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord who renders recompence to His enemies” (66:6).
The voice heard on Pentecost morning was the voice of God, coming through happy men and women who had been washed from their sins and who had been born a second time to become citizens of the kingdom of God. Those who did not receive “the blessing”, the holy Ghost baptism, had been left out and stood condemned to eternal death, and yet many, not knowing what had happened, were glad to have no part in that holy experience.
It is sad when anyone does not believe the truth of the gospel. But when a person is glad that he does not believe it, and feels blessed by God that he does not believe it, that man is bearing God’s greatest curse on his soul.