Suggested further reading: John 5:39-47
The change that will come over the minds of unconverted men
after death is one of the most fearful points in their future condition.
They will see, know and understand a hundred things to which they
were blind while they were alive. They will discover, like Esau, they
have bartered away eternal happiness for a mere `mess of pottage'.
There is no infidelity, scepticism or unbelief after death. Hell is truth
known too late.
The greatest miracles would have no effect on men's hearts
if they will not believe God's Word. The rich man thought
otherwise (vv. 27-28). He argued that the sight of one who came from
another world would surely make them feel their need, though the old
familiar words of Moses and the prophets had been heard in vain.
The reply of Abraham is solemn and instructive (v. 31).
The principle laid down in these words is of deep
importance. The Scriptures contain all that we need to know in order to be
saved, and a messenger from the world beyond the grave could add
nothing to them. It is not more evidence that is wanted in order to make
men repent, but more heart and will to make use of what they
already know. The dead could tell us nothing more than the Bible contains
if they rose from their graves to instruct us. After the first novelty
of their testimony was worn away we should care no more for
their words than the words of any other. This wretched waiting for
something which we have not, and neglect of what we have, is the ruin
of thousands of souls. Faith, simple faith in the Scriptures which
we already possess, is the first thing needful to salvation. The man
who has the Bible and can read it, and yet waits for more evidence
before he becomes a decided Christian, is deceiving himself. Except
he awakens from his delusion, he will die in his sins.
For meditation: Constantly we are told that it is the rediscovery
of the miraculous that will change the apathy of the world into
belief. Abraham's clear words deny it. Men who do not want to
believe can and do explain away every piece of evidence presented to them.