As I often do, I asked the Lord to give me something special from the Bible this morning. A few of these words (burn, burned, burneth, burning, burnings and burnt) appeared 15 times on just two pages of my Bible. If it weren*t a giant print Bible the words would have appeared more times. I estimate they appear approximately 360 times in the Bible. This morning those words made it difficult to concentrate on any of the other words on the two pages. The vast majority of the times those words appear in the Bible have to do with burnt offerings, coverings for sin. The offerings were to be burnt so completely that they became ashes. And then the ashes were put in a special place.
A house can burn to ashes in a few minutes. We can burn toast in a few minutes but it would take quite a while to reduce it to ashes. We can burn a turkey or a roast in a few hours but it would take a long time to reduce it to ashes. It must have taken all day to reduce those Old Testament offerings to ashes. The priests and the Israelites participating in and watching all that burning and smelling all that smoke must have gotten a pretty good idea about how much God hates sin.
All those burnt offerings gave just a small illustration of what will happen in the Lake of Fire. Those burnt offerings also looked forward to the enormous price Jesus paid to take away our sin. God wants us to know that He is concerned about sin. He hates it. We ought to get a picture of how much He hates it by the innumerable number of burnt offerings that were offered and the prophecies about the Lake of Fire. The burnt offerings were just a covering for sin and could not take away sin. The offerings looked forward to the ultimate and complete offering, Jesus* death on the cross.
Romans 6:23a: For the wages of sin is death; . . .
Revelation 21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Mark 9:45: And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
We might be able to imagine a fire that can burn forever but it is hard to imagine a worm that will never die. Those that are cast into the Lake of Fire will never, ever be reduced to ashes. The worms and things that will torment them will never, ever stop. They will never, ever be able to completely pay the wages of their sin. It might feel like you will never completely repay your mortgage but those in the Lake of Fire will never, ever stop paying for their sin.
Because Jesus is God, He was able to accomplish in three days what all the billions of mortal men could never, ever accomplish in all of eternity. He accomplished what the sacrifice of millions of living animals and birds could never, ever accomplish.
Jesus completely paid the wages of sin for all those that receive Him as Savior. Only He can take away our sin.
1 John 3:5: And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.