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The Great Hope (Condensed)

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    “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” This promise is only to those that thirst. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Revelation 21:6, 7. Conditions are specified. To inherit all things, we must overcome sin.GrH_c 16.3

    “It shall not be well with the wicked.” Ecclesiastes 8:13. The sinner is treasuring up unto himself “wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds,” “tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” Romans 2:5, 6, 9.GrH_c 16.4

    “No fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Ephesians 5:5, ARV; Revelation 22:14, 15.GrH_c 16.5

    God has given to men a declaration of His method of dealing with sin. “All the wicked will he destroy.” “The transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” Psalm 145:20; 37:38. The authority of the divine government will put down rebellion, yet retributive justice will be consistent with the character of God as a merciful, benevolent being.GrH_c 16.6

    God does not force the will. He takes no pleasure in slavish obedience. He desires that the creatures of His hands shall love Him because He is worthy of love. He would have them obey Him because they have an intelligent appreciation of His wisdom, justice, and benevolence.GrH_c 16.7

    The principles of the divine government are in harmony with the Saviour's precept, “Love your enemies.” Matthew 5:44. God executes justice on the wicked for the good of the universe and even for the good of those on whom His judgments are visited. He would make them happy if He could. He surrounds them with tokens of His love and follows them with offers of mercy; but they despise His love, make void His law, and reject His mercy. Constantly receiving His gifts, they dishonor the Giver. The Lord bears long with their perversity; but will He chain these rebels to His side, force them to do His will?GrH_c 16.8

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