September 22, Saturday

The Ladder of Divine Ascent in Saint Catherine’s MonasteryMount Sinai[1]

He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18.

In many countries the cultural differences among peoples and nations are tolerated nowadays, and any form of discrimination meets with stiff opposition. Many people think that every form of culture should be recognized and respected. One thing is interesting, however: for God these distinctions have no significance whatever. For Him there are only two classes of people: believers and unbelievers. In the Old Testament these two groups are designated as the “righteous” and the “unrighteous”.

Those of the former group are not righteous because they are faultless or have attained their righteousness through pious living. God regards them as such, because they have done what is right in His sight. They have admitted frankly that they are lost sinners and now rest fully on God’s grace and mercy. They have accepted the judgment that God has passed on mankind in the Bible and obeyed His Word. They have done what He demanded: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Unbelievers are “unrighteous”, primarily because they have ignored God and His Word.

This division of people into two classes extends beyond death. Whoever has accepted Christ during his life by faith will be taken to Him when he dies. After death unbelievers will find themselves in the place of torment, hades. And when all who have died are resurrected, there will still be this distinction. The first group will be raised to life, the others for judgment (cf. Philippians 1:23; Luke 16:23; John 5:28.29).

Image: By Florian Prischl – Own work, Public Domain,