Monday, April 10, 2006

Hell

Recently, pastor Bruce has been preaching on the 2nd coming of Christ and the final judgment of sinners that will follow the fulfillment of time and history. While speaking about this, he read an e-mail from a member of our congregation regarding the reality of hell and the impact that this reality has (or should have). I'll summarize what the e-mail said, "If hell is where all unbelievers go and hell is a place of torment and a place of nightmares....and I truly believed that, I would be out pleading with the dying world to repent from their sins and trust in Christ. I can only assume that my lack of fervor in evangelism is based on the fact that I don't truly believe in the reality of Hell."

Now, I don't believe that one should be motivated to salvation for the reason of "fire insurance" but I do believe that a proper understanding of hell is vital to the mature Christian walk. Now, before one can truly understand hell and the fact that it is a reasonable place of punishment for those people whose sins are not forgiven, we must understand the cause or the reason for hell. That is sin.

If sin is seen in its true light, and if it is seen as being primarily an offense against God. Offense against other people, ourselves, and our bodies are real and have consequences, but the ultimate reason that sin is so bad is that God is offended by our sin. Putting it another way, when we sin we sin against and anger God.

The Scriptures are also clear that if

God, being who He is, cannot tolerate anything less than holiness or righteousness. This means that no sin (no sinner) can ever be with God in heaven. Not only can He not tolerate it to be in His presence, but the very act of evil requires a punishment.

Example: If someone kidnaps and kill a child, we would agree that this man or woman needs to be punished for his actions. If this person were never caught, would God be a holy and righteous (or even good) God if he let this person get off scott-free for eternity? So, because of His character, He will make sure that all of those who did evil are punished. But, because He is actually Holy, He will not stop at punishing murderers, He will punish all people who have ever been unjustly angry with anyone at any time because He sees that as murder in the heart. So, punishment for sin is reasonable and fair.

The method that God has determined for punishing these offences is hell. Hell is eternal punishment because God is eternal in every way and because any offence against Him would take an eternity to repay. So the fact that eternal hell is the chosen and necessary form of punishment is also reasonable. It is our sin puts us in a place where we are at odds with God, we end up in hell (John 3:36; Matt 10:28). Hell is decribed as being eternal separation from God in darkness where there will be much "weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Mark 9:43; 2 Peter 2:4; Matt 8:12)

Here's the punch line

I believe that - I believe it because that is what the Bible talks about. Shouldn't that motivate me to go out and plead with those unsaved people, because most people (even the majority of people even who go to church) are not saved? The knowledge of this fate should push us out of the door, or at least out of our comfort zones, to share our faith and plead with those who will inherit this doom.

Let our compassion for others along with the grace of God available to them be the super fuel for our witness.

1 comment:

Rick III said...

Amen brother

We have a little saying in my bible study when witnessing...

"Give 'em Hell!"

Keep up the great work!

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