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Hell is not a popular subject, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the subject. Indeed, I have shied away from it for far too long. Certain cults, to make themselves more acceptable to members and potential converts, deny the existence of hell. In doing so, they put themselves at odds with the very words of Jesus Christ. The theme of several of Jesus’ sermons was the eternal consequences of a sinful, unrepentant life, which is an eternity separated from God, in hell. “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48)
A common objection is ‘how could a loving God send me to hell?’ In turn, I ask you, how could a just God allow you in heaven? God has provided the way into heaven for you and I. Jesus Christ accepted the full wrath of God, on a Roman cross, at a place known as Calvary.
There, nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was crucified to make propitiation (i.e. to satisfy the righteous requirements of God) for us.
The cross was and continues to be the expression of God’s love for us, as well as the epicenter, from whence eternal grace was spilled. God loves us, but hates the sin that dwells in all of us. By the blood of the Passover Lamb, God has freed us from sin, and opened the way for us to be reconciled with Himself.
Like the cross, the empty tomb, from which our Lord rose, is the reference point of our justification. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) St. Paul, playing devil’s advocate, goes on further, saying; “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:7) In the crucifixion we find grace and in the resurrection we find justification. Salvation was completed in these two. They are inseparable.
Yet, it is on us to appropriate this amazing grace and justification by faith, to allow it to infest us and penetrate us. God will not send you to hell, but he will honor your choice. Put your faith in Christ, repent and begin to walk in the Spirit, Who will take up residence in you the moment you believe. “He (God) is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) But be forewarned, God’s patience is quickly running out and the consequences of rejecting the gospel is an eternity in hell.
An aside; scripture indicates that there will be different degrees of punishment in hell. “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.” (Luke 12:47, 48)
I don’t have the skills to preach fire and brimstone or to make hell more palpable for you. But if this is what you need, I point you to Jonathan Edwards’ most famous and much maligned sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. This sermon was not typical of Edwards’ preaching style and I disagree with some of his rhetoric, but this does not detract from the influence of this great sermon.
Before the crash, I was fully aware that my lifestyle was at odds with God’s standards. I knew I deserved to go to hell, but I was hedging my bet that I would live long enough, so that when I was older I would seize God’s grace and repent. This foolish presumption almost cost me an eternity bearing the full wrath of God for my sins. Also, it has come to my attention that the longer a person persists in rejecting the gospel, the harder their heart becomes, making it more likely that they will continue in the sin of unbelief into their old age.
Beyond this, I would attempt to justify myself before God, by pointing the finger at others. God holds us to His standard, which is perfect holiness. So it is futile to try to justify our sins before a holy God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
Indeed, in reality, I was self destructing, under the deception that things of this world can satisfy. In a relentless pursuit of satisfaction, I delved deeper into the drug subculture, exposing my soul to addiction. Sexual immorality was also something in which I sought satisfaction, but always came away unsatisfied. Thoughts of suicide plagued my mind. I hated to be alone, for in the silence, my conscience would speak, so I cranked up the unrighteous, filthy music and tried to silence my conscience.
This did silence my conscience, but God saw it fit to humble me, by allowing me to be broken and live with the temporal consequences of my rebellion. “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:5, 6) Now whether or not God’s hand was directly responsible for this affliction or if He used evil to bring about good, is debatable. All I know is that God is sovereign, and in His sovereignty it pleased Him to show me grace.
In this era of secular humanism and “new” age thought, the sinfulness of mankind has been drowned out by relativism (i.e. the idea that there are no absolutes). For some this makes it necessary to hear the bad news in order to fully enjoy the good news (the gospel). The website; www.needgod.com will help you to look in the mirror and see whether you’re clean or filthy, by God’s standards.
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14, 15)