Friday, September 7, 2007

There Is Hell!

It is often said by detractors and non-believers that a loving God would never send people to hell for eternity. They do not say that because of their experience of the loving God, but in my view, because of their lack thereof; perhaps, even more so, because of their indifference to that loving God, and what he reveals readily to all who dwell on planet Earth. The scriptures state,


"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Romans 1:18-20 (NIV)

In this passage, we are informed that we can know what God is like through the things he has made. Not only can we discover those touchy-feely attributes that give us warm fuzzies: God is a gracious provider, a wondrous artist, and a master engineer, but we also discover those scary attributes: God is not like us, he is willing to keep us at arm's length, his anger brings dire consequences. Some may ask, "how can you learn of those scary things just from the creation?" To which I would answer, "look at life."

What about our existence doesn't reveal that God takes exception to the human race? Disease wracks the rich and poor, the just and the unjust, virtually everyone indiscriminantly. God certainly has the power to do life differently, but it is what it is, and it tells us something. Good people, nice people, even godly people drown in floods, are crushed in landslides, or dragged out to sea, or are tossed like ragdolls in the wind. How could anyone think that a God who allows all of that in life would promise anything better after death? For all anyone knows, it could well be worse!

And then there is death itself. Everything dies, not only the living, but stuff too, it's called entropy. We can remain indifferent to God, never pursuing the knowledge of him, or more importantly, a friendship with him. We can remain at arm's length throughout our lives, such as they are, but what do those lives as we live them portend? The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven, but what is it SCREAMING AT US IN BOLD CAPITALS? I hope it's telling you to flee the fullness of that wrath which is yet to come. I hope it's telling you there is a hell (and it needs to be avoided).

1 comment:

  1. AmeriKan said...
    I know a person who was in her 80's before she received the born-again experience, though she spent most of her life a "good Methodist." When faced with the proper gospel challenge and eternity, she knew there had to be a heart decision. Other friends of her's did not come to the same conclusion about their salvation. It truely amazes me how one can live his/her whole life "around Christianity" and never experience salvation. They will live a long life, have a family, work hard, stare hell's eternity in the face and never come to grips with who this Jesus really is.

    I somehow feel (the older I get) everyday is a "working out of my salvation with fear and trembling." Not that I am sin conscious but hell is just as real a place as heaven. We talk a lot about God's love but often fall short on the fear side. It is not a destructive fear but a wholesome and redeeming fear that lead's to God's nearness and blessing, a full life and final salvation.

    Another quote...not sure who gets the credit..."If you have no fear of God, this shows you how far you are from God."

    September 8, 2007 3:03 PM
    Peter said...
    Besides my own, I haven't heard a sermon on hades (hell) or the lake of fire in the past fifteen years. That, in itself, raises the question of whether the church possesses a good understanding of what the "good news" really means.

    Good post.

    September 8, 2007 4:27 PM
    SLW said...
    AmeriKan,
    The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. We start getting smart when we acknowledge, not only that there is a God, but that he gets to do with us whatever he wants (and there's not a thing we can do about it).

    September 9, 2007 12:06 AM
    SLW said...
    Peter,
    You have a point-- do we really understand the good news if we don't know the bad?

    September 9, 2007 12:08 AM
    NaNcY said...
    God is the only One to fear, for there is no one more powerful. For the same reason, i find comfort in Him.

    September 9, 2007 12:32 AM
    SLW said...
    @Nancy
    That is an excellent perspective.

    September 9, 2007 1:31 AM

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