Salvation

The Beauty of Hell

Hell 3We fear it. We hear horror stories about it. Hell is the place nobody wants to go to. Can such a scary place really exist? It is popular today to question how a loving God could ever send somebody to a place of torment… especially forever. Critics say that religious leaders use the concept of hell to scare people so they can control them and their wallets. Others question if Hell is real, is it really forever? Others believe Hell is a place where the last ounce of energy to resist God is expended and people finally succumb to God’s love…which never fails; this is called “Hopeful Inclusivism”. Some say hell is a place of annihilation (the end of existence). Articles like “Why Hell Is Not in the Bible” helps us understand why some scholars don’t believe in a literal eternal hell. Explaining all the different doctrines about hell can leave one lost in a theological abyss. Explaining it Biblically is much easier. Regardless of its duration or dimensions, it is not a place any sane person wants to go to.

The scholars who believe in a traditional hell, believe our good God determines the fate of all those who have never heard the Gospel, by their conscience and the knowledge they do have? He decides what to do with aborted babies and children before the age of accountability by His foreknowledge (or Middle Knowledge; a Molinist View) by how they would have lived (see Romans 2:14-16, 26-27).

It is interesting to note that the same Greek word used for eternal or everlasting life is used to describe eternal or everlasting fire or damnation. I guess if we are questioning if damnation is forever we may need to rethink if our salvation is forever as well. In any event, we sometimes forget that the Good News Jesus told us to proclaim to the world is good news because the bad news is so bad. Jesus came to save us from Gehenna; the smoldering “garbage dump” of His day. Many believe this represents the spiritual garbage heap in the afterlife.

Some say that God allowed humans to kill Jesus on the cross was for the purpose of revealing how bad the depravity and cruelty of sinful man is. Others see it as God’s way of describing how terrible hell must be must be by how much Jesus was willing to endure to save us from it. This innocent God-man suffered so much because He wanted to save us from something so terrible and so horrific, it is beyond words. Perhaps that’s why Jesus warned us so much about a place called hell.

This is where the critics of Hell are met with a dilemma. You see, the greatest human who ever lived (Jesus), talked more about Hell and judgment than anyone else. The plain reading of these texts, are inescapably clear; this is a place you don’t want to go to. Listen to a few things He said…

And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:29

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Matthew 25:41

So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades. Luke 16:22-23

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  when He comes, in that Day. 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10

Some say these Scriptures metaphorically refer to the consequences of sin in this life. Yet it makes one wonder, why does some concept of Hell exist in almost every culture on earth? It maybe because we humans somehow instinctively expect there must be some accounting, some reckoning for acts of evil if there truly is a just God-afterlife. There must be a heavenly Judge Who cannot be bribed or manipulated, Who will bring righteous judgment to all the evils in the world.

So what is so beautiful about Hell? Have the scholars who believe in a traditional hell found any meaningful reasons why a loving God would allow for a place like this? Here are three possible things to consider.

1 – Could Hell Reveal How Loving, Wise and Merciful God Is?Hell 2

I know that may sound strange; but think about it for a moment. If God truly gave us a free-will to choose to love and serve Him or reject Him, there also would have to be a real place to go for those who would refuse Him. It would be cruel and merciless to force someone into heaven if they didn’t want to be there. One thing is for sure…God will not put anyone in a “headlock” and force them into heaven. If they didn’t love God, love His people, love His ways or love intimate communion with the Creator, why should they be forced to live in heaven? It would also be unfair to the multitudes who wanted to be with God. Why should they be subjected to an “eternity with angry house guests” who are hostile to God and His ways; that wouldn’t be paradise to them either? That’s how we can be in heaven and be cool with people in hell; even our loved ones. When you realize that they are rejecting the Creator and Author of life, separation from them is not only required but welcomed (see Luke 14:26). Jesus said, compared to our love for Him our affection for others would look like hate.

I know before I became a believer, hanging around Christians, Bible reading, a worship service, a prayer meeting or mission work would be hell for me. I wanted to be as far away as possible from God’s light and His life. As a former law-breaker I always avoided the cops. As a sinner, I did the same thing with God. However now that I’ve been born again those things are like air in my lungs…the very things that gives me joy and purpose for living. I can’t get enough of His glorious presence.

The loving thing for God to do for those who love God and those who don’t is to make a place for each of them. Our time here on earth, provides us with a complete vetting process and clarifies our choice before a just God.

2 – Could The Fact that a Place Without God is so Terrible Mean that God’s Presence is so Awesome?

HellSome may ask; “Why does Hell have to be such an awful place?” First of all we need to realize that wherever God’s presence is absent, there you will find Hell! The heroin addict, the pimp, the prostitute, the gangster, the corrupt businessman, the hate-filled terrorist, the cold–hearted homemaker all experience this emptiness whether they will admit it or not. People often overlook the fact that God is the Author of life, liberty, glorious light, health, wonder, beauty, boundless love, mercy, acceptance, unending joy, unspeakable peace and goodness. If you don’t want to be around Almighty God, you’ll be separating yourself from these attributes and benefits as well. Heaven is a person…Jesus Christ is His name.

Some church fathers believe separation from God is a sin-induced illusion because no one can get away from God’s presence. David said if he made his bed in the depths of hell God was there (Psalm 138), and Revelations 14 states the damned are tormented in the presence of God. The love of God can bring you great pleasure or great suffering if you are insistent in rejecting Him.

But why would God make it a place of gruesome fire? Scholars differ as to the reasons. As we said before, it may not be any of God’s doing. It may simply be just an unavoidable by-product of God’s absence and so many godless people in one place. However some scholars believe the fires of Hell could actually be a result of God’s mercy at work. The very flames themselves could be God’s way of crippling or restraining the ability of the stronger and more-wicked rebels from inflicting greater torment on others.

For example, if you were put in jail for DUI you would probably appreciate the insane ax-murderer in the cell with you being securely handcuffed to the opposite wall so they wouldn’t be able to hurt you. The flames of Hell and the Lake of Fire may be there to keep them from tormenting each other. Some believe that those in Hell will suffer proportionally to the level of sin and rebellion they lived on earth. Likewise those in heaven will be rewarded according to their works on earth. Jesus indicated these differences when He said, it would be more tolerable in the day of judgment for those in Sodom and Gomorrah than those cities in Israel who rejected the Gospel. The more knowledge one has the greater the condemnation.

3 – Could Hell be a Place You Have to Actually Fight to Get Into?

BattleThat’s right. Nobody gets into Hell unless they want to be there. You have to battle your way into this place. You have to fight past every obstacle God puts in your path. You have to fight to ignore the hundreds if not thousands of signs and indicators from creation revealing the goodness and glory of God (Romans 1). You have fight to ignore Christians witnessing to you. You have to refuse the Good News coming from the ministers on TV, radio, newspapers, your friends, relatives and the guy at work. You have to ignore scenes in movies that depict God’s invitation to be saved. You have to ignore this article. You have to fight the voice of your conscience. You have to fight the still small voice of the Holy Spirit convicting you of refusing the God Who created you. Yes, you have to fight and resist with every ounce of energy you have until your last breath to get into Hell.

C. S. Lewis suggested that there is a way for people in hell to leave but they inevitably always end up choosing to stay there because separation from God is worth more to them than the suffering it causes. In any event, regardless how you define Hell, it was never intended for mankind; it was prepared for the devil and his crew (Matthew 25). If you don’t want to go to a place like that, ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and save you from your sins and their consequences… surrender all you are to Him…Let Him be your Lord. You will truly see why the Good News is so good!

When Isaac Watts read Psalm 98 about shouting joyfully before the Lord, because the LORD was coming to judge the earth with righteousness. It moved him to write, “Joy to the World”. Truly the day is coming when God will bring the justice the earth has cried for from the beginning.

See also; The Beauty of Doubt and The Beauty of Failure

The 4 Things God Doesn’t Know

You may have heard of this before but let me encourage you to play along. It may seem odd to suggest that Almighty God might not know something.  How can the God who knows when a sparrow falls to the ground anywhere in the world or and who has numbered every hair on every human’s head not know something? 

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper cPic9oin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:29, 30

God even records every day of our life before we were born.

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:16

Many of us are aware the Bible states that God is Omniscient (all knowing), Omnipotent (all powerful), and Omnipresent (every where all the time). He is the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end.

For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done. Isaiah 46:9, 10 

Even some leading Astrophysicists, Molecular Biologists and Scientists involved in Quantum Mechanics, have acknowledged that some super-intelligence or master engineer had to have overseen the events of Creation or the Big Bang to bring the universe to where it is today. Why do they believe this? Because scientists now know that just to create one simple cell requires the simultaneous existence of dozens of proteins and amino acids. In other words, these components had to show up on the scene at the same time. Furthermore, there needed to be even smaller molecular machines transporting the DNA information throughout the organism. 

For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:18

This irreducible complexity doesn’t even factor in the massive amounts of sub atomic particles like atoms, consisting of protons and electrons, which are made of smaller things called “quarks”, which have recently been discovered to consist of even smaller things called “preons”,… all of these things have to be properly aligned and precisely balanced for life to exist. Scientists have also observed all these components are being held together by some invisible, vibrating energy or power.

 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, Hebrews 1:1-3

If the testimony of Scripture is that God holds our lives and every atom of our universe together, how is it possible for us to state that God doesn’t know four things? Just what are these four things?

Number 1 – The First Thing God Doesn’t Know, is a Sin He Doesn’t Hate!

These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19

Why does God hate sin so much? Because He sees it for what it really is. He knows the eternal consequences of sin like no one else. He understands it in its entirety. To sin means to miss the mark, to fall short of the glory and holiness of God. Furthermore when we miss the life and the glory of God, we hit something else that is not God.

Whatever is not part of God, will ultimately die because God is the source of life. We are like a battery that will eventually go dead without a connection to the eternal life in God. In fact, our life has just enough battery life to allow us to decide whether or not we want to be plugged back into the source of life. That’s what our free-will is all about.

Since God is the source and author of all love, all life, peace, joy, happiness, health and fulfillment, He hates it when we miss Him and hit the death that comes with sin. God see’s the enormous domino effect it has on the human soul and society. God not only sees the damage caused to the one who has sinned, but the ravaging effects it has on others. There is always collateral damage with sin. Sin is like sticky tar; it gets on everything.

We all know about the horrors of the pride and greed of people like Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Po Pot, Kim Young IL, which we are responsible for killing hundreds of millions of people.

But sin affects every person right where we live.

Right now, there are people in positions of authority that are sinning and their sins are going to affect every one of us reading this.

  • The pharmacist who is lustfully distracted by someone in the office and prescribes the wrong medicine.
  • The drunken airline pilot that crashes his plane killing hundreds.
  • The pornographer that produces programing that objectifies woman and destroys families.
  • The food inspector who accepts a bribe and lets tainted baby food into the marketplace, killing dozens of precious babies.
  • The greedy building contractor, who cuts corners with inferior building materials to make more money, and looks the other way when the bridge or high-rise building collapses killing hundreds.
  • The Bernie Madoffs of the world, whose sin of greed will wipe away hundreds of thousands of retirement accounts.
  • The CEO of a military corporation that foments the drumbeat for war in the press which will kill thousands just to keep his stock price high.
  • The criminal behavior that results in every one of us paying higher taxes for police, judges, lawyers, courtrooms, parole officers and prisons.
  • The subtle compromises we all make that allow Hollywood to fund God-hating movies and television programs year after year.
  • The news media executives that encourages political conflicts for higher ratings and for the profits that come with them.
  • Those of us who are carry bitterness and anger for whatever reason end up damaging and emotionally alienating our children, who will often turn to alcohol or drugs to medicate their emotional and psychological wounds. And the cycle continues, generation after generation.

The tragic consequences of our Godlessness and our immorality, is finally breaking the bank of our government. Every time we choose to live contrary God’s laws, we suffer and so does our nation. The government grows bigger and bigger as it tries to fill the gap created by absent fathers. Washington tries to provide the food stamps, child care, and the medical and housing subsidies, along with the increase spending for the costs of crime, which is always associated with inner city, single parent households.

 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

God doesn’t know a sin He doesn’t hate because it is all deadly to our soul. Sin is like Bologna – it’s all sin, no matter how thin you slice it.  You might not think you have sinned much, but who do you compare yourself too. Mother Teresa who gave her entire life away to God by serving the poor in the slums of Calcutta, India – said she was helplessly lost and in desperate need of Savior. If she needed a Savior after a lifetime of service where do you and I stand? We fool ourselves when we compare ourselves to others we think are worse than we are.

It is all sin and it makes all of us guilty. Remember Rat Poison is 99% food and only 1% poison. A glass of water can have over 10,000 drops of pure water in it, but 1 drop of anthrax in it will kill several men. Would you drink a glass of water with one drop of anthrax in it?

Jesus gets to the heart of how deadly sin really is.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca! shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, You fool! shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22

 You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27

None of us escape the consequences of sin – even the cowardly and unbelieving tops the list of sinners listed at the end of the Bible.

 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21:7, 8

Probably the greatest reason God doesn’t know a sin He doesn’t hate is because it separates us from Him.

 Behold, the Lords hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:1, 2

We forget that God is a being of a whole different order than we are – He is holy, holy, holy! Remember God is the just judge of the entire universe. We place high standards on our earthly judges and demand them to show no favoritism or partiality in their deliberations over any individual who has broken the Law. Multiply that need for a judge to be impartial by a billion, and you have an idea of how awesome and just God truly is.

We should remember that sin isn’t always something we do, it’s something we are. It’s part of our nature. Our soul’s clandestine and clever inclination to live independently of God is proof sin is active in us to some degree.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12 (Also Romans 3:10-12; 23)

Since Scripture says death has passed upon all men because all have sinned, and mankind’s supposed “sinless human nature” has never hit the mark (the glory of God) anywhere, at any time, it seems reasonable to conclude all have been infected by this terminal “mark missing syndrome”. Some say it’s just a weakness or a frailty – but Romans 3 indicates there is an enmity, a willful (even demonic) resistance to God pulsating in us. That would concur with the concept we have the venom from the original snake bite, from our original parents still in us.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5

Sin cannot exist in His presence – He is too holy and powerful. It’s like a piece of paper trying to exist on the surface of the sun. It just can’t happen without protection.

Number 2 – The Second Thing God Doesn’t Know, is a Sinner He Doesn’t Love!

 Come now, and let us reason together, ”Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land. Isaiah 1:18, 19

He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10, 11

 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39

 God Doesn’t Know a Sinner He Doesn’t Love!

 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8

Number 3 – The Third Thing God Doesn’t Know, is a Way to Save Us Except Through Jesus Christ!

 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Think about this for a moment – the Bible says that Jesus dying on the cross for our sins is the wisdom of God. The all-knowing, Almighty God, the God who organizes all those atoms and molecules and cells and DNA and stars and galaxies, with all of His immense intellectual capacity, came to this conclusion. That Jesus’ sacrificial atoning death is the only way to redeem a person from sin and  hell, while leaving their free will intact. Wow!

Jesus dying on the cross for us speaks volumes; no it actually shouts to us, not onlyabout the greatness of God’s love for us but the severity of the horrific separation and damnation that must await all of us sinners. In fact just looking at the brutality of Jesus torturous death on the cross sends shivers through our imagination… what terrible place is He trying to save us from.

How do we know that God doesn’t know another way to save us besides Jesus? Besides the fact we are dealing with the greatest intellect in the universe, the fact that God sends His only begotten son settles it for all eternity – if there was another way God would have found it. If you are a parent can you even imagine who much love you would have to have for another person to sacrifice your own child? This is love of a whole different order.

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Number 4 – The Fourth Thing God Doesn’t Know, is a Better Time Than Right Now to Accept Jesus.

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2

When a drowning man is thrown a life-preserver he grabs it, When a man falling from an airplane is offered a parachute he grabs it. A person bitten by a king cobra is offered anti-venom he takes it.

Every one listening to this message has now heard the Gospel – and is now accountable for what you have heard. You have received your spiritual MRI – you have seen the X-ray of your soul – now is the time to accept the surgery and take the medicine while there is time.

Not one more second is promised to you or me. A car wreck, a freak accident, a stroke, a brain aneurysm could take us at any moment. Make the right decision for yourself and repent of living life independent of God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrifice He made for you today. Bow your knee and make Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life.

You will not only escape the greatest death, but you will discover a new and abundant life full of joy and full of glory. You will discover the real reason you were put on this earth.

To receive Jesus Christ into your life, pray something like this.

Dear God in heaven. I confess that I am a sinner; I have missed Your holy standard in my life. I need You to change me. I repent this day of living my life independent of You and Your Word. I pray to receive Jesus Christ into my life, as my Savior and my Lord. Please forgive me and wash me by the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so I can be a new creation in Christ, and live the way You want me to live. I believe You have heard my pray and I Thank you Lord.  In Jesus name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer anywhere in the world – I pray for you my brother or sister, for the Holy Spirit to fill you – to make you a new person in Christ.  I declare that your sins are forgiven in the name of Jesus. I declare your inner-man is awakened to the Word and to the voice of the Spirit of God.

I challenge you to read your Bible everyday (start with the book of John) and find a Bible believing Church or home group right away, so you can grow in the knowledge of the Lord; where you can be blessed and where you can be a blessing to others, as you learn about the spiritual calling and destiny on your life.

Congratulations the angels in heaven are rejoicing that you are now part of the family of God.

Welcome to the Family of God!