Thursday, September 15, 2016

Is There Really A "Hell"?

Revelation 14

A third angel followed them said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

One of the most difficult aspects of talking about the Christian faith is judgment. This is especially true of the final judgment of believers and unbelievers. Some people would like to soften the message about a final judgment thinking no one should deserve to spend eternity apart from God, what the bible calls "hell". That is why when we say to someone "go to hell", it is really a bad thing to say to someone. It is an eternal judgment on them that only God is qualified to make.

Since the book of Revelation is about the events leading to the end times when Jesus returns, it deals with the final judgment more so than any other book in the bible. Here is how one commentary interprets the above verses,

"The result of sin is unending separation from God. Because human beings are created in God’s image with an inborn thirst for fellowship with him, separation from God will be the ultimate torment and misery. Sin always brings misery, but in this life we can choose to repent and restore our relationship with God. In eternity there will no longer be opportunity for repentance. If in this life we choose to be independent of God, in the next life we will be separated from him forever. Nobody is forced to choose eternal separation from God, and nobody suffers this fate by accident. Jesus invites all of us to open the door of our hearts to him (3:20). If we do this, we will enjoy everlasting fellowship with him." Life Application Bible Notes."

So while being separated from God is a result of rejection of God's love in Jesus, it is never too late to turn from unbelief and come to faith. Since we don't know who will accept or reject God's offer of salvation, we can only have a sense of urgency about us and we seek to reach out and share the Gospel in both word and deed.

A question to ask yourself is, "Do you really care about the eternal destiny of those around you?" Do you live your life in such a way that someone might be attracted to Jesus because of your winsome approach to life? Although we don't save anyone, or are not responsible for anyone else's soul, we do have a responsibility to share the Good News whenever God and the Holy Spirit leads us.

When we get to heaven I think one of the questions will be is, "What did you do with the free gift of the gospel I gave to you? Did you share it with anyone or keep it to yourself?"

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