Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Biblical Reality Of Hell
Most people don't believe in the Biblical reality of hell which Jesus spoke of . Jesus said he visited hell , the heart of the earth , for three days after his death . Hell is God's everlasting retribution and punishment for those who never trust him ; the abode of the wicked , spiritual death , the fire of God's jealousy , his final judgment and eternal separation from himself of those who never repent of sin . Israel's Gehenna was the earthly prototype of hell . It was the valley of Hinnom , a refuse pit into which Josiah dumped bodies of executed criminals and Jerusalem's filth . Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels .
God created man because he wanted friends who would willingly love and obey him . He foreknew man would acquiesce to the temptation of attaining what he assumed would be unlimited freedom , including the freedom to disobey him . He also knew that only he himself could restore in man God's original spirit of goodness . But how could he do that without contradicting his own nature of holiness and justice ?
If God could have devised a way other than placating his own anger against sin other than paying the penalty for sin himself by allowing himself to be treated cruelly and crucified he would have done it .
His early church in the wilderness , whom he had freed from Pharaoah , succumbed to temptations of worshipping the soul of one of God's most gifted , beautiful , and powerful angels ; angels who were also offered the fantastic freedom to choose whether to obey or disobey their Creator whom they knew loved them . Like Adam , the early church exercised an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God whereupon God sware in his wrath They shall not enter my rest . Why not ? Because God's nature is that of peace and holiness . The sin of rebellion and unbelief precludes peace , holiness and rest .
God declares that he is a jealous God . His jealousy is the good jealousy a good father has for his wife and children . A good and godly father wants good things for his family . He follows Biblical guidelines for chastening his children in order to imbue in them a spirit of wisdom and holiness so they may enjoy life . The Bible says , " For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure ; but he for our own profit , that we might be partakers of his holiness ...yielding the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby ..that those things which cannot be shaken may remain .
God had put the work of his own hands under man's control . But God's greatest adversary had claimed guardianship of God's creation , subjugating legally by choice , man's nature to himself . God did not create man to merely test him for eternal life through the false theory of survival of the fittest . That is not a spiritual battle enabling the betterment of the saved soul . Almost anyone can be trained to fight as a soldier . The Christian fight of faith in a heavenly Father is of necessity much more complex than that . Nearing his crucifixion Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world , else would his servants fight .
Think about the repercussions of sin . Which of them have you enjoyed the most ? Even the average sinful human being does not cultivate friendships with people who lie to them or steal from them or hurt them in some way . God didn't want us to act that way , but he gave us the freedom to act that way if we chose to .
And why did the God of peace and love kill so many of his own creation , as in the flood , and his early church in the wilderness and a conspiring couple in his new testament church ? Even he has his limits . He will not overlook the unforsaken sins of those who continue to rebel against him . He is God . He makes the rules . The rules are good . What is admirable about theft , or lying , or murder or rape ? He didn't create us to do those things . He warned mankind and angels of the consequences of sin . God has revealed to every soul the reality of his existence , but man became vain in the imaginations of his heart and unthankful , and so , God gave mankind over to a reprobate mind .
For most , knowledge that God loves them is not motivation enough to induce them to walk the straight and narrow pathway to heaven by faith in Christ . Jesus used the allegory of hell as a great warning of his wrath toward those who did not believe him . The only people God will allow to live with him eternally are Christians whose faith is subjected to his testing , resulting in a friend without blemish or spot . Two thirds of the angelic kingdom wisely realized that there could be no better life than the one they had been experiencing . Christians can appreciate that too .
God's eternal enjoyment will be life with friends whom he can trust , having tested them ; friends whom he endowed with certain capabilities and responsibilities who through a mustard seed grain of faith proved to be worthy followers of the One they knew created them .