Archives For October 2013

Why would a good and loving God send people to hell?

I think this a great question and worthy to be answered. For many, this is a major hang-up. In fact, many evangelical Christians have turned away from the idea of eternal torment because it doesn’t jive with their idea of who God is.  But the fact is, Jesus spoke on hell much more than he did on Heaven. So somehow there has to be reason.

The apostle John clearly states, “God is love.” The same man penned in the book of Revelation, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

So either the Bible contradicts itself and cannot be considered truth OR there is a reasonable explanation. I vote for the latter. And here are my reasons why:

1) God does not SEND people to hell.

From the very beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis, God has given mankind the ability to choose. And among those choices, whether to love or reject God. God is a relational being and desires us to love him in return. Not because we have to, but because we choose to.

But also from the beginning, mankind has chosen to follow its own wisdom and reasoning instead of the Lord’s directions. This created sin which always results in death. Death is separation from God. It’s our fault. Eternal death is hell. Sin has stained every life born into existence. Death has cast its ugly shadow over every soul.

BUT

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

God wishes for none to die. (2 Peter 3:9) He desires a relationship with us. But that is impossible in our sinful condition. His absolute holiness and purity can’t dwell among sinners. (Psalm 5:4) So God became a man to die the death that we deserved. Jesus took upon himself our punishment so that we may gain his life. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

Jesus created a way back to Heaven. To continue to reject that means we remain in the death that we earned. So when one passes away and goes to eternal punishment, it’s not because God sent him, it’s because that person chose it. God is merely giving him what he wanted.

2) God is love AND just

Justice is as much of his character as love is. Unlike human judges who are swayed in numerous ways, God always judges fairly and accurately. “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” (2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 ESV)

If God simply overlooked sin and allowed all to enter his kingdom, he would no longer be holy. His perfection rests upon his justice. He is loving enough to create an avenue for us to again have a relationship with him and spend eternity in his wondrous presence, but if that option is rejected, he is just and must see our punishment through.

3) Eternal hell is a result from God’s mercy

Yeah, you read that right. A person who has continually rejected God’s salvation would not want to be in Heaven forever. Exodus 33:20 reads, “But he (God) said, ‘You cannot see my face; for no man shall see me, and live.'” As a sinful human being, the most miserable place imaginable would be in the presence of the most holy and glorious God. His glory and utmost perfection would cause unimaginable anguish and suffering to one who was still dead in their sins. So much anguish that the torment he would face in hell apart from God would be a relief.

Even to those who have continually ignored the message preached from the heavens, the Word of God, the mouths of preachers, and actions of saints, God still shows mercy. Don’t be confused. Hell is a place of torment forever and ever, but the alternative would be far worse.

For the person who believes in Christ, he is made a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come. God’s perfection placed upon him. Now he can stand face to face with Jesus Christ because he is now a righteous being. True Christians are sinless in God’s eyes and will “become like him because we will see him as he is.”

So believe in Jesus Christ, friend. You will be granted life, peace, joy, and love. Hell is real and is your choice if you don’t heed the message. Don’t wait. Tomorrow may be too late.

Shoeless Joe Christian

October 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

Julie curled up on the couch with her hot tea, the steam wafting to the heavens just as her prayers used to. Through swollen eyes, she peered at the morning sun. She pictured her family and friends reaching for their hymnals and singing praises to God.

God.

Where was he? The last few months had beaten her down until she was as limp as the throw rug on the living room floor. Preachers and teachers had instructed her for so many years about the faithfulness of God.

“He’s always there for you.”

“He’ll never leave you.”

“Rely on his strength, and you’ll get through anything.”

Hogwash. It was probably so easy for them to preach. But I bet none of them lost a child. I bet none of them were divorced. I bet none of them could barely make their mortgage payments.

No. No more church for her. She’d served her time. And look where she was now.

***

Roman soldiers pounded hobnails through the soles of their sandals for extra grip and stability. On rough terrain or in the heat of battle, their footwear allowed them to stand firm against the enemy.

The shoes of the preparation of peace are worthless without the rest of the armor. But I believe too many Christians are entering spiritual battles barefoot.

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They are saved, know truth, understand Scripture, but then fail in application. They stand in churches telling their testimony, singing praises, and reading the Bible, but when the attacks come, they crumble.

Maybe at one time you were Julie. Maybe you are now. Or you know somebody struggling like her.

This story and blog is not an indictment, but an encouragement. The Bible is very clear that in this world we will have trouble. Satan is a roaring lion ready to pounce on anybody that he can devour. Even though God is loving and faithful, we live in a fallen world that will hit us unexpectedly with tragedy, betrayal, and pain.

And if we wait until the battle has started, it’s much too late to try to don our footwear. Our battle shoes must be worn today so when the winds blow and the storm erupts, we can stand. And when we do, the gospel of peace shines through as people stare. During trials that should collapse us, we find the faith and strength to hold firm. Our trust not shaken. Our foundation still strong. Our hope unmoved.

Our God still strong.

Put on the shoes. If a soldier fought with bare feet, he’d surely lose. We have victory through Jesus Christ who has overcome the world. If you are struggling to believe that, pray for faith. Reach out to other believers for help. Stand up, dust yourself off, and be victorious in Jesus Christ.

And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

So many books, but I never read. I need to exercise, but chances are, that won’t happen. My Bible needs studied every week, but that seems like way too much work in the evenings.

So many reasons.
So many excuses.

No more.

watchingtv

My wife and I realized that way too many hours were spent in front of the flat screen engrossed in mindless stories that were forgotten by the next morning. After the kids go to bed every night, we have a couple of hours for us. By then, we are so exhausted, we usually crumble into the recliner and stare glassy-eyed at the T.V. entertained by crime shows, comedies, and documentaries.

As the God-appointed leader of my home, conviction began leaving me unsettled. Is this how I want my children to be? Is this how God wants me to spend my time? Am I edifying my wife? The answer was a resounding “No.”

So, I wrote a weekly evening schedule. And for two weeks now, we’ve followed it. At times, we’ve been tempted to go back to the way things were, but we know this is the right thing to do. Remember, this is just pertaining to what we do after the kids go to bed.

Sunday-Anything we want
Monday-Anything we want (Sunday and Monday are my days off)
Tuesday-Exercise and then reading
Wednesday-Bible Study and then T.V.
Thursday-Reading
Friday-Exercise and the reading
Saturday-Bible Study and then T.V.

I encourage all families to do something like this if T.V. is a major part of life. Your schedule might be different. It might include projects, crafts, or education. But for me, I needed something written down to actually be committed to follow it. It might be the same for you.

God has given us only a few years to raise our children to who they will be later. He has blessed us with time which he expects to be used well. He’s placed in our possession his very words and has commanded us to know them. I pray this blog encourages you to take a step back and ask, “Am I a good steward of what the Lord has given me?”

If you are, how are you going to continue? If not, what are the steps that you’re going to take to fix that?

What is the will of God for my life?

It’s a common question in Christian circles. Ephesians 5:17 tells us that we are foolish if we don’t know what His will is. I wrestled with it for a long time in high school and Bible school. I’ve heard many ask and many preach about it. When we ask this question we are wondering where we will be in a year, ten years, twenty years. But let me tell you that the Bible says much about the will of God, but it doesn’t refer to the future. Read these passages very carefully.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NASB)

Biblereading

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; (1 Thessalonians 4:3 NASB)

For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1 Peter 2:15)

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 NASB)

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men. (Ephesians 6:5-7 NASB)

God’s will is not for tomorrow. It’s also not a mystery. He has made it clear that his will is for none to perish and those who are saved to become holier day by day. If we are disobedient in what God has us to do today, then he has no reason to reveal tomorrow.

I truly believe obedience today keeps us in his will for the rest of our years. His Spirit will guide step by step as long as we are walking in holiness, obedience, and faith. If you are struggling with what you are to do, stop and focus on the here and now. Stop worrying about tomorrow, for today has enough worries of its own.

Be sanctified, church! Be holy, believers! TODAY!

And tomorrow will happen as God wills.