hell, wrath of God, and eternal judgment

When Jesus mentions hell it is not a joke, myth, or suggestion about what life is like on earth. When He speaks about hell His words are not vicious  or bloodthirsty, but chocked with tears. He loves and cares for people too much therefore He takes a lot of time in His teaching to warn us to avoid it.

When Jesus teaches about hell it is often graphic and vivid. He relates to hell as a place of eternal punishment, eternal fire, the fiery furnace, the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place reserved for those who rebel against God. Jesus shares with a story about two men who have very different ends to their lives. From this story there is a lot of insights about hell:

1.  Hell is real (Luke 16:19-23a).

Hell is not a land-of-make-believe for those who are more evil than Mr. Rogers. “Hades” is a real place. So real is hell that Jesus talks about it a lot. Sometimes more than heaven. If God the Son talks about hell, it’s real.

2.  Hell is really not fun (16:23b-24).

I enjoy Billy Joel’s music, but it is ignorant to say that “I would rather party with the sinners than cry with the saints.” Hell is not a party or place that anyone should desire. The rich man in Jesus’ story says “in torment”, “I am in agony in this fire.”

3.  Hell is real eternal separation from God (16:25-26).

It is a wonderful comfort to know that at any moment, place and time God is with us. He is our Immanuel. I could not imagine being in a place without God, but that is how hell is described, “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed…none may cross from there to us.”

4.  Hell is for rejects (16:27-31).

Hell is for those who reject God and His redemptive plans in Christ. It does not matter if you were a good person, paid your taxes on time, live by the Golden Rule or follow most of the10 Commandments. Just one breech of the law is rejection of all of it. There is no rescue for rejects postmortem. You must chose to follow Christ today, in your one lifetime. In the story Jesus shares about the rich man, the man pleads for his family who are still alive that someone would warn them. Yet he does not remember and chose to forget that many had warned him. If he or his family does not listen to the warnings from God’s teachers [i.e.  Moses and the Prophets] they will not listen to a dead man.

A parent’s have concern over their children’s safety therefore they say, “Look both ways before you cross the street,” “Don’t stick your figure in a light socket,” “Do not drink Drain-O.” This is what Jesus is saying when He speaks about hell. Jesus is pointing out the signs of clear and present danger if you continue to ignore God’s plan. He doesn’t use the scare-tactic, but speaks plainly as a parent who care often do when warning their children of matters of life or death.

Love is what motivates Jesus to talk about hell.

Jesus wants you to listen to Him and avoid it. The cross is where His motive of love led, and there He bore the wrath of God for your sin. Gods love is often misunderstood. “God is love,” (1 John 4), but just because God is love doesn’t mean He loves everything or that His love is His chief attribute. He is also holy, gracious, merciful, just and righteous. God does not love sin (Ps.5:4-6), in fact, He hates it.

God would not be loving if He left sin unpunished.

Imagine living in a world where sin, injustice, and lawlessness reigned. Imagine if police officers let thieves and rapists roam the streets free. Imagine if judges and juries let murders and molesters be dismissed without charge from the courtroom. You would not say those law enforcers were just or right. If God did not deal with sin, He would not be a just Judge or good authority.

Hell is a loving necessity.

It is a place where evil is to be locked up. God created hell to deal with evil. He made it to be a final, inescapable prison where all evil, rebellion against God will be confined never to poison men again. Given all the evil in the world today it is a great assurance to know that God notices it and has a plan to do something about it. God does not overlook evil.

Hell seems unloving when you do not have a good understanding of what sin is against God.

God is holy and without sin. Sin cannot go unpunished from a perfect God. God’s holiness and our sin are infinitely great, therefore, the greater the crime, the greater the punishment. Sin is an eternal offense against God therefore it deserves an eternal punishment. Sin against God is treason. If you were to disobey a king in the Middle Ages you were receive the death penalty. Thus it is so with the King of the Universe who seeks to care for His creation (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Hell is real. It is no joke or laughing matter. Since Jesus was serious about its future realities, you must be serious about it today too. Rather than asking God, why He would send anyone to hell, you must ask: How can it be that you have been so merciful to a sinner like me?

Hell, Rob Bell, and reviews of the book Love Wins

There has been much stir over Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. Bell will tell you he does not want to be labeled a universalist [check out Bell’s interview’s with MSNBC and Relevant], however his book seriously and dangerously advances the cause of universalism from a popular and influential level.

Yesterday, I perused Love Wins at a local bookstore because I was unsure I wanted to buy it. To say it simply, Bell promotes an unbiblical picture of a God without wrath and a skewed portray of His love and justice. He gives unclear indication that man needs salvation from God’s wrath now, nor faith in Jesus Christ in this life to have salvation in eternal life. Bell states his beliefs in heaven, hell, judgment, the cross, and salvation, but takes a quasi-philosophical approach rather than biblical approach to Jesus’ teaching on the subjects.

Bell historically likes to ask questions and create discussions, but again leaves you unsatisfied with answers and in this book leaves you with more questions about God, salvation, and His understanding of the authority of God’s Word. I am not one to bash people particularly other pastors, however, as a pastor it is my obligation to protect Christ’s church from potential false teaching that could distract His sheep. Rather than writing another review, I thought I’d pass along some great reviews already circling around from faithful followers of Christ and intricate exegetes of God’s Word.

Great Reviews of Rob Bell’s, Love Wins:

Great article on Hell:

Great Books on Hell:

5 terrifying truths about Christianity

Have you ever had to tell the truth to someone and what you had to tell them was not the greatest of news? Not that they have a boogey hanging from their nose, but a bad behavior that needs changing. You finally muster up the courage to tell them. You share this truth with them because you care, love and help them. Sometimes the truth might scare you out of your pants. Today Jesus is going to tell us the truth on some facts that might make you fear.

Jesus’ talks a lot about eternity. 2/3 of all parables were about heaven and hell issues. At the end of His greatest message ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount, He talked clearly about the reality of heaven and hell. We do not like to think about the reality of hell. Many believe that there is no such thing as hell. They say, “How could a loving God send anybody to hell?” Hell is more of a swear word than a real place in the minds of many. This is not a hell fire and brimstone message, but cutting to the heart of the issue like Jesus did:

1. Not everyone is going to heaven [Matthew 7:13]. You might be able to handle this first fact thinking to yourself, “Well, murders, molesters and rapists definitely deserve to go to hell. I am not like them. At least not AS bad.”

When I was in South Africa I observed gated communities. I would pass by the gate and the guard would nod or wave me in. Everyday was the same. He let everyone in. I suppose that is why homes got broken into so many times!? When it comes to heaven we want a guard gate kind of God. ”If you are sincere; if you are basically good; if you believe in a god…just drive up to Him and he’ll nod, wink and wave you on through.” God does not care only if you are a good boy or girl. He doesn’t grade on a cosmic curve. He just doesn’t let anyone in to His heaven. Heaven and hell are gated communities.

If I were ask you t call your mother you could not use just any number in the phone directory to call her. You got to call mom’s specific number. Likewise we cannot just try any way to God. There is only one way to God that is through Jesus Christ.

2. More people will go to hell than heaven [Matthew 7:14]. There is a truth to the two popular songs by AC/DC Highway to Hell and Rascal Flatts cover of Life is a Highway. Life is a highway that barrels by at a blazing speed and there is a road that leads to hell. The Bible says it is a broad road and well traveled. Like I-65 at rush hour. Many people think that they can make it to heaven on their own. However, self-reliance merges into self-deception, and self-deception dead ends into self-destruction. In another popular song Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel, he says, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.” Hell is no laughing matter. Jesus says it is eternal torment. A place of isolation and darkness, and a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Jesus is the definite article. This takes you back to English Grammar class [the=definite article]. That means He is absolutely the way, the truth and the life, nobody goes to the Father but through Him [John 14:6]. This is exclude 376 million Buddhists living in Asia, 900 million Hindus in India, 1.3 billion Muslims throughout the world, and…

3. Many who think they are Christians aren’t [Matthew 7:15-23]. God doesn’t send people to hell. We volunteer. Our sin condemns us to hell. Keeping God at a distance in this life will continue more of the same in the next. Just because you say, “I’m a Christian because you go to church, FUEL or pray.” Doesn’t mean you are a Christian any more than saying you are nut makes you a Snickers Bar.

You can tell a Christian by the fruit they bear. Apple trees bear apples, grapevines bear grapes, and Christians look like Christ. When people look at your life can they see clearly that you are a Christ follower because you act like it, talk like it, smell like it?

4. You will not get another opportunity after you die. Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Death is an appointment you are not going to be late for. You are going to die! God will look at you life and see if you received His Son. He will either say, “Well done. Welcome. Paid for by the blood of the cross” [Matthew 25:21-23] Or “I don’t know you. Where you come from?” [Luke 13:25] There is no second chance on the other side of this life, thus…

5. This could be your last chance. What you do on this side of the grace will affect where you spend eternity. If you are a procrastinator by nature this is not something you want to put off until later. Commit to Christ before it is too late. You do not know the date when you will stand before God’s gate!

Will you come to Christ today? Will you commit to live for Him? Will you prove it through your life?

real questions: hell yeah?

Ned Anzers: Why would a God of love send anyone to Hell?

We live in a world in which anything and everything offends somebody. Many are labeled, censored or sued because they are racist, sexist, or intolerant. Especially, Christians are labeled as biased bigots. I wonder what people today would think about Jesus’ words on “hell”?

Hell today is not seen as much as a real place as it is a fill-word like: “Hell yeah,” “Get the hell out of here,” or “Go to hell.” I do not think we would say such a thing if we really knew what hell was. When Jesus mentions hell it is not a joke. His words are not judgmental or bloodthirsty, but chocked with tears. He loves and cares for people so much that He takes a lot of time in His teaching to warn us to avoid it.

When Jesus speaks about hell it is often graphic and vivid. He relates to hell as a place of eternal punishment, eternal fire, the fiery furnace, the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place reserved for those who rebel against God. As we come to the Bible, Jesus shares with us a story about two men who have very different ends to their lives. From this story we gain a lot of insight about hell:

1.  Hell is a real place (Luke 16:19-23a).

Hell is not a land-of-make-believe for those who are more evil than Mr. Rogers. “Hades” is a real place. So real is hell that Jesus talks about it a lot.

2.  Hell is not a fun place (16:23b-24).

Hell is not a party or place that anyone should desire to go. The rich man in Jesus’ story says “in torment”, “I am in agony in this fire.” I love Billy Joel’s music, but it is ignorant to say that “I would rather party with the sinners than cry with the saints.”

3.  Hell is eternal separation from God (16:25-26).

It is a wonderful comfort to know that at any moment, place and time God is with us. He is our Immanuel. I could not imagine being in a place without God, but that is how hell is described, “between us and you a great chasm has been fixed…none may cross from there to us.”

4.  Hell is for those who reject God (16:27-31).

The rich man pleads for his family who are still alive that someone would warn them. Yet he does not remember, and chose to forget, that many had warned him. If he or his family does not listen to the warnings from God’s teachers, like Moses and the Prophets, they will not listen to a dead man.

A parent’s greatest fear is that their children would get hurt. That is why they say, “look both ways before you cross the street,” “don’t stick your figure in a light socket,” “Do not drink Drain-O.” This is what Jesus is saying when He speaks about hell. Jesus is pointing out the road signs of clear and present danger. He doesn’t use the scare-tactic, but speaks plainly as parents who care often do when warning their children of matters of life or death.

Love is what motivates Jesus to talk about hell.

Jesus wants us to listen to Him and avoid it. We often misunderstand Gods love. We all know verse that say, “God is love.” (1 John 4) But just because God is love doesn’t mean He loves everything. What is something God doesn’t love? (sin: pride, injustice, murder, lying, etc) God hates sin (Ps.5:4-6).

Hell is a loving necessity.

It is a place where evil is to be locked up. God created hell to deal with evil. He made it to be a final, inescapable prison where all evil, rebellion against God will be confined never to poison men again. Given all the evil in the world today it is a great assurance to know that God notices it and has a plan to do something about it. God does not over look evil.

Hell seems unreasonable when we do not have a good understanding of what sin is against God.

God is holy, and without sin. Sin cannot go unpunished from a perfect God. God’s holiness and our sin are infinitely great, therefore, the greater the crime, the greater the punishment. Sin is an eternal offense against God therefore it deserves an eternal punishment. Sin against God is treason. If you were to disobey a king in the Middle Ages you were receive the death penalty. Thus it is so with the King of the Universe who seeks to care for His creation (Rom.3:23; 6:23).

Rather than asking why God would send anyone to hell, we must ask: How can you allow anyone to go to heaven?