Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hell for Christians

Just out of curiosity, how many Christians are willing to go to Hell? None? Well, I hope to change your minds by the end of this post.

How many Christians actually want others to go to Hell (like Hitler, Pol Pot, Richard Dawkins, Steven Spielberg, Bill and Hillary Clinton, etc.)? Many of you? Well, I hope to change your minds by the end of this post.

And how many Christians think that Hell is a good thing? Well, a few of you. But I hope to change the rest of your minds by the end of this post.

I'm sure by now you think that I am a heretic. But, please, bear with me, and I will show you from the Bible why I am saying these things. In reverse order.

First off, why is Hell a good thing? Let's think about Hell for a minute: Weeping and gnashing of teeth in a place of outer darkness, where the worm doesn't die, and the fire isn't quenched, and the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever. Hmm...not a fun place to be <---understatement of all time.

So how can anyone in his right mind consider Hell to be a good thing??? That's a question atheists ask Christians all the time. What does the Bible say about that?

Well, Jesus plainly declared, in Matthew 25:41, that Hell was created for "the Devil and his angels": it was not meant for humans, but humans will go there, too, if they side with the devil against God. Hell is proof that God is Just and Holy. Being moral agents, created in the image of God Himself, we would be outraged if a pedophile murderer was given a light sentence or even let go altogether. How much more angry should a Just and Holy God be with this man when he stands before Him to answer for his evil deeds?

So why is Hell good? Hell is proof that God is just. That means that criminal activity, though it may go unpunished for a variety of reasons here on earth, will not go altogether unpunished.

Secondly, why should a Christian desire that not even the worst of criminals (or mere political enemies) face the wrath of God, even if it is a good thing for sin to be punished?

I think the scariest verse in the Bible is Matthew 12:36. Therein, Jesus says, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Every idle word.

Do you know what an idle word is? It's a word that comes out of your mouth that you don't even think twice about. I remember when I was in my car with my younger brother and I opened a compartment and was quite surprised at the contents thereof. My brother looked at me in astonishment. "What?" I asked him. "You just cursed," he said. "You said (blank)!" "I did?" I never did hear the word come out of my mouth. How many times have I done that?

If God exacted of me every idle word that I have spoken, I don't think I would be in too much better a place than Hitler, to be perfectly honest. Yes, I know Hitler specifically targeted the Jews for his hatred, but he was a mere murderer of 31 million people. Jesus said, in Matthew 5:21-22, that, if you call someone worthless or a moron/fool/idiot/dummy/etc., you will get the same punishment as a murderer on Judgment Day. Scary? Yes. And if I love my neighbor (which is anyone with whom I have the least bit of contact), then there is no way on earth I wish on them the wrath from which I fled to the Savior fifteen years ago.

Which brings me to my final point: why should any Christians wish that they themselves could go to Hell? Well, for the same reason the Apostle Paul did:

"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:..." (Romans 9:1-3)

So great was Paul's love for his earthly kin, that he had the heart of Jesus, being willing to be accursed from God so that his brethren, the Israelites, might obtain eternal life. How great is your love for your people? For your neighbors? For your coworkers? For your friends? What are you willing to endure that they might receive Christ?

Pray about it, will you?

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