Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Difficult Doctrine of Hell

Today we begin delving into the difficult doctrine of Hell.  Jesus states why it was originally created: for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).  Today we are going to look at the fairness of hell as it pertains to the destiny of those who die without Christ.  Now when we speak of the "fairness of hell", we are referring to the Justice of God.  We must also hasten to add that in speaking of hell's fairness, we do not take away from the sorrow and horror of hell, nor do we grieve any less over those who die without Christ.

          In Luke 16 we see the clearest explanation on the place where unbeliever's go who die without Christ.  Despite what some may teach, Luke 16:19-31 is a literal account of an actual event that Jesus is using to teach on hell. 

WHY DO UNBELIEVERS WHO DIE GO TO HELL IF HELL WAS MADE FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS?              Those who are born into this world are under the dominion and authority of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 3:10).  Jesus referred to the Pharisees as having as their father "satan" in John 8:44.  When we explore Genesis 3:15, we discover the term "seed" as referring to that portion of humanity who refuse to believe on the "Seed" of Eve - Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 2:1-3 also reminds us that all human beings are "children of wrath" and "children of disobedience".  Thus the destiny of unbelievers who die without Christ is the same as satan because they are alligned in their mindset and their wills with his program.  Their hatred of God, their disregard for the law of God all reveal the nature of their heart (please compare Romans 3:13-23).

WHY HELL IS FAIR          When we look at Luke 16, we can note the attitudes and words of this rich man who went to hell:
1. There is no repentance in hell.  (Luke 16:24)           If this rich man would had been crying out to God, acknowledging His wrongdoing and betrayal of God's Holy character, then we could say hell is unfair.  However when you look at what the rich man is saying here, he is more concerned with his own comfort than anything else.  Whatever characterized him in his time on earth will be magnified in hell.  The reality of the flames and pain of torment also show us that Hell is a real place.
2. There is remembrance in hell. (Luke 16:27-28)        This rich man was very conscious of the fact that his brothers were still alive on earth.  Again, despite the fact he wants them to be warned of avoiding his fate, the message is not centered on repentance, or getting right with God through the shed blood. 

3. There is no regard for the authority of God's word (Luke 16:30)           The rich man viewed his opinion as carrying more weight than the law of God.  He thought that by sending Lazarus back from the dead, perhaps the brothers would repent.  True self righteousness will attempt to do God's will apart from the cross and apart from the word.  People in hell will never acknowledge nor agree with the verdict of God's word in the realm of salvation.  They will still insist on their way.  This rich man still wanted Lazarus to do his bidding.  The last thing he would ever acknowledge is the uniqueness of God's word to warn and convict sinners. 

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