Sunday, October 14, 2012
Mark 9:43 "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire"
Yesterday we consider three big problems that can arise if we deny the existence of Hell, namely we would have to deny: God’s Justice, God’s Love and the Cross. I’ll admit the difficulty of writing of these particular blogs, since thinking on the subject of eternal punishment causes grief over the destiny of those who die without Christ. With that said, the doctrine of hell and eternal judgment has the positive effect of making the Christian be more greatful for their salvation. It is for that reason that we should warn loved ones and all people alike to escape the wrath of God and be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. In today’s blog we continue on discussing four more big problems that can arise from denying Hell’s reality.
In other words, if we were to deny the reality of hell, what else would we have to deny?
1. To deny hell is to deny the need for missions
What is the primary burden of all missionary work? Be saved from the wrath of God, repent of your sins! In Matthew 3:7 John the Baptist states - "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Or how about 1 Thesslonians 1:10 "and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." (NIV)
The urgency of missions would be lost if we were to wholesale deny the existence of Hell. Look at other movements who have made such a decision. All mainline denominations who have went liberal in their theology - (meaning the denial of the supernatural, the miraculous and unseen aspects of the Christian faith - including the destiny of unbelievers) - are either doing very little or no missionary work. To not do missions is to disobey a fundamental command of the Lord Jesus Christ - the Great Comission of Matthew 28:18-20. To do that would be to deny what makes Christianity Christianity.
2. To deny Hell would be to deny the Bible's inerrancy
Jesus mentions Hell and its reality 17 times. As a biblical doctrine it is mentioned some 95 times. If Hell is not real, and is nothing more than a "state of mind" or "other people" or "me just having a bad day", then we would have to deny the Bible as being without error and without authority. Closely related to inerrancy is the Bible's infallibility - meaning its inability to lead anyone astray. If the Bible is wrong on Hell, and if Hell is not a place, then the Bible is fallible - it is no better than any other religious book. Jesus states in John 10:35 that the scripture cannot be broken - thus infallibility. Proverbs 30:4-5 states that the Bible is pure - free from error. You lose far more than you ever hope to gain if you deny the reality of hell.
3. To Deny Hell would be to Deny the existence of Heaven
Heaven was created at the same time as earth. (Genesis 1:1). When Lucifer rebealled and led 1/3 of the angelic hosts astray, the Bible states that Hell was created originally for the Devil and his angels. (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:3-7). From what we can discern, Lucifer's rebellion took place shortly after the creation week, meaning Hell was made separately. This is a crucial point - since Genesis 1 states seven times that all that God made was "Good".
Lucifer and some of the demonic hosts are roaming to and fro over the face of the earth, aggrevating and tormenting people. (1 Peter 5:8). If Hell did not exist, what would become of the demonic realm and the future judgment of Satan?
The Bible indicates nowhere of Satan nor the demonic realm being restored or repenting. The current place called "Hell" is the holding place for unbelievers and some of the demonic realm who had rebelled. (2 Peter 2:4) Thus without hell and the even worse lake of fire spoken of in the book of Revelation, they would have to go somewhere.
Without a place to demonstrate the justice of God, in an ironic but true sense - the reality of Heaven would have to be denied. Think about it - Habakkuk 1:13 for example tells us that God cannot stand to look upon sin in His sight. Historically when Hell's existence has been denied, Christianity has become more centered on "this world" and less on "the world to come". The Eternal perspective that marks out true biblical Christianity is lost - reducing Christianity to another self-help philosophy to survive this life. The nineteenth century liberalism of Germany is a prime example of this fact.
4. To Deny Hell would be to Deny Human responsibility/free will
If all people, demons and Satan himself are going to be saved no matter what - then in reality our responsibility to repent and believe is nothing more than a mirage. In Rob Bell's book "Love Wins", he states that giving enough time - people will learn to love God, since His love for them will win them over. In attempting to assert the Sovereignty of God, Bells over plays his hand and ends up denying the biblical teaching of human responsibility.
In ways we may not fully comprehend, but nonetheless can know - the Bible asserts the compatibility and dual truths of Sovereignty and Human responsibility. If I deny Sovereignty - I have fallen into the ditch of proclaiming a message devoid of God's grace in the Gospel. If I deny human responsibility - I affirm fatalism, which teaches that man is but a chess piece on God's Chess board.
All who believe on Jesus Christ and go to heaven do so because of God's grace calling them and setting them free to choose Jesus. Whereas all of those who die and go to hell do so because of their freedom to reject. (Compare Acts 13:46-48).