Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Glory of God in the Reality of Hell that Leads to Heaven

It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Excerpt from “The Glory of God in the Second Coming: The Consummation of God's Grace” – 2011-03-06
At the final judgment God will sovereignly declare His complete and final victory over Satan. The evil one will be sent with his followers to be tormented in eternal hell, separated from God forever. Revelation 20:10: "The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." God’s Word also tells us that those who have rejected the grace of God through Jesus Christ, who have not fully given their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, will be there also for an eternity of pain and torment: 2 Thessalonians 1:9:“These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Hell is one of those subjects that makes people uncomfortable. The reality of hell is not without its controversy. Some people don’t believe in hell. Some say it is only the grave with no consciousness; others see it is a temporary place of correction. The most common argument against hell is that a loving God would never punish people in eternal torment. Yet the Bible clearly tells us there is a hell and that our loving God does send people there. Jesus said: "Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear" (Matthew 13:40-43).

Yes God is loving but He is also holy and just; He must punish sin. The Bible clearly tells us that hell is a real place. Hell is not unconsciousness; it is not temporal. Hell is a place of horrendous suffering, eternal pain, and unbearable torment. Jesus spoke more about hell than he did about heaven; because hell is real and because he is loving Jesus spent a lot of time warning people not to go there. Hell is painful, conscious and eternal. Those without God’s grace through Jesus Christ are destined to go there forever. Brothers and sisters, the real issue here is that there are many around us - family, friends, neighbours - who are headed to hell. They need Jesus. They need God’s grace. May the Lord stir us up to earnestly, lovingly, and boldly warn as many people as we can before it’s too late.

We must warn them by telling them about Jesus because those who have fully surrendered their hearts and lives to him as Lord and Saviour will not to go hell - they will go to heaven. In having received the fullness of God’s grace they will be recognized as being sovereignly chosen, called, regenerated, converted, justified, sanctified and glorified with Jesus. At the judgment those in Christ will know the grace and joy of being blessed by being intimately forever in God’s presence. Heaven will be more beautiful and glorious than we could ever imagine. 1 Corinthians 2:9: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him."