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Reviving Hell, Reclaiming Heaven

It is not enough for abortion advocates to have been given some kind of right to snuff out the lives of pre-born humans. They want to silence those who oppose abortion, thus the buffer zones around abortion clinics. They also want everyone in healthcare to facilitate their practice and even participate, which explains the ACLU lawsuit against Roman Catholic hospitals aimed at forcing them to provide abortion services.

It is not enough for activists to re-define marriage to include perversion and give it legitimacy. They want those who oppose it to participate and will sue them if they won’t, hence the $135,000 fine on bakers who declined to bake a cake celebrating the supposed wedding of two partners of the same sex.

What is evident in these cases is that as far as these activists go, “there is no fear of God before their eyes.” They either profess not to believe in God, or more likely think that He just is not looking. Either way, they do not fear Him. The fear of the Lord is based on a sense of accountability to Him. If we are accountable, then there is a penalty for violating what He tells us is right and wrong. The Bible also speaks of a judgment to come where all people will be held responsible for their deeds. The Bible tells us that the penalty of violating His ways is death. What is there beyond death? “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17).

But if God does not exist, there is no reason to fear Him. If we are products of Darwinian evolution with only molecules and time involved, why worry about what is right and wrong, as long as we get along with the popular culture? People with no fear of God are doing just what Jesus said of the materialist who spoke to himself, saying, “Soul, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” With no fear of God, there is no reason to do anything else.

But if God does exist, then there is a lot to be concerned about, not the least of which happens after the judgment. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). Is that really a possibility? Would a God of love really send people to hell? Jesus thought so when He said, “It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” (Matt.18:9b).

When it comes to the fear of God, it has not helped that over the last several decades the American church has spent little time warning people about hell. Instead we have had members of what is called the emergent church telling us that nobody goes there and they will use the Bible to promote their doctrine. Despite the strong Biblical case for the existence of hell and the grave warnings of Jesus and the apostles, modern positive thinking preachers have either ignored the warnings or have discounted the dangers of hell.

Even if people believe in hell, most people do not believe there is much danger of them going there. I remember a survey done decades ago among American Catholics which revealed that only twenty-five percent believed that Adolf Hitler went to hell. Go to almost any funeral in America and you will hear how almost everyone goes to heaven. But would heaven be heaven if an unrepentant Hitler were there? Would it be heaven if those who rant and rave against God in their lascivious movies and parades would be there?

Would heaven be heaven if proud people who display outbursts of anger, destroy
their families with demeaning words, violate their marriage vows, lie, cheat, steal, would be there? Can you imagine a heaven populated with drug addicts who never confessed their sins, with people who continued to hide their infidelity, with politicians who proudly promoted the shedding of innocent blood and never shed a tear over their evil, with business tycoons who colluded with government to gain tax money from average citizens to bolster their bottom lines and never like Zacchaeus returned what they purloined, with porn watchers who hid their sin without the repentance that is not to be repented of?

If so, where would those go who have had their sins covered by the blood of Jesus? Where will the redeemed be if the ungodly and the sinners make it to heaven? What place will there be for the ransomed if heaven is overrun by the wicked? It is rather obvious that those people who now disdain the church of Christ, who shun the assembly of believers, who have no time for God and no desire for godliness, would be very much out of place in a pure and holy heaven. If they have no desire now for a clean heart, why would they want to be pure in eternity? If rebellion describes their nature on earth, how will they embrace submission to the divine will in heaven?

The truth is that “hell hath enlarged herself” (Isa. 5:14a). Jesus said that the way that leads to life is narrow and few find it. In contrast many are on the broad road that leads to destruction. Which leads us to the importance of preaching the gospel including a revival of the doctrine of hell. This is why God is not pleased with the death of wicked. He would rather that all come to repentance. When Jesus began his ministry, it had a two pronged message: “Repent ye and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Without a recognition that sin leads to death there is no sense of the need for repentance. If there is no death and hell to be concerned with, why should one fear God? But Jesus preached repentance. He presupposed man’s sin and need. However, he did not stop there. He preached good news. He had come as the Savior to rescue mankind from death and hell. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19).

How do we approach our task in this day of evil? It is not to ignore either half of the message. Man is sinful and headed for hell. We cannot be faithful without being Biblically honest about it. It is only in that context that the gospel half of the message makes any sense. After we have established the first truth, we can confidently affirm the second with joy. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). In so doing, we reclaim heaven for the righteous and bring glory to God.

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    Mildred Rygle says

    Thank you for these very good writings. I enjoy reading them very much. I pray that Gods healing hand will be with you in the days ahead.

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