Oct. 25, 2018

Heaven and Hell

The reality of Heaven and Hell is something even many sincere and committed Christians have trouble “wrapping their heads around”; they, like many unbelievers, ask:

“How can a loving God, a God of mercy and Grace, a God who would make the ultimate Sin Sacrifice of Himself, in order to save ‘all the world’, condemn someone to eternal torment?”

Two thoughts in response to that, three things to consider in contemplating it:

(1) God is indeed, both merciful and full of Grace; He is also the source of all things good, and there is “no shadow of turning” in Him (no hint of changing; see James 1:17). As the modern cliché puts it, accurately: “God is Good, all the time, and all the time, God is Good”. Since Justice is a good thing, God is, also, Just.

(2) Since God is the ultimate definition of what is right and good and Just, indeed the actual source and embodiment of those things, deliberate rebellion and disregard of His definitions and rules for what's right, and what's good, and what's just behavior produce separation from Him. Scripture is full of examples of His merciful warnings about the consequences of such behaviors, and of examples of people heeding them, and of people rejecting His law and His grace and forgiveness. Lifelong rebellion and rejection of God’s laws of Love and saving grace in this world can and has resulted in eternal separation for those choosing to disregard Him and His law. The parable of the rich man-poor man, that Jesus tells in Luke 16:19-31, makes that clear. Jesus rose from the dead to prove who He was and what He was; “…the way and the truth and the life…” (John 14:6); all other ways lead away from God. It is clear that not “all the world” will be saved, because some simply will not listen to the one raised from the dead to warn them, nor the law, nor the prophets.

(3) God does not force himself on anyone; He pursues and even pushes, but does not seize, the lost and unwilling. Failure to exercise our opportunities to repent and seek or accept His help and graceful forgiveness for our willful and conscious selfish, self-centered, and harmful choices is on us, not Him. Everyone who is in Hell is there because of their own choice and choices, not His. (1 Tim. 2:3-6; 2 Peter 3:9)

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And, what does the Lord require of you?

Practice justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Choose Him, walk with Him, and He will lead you to a place of eternal joy, choose otherwise, and well... Hell.

He's already paid the price for our bad choices, but when we pack our stuff to follow and walk humbly with Him, we need to pack prayer, discipline, and self-sacrifice and leave behind our self-serving willfulness that leads to bad choices and try to avoid more along the way; It's sometimes tough, but Heaven's worth it.

God Bless, and remember, when we do make bad choices (and we all do), right up to our last conscious choosing; our Gracious Heavenly Father simply says: “My precious child, please, choose again.”