Posts from the ‘Hell’ Category
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
A SLICE OF INFINITY
September 27, 2012 by Stuart McAllister
Every culture or era has its own way of defining issues that invoke shame and guilt. These are connected, but different. Guilt is a feeling associated with things done or not done. Shame has a much deeper and wider impact. It is, in a sense, a deep embarrassment about who we are. It is an almost visceral contempt for some act or behavior that leaves you feeling disgust, contempt, or humiliation…at yourself.
In 2 Timothy 1:8, the Apostle Paul tells the young Timothy, not to be ashamed of the testimony of Jesus. The apostle understood the pressure against telling others about Jesus, the cultural dynamics that militate against boldness, and the real dangers and threats from militant traditional Jewish audiences or hostile Roman Imperial authorities. The dangers were many, and as we know from the history of the early church, they were real.
One danger, however, that I’m fairly sure they did not face was the pressure to be “nice.” What do I mean? In our time, we have lived through the expansion of the market, the explosion of media influence, and what Philip Rieff of Chicago University calls “the triumph of the therapeutic.” We are immersed in values and visions of the good life, which we inculcate with almost every breath that we breathe. It is a cultural moment where looking good and feeling good are paramount, and anything that threatens, disturbs, or challenges the cultural value-setters is ruled out of court.
I am not suggesting that following these values is a conscious choice for many, but I would propose it is the default setting of most lives in our comfort-driven, convenience-laden moment. Our internal radar system is fixed on the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. We simply “know” that certain things, difficult things, and yes, even some good things, are just too much to ask in our context.
For instance, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel…” Well, maybe for some people. “Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in you…” But they may think I’m a fanatic, or worse, some kind of religious nut. Anyway, the doors of the church are open and we have a special speaker on Sunday. They can come if they want to (or not). I can’t jeopardize my status, my peace, my equilibrium, and thereby risk becoming not “nice.”
I must confess it is hard for me to envision the apostle Paul worrying excessively about not being “nice.” It is equally difficult if I consider others who risked reputation or safety to speak of the God they found. They were not rude, belligerent, ugly, or unnecessarily aggressive. They were clear, confident, compassionate, and courageous. At stake were some key issues for all of the above, the importance of truth, and the necessity of obedience. The Christian story is not advice, a set of ideas, or a moral exhortation for those who happen to like such things.
Perhaps you’ve never reflected on whether your sincere desire to be “nice” undermines any expression of belief or disbelief. If you are effectively stopped by an internal dialogue that insists the need to be nice trumps all other goods or needs, perhaps it is time to seek afresh, resist that voice, break the hold of bad ideas, and step out in faith and obedience and do or say what is needed.
There are worse things in life, after all, than not being nice! Perhaps being without Jesus is one of them?
Stuart McAllister is vice president of training and special projects at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
© 2012 RZIM
“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” Augustine
Augustine is of course talking about getting angry at the problem,…and people are not the problem!
The people have a problem,…they need Jesus.
But not everybody thinks they need to be saved.
“From what?”‘they might say.
And that is when we give them the ,”Bad News,” and say, “You need Jesus, without Him you will spend eternity in Hell. ”
How could the truth always be what we want to hear?
It can’t be.Life isn’t that way.
But still, anyone who speaks the truth when needed is showing more love than a dozen people who say nothing simply because they don’t want to ,”be negative.”
Is it love to not say what someone you love needs to hear?
If a bridge is out on a road, would you even think of taking down the big yellow warning sign that reads,”Bridge is Out”, because your opinion is that people don’t want to hear that negative stuff ?
That is just what living without Jesus is like.
Without Jesus, we are on a road that leads to certain and eternal death!
My HOPE is that we all heed this warning and tell others as well.
Christian, find your voice.
Be angry at the way things are!
State the ugly truth of the way things are, even if everyone else chooses to ignore it!
If they are blind and cannot see, that is God’s job to open their eyes.
All you must do is be faithful in telling others.
Then have the courage to tell others how it should be!
That Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost.
That Jesus loved them enough to die for their wrongdoing.
That Jesus rose in victory over death and now offers life to as many as receive Him a Lord and Savior.
Jesus is the bridge to life.
Make the turn.
Heed the warning.
Put up the Big Yellow Warning Sign.
You might save an eternal life from eternal death.
Just as Christ was crucified between two thieves, Legalism and license oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The two thieves rob power from the message of Christ’s complete and finished work on the cross.
I’m in awe with the thought that God himself came down to save us and gave Himself on the cross for you and I.
God Himself is the Gospel. Such an incredible thought!
And even more, I think this truth holds a key to something that is holding the church back from revival.
Here’s what I mean…
Legalism and license oppose the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Self righteousness, moralism, legalism, at various levels and degrees in the hearts of Christians robs the church of power and keeps those who would enter from doing so.
I know license is present in the world, but legalism is the Christian man’s primary problem.
Christianity ascribes all truth to the Bible and the keys to renewal are contained therein.
License is pleasure based and legalism is power based.
Both are self-centered.
Both devastate our world by misrepresenting the truth of the Good News of the Gospel.
We need to distinguish between license and legalism in order to recognize them.
License is based on the idea that God is only love, that Jesus died for us, and now we can take grace for granted and sin willfully by doing whatever we want.
License is also known as relativism because absolute truth is usually denied in this belief.
Legalism takes undo pride in works of righteousness and in pride looks down on others, thinking that works merit favor with God.
“The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”(Luke 18:11-14)
Legalism is also known as moralism.
The best example from the Bible was written by the Apostle Paul .
He wrote the letter to the Galatians addressing Christians to defend them and the Gospel from legalism, the idea that we attach our own works to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
Legalistic religious leaders were the primary enemies of Christ and orchestrated the crucifixion as prophesied in the old testament of the Bible.
Legalistic religious leaders also tormented Paul his entire ministry.
I believe legalism is still the primary threat to the purity of the Gospel today.
Pastor Tim Keller seems to believe this as well.
Keller thinks that a moralistic view of the Gospel is the norm today.
What do you think?
Do you agree that a moralistic view of Christianity is the norm today?
Far too often we Christians try to honor God by emphasizing His Holiness or His Sovereignty or His Justice, as if to cull favor with God by associating with these attributes of God, while ignoring His love, His mercy and Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us on the cross.
The writers of the new testament centered their claims on Christ,relating their claims back to Christ 27% or more of the total words they wrote on average.
Almost one-third of everything in the New Testament is specifically about Jesus or centers on His personage. The point is it is all about Jesus. If you have the Son you have the Father, if you don’t have the Son then you don’t have the Father.
Do we even come close to giving Christ preeminence today?
I fear not.
God’s great love is the only one of God’s attributes that makes us worthy subjects to honor all His other attributes. His love is His Grace by which we are saved.
Only His great love which He personally expressed on our behalf on the Cross of Christ can save us.
We Christians make the mistake of thinking the primary reason God sent Jesus to die for our sins was because He is Holy and Righteous and His justice had to satisfied.
God is all those things but that is not why Jesus came to save us.
God’s word tells us why.
It says God so loved! (John 3:16)
GOD SO LOVED!
God so loved that He became man.
God so loved that He paid for our sins, the just for the unjust.
His motive was to save you because He loved you.
I have found that most people and perhaps most Christians too, do not have a heart that is awakened to the love of God and its full meaning to them.
Fellow Christians often take issue with those of us who emphasize God’s love as, “The Greatest of These.”
Time and time again I have heard angry responses such as, “God is not just love, He is Righteous and Holy too!”
That was when I finally understood why one of the greatest sermons ever was titled.”Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.”
(This sermon was preached by Jonathan Edwards.)
In that sermon, the hand of God is the only thing keeping us from falling into eternal fire.
I personally know God is love, because it is written and portrayed throughout the Holy Bible.
If all God wanted was to satisfy His Holiness, Righteousness and His Justice; then God would just send everyone to Hell.
The verdict was already given and only death prevents that sentence from being carried out on all who have not received Christ as Savior.
The only thing that can prevent what had already been determined to happen was provided to us because God so loved.
Legalism, license and the Love of God.
We need to know the difference because only one of them can save us and the others are apostasy,( they deny the fullness of faith in Christ alone to save).
Only the true Gospel that starts and ends with, “God so loved”, will save.
Any other gospel is not the one true, pure work, because they deny Christ’s finished work by adding to it or by watering it down.
Both views of the Gospel, moralistic legalism and relativistic license, rob the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and make it null and void to save and change us.
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10)
We have nothing else like God’s gift of love and must create a new category in our hearts and minds where Christ’s gospel resides uniquely.
If you need to settle that in your own heart, just tell God you believe Christ died for your sin.
Ask Him to save you, and He will. Because He loves you so.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Related articles –
Barna Research – Majority of People who call themselves Christian are more like Pharisees than Christ like.
If Bell’s Hell Has No Flame
Then why did Jesus warn us about hell more than He talked about heaven?
Then why did Jesus warn about hell more than any person recorded in the Bible?
Then why did Lazarus ask for a drop of water for the tip of his tongue to cool his torment from the flames?
Then why did Jesus warn there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth?
(If you are not familiar with the issue, two fairly well-known pastors have rejected the Biblical meaning of the “lake of fire”, as Hell . One has written a book that states that a loving God would not send people to eternal torment in flames).
My Take on why this happened
I fear that many Christians have left their first love, Jesus Christ, and Rob Bell and Brian McLaren have had occasion to occupy that which we abdicated, namely, the emphasis of the Love of God as clearly portrayed in the cross of Christ.
All of God’s attributes of Holiness and Justice were satisfied for us by God himself in the personage of Jesus Christ.
Why do we Christians have such a difficult time reconciling God’s love and God’s Holiness and justice when it was God himself who personally settled that issue on the cross and the reason He did so is because He loved us?
John 3:16 states – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Choice is valued in our culture.
People like it when they can choose on their own.
Before Christ’s sacrifice people had nothing but death to choose from.
God gave us a choice.
Hell is real and people who reject Christ will go there.
And the following is a summary of what is written in the Bible and why that is the case.
Satan desired to ,”be like the Most High”, and his pride became sin.
One third of heaven’s angels sided with Satan and suffered the same fate as him.
They were condemned and Hell, the lake of fire, was created for them.
They are awaiting that sentence to be carried out.
Then Satan tempted mankind to do that which had been forbid by God, to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
He tempted mankind by saying to them the same thing that he was condemned for,”you will be like the Most High”.
Satan no doubt knew that if mankind sinned the same sin as him, mankind would suffer the same fate as him, the lake of fire for all eternity.
That is why a Loving God would send people to Hell, because He is also a just God.
Satan’s sin was our sin also.
Satan’s fate became our fate as well.
It is just.
But consider this.
We owed God for our sin.
Then God came down to personally pay the debt that we owed Him.
Our debtor paid our debt for us!
God came down to mankind and was born of a virgin , grew up as a boy, worked as a carpenter, and never sinned.
Our God did this for us to become what we could not be, sinless and perfect, so He could then sacrifice Himself for our sins and pay the price for us.
The just for the unjust.
How can we then say condemnation to Hell is unjust if the one we were indebted to personally paid our debt himself ?
The explanations that are common in the lake of fire debate are foolish at best.
The lake of fire ,(Hell ),that Christ warned about extensively was not mere symbolism or a smoldering trash heap outside the city walls of Jerusalem.
Reconsider your stance Brian McLaren and Rob Bell , for you risk causing many to miss the seriousness of what is at stake, and you diminish the sacrifice of Christ.
We are saved from infinitely more than mere regrets.
Our Savior is infinitely more worthy of being called Savior than you imply by what you call Hell.
“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”