They will be punished with everlasting destruction
and shut out from the presence of the Lord
and from the glory of his might.
2 THESSALONIANS 1:9
In The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”
Raise that topic and you’re guaranteed to end a conversation. We Christians seem to be as uncomfortable talking about hell as the world is in considering that it’s real. The topic just seems so, you know, harsh, unkind, like an overreaction on the part of God. And so we compensate by overemphasizing his mercy
Jonathan Edwards preached Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God as a means of awakening his unconcerned congregation. But in our day that sermon serves as an example how both God and the Puritan minister have an anger problem – killing the messenger while ignoring the message!
Jesus was not afraid to talk about hell. In Luke 16 he tells a story about the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. The beggar dies and finds himself in the company of Abraham. But when the rich man dies, he finds himself agonizing in the fire of hell. Calling to Abraham, he becomes the beggar.
“Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”
The rich man then began to think of his family, not wanting them to have to endure the torment he was faced with.
“Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”
The rich man was told that Moses and the Prophets were sufficient to lead his brothers to the truth. Not happy with that answer, he begs for someone from the dead to be sent to his brothers – then they would listen.
The answer is sobering.
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
There is still time. Today is the day of salvation. And we have the opportunity to be salt and light, to speak the truth of Moses and the prophets, of Jesus and his disciples, of our own deliverance from darkness to light.
Pray for Erik Thoennes as he preaches on this largely ignored subject of eternity without God. We are surrounded by the lost, those outside the faith, people who are living with only this life in view. For the next three weeks, we will be thinking about how God desires to lead us into new boldness this summer, declaring His greatness everywhere.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 PETER 3:15
Let’s be praying that God will be preparing us, and then giving us openings to tell of the hope we have.