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Archive | June, 2012

Why Hell Is Reasonable

06/13/2012

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Why is Hell Reasonable?

Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

“Fear of the Lord” is the beginning of wisdom. It does not read, “Love for your neighbor is the beginning of wisdom.”  Nor, “Judge not, lest ye be judged is the beginning of wisdom.”  It is with this understanding that we can reconcile this verse with those that identify the goal of the gospel, and salvation, as repentance and faith in Christ alone. 

Psalm 119:7-8  7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I shall keep Your statutes; Do not forsake me utterly! (NASB)

Hitler is generally regarded as an example of someone deserving of Hell. And rightfully so. The torture and murder under his command alone would be considered grounds for eternal punishment by most people. 

There are some who don’t believe in Hell. They would prefer to think that God would just annhilate Hitler instead of an infinite punishment. But sin is an offense against an infinitely holy God  as such, justice requires a punishment/ atonement of infinite value. 

Jesus said that we are judged not only by our actions, but by our thought-life as well (whoever looks at a woman with lust has committed adultery in his heart– hatred is murder at heart).

What’s more– as if one sin as a transgression of infinite value wasn’t enough– sin bubbles out of us.  Mark 7:18-23 (ESV) 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,  19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)  20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,  22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Although there are some who pluck certain verses out of the totality of Scripture, the Bible makes it very clear that Hell is eternal.  Rev 20:10 (ESV) and 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.

Note that the beast and the false prophet are identified as still being in the lake of fire despite having been thrown in (before Christ’s thousand year reign) way back in Rev 19:20. 

Mtw 25:46 (ESV) And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Incineration would be a finite punishment, not eternal, and therefore would not satisfy a debt of transgression against an infinitely holy God. 

Furthermore, Jude identifies licentiousness as an evidence of apostasy (Jude 3,4).  What could be a more logical outcome of licentiousness than stripping the infinitely offensive quality of the transgression down to a finite transgression only worthy of a finite punishment?  The answer is Universalism, but that is a topic for another day. 

So where does that put us, as all having broken God’s Law?  The Bible tells us none of us is righteous (Rom 3:10). Our good deeds are like filthy rags before Him (Isaiah 64:6). Trying to be a good person can’t help us. Gal 2:21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness came through works, then Christ died needlessly (NASB). 

The picture is that each one of us is in a cell, awaiting trial. Jesus paid the fine, and the choice we find before us is if we will accept His payment through repentance and faith in His sacrifice alone, or reject His payment (whether forthright, or by adding our works to His sacrifice– He will not share His glory with another) and stand on our own goodness. Repentance (turning away from our sin) is a necessary evidence of our faith in Him– He promises to give us a new heart so we will begin to hate the things we once loved, and love the things we once hated. 

In a court of Law, a murderer can not stand trial and say, “But Your Honor, I did kill all those people, but I always drive the speed limit, and I didn’t kill anybody TODAY.”  The judge would have to be corrupt to not demand justice in light of compliance with the law on other subjects.  

In conclusion, is Hell reasonable?  Yes, and it is biblical.  And it is necessary for God to be a good Judge. 

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Cashing the Check

06/01/2012

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by: Robert Duffrin (@bob_duffrin)

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Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:3 (KJV) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

One common answer that I have received when pointing out the flaw of works’ righteousness to Catholics, JW’s, and Judaisers is that in their performance of works for salvation they are “cashing the check” for salvation.

The problem remains that Eph 2:8-9 clearly identifies FAITH as the necessary “cashing of the check,” and clearly distinguishes that from works. True, works are a necessary evidence (or “fruit”) of faith, but the motive for these works being FROM salvation– as opposed to FOR salvation– is an essential distinction.

For instance, bad people can still do good things, but as a result of bad motives. Is there a fundamental difference between a child telling his parents he loves them out of genuine affection for them, as opposed to saying it as a tool to manipulate them into getting his way? Of course there is. The actions are the same, but the motives are different.

Matthew 7:21-23 describes this. (KJV) [21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Furthermore, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that we all have become unclean, and all of our good deeds are like filthy rags before Him. Gal 2:21 asserts that if righteousness came through works then Christ died needlessly.

Gal 3:24 clearly states that the Law is a tutor to lead us to Christ. It is in that context that we see our desperate need for a Savior, and in response to the gospel that we would cry out to Him in repentance– not in trying to make a deal with Him, but in gratitude that He would stand in our place.

Romans 5:7-8 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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