7 Truths About Hell

J.D. Greear: Concerning hell, C. S. Lewis once wrote, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power.” In many ways, I agree with him. No one, Christians included, should like the idea of hell. Those of us who believe in hell aren’t sadists who enjoy the idea of eternal suffering. In fact, the thought of people I know who are outside of Christ spending eternity in hell is heartbreaking. As a young Christian, when I began to learn about hell and its implications, I almost lost my faith. It was that disturbing. Hell is a difficult reality, but it is something that the Bible teaches, and we can’t fully understand God and his world unless we grapple with it. These seven truths should frame our discussion of hell. 1. Hell is what hell is because God is who God is. People speak glibly about “seeing God,” as if seeing God face-to-face would be a warm and fuzzy

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What is the greatest threat facing mankind?

  Sam Storms: What is the greatest threat facing mankind? Many would say it is climate change, while others would point to the increasing presence of radical Islamic fundamentalism. Others would highlight the uncertainties of our global economy or perhaps the potential for new diseases that are resistant to all medical remedies. As important as those issues may be, the greatest threat to the eternal welfare of the human soul is divine judgment! The greatest threat to mankind in general and to individual men and women in particular, and that includes you and me, is that our sins have “made a separation” between us and God (cf. Isa. 59:2). Our greatest need, therefore, is that “eternal salvation” which in Hebrews we are told comes only from the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Heb. 5:9). And thus our greatest need is for someone in some manner to heal this breach, to interpose himself, as it were, and bridge the gap between

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Lloyd-Jones on the folly of thinking God is only love and ignoring punishment and hell

My thanks to Adrian Warnock for this: Lloyd-Jones could have been saying this for the 21st Century not the 20th. There really is nothing new under the sun: “All this modern preaching on the fact that God is love is an indication of the same attitude and spirit. We are told today that the old sermons that preached the law and talked about conviction of sin and called people to repentance were all wrong because they were legalistic . . .So it is said that we must return to the message of Jesus. We must get rid of all our theology, our argumentation and doctrine—it is all unnecessary. The business of preaching is to tell people that God is love. It does not matter what they are, or what they have been, or what they have done, or what they may do—God loves them. Nobody will ever be punished. There is no law; so there is no retribution and no

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Eternal Punishment and the Fate of Those Who Haven’t Heard

Justin Taylor: Here are two excellent posts that help to clear away some misconceptions about the biblical teaching on eternal punishment and those who haven’t heard the name of Jesus: Kevin DeYoung, “God’s Wrath: Consequence or Curse?“ Sam Storms, “Bell’s Hell and the Destiny of Those Who’ve Never Heard of Jesus“ Two excerpts follow, but I’d encourage you to read both all the way through. DeYoung: Divine punishment—hell, in its eternal form—is not simply what we get because we make poor decisions or decide to live a selfish life. Hell is what we get because God is offended by our sin and punishes it. We see everywhere in Scripture that divine wrath is a curse on the ungodly, not a mere consequence for self-centered decisions. Hell is much more than God simply allowing us to have our own way and to experience all the bad effects of our choices. Hell is God’s active, just, holy wrath poured out on the

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Edwards on why hell is eternal

“The crime of one being despising and casting contempt on another, is proportionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligations to obey him. And therefore if there be any being that we are under infinite obligation to love, and honour, and obey, the contrary towards him must be infinitely faulty. Our obligation to love, honor and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority. . . . But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty. . . . So sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving infinite punishment. . . . The eternity of the punishment of ungodly men renders it infinite . . . and therefore renders it no more than proportionable to the heinousness of what they are guilty of” “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” The Works of Jonathan

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We Must Feel the Truth of Hell

From John Piper’s Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry: I must feel the truth of hell–that it exists and is terrible and horrible beyond imaginings forever and ever. “These will go away into eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46). Even if I try to make the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15) or the “fiery furnace” (Matt. 13:42) a symbol, I am confronted with the terrifying thought that symbols are not overstatements but understatements of reality. Jesus did not choose these pictures to tell us that hell is easier than burning. …If I do not believe in my heart these awful truths – believe them so that they are real in my feelings – then the blessed love of God in Christ will scarcely shine at all. The sweetness of the air of redemption will be hardly detectable. The infinite marvel of my new life will be commonplace. The wonder that to me, a child of hell, all

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We Care about All Suffering in This Age—Especially Eternal Suffering

From John Piper’s address to the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization: One truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it impels us out toward the alleviation of all unjust suffering in this age. That’s what love does! The other truth is that when the gospel takes root in our souls it awakens us to the horrible reality of eternal suffering in hell, under the wrath of a just and omnipotent God. And it impels us to rescue the perishing, and to warn people to flee from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10). I plead with you. Don’t choose between those two truths. Embrace them both. It doesn’t mean we all spend our time in the same way. God forbid. But it means we let the Bible define reality and define love. Could Lausanne say—could the evangelical church say—we Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering? I hope we can say that. But if we

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Not Without Jesus

From Anthony Carter at the Gospel Coalition blog: At a recent prayer meeting someone asked the question, “How do people make it in this world without Jesus?” The answer to that question is that they don’t. There is a sentence of death over every one who has not professed faith in Jesus Christ. This sentence is executable at any moment. And the only reason that it is not executed and the sinner is not immediately experiencing the terrible judgment due for sin is because of the grace and mercy of God. Yet, even more is the reality that instead of having the sentence immediately executed, millions of people experience the grace and mercy of sunshine and rain; seed time and harvest. The fact that there is any light or joy in the life of a sinner is owing to God’s desire to show mercy and to be longsuffering. Nevertheless, those who have come into the knowledge of the truth and

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Without the New Birth…

Without the new birth, we won’t have saving faith, but only unbelief. (John 1:11-13; 1 John 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:14; 2 Timothy 1:3). Without the new birth, we won’t have justification, but only condemnation. (Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:17 Philippians 3:9). Without the new birth, we won’t be the children of God, but the children of the devil. (1 John 3:9-10). Without the new birth, we won’t bear the fruit of love by the Holy Spirit, but only bear the fruit of death. (Romans 6:20-21; 7:4-6; 15:16; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 3:14). Without the new birth, we won’t have eternal joy in fellowship with God, but only eternal misery with the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41; John 3:3; Romans 6:23; Revelation 2:11; 20:15). — John Piper,  Why Do We Need to Be Born Again? (Part 2) (HT: Adrian Warnock)

An Amillennial Eschatology Chart!

I like this! Check out the references for your self. Click Here for larger image R. Scott Clark recently posted this. This chart illustrates the concurrent events associated with the Second Advent of Christ. i.e. that the resurrection of the just (and unjust) dead, the judgment of all mankind, and the renewal of the entire cosmos will all occur at a point in time: the time of Jesus’ return; the day of the Lord. Could it be so simple and straightforward??? (HT: Reformation Theology)

Revival

Revival is the sovereign work of God to awaken his people with fresh intensity to the truth and glory of God, the ugliness of sin, the horror of hell, the preciousness of Christ’s atoning work, the wonder of salvation by grace through faith, the urgency of holiness and witness, and the sweetness of worship with God’s people. —John Piper, A Godward Life, p. 111. (HT: Desiring God)

McLaren Advocates “Rethinking” Second Coming

From Stand to Reason blog: At a recent youth ministry conference at Willow Creek Community Church, while discussing his latest book, Brian McLaren talked about the need to change our understanding of Jesus’ second coming because Simply put, if we believe that God will ultimately enforce his will by forceful domination, and will eternally torture all who resist that domination, then torture and domination become not only permissible but in some way godly. . . . [And from the book:] This eschatological understanding of a violent second coming leads us to believe (as we’ve said before) that in the end, even God finds it impossible to fix the world apart from violence and coercion; no one should be surprised when those shaped by this theology behave accordingly. First, this suggestion reflects a great misunderstanding of justice. Justice is not mere violence, coercion, and domination. The final judgment of all that we’ve done to hurt others is a desirable and good

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God, Man, and the Cross

“All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and man. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners’, then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.” – John Stott (HT: Symphony of Scripture)

No Credential but Christ!

This is a great reminder from Jared Wilson for those of us who desire to be used of God. When God called Moses to demand release of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity, Moses felt inadequate and unqualified. He asked, “Who am I to do such a thing?” Now, when I ask this question of God, I usually ask in false humility. What I really want is God to reassure me of my qualifications and giftedness. What I really want is God to pump up my self-esteem. “Please remind me how awesome I am so that I’ll be confident enough to do this,” I ask God. And I fully expect God to respond, “Jared, you’re good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.” This not what God said to Moses. In fact, he really didn’t even answer the question “Who is Moses?” He answered the question “Who is God?” The answer, of course, is God. But Moses said to

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Lloyd-Jones: The Necessity of the Cross

. . . As Christians we believe that the Son of God came into this world, that He laid aside the insignia of His eternal glory, was born as a babe in Bethlehem, and endured all that He endured, because that was essential for our salvation. But the question is, Why was it essential to our salvation? Why did all that have to take place before we could be saved? I defy anyone to answer that question adequately without bringing in this doctrine of the judgment of God and of the wrath of God. This is still more true when you look at the great doctrine of the cross and the death of our blessed Lord and Saviour. Why did Christ die? Why had He to die? If we say that we are saved by His blood, why are we saved by His blood? Why was it essential that He should die on that cross and be buried and rise

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The difference between the Law and the Gospel

Another great ‘Gospel-Driven’ quote posted by John Fonville:  Q. What is the difference between the law and the gospel? A. The law is a doctrine that God has implanted in human nature and has repeated and renewed in His commandments. In it He holds before us, as if in a manuscript, what it is we are and are not to do, namely, obey Him perfectly both inwardly and outwardly. He also promises eternal life on the condition that I keep the law perfectly my whole life long. One the other hand, He threatens eternal damnation if I do not keep every provision of the law my whole life long but violate it in one or more of its parts. As God says in Deuteronomy 27[:26] and Galatians 3[:10], “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” And once the law has been violated, it has no

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Lloyd-Jones on the True Nature of Sin

“The fatal mistake is to think of sin always in terms of acts and of actions rather than in terms of nature, and of disposition. The mistake is to think of it in terms of particular things instead of thinking of it, as we should, in terms of our relationship to God. Do you want to know what sin is? I will tell you. Sin is the exact opposite of the attitude and the life which conform to, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.’ If you are not doing that you are a sinner. It does not matter how respectable you are; if you are not living entirely to the glory of God, you are a sinner. And the more you imagine that you are perfect in and of yourself and apart from your relationship to God, the greater is

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The Great Exchange, by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington

Is a clear understanding of the atonement an academic preserve to which only theologians and scholars have access? Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington don’t think so. Thus, they have written The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness, which seeks to explain the way that the Old Testament prepares the way for Jesus’ death, then looks at every text on the atonement in the New Testament. Crossway has provided a text-interview with Bridges and Bevington here. They describe their primary audience as “mainstream . . . believers.” You can check out the book’s website, which includes study guides on the book. This book and these study guides will be ready tools in the hands of disciplers. Oh that mainstream believers would watch less football this fall so they could have time to read books like this one! (HT: For His Renown) Here’s some thoughts about the book from the authors: Jerry Bridges (JB): The Great Exchange refers to the way

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