Why Hell Is Integral to the Gospel

By Greg Gilbert: I’m sure you were overjoyed to learn that 9Marks has devoted an entire Journal on the topic of hell. In fact, it’s a topic that, if anything, makes us want to avert our eyes and think about something else entirely. For some, the horror of the Christian doctrine of hell—that it is a place of eternal, conscious torment where God’s enemies are punished—has led them not just to avert their eyes and minds, but to deny it entirely. “Surely,” they say, “hell is a fictional construct used to oppress people with fear; a God of love would never allow such a place to really exist.” There’s an emotional power to this argument, to be sure. No one, certainly no Christian, likes the idea of hell.   At the same time, this doctrine isn’t just drapery on the side of the Christian worldview, something with no relevance to the structure of the faith itself. Nor is the doctrine

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What Is the Gospel?

  Greg Gilbert: A Message from God What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore. Why Is the Gospel Good News? So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ? Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions: Who made us, and to whom are we accountable? What is our problem? What is God’s solution to our problem? How can I be included in his solution? Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible. We are accountable to God. Our problem is our sin against him. God’s solution is

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The Heart of the Gospel

  From What is the Gospel, by Greg Gilbert: The Heart of the Gospel Sadly, this doctrine of substitution is probably the one part of the Christian gospel that the world hates most. People are simply disgusted at an idea of Jesus being punished for someone else’s sin. More than one author has called it “divine child abuse”. And yet to toss substitutionary atonement aside is to cut out the heart of the gospel. To be sure, there are many pictures in Scripture of what Christ accomplished with his death: example, reconciliation, and victory, to name three. But underneath them all is the reality to which all the other images point—penal substitution. You simply cannot leave it out, or even downplay it in favor of other images, or else you litter the landscape of Scripture with unanswered questions. Why the sacrifices? What did the shedding of blood accomplish? How can God have mercy on sinner without destroying justice? What can

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