For the last month and a half, I have been investing the majority of my study time to the broad subject of hell and eternal punishment for the lost. My quest has been to interact with every passage in the New Testament that speaks to this subject. The initial stimulus to forego much of my “discretionary time” for this was an email from a dear young person who was asking sincere questions about this subject. It was then that I realized that out of my 346 posts on our website – not one specifically dealt with this heated subject. Ouch!
This has been an intense and very enlightening journey that will probably result in up to 10 posts over the next few weeks. Some of the questions that I hope will be answered in the coming weeks are:
- Is Hell a literal place?
- Is Hades the same as Hell?
- What does Jesus say about Hell and the punishment of the lost: those who rebel against Him and refuse to repent and follow Him in this life?
- What do the rest of the New Testament writers say about it?
- Are there any more chances to repent after death in this life?
- Could being sent to hell be more of a discipline to finally get the lost to repent, rather than a punishment with no more chances?
- How can God be loving and still send people to hell?
- Why do we who have tasted of His love, goodness and kindness and who love to sing of such, struggle to accept the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment?
- Should we be ashamed of this doctrine and speak of it as little as possible – especially to seekers or unbelievers?
- What has God done to make sure people get adequate opportunities to know Him and repent?
- If this doctrine is so prevalent in scripture, why does it seem to be rarely mentioned in the church ?
- Is it possible that the average American or Western Christian does not really believe what the Bible teaches about our sin nature and thus our deserving of such punishment?
- Is it possible that the average American or Western Christian knows little of God’s holiness, along with the fear and dread of Him?
- How can I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will spend eternity in heaven with my wonderful Savior and not be sent to hell?
- What kind of a person will cause God to have His angels send people to an eternity in hell?
- Are there differing levels of punishment for people sent to hell?
- Can a person know and follow Christ as His disciple and embrace universalism?
The great revivalist Charles Finney stated, “When sinners are careless and stupid, and sinking into hell unconcerned, it is time the church should bestir themselves. It is as much the duty of the church to awake, as it is for the firemen to awake when a fire breaks out in the night in a great city.” I hope you will enter this journey with us by reading each post carefully. We will be praying for you as you do. Love in Christ, Randy & Anne
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