Hell, Fire and Brimstone

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  Revelation 21:8 

I’ve observed that many pastors and members of the clergy today neglect to mention things that they perceive as unpleasant in the Holy Bible, things like hell and repentance.

But, the fact that pastors and others fail to mention it, doesn’t make hell any less real. There is much to be said for the reverential fear in knowing that this place is a reality.

Luke 12:5 tells us, “But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.”

Knowing this should cause us to believe and to repent of the sins named in Revelation 21:8 that lead us into the second death.  And, there is something else that should cause us to believe and repent. It is the love of God, and the reality of this love’s power in our lives, which is even greater than hell.

Romans 8:38 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

There was a time when fear and intimidation were the rule of the day in the human effort to turn people's hearts to salvation.  This approach turned many people away from the gospel and away from God's church.  But, I'm afraid we've shifted in the opposite direction--failing to share the full gospel message, so that we whitewash and sugarcoat God's truth and the sin of cowardice in speaking His truth.  

The truth of the gospel message has at its center a requirement.  That requirement is that we repent of our sin, believe in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, and give up everything we have and are to Him--every day.  This requirement, when we begin to understand it, is love personified.  There could be no greater, no more loving requirement in all the world.

May the fear of God--knowing He is both kind and severe (Romans 11:22)--and the reality of His great love lead us to repentance regarding anything in our life that is not pleasing to Him today.

Goodnight, Runners.

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