Hell, Fire & Brimstone - Part Deux

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell."  Matthew 10:28

I heard it just the other day, "I sure am glad we don't hear that nonsensical hell, fire and brimstone preaching anymore.  That never did anybody any good."

If that "nonsensical" preaching from Billy Graham, Billy Sunday, John the Baptist, Jesus and many others kept one soul from hell's grasp, it did plenty good.  Sadly, this truth teaching is overwhelmingly absent from Christian churches today.  It has been replaced with teaching from seminaries that the only Judgment Day we will face is to receive a reward.  While Scripture does tell us in John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” And in 1 John 4:17, "And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."  It also tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:10 and other passages, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil."   (Read also Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12; Romans 6:15; 1 Corinthians 3:13.)

The Gospel message is a perfect balance of grace and truth exemplified in the person of Jesus Christ, as John 1:14 tells us, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

While the heavy truth of hell, fire and brimstone may have frightened some, it kept them from hell's fire.  I am afraid the heavy grace leaning of today, while making seminarians comfortable in their own strongholds of sin, paints the Christian life as a cake walk rather than the rugged rewarded road that it is in reality.  I have even met some who proclaim the name of Christ and yet say that there is no such thing as hell.  My friend, as surely as there are angels and demons at work around you, there is a real place called hell, and you do no want to go there.

As Christians we are called to be set apart from the culture and follow a new way--God's way.  We are called to repent of sin, to turn from it, to follow a completely different path than those around us who are not Christians.  This does not mean that we are to take no pleasure or find no joy in anything on earth, but it does mean that our greatest pleasure, our greatest joy is in Jesus alone. 

We are not unlike those in King Josiah's day who found a scroll while repairing the Temple in 2 Kings 22:8-20.  When the scroll containing the Book of the Law was read by the king, he tore his clothes in despair because the people were not living in obedience to all that God commanded.  The prophetess, Huldah, spoke the word of the Lord concerning the scroll, that disaster was surely coming upon the people because of this disobedience.  She went on to say that King Josiah would be spared the coming disaster because he had been repentant.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

Goodnight, Runners.