I’ve just watched ‘The Big Questions’ on the iPlayer, the third section which asked... “Does Hell Exist?”
It soon became apparent that those who didn’t believe in the existence of an all powerful being, held those who did... especially those adhering to the uncompromising Biblical view, with some contempt. Alternatively those who did believe in some form of a ‘higher being’ fell into three camps...
A Sheik who preached that we seemed to go around in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, mirrored today by the New Age movement, finding it’s source in the 1960s drug culture... having hijacked the East’s doctrine of ‘Kama’. A doctrine that implies that you pay for the sins of past lives in the next, until finally having learned the lesson you move on. However nobody has yet been able to explain to me who is organising this great ‘cycle of life’ and anyway the Scriptures clearly state that...
It is appointed for men once to die once, and after that to face The Judgment.
- A Muslim view... that I hadn’t been aware of, [Maybe Sunni and Shia differ on this issue?] even that Hell is very much like the unbiblical Catholic Purgatory... where through suffering you can actually be cleansed from your sins... totally contradicting Scripture. For indeed, if that were the case why would God send us His one and only Son as a payment for sin?
- And thirdly, the most despised view on the program... the Biblical doctrine of Hell.
Points 1 and 2 clearly fail to stand-up to scriptural scrutiny, for Scriptures makes it absolutely clear that there is only one acceptable payment for sin... and that is death, nothing more and nothing less will suffice...
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And every last one of us owes an outstanding debt of death to God, because every last one of us have sinned against Him...
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Yet God’s love towards us is such, that He diligently sought from amongst men a sinless savour. And finding none... bestowed upon us His undeserved favour, by sending into the World [via Mary] ‘The Word’ His one and only begotten Son. That finally there might be found amongst men a ‘sinless saviour’ who could pay for the sins of others, owing no debt Himself because of obedience.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Remember, the Scriptures clearly state that there is only ‘one’ acceptable payment for sin, and that is death.
Leviticus 17:11 B - The Law
... for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Hebrews 9:22 - Reaffirmed in the New Testament
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Hebrews 10:12 - Paid by Jesus
But when [Jesus our High] priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.
Yet how can we receive the payment for our sins by another, if we refuse to both acknowledge them, and He who had paid for them? Therefore it is required that we not only repent from sins, but believe on Him who took them all away. This requires faith, but not as some would suggest “A Blind Faith” but rather a faith built upon relationship.
Even the faith that a son might have in a loving father, who at his call alone is able to let go of the tree into which he had become stuck, overcoming the fear that had once bound him there by a faith built upon love, proven to be true by he falling into the loving arms of liberty waiting below.
This is a saving faith, a faith that changing the heart sets the captives free. Therefore we must know Him, and by so doing understand that He is everything that He has said He is, and can perform all that He has promised.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. [Scripture - John 14:26]
The difference between a sinner dying for His own sins and Jesus dying for mine are immense. Let us consider for a moment these two options.
If through faith in Jesus, the Father credits Christ’s death as payment for my sins, Scriptures states quite assuredly that I am made ‘right’ with God. Whom He has promised will give me eternal life, because I no longer have any outstanding debt before God.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you [Being Born Again], he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
However, if through unbelief my sins remain, ‘I’ would be called to settle my account before a righteous God myself. Whom having suffered death could by no means live again. But rather my soul would be held in Hades until the day called to give an account, there to receive an eternal sentence fit for my crimes.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
I can still remember the day I first read Job 19:25-27, and how it had affected me... which states that although Job [Pronounced ‘Jobe’] knew that worms would eat his body, he also knew that at the end this age he would see with his own eyes, and in his own flesh his redeemer walking upon the Earth. In other words... we have recorded in the oldest existing book of the Bible, the words of a man who although he knew he would die, also knew that he would live again!
25 - I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 - And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 - I myself will see him
with my own eyes, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! [Job was excited]
I have to wonder, just how many of those attending the BBC’s - ‘The Big Questions’ who had so fervently attacked the Biblical doctrine of Hell... will be so fervent when faced with the enormity of death. Death is easy to gaze upon afar off, but given opportunity [Not not shall have that luxury] the reality of such an impassible colossus becomes clear. For at such a time as that, some of the most hardened men have repented of their harsh words against God. For pressed by circumstance their vision clearing they suddenly see that having known what was right, good and proper... they had chosen rather to do wickedly.
If you find these truths too hard to acknowledge before God and men, begin by acknowledging them to yourself and the Biblical God ‘who only’ searches the heart will take note, turn and begin to set you free from the iron bands of pride... that have until recently held you captive, denying the luxury of discovering the liberty that is found in Christ Jesus alone.
Finally let us acknowledge while we have opportunity, that not one, no not the Islamic Mohammed, not Buddha nor any great actress, olympian or popular artist... has ‘ever’ escaped the great impasse that approaches each and everyone of us. And that being the case... let us make our choice today as if death would greet us in the morning, for death does not always herald its coming... but oft as the violent mugger leaps unannounced upon its prey.