Friday, June 22, 2012

What Joy in Hell?

There is no joy in hell.

Its very existence reassures us of ultimate justice. Where else can the victims of the Holocaust find justice? But justice is little comfort when we consider hell’s horror.

Hell is such a horrible concept that sensitive souls want to recoil from even considering it. Denying its existence can even be called a godly heresy. Godly - in that God does not enjoy the death of a sinner and nor should we (Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:11, 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9); but - a heresy none the less because the scriptures teach the reality of judgement and hell (Matthew 7:13, 21-23; 10:28).

Much of what horrifies people about hell is the vivid and imaginative presentation of it by preachers, artists and writers. When confronted by scary pictures, some people close their eyes while others bravely make fun and laugh at them. So we have the Christians who cannot so much as think of hell and the non-Christian who will parody the whole notion portraying Satan with horns and tail, pitchfork and opera cape, or boasting, with more bravado than sense, of sharing a beer and a joke with all their mates down there.

Both responses make speaking on hell difficult. On the one hand the preacher is accused of insensitively using manipulative scare tactics and on the other hand he is ridiculed for believing in childish ghost stories. But it is our Lord Jesus himself who used hell in his preaching, so we must not - and cannot - leave it out of our declaration of the whole counsel of God. Read more

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