Last week pastor Stephen,started his sermon with some quotes from famous atheists on their death beds. They are as follows: 1."While I lived I provided for everything but death. Now I must die and I am completely unprepared to die." 2. "Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the almighty." 3. "My philosophy leaves me utterly forlorn. I feel like one caught in the merciless jaws of an automatic machine not knowing at what time its great hammers may crush me." His final words slipping into eternity were, "There is something very wrong, there is something very wrong!"
The third quote was from a man that helped author the satanic bible. I'm not here to presume his damnation or to induce a terror afflicting tactic. After all, God is love. I'm just predisposed to a common sense approach to this extremely unpopular and uncomfortable doctrine of hell belonging to the Christian faith. Not unlike others, such as forgiveness before being forgiven, loving others as you love your self [enemies included], it's a package deal.. All though, the love doctrine is a favorite, my common sense thingy tells me I ought not to be stupid concerning adversaries prone to winning at all costs. I'll leave that one alone for now. My point, simply put, to accept the Christian faith is to accept the whole of it or leave it alone. I'm not apart of the evolving theology crowd and I don't mix and match my religions.
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thine name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." There it is! My whole defense of the hell doctrine right there in the Lord's prayer. In fact, as my common sense approach dictates, let's condense it to just four words. "Thy will be done." How can it be God's will, you might ask, to send someone to hell. After all,2 Peter 3:9 says "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Well, it's obvious to any rational person that freewill tips over that apple cart. I obviously don't propagate universalism, like the shackers, not to mention their dismissal of substitutionary atonement and their trinity desecration. People are "cast into outer darkness" or hell. Jesus said so. Still, God is love, and so far at least we've established it's not God's will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. There's the rub. people aren't prone to repent. Their really good at saying their sorry, but not so good at inconveniencing themselves with the task of repentance. In John 7:17 Jesus says "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or I speak of myself." I'm sorry, but doing His will not only brings resolution to your doubts, but also is a big big part of your repentance. We can never reach a deeper level of faith without trying on His shoes. That's why Paul can cry out what a wretched man is he. You'll never know how really bad you are til you try the walk. So does God send people to hell? Yep. His will wishes it not to be .... their will demands it. This is the point at which they are finally freed from God. This is their moment of victory. The battle of wills is over and the severance is complete and final and yet God is still love. They can tear down and trod asunder every thing else but His holiness remains and still God is love. Read the love chapter in Corinthians to see all the wonderful things love is. It truly is inspiring, but what is of far more significance to me is the all that "profits me nothing" without love. What you won't find is that love forces its self on another to impose compliance. God is longsuffering towards us right up to that last breath, loving no less, when at last he says, "thy will be done." The war of wills is finally over and their victory over God is the loss of love and the seduction of self is complete.
Did Jesus still die on the cross for them? I'm convinced of it. Do I believe in substitutionary atonement? I do! The shackers view that sin is it's own punishment is heretical. Yes, sin has consequences, unpleasant to say the least, but it is not it's own punishment. If that were true, Jesus died on the cross for nothing. That may seem a little harsh now, but better than facing that realization in hell after the rejection of Jesus' sacrifice for them. Expiation or propitiation? I believe it was both. Is salvation simply a matter of belief in Jesus? I believe that with all of my heart. Although, when I say I believe what he says, I believe that this is also doing what he says. Do I believe God is the only source of love? I do. God creates everything and everything that comes from God is good. Evil is only the perverting of goodness. Do I believe in heaven? With all my heart. I'm almost certain on judgement day that I'll not be able to stand in the presence of the reality of true holiness. I am sure of one thing, that the shame that I feel, that kept me going, and that this present world tried to rid me of, is going to be washed away by the God that loves me, the God that is love, and His will, will be done.
Getting back to Stephen's sermon, it ended with Paul's last recorded words. 2 Timothy 4:6-8 "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is now at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing." There you have it. Stop reading Facebook so much and start reading your Bible more. Search out God's will and what he has for you now and what could be yours forever.
One last question. Can I prove God exists? Nope, God does that for those that seek Him.
Mathew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.