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« The "Spirit" of a Service | Main | The Cry for Holiness »

May 02, 2005

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"Just a parable. hmmmmm. Jesus used word pictures(parables) to describe the reality of something that would be hard to explain otherwise."

Right Steve, which is exactly what Christ is doing when describing hell. If you were to take every reference to hell literally, the scriptures would contradict themselves. How can hell have fire and yet be utter darkness? How can worms exist that don't die?

Chris, you asked in an email about why I don't think Luke 16 is a parable. Just b/c Christ does use the name of a person, it doesn't mean that it was a true, living individual. If we look at the rest of the context, we shouldn't take the passage as something that literally happenned, but rather as a parable. For example, the passage speaks about bodies not souls. Souls are immaterial, so how then could Lazarus (if really a soul) be carried by angels? The passage states that there was a great gulf fixed between Abraham and the rich man, yet they could both see and converse with each other (Is the great gulf to be taken literally? Is heaven literally a place where conversations can be carried on between those enjoying bliss and those agonizing in hell?

Dan, I agree with 2 of your 3 points: that hell is punishment, and that it is separation from God. Whether or not it is eternal or literally physical is a question we won't know until after this life.

And of course the old standby John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

One of Jesus' names is Savior....if not a Savior from the penalty of our sins, then what exactly is He saving us from? Having a bad day? Of course this is not true because Jesus promised His believers that "In this world you will have trouble".

The definition of condemnation is... declaring an evildoer to be guilty. Without saving faith in Jesus we stand guilty of our sins before God and will incur death(or hell). This is true no matter how "good" we think we are. God will not allow anything impure into heaven(Rev 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it(heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.) And unless you have recieved the gift of eternal life in heaven, you will not be good enough based on your own merits.

This may sound harsh, but God is just giving you what you want. God is not a spiritual "rapist" and we are not robots. In His love, He gave us the wonderful(and terrifying) ability to choose, or we could not choose to love Him. This choice also allows us to reject Him and He will give us what we want. You reject His love and gift of eternal life in heaven with Him, then He will grant your wish.

For those of you who say this is unfair.. Isaiah 29:16
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,
"He did not make me"?
Can the pot say of the potter,
"He knows nothing"?

God's way is perfect. Trust Him and His plan. Evangelize the way Jesus did. Do not be afraid to mention our penalty for our sins. How can anyone understand the seriousness of our plight without speaking the truth of scripture? We have the antidote for the sickness that will send us to an eternity in hell. Don't be afraid to use it.

As far as the comment.....
Right Steve, which is exactly what Christ is doing when describing hell. If you were to take every reference to hell literally, the scriptures would contradict themselves. How can hell have fire and yet be utter darkness? How can worms exist that don't die?

Jesus used this to describe hell in word picture that the people of the day could understand. It is a way of teaching that is effective, and can be used today. The people of the day understood the garbage dump outside the city where, underneath all of it, fires never are put out and insects(including worms) lived without dying. There is no contradiction of the reality of hell. It may be described in different ways, so we of limited understanding can get an idea what it is about.

These word pictures and parables are confirmed by the overwhelming references to hell in scripture. There is no confusion or wondering what Jesus meant. If you choose to not believe what Jesus described as reality, then that is your choice. Be very careful, however, for if you can ignore Jesus speaking of the reality of hell over 70 times, then what else can you ignore that He said? What good is faith that ignores parts of scripture and makes up their own "truth"? Do not make God into an image of your own making. That is a sinful and dangerous to you and especially others.

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