Tag Archives: Love Wins

Hell….again…

Fallen angels in Hell

Image via Wikipedia

Due to the Rob Bell/Francis Chan debate, about whether or not Hell exists, and is universal salvation something we can believe in, are on the table and up for serious discussion I hope to tackle these books and issues over the next few months. Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and the related topic will be discussed over the course of the next few months, as time permits. To some, it may seem like a rather trivial thing really, I mean as long as we believe in the same God and worship and pray to the same God, what is really the problem right?

Well, part of the problem is a faulty view of God and of man. The balance between human free will and God’s complete sovereignty is crucial. Neither extremes are correct, and it is a paradoxical truth that we must come to terms with. To go so far as to say that God is in complete control and that I can’t help what I do, removes all responsibility, and yet their are those that advocate that mentality. But on the opposite side of the spectrum we have the “It’s all me, and my choice” aspect, which is also equally wrong.

We have a free will, and yet, confusingly, God is in complete control, so that in a sense…we have no control and nothing to worry about…yet in another sense, we are completely responsible. Perhaps I am confusing everyone, let me try again if I may.

Now this may not seem right, or fair…but it is both Biblical and accurate from my understanding. Essentially to sum it all up, I am completely responsible for my sin, even though God is in complete control and places me where He wants me in life, etc…I am totally responsible for my sinful decisions. But when I become a Christian, and I change and start doing works of righteousness and good…I cannot take credit for that. It is because of Him and Him alone. Now many may view this as an extremely negative view of mankind, but it is accurate, we can not boast, though we do try. Many people get the whole thing mixed up focusing too much on one and not the other…when both are accurate if balanced out and seen in relation to the other.

There is a danger that happens when we stare too intently at one and not the other…there is a fine line and we must find it…


God’s Love and Eternal Punishment….Some Thoughts

I heard a man say that to be punished for eternity doesn’t really sound like love. Eternity is a pretty dang long time, (forever in fact) and he asked about someone who is a good person, by normal human standards, but is not saved; how is that really loving, the kind of love that comes from the true source of love, God? Of course there are proponents that think and feel that the only way to salvation is through Christ is not fair. And to them I reply what has been said before. God created this universe and He runs it. If you don’t like it, then you can run your own universe one day when you get one.

But what this man said indeed troubled me. If He is so loving and forgiving then why eternity? I feel that the search for truth should never allow us to shy away from difficult questions and hard answers. I did not have an answer at the time but I do now. If we look at the Bible, Isaiah 6:5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” He came into God’s presence and was struck by the uncleanness of his lips, and he knew right away that it meant death. I don’t know about all of you but my mouth and the words that it has spoke, pale in comparison to my deeds and actions. If he was to die for merely unclean lips then there is something to be said there.

Of course people automatically think that that is not fair. But again keep in mind that we do not run this universe and we don’t decide what is fair. Though we sure do try. Our God is so Holy, so Righteous, so Loving, He is SO far above us and pure and good that simply a pair of lips that are not clean, in His presence deserves and warrants death. This is not something we can wrap our heads around. Oh we can know it. But we cannot know it experientially until that day comes when every knee will bow. This can be observed with an honest inspection of emotions and people and how guilt works.

As far as is it loving to do that. In a way I feel like I should not have to defend God or His word. Take for example a scenario. Would you as an honest reader, praise a judge for letting a guilty child molester go after doing obscene and utterly detestable things to your child? Would you consider a jury moral and good if they did not hold a murder accountable? If there is no justice there is no love. Now people often times confuse the two as it is easy to do. But do not let yourself follow a double standard of forgive me but hold my enemy accountable.

This happens all too often I am afraid. Mankind likes to think that he sets the standard. In fact this is evident by some of the justifying that we do. How many times have you looked around at other people and thought, well I’m not as bad as them? Or something along those lines. I know I sure have done it. But the standard is not other men, but God alone.

If love is the ultimate virtue, then how does an unjust judge be considered loving? There is a connection between justice and love. Justice with love is nothing but law and rule, and is depicted by the antagonist in Les Miserables. Love without justice is evil. It would have no right and wrong and no moral code. They are inseparable. Yet we try to separate them as we see fit. If we want to not pay up for our wrong, then we demand love and forgiveness, but if someone has wronged us, we have a tendency to want justice or revenge. I believe that those who have trouble accepting that God would be so loving and yet punish people for eternity, are those that have trouble seeing the pure righteousness of our Lord and feel the real weight of their sin and iniquity. Love is good as is justice, they are inextricably combined, and if we can understand this, our next obstacle is understanding and seeing that God is so perfect that well fall short.

Of course the good news is that we can be forgiven, His mercy and grace is just as great. So take to heart, though there are things that our beyond our intellectual grasp, we can know for certain that God is perfectly loving, in spite of our views. All we have to do is ask forgiveness, repent, and then follow Christ.