Wednesday, August 24, 2016

God of Love, God of Justice: A Future Heaven, a Future Hell

Source via Flickr by rabesphoto
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

God's works are many in the world and of particular beauty.  Yet there is also the proclivity of man toward evil.  God allows for free will, which opens the doors to almost any possibility.  Which explains why the world is so messed up.  Humanity decided to turn from God, and play God.  

Life is best lived with God at the center of all things.  We can tend to treat God as an auxiliary to our plans and desires.  That is not the way it is suppose to be.  God should be the very center.  If life is the road and we're the car, God should be the engine.  If your life is a city, God ought be the center square, the city hall, the centerpiece of all operations.  

Too often we, myself included tend to relegate God to errand boy status.  Or watcher status.  Or perhaps advisor status.  Or order taker status.  God is much greater than that.  He runs the whole show.  Our job is to seek out His will, in a very real and practical sense.  What is my calling Lord?  What do you want me to do with my life?  What goals would you have me pursue?  These should be our daily questions to our Maker.

He leads us, subtly at times.  And more forcefully at other times.   A friend of mine told me of how he had been a duplicitous cheat, liar, and raving alcoholic for many years.  He told me something peculiar.  He said God gave him a vision of hell, which prompted large changes in his life.  Normally I would be quite skeptical of such an account.  Yet I was surprised and impressed by his simple sincerity.  He told me he found himself in total darkness.  He tried to blink his eyes, but all he saw was darkness.  He told me it wasn't really like he was seeing it, it was like he couldn't see.  He tried to look down at his body and saw only blackness.  He felt distant.  He tried to cry out but he couldn't speak a word.  He tried to breathe but their was no air.  It was so terrible he was awfully scared, tried to weep, tried to scream, but nothing would come out. Then he came to again.  He looked around stunned.  And later he came to the conclusion that this had been a vision from God of what hell would be like.

Now we've all heard of the bestselling books and accounts of hell, and people have described seeing demons torturing them and such things.  Of course that isn't biblical, demons aren't in any positions of authority in hell, they are simple prisoners of this place, which is a place of the lack of the presence of God.  We think of burning fires, red lit tunnels and dark rocks, and devils in red spandex suits, but those things aren't really biblical.  What is biblical is that this "hell" is a place of disconnection from God; A place completely outside the sovereign presence of God.  

This account got me thinking.  And it brought back several memories of mine from before I was saved.  I realized that I'd had a similar experience about ten years ago.  I had been sitting in my room, and I'm not sure if I had been napping or what, but I had just that kind of experience.  Everything was dark, and I couldn't talk, I couldn't scream, I couldn't cry though I desperately wanted to.  I felt the agony of this emptiness, of being totally alone. I remember trying to life my hand up to eyes to tree to see.  But there was nothing there.  I had no hand, just a phantom attempt at movement. It went on for I don't know how long and then I came out of it.  I didn't react with a change of heart and life like my friend did, but the experience matched near identically.  

It's been on my mind ever since.  Let me say immediately that I trust the word of God and the word of God only.  Visions, dreams, and experiences like these should be viewed skeptically.  But if these experiences do line up with scripture, then they can at least be discussed and taken into account.  

It's something to consider.  We often don't like talking about hell.  Maybe we're afraid that we'll be considered "fear mongers" and so on and so forth.  I do believe the love of God and the grace of Christ are primary motivators toward reception of the gospel.  But I think equally so is a healthy reverent fear of God, and a knowledge of hell.  Hell is after all, completely real if we take the OT and NT to be the inspired word of God.  And I do.  The Bible is 100% inerrant and true.  

What a fate indeed for many to find themselves eternally disconnected from God! It is a fearful, shocking thing indeed.  Yet God is in charge. God is sovereign over all things.  We have to remember that.  Yet he also allows for free choices, all the way back to the first free choices made by perfect man and woman.

This free choice began in a perfect world, in a perfect garden.  There were hundreds of fruit trees in the garden of Eden.  There was only one that was forbidden to be eaten from.  All Adam and Eve had to do was avoid that one tree.  And they failed to do so.  Now today we are in a converse inversion of that scenario; we are surrounded by hundreds of trees that should not be eaten from, and only one, the Christ tree will save us. This Christ-fruit is oft hidden from many and sometimes quite hard to find. But to those who truly seek after it, they find the Christ-tree.  And they eat from this tree and find eternal life.  

Reality will be renewed again, the universe and the Earth, after the door to salvation is closed.  Some will join God almighty in the eternal kingdom at the city of New Jerusalem.  If your like me, a born again believer and follower of the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ then we have the most wonderful possible future awaiting us.  It is so incredible, so wonderful, so perfect that it's written that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no one’s heart has imagined all the things that God has prepared for those who love him” (2 Cor 2:9 CJB).  For those who have rejected the son and turned their hearts and minds from the obviousness of the existence of God in nature and life, they will be removed permanently from the presence of God. They will be sent from the presence of God, to eternal darkness.  

Hell, if that is what my friend and I experienced, is a terrible, terrible place to end up.  It is a place where the presence of God is missing.  But isn't God just to send those who hated him and ignored him their entire lives to a place where he is not?  

If your husband were abusive, rebellious and hateful would you not divorce him and escape from His presence?  And the same with your wife?  Or a friend, boss, or coworker?  And what about the corrupt reign of nations like North Korea or China?  Wouldn't those peoples give almost anything to escape from the presence of such hate and evil? Of course they would. They would flee and never return.  And so it is just that God removes from his presence those who refuse his love and spit in his face hatefully, disobeying all his laws, that are meant to bless them, and harming his other children through their perverse actions.  

It isn't an easy reality to swallow.  It offends our modern sensibilities.  But the truth is we're all happy when justice wins out.  God is a God of love firstly.  But God is also a God of justice. I'm glad that God is so good that he protects us, and will set things right from this world gone mad.

Many in the media would probably say this is a "dark outlook" on life.  Or that this is "negative."  Yet the facts show that this is in fact a very dark and corrupt world.  Even in America, we see it everyday.  So we must accept God's justice along with his love, if we really want to live in a better world.  

In closing I want to say this, to those who are still outside the cross of Jesus Christ: One day the door to eternal life is going to be closed permanently. God is giving a great deal of time for as many as possible to come and receive cleansing through Jesus Christ the savior he has provided. But the clock is ticking. God will bring into judgment the human race for the many wrong doings that have caused so much poverty, struggle, and chaos on Earth. Join a church now, today, gain access to the savior through the word of God. Don't wait, begin that journey today. Jesus is open to any and all. Call out to him!

Many are saying the end is quite near.  The weirdos on the outskirts have been saying that for many, many years.  But more so than ever I'm noticing people I highly respect are beginning to say the same thing.  They could be right, I don't know for certain.  The point is, we don't know.  But we do know the return of Christ will be sudden.  We do know we've awaited his return for almost 2,000 years now.  My request is that you make sure you are ready for that day.  For the elect, dig in deep, make your fox holes deep and strong.  Stay awake by remaining thoroughly active in the various ministries of the Christian faith, the practice of daily prayer, and the constant study of the word of God.  If you are yet unsaved, don't delay, join a good church and set off on that journey to meet Christ.  The window of opportunity will only be open so long, then it will close forever.  God is good.  He is love.  He is just.  May he be praised forever, amen. 

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