“Do You Believe in Hell – Part 2 of 5?”

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In our time together last week, I began the first of five studies on the doctrine of hell. We discussed its sobering Scriptural reality and learned the frightening fact that many people, right now, as you read this article, are perishing forever in hell’s unending torment in flames (Luke 16:23-24).

Well, dear friends, nothing has changed about this sobering reality. Indeed, ever since our time together last week, unbelieving men, women, and children, are still, at death, waking up in hell, or they very soon shall be, unless they come by faith in Christ alone! Hopefully, you will soon be moved to speak of Christ to the Christ-less in your sphere of daily influence (2 Corinthians 5:11-14). A number of years ago, a national survey revealed that 52% of American adults are certain there’s a hell, while 27% think there might be. Of those polled, 48% believed that hell’s a real place of fiery torment (or 25% of Americans!), while 46% believed that hell was a place of anguished existence, rather than an actual place. Sadly, the evangelical church’s position on hell is not as clear or orthodox. Believe it or not, evangelicals presently hold five different views about hell. The following views teach that Hell is: (1) Eternal Conscious Physical and Spiritual Torment: This is the strongest Scripturally-supported view, and is also the position of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:46); (2) Eternal Conscious Spiritual Torment: Grievously, many professing evangelicals hold to this unscriptural view; (3) Eternal Separation from God: The unsaved are love and enjoy the “toothless bite” of this view [Isaiah 59:2]; (4) Conditional Immorality: This view teaches that the unsaved just cease to exist. Or death simply brings a soothing eternal blackout. I am sure the lost are really shaking-in-their-boots over this one [John 3:19-20]; and (5) Annihilationism: The unbeliever is annihilated, destroyed, vaporized, or fried, instantly at death. Oooh! That’s Judgement… ?? Now, think for a moment, if you were the devil, which view(s) would you be most pleased with? I will let you guess. No help is allowed ... The fact that views two through five have even entered this debate tells me once again that Scripture has only a selective authority in the church today. I believe D.A. Carson put it best, “...evangelicalism [has contributed] to the gagging of God by silencing the severity of [hell’s] warnings ... by minimizing the awfulness of [its] punishment...” I close with a few more insightful words. These are from C.S. Lewis, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this [hell], but it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of our Lord’s own words.” O dear friend, this kind of thinking and living begins with our heart preparation today, to encounter the living God tomorrow morning; in both our public Worship, through the praises and prayers of His people; and through the reading and preaching of His Holy inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! Soli Deo Gloria!

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