Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 3:16-19

“For who heard and rebelled? Wasn’t it all who came out of Egypt under Moses? With whom was God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The idea of Hell bothers us. It bothers us a lot. And…it should. The notion that anyone is going to suffer for eternity is an uncomfortable one. Sure, there have been some particularly egregious moral monsters throughout history who we expect to be there, but for most folks (especially including ourselves) we try to justify why they shouldn’t. We look to excuse all manner of sin and bad behavior so that it does not exclude us from whatever version of Heaven we imagine. The author of Hebrews here is talking about a whole generation of Israelites who were separated from God. That’s an uncomfortable enough thought by itself. The reason he gives for their exclusion is even more so. Let’s talk a bit today about the sin of unbelief.

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Digging in Deeper: Revelation 20:15

“And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

This morning we started wrestling through what we are supposed to do with a passage like this one and its disturbing images of the final fate of those who reject God as Lord. We started with the basics: The doctrine of Hell is hard, but it’s also necessary. With those two truths in place, let’s deal with the emotional hard of the idea of Hell being a place of eternal death and fiery torment. Are those both true pictures of Hell? Because, if we’re honest, those are the ideas that drive so many away from the doctrine. 

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Morning Musing: Revelation 20:15

“And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

Preachers of old were famous for their sermons filled with “hellfire and brimstone.” Some, like George Whitfield, were famous (infamous?) for offering their audiences graphic descriptions of Hell that were so compelling people would give their lives to Christ then and there on the spot just to avoid even the remotest possibility of such a fate. Today, however, the idea of a fiery Hell waiting for all those who refuse to have faith in Christ not only isn’t very popular, for many it is an active impediment to their accepting the existence of God in the first place. So then, what do we do with verses like this one?

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Digging in Deeper: Revelation 20:7-8

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Hell is hard.  Perhaps no orthodox Christian doctrine is as difficult for folks to get their hearts and minds around as is the notion that those who finally reject God will, upon final judgment, spend an eternity separated from Him in Hell.  And, I’ll say this as gently as I can: If the doctrine doesn’t give you at least a bit of unease, you may not be paying very much attention to it. Read the rest…

A Hellish Problem

In this third part of our Reasons to Believe series, we spent yesterday morning wrestling with one of the more challenging doctrines of orthodox Christianity: The doctrine of Hell.  In popular imagining for centuries, the idea of Hell has been one of fiery agony stretching on into eternity.  In the modern mind, shaped as it is by tolerance and pluralism, this idea presents a huge impediment to the faith.  We are left with two choices: Reshape the doctrine to fit modern mores, or try to understand it better to see if it doesn’t present us with a stumbling block at all, but rather a reason to believe.  In what follows we aimed for the latter.  Thanks for reading and listening.

 

A Hellish Problem

Well, this morning as we continue our series, Reasons to Believe, we are taking on a challenge.  We’ve already confronted head-on the objections that truth can’t really be known and that the Bible is untrustworthy in terms of revealing anything about God to us.  This morning we are going to take on a challenge that is much more emotional than either of these previous two.  For many folks it is epitomized in the sermons of men of old, kind of like this one: Read the rest…