Recently I stumbled upon a site. There was a discussion that intrigued me. I haven’t read all that this site had to offer, but some of it. I can’t remember when I have ever totally agreed with everything someone has written or even with a message preached from a pulpit. I try to understand each subject introduced based upon Scriptures teaching. I try to incorporate what any message says with what scripture says, and with what Jesus says. This message on this site that I was on was Concerning Hell.
In it It seemed to imply destruction in the punishment in The telling of the rich man and Lazarus. I agreed with the take from scripture that Hell is ultimately destruction of the mortal, which all men are if they are not in Christ — wherein they alone possess the promise of eternal life. But destruction obviously is not to be immediate; although it can be. Hell is an eternal place and was created for Satan and his angels, for them it is eternal, because they were created to exist eternally. Man can only exist there as a mortal for as long as his judgment is to last. To some men God demands eternal punishment, but He then must as a part of His judgment also make that one immortal.
It is my conclusion based on scripture that man can and too often does refuse God’s payment for his sin and by so doing in most cases unknowingly he has elected to pay for his own sin against God and against his fellow man himself. Once his sin is fully paid — like paying of a car loan, he then ceases to exist — he is no more. He is destroyed. Only God is able to judge what each deserves. Some the innocent child, will, in fact, deserve no punishment. God only holds man accountable for what he has been given in the way of knowledge of Him and what he does with that knowledge.
We who are in Christ have knowledge (the word, the gospel) will actually lose rewards because we are lax or even refuse the Holy Spirit’s leading in the spreading of of that word. But let me give you an example of what I think may happen. Take abortion which is where man is playing God with life. It’s the taking of an innocent life for mostly selfish reasons. I do believe that there could be times where abortion is the right choice e.g. saving a mothers life where others are dependent on the mothers life. But let’s consider if a life is aborted and not even given a chance to know God or to know about Him, is that sin then not a greater sin than taking the life of one who has had that opportunity? So in my mind scripture teaches payment for sin to be different for each, and it has to be made. If one rejects God’s payment, why would He not be justified in requiring that payment from the one who incurred the debt?
Maybe I look at things too simply, but if I am to take one of Jesus sayings and make it my own, then I must take all of them and incorporate them into my understanding of His doctrine. This then becomes my doctrine, because we each believe what we believe.
I believe in progressive revelation from God. We do not know everything when we first meet Jesus, but any further revelation cannot contradict Him and His written word. Any further revelation must further explain both Him and His word. What I say may or may not help someone else further understand what God says. But if I twist God’s word in my statements it will be to my own destruction. This is why teachers are judged more harshly than others.
So in order to fully understand hell; then one must decide from scripture if God who is Love can also be justified in taking vengeance in The final judgment of His creation? does God really reserve unto Himself not only the right to judge, but the need to judge, because He is good and righteous — some say no, I say yes. If God loves the righteous followers of His Christ; then He will remove all unrighteousness from their presence.
Psalm 96:10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.” 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; 12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy 13 Before the LORD, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His (truth) faithfulness. (NASB)
Psalm 97:2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. 3 Fire goes before Him And burns up His adversaries round about. (NASB)
Psalm 97:10 Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked. (NASB)