Posts Tagged ‘hell’

This week: God using Survivor? Some solid personal notes to bookend the current discussion of hell by Tim Challies, Wilson blows up some conventional wisdom, and how not to just drift away from Kevin DeYoung.

‘Survivor’ Update: Hat Tip to the Almighty (by Mark Morning, CT): My wife and I are fans of this show and after we watched the episode that aired this past Wednesday, I was intrigued by what Julie shared and wondered if she meant it. From this article, it looks like she did!

I Hate Hell (by Tim Challies)

I hate hell. I hate that it exists and hate that it needs to exist. I’m amazed to realize that, when we are heaven, we will praise God for it and that we will glorify him for creating such a place and for condemning the unsaved to it. But for now I am too filled with pride, too filled with sin to even begin to justly and rightly rejoice in the existence of such a place of torment. I cannot rejoice in such a place; not yet. It is just too awful, too weighty. And I know that I deserve to be there.

Seven Memes for Keeping Christians in their Place (by Douglas Wilson)

Darwinian evolution is actually the funniest thing I ever heard of. It is so dumb that the average Christian needs at least three years of graduate study from white-haired profs to get adjusted to it.

Lest We Drift Away: A Sermon for Good Friday (by Kevin DeYoung)

Most church people drift away from God not because they meant to, but because they got busy, they got lazy, they got distracted, they had kids, they got a mortgage, a few illnesses came, then some bills, then the in-laws visited for a week, then the mini-van broke down, and before you knew what was happening the seed of the word of God had been choked out by the worries of life.

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This week: some encouraging and yet convicting thoughts on leading your family in worship, more devastating pictures of Japan, the importance of hell by Keller, and Tim Challies gives a solid review of “Love Wins,” the new book by Rob Bell that has caused not a little stir.

11 Reasons to Worship with Your Family (by Jason Helopoulus)

As a pastor I often have individuals approach me with a question about how to minister to their children or spouse in a specific area. Usually they are concerned about a particular sin or struggle in their family member’s life. In this way we serve as firefighters rushing to extinguish this issue or that. At times this is needed, but it should not be our regular course of action. Systematic discipleship is a much better approach and is aided by family worship. Daily family worship will provide a strong foundation that is built upon hearing the Word daily, praying daily, and giving thanks daily. It takes time to build a strong house. It is an unsteady house that is the result of the carpenter running from shaky wall to shaky wall to hammer a nail in here or there.

Japan: The Vast Devastation (from The Big Picture)

The vast devastation wrought by the earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, may only be matched by the destroyed lives left in their wake. Few survivors have been found, but families continue to search for their sons, daughters, wives, husbands and friends. Threats of a nuclear reactor meltdown and resulting disaster loom.

The Importance of Hell (by Tim Keller)

Some years ago I remember a man who said that talk about the fires of hell simply didn’t scare him, it seemed too far-fetched, even silly. So I read him lines from C.S. Lewis:

Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.

To my surprise he got very quiet and said, “Now that scares me to death.” He almost immediately began to see that hell was a) perfectly fair and just, and b) something that he realized he might be headed for if he didn’t change. If we really want skeptics and non-believers to be properly frightened by hell, we cannot simply repeat over and over that ‘hell is a place of fire.’ We must go deeper into the realities that the Biblical images represent. When we do so, we will find that even secular people can be affected.

Love Wins

Love Wins: A Review of Rob Bell’s New Book (by Tim Challies)

Love does win, but not the kind of love that Bell talks about in this book. The love he describes is one that is founded solely on the idea that the primary object of God’s love is man; indeed, the whole story, he writes, can be summed up in these words: “For God so loved the world.” But this doesn’t hold a candle to the altogether amazing love of God as actually shown in the Bible. The God who “shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8), who acts on our behalf not so much because His love for us is great, but because He is great (Isaiah 48:9, Ezekiel 20:9,14,22,44, 36:22; John 17:1-5).

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My wife and I had to chance to finally sit down and watch “The Next 3 Days,” the latest film (now on DVD) starring Russell Crowe with Elizabeth Banks. The premise: happily married with a young son, Lara (Banks) is arrested for the murder of her boss. She appears innocent but the evidence is too much and she sent to prison. John, a community college professor, then does everything he can to clear her but when appeals fail, he puts in motion a plan to break her out of jail. Sounds pretty good, right? A husband strives to fight for and rescue his wife? The movie is intense but falls short a bit. But there is one amazing truth about our culture that this movie exposes. Beware, from this point forward, there will be many spoilers.

Does it Matter if She’s Innocent?

Throughout the entire movie, her innocence is in question. John is convinced. Lara claims innocence and acts innocent. But the evidence against her is overwhelming. Is she really innocent? I was in doubt for most of the movie and she seems to confess her guilt during one critical scene. Of course, after they have escaped all safe and sound, the end gives a big reveal of what really happened. The writer shows that she truly was innocent and in the wrong place at the wrong time. But this reveal is purely for our sake. Why? Why does it matter? It matters because we want love and justice. We want John to rescue her out of his love for her and to win the day. But we also want justice. It would indeed matter to us if she killed her boss and then got away with it. We would respect her husband’s efforts but we would rage that a crime was not paid for.

The writer and director knows that this matters to us. That’s why the end scenes are in there. Do you realize how profound that is? If she wasn’t innocent, her husband’s love would not be enough, especially on top of the compromises he has to make in his own path of wreckage to break her out. Love is not enough in our worldly perspective. We want love but we don’t want hell. We thirst for justice but we want second chances for ourselves and those we care about. The Next 3 Days just emphasizes how we cannot fathom how you can actually satisfy both.

Only Jesus Satisfies Both Love and Justice

This is the truth that this film indirectly revealed fresh to me: Jesus satisfied both love and justice. In The Next 3 Days, John’s love leads to her rescue but he has to break the law to do it. It’s merely the lesser of the two evils: her escape over a few drug dealers’ lives. Even then it only feels right because we find out she truly was innocent.

This is not how Jesus redeems us. Jesus broke us out of jail by paying for it himself. He demonstrates his love for going to all measures to get us but even more so because we were not innocent. We are guilty of capital sin against God. There is no doubt. We are not convicted purely out of circumstantial evidence but the evidence is as good as video and multiple witnesses all telling the exact same story. Justice needs to be satisfied for our sin and Jesus fulfills it himself. He took the guilt and suffering of hell on himself.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17 ESV)

Do we realize how much better this is than getting illegally busted out of prison for a crime we didn’t commit and then living free but on the run the rest of your life, like Lara and John, always looking behind, waiting for that one day when you’re found out? There’s no looking back in Christ. Your sin is paid for. You’re never going back to prison. There are no authorities looking for you. You’re clear and your record has been wiped clean forever. Jesus is the only one who satisfied the justice that sin demanded and yet loved us so much He took it on Himself and restored our relationship with the Father.

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