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Archive for the ‘heaven’ Category

I was listening to Dennis Miller on the radio yesterday and picked up on an interesting topic of conversation concerning the Christian view of heaven and hell.  He said that the majority of Christians that he knew were good people, but he really couldn’t stand the groups that say those that don’t profess Jesus to be Lord are going to spend the rest of eternity in hell.  I like Dennis and can understand why it seems a little unloving to send a message that really leaves the listener with no choice.  Where is the love in a God that forces you to call him Lord or throws you in the fires of Hell for all eternity?  The message that says “you are all going to hell!” surely isn’t the “good news” talked about in Scripture is it?

I think the problem has arisen through the message some Christian’s send that is not “news” and could no way be considered “good.”  The problem is that we have confused the message we are supposed to be sharing to the world with the message we are supposed to be sharing with the church.  We all need to learn to speak the words of Paul and say “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” (1 Cor 5:12)

The problem is that there is no more “good news” left in our message.  We share about a God who is going to either send you to heaven or to hell and it all depends on whether or not you agree to the reality that he died and rose form the dead three days later so that one day on the distant future you will be forgiven of your sins and get to spend an eternity in heaven with this God you don’t know while all your friends here on earth spend their eternity in hell burning like Johnsonville brat’s on the grill for all eternity with no hope of ever receiving relief. 

If you look at Paul’s message in Acts 17 you will see that he mentions nothing of hell to the pagan philosophers of the day.  This message instead brings the good news of God’s unveiling of himself to the Greek people of the day.  It was a message that revealed a God that could be known and walked with through life.  A God who allow sinful man to have relationship with him despite their out and out rebellion towards him.  Finally these men could stop talking about God and begin to talk with God.  Eternity could start now and this was evidenced in the resurrection.  The good news is that heaven has come to earth and all those willing could enter this rest today.

I think this whole heaven and hell thing would be better understood in the answering of this question: “Is this life more like heaven or more like hell?”

Jesus said that hell is a place where there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matt 8:12)  Is this something we can relate to, or is it pain we cannot relate to?  Just this week there have been two murderers brought to justice and at each of their sentencing the families who spoke were definitely weeping and gnashing their teeth.  Anyone who has lost a loved one, suffered divorce, been wronged by a friends, been robbed or cheated, suffered loss, etc. has experienced pain and gnashing of teeth. 

For people in these times of life’s troubles, does it not stand to reason that they know more of what hell is like than what heaven is like?  For most people hell is their point of reference.  This is why when Jesus looked at people he saw men and women who were already suffering, not needing to hear another message about suffering. (Matt. 9:36)

What would happen if Christians began to express a message that heaven was coming to earth and that anyone from the most seedy to the purest of us could freely enter?  What would our generation have to say about the good news then?

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