Tuesday, January 14, 2014
WHAT JOY IS THERE IN KNOWING ABOUT HELL?
This morning my day started all wrong. Not bad wrong, just wrong. The first thing was that I overslept. The second was that the first thing that came my way was a phone call from my insurance agent which set me off on a totally weird bunch of thinking about where I used to live. There are grounds for that, but I won’t go into them except to say I may not be able to get online with my insurance company because I cannot remember my past addresses. Sigh
So then I am trying to do my reading for the day and guess where my mind keeps wandering: To places I have lived but do not have a record of the addresses.
Finally, in desperation, I cried out to the Lord to help me pay attention to what I was reading. Wonder of wonders, - :) - He did. When will I learn, when will I learn!?
This morning’s reading was again in J. Vernon McGee’s commentary and it was the finish up of Psalm 21. God has been highly praised for answered prayer and now we are looking at the coming result for the enemies that He has here on earth: Psalm 21:8-9
Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies; thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: The Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.
Revelation closes out with the strongest pictures of hell which can be found. Chapters 18-22 speak plainly of this fire which will receive and make an end to all death, even hell itself. Not only will there be a hell for those who do not know Christ, there will be a fiery end for them and for the hell they reside in. The earth will be rid of all that is sin.
McGee cites an instance where a man told him “I don’t believe in hell!” McGee then said, “Do you know that you are in disagreement with the Bible?” “I don’t care,” he said, I don’t believe there is a hell.” McGee answered, “You will someday. The day will come when you will find that it is true.” And with that he ceased to argue.
We learn quickly that arguing with someone about God will not achieve anything except to make both look like fools. God can make His own arguments in the hearts of others. Our job is to state the truth, with no embarrassment or anger and to leave the rest to God. Yes, we can agree to disagree without feeling we have let God down. He is the one who will take what we said and use it to His glory.
But where is the Joy and the Peace in knowing about hell at all? Why is it an appropriate subject for us to know and understand?
Well, I suppose that it is certainly necessary for us to believe that all sinners are in serious danger from the very existence of hell. Otherwise, why would we care whether they believe or do not believe? How urgent would our calling be if we do not believe in hell and hell fire?
But we also need to remember constantly what it is that we have been saved from. And we need to become comfortable with the fact that one day we will rejoice that those who refused God and encouraged sin in this world will not be just dead, but totally destroyed in the lake of fire.
Rejoice? You, bet. We will be there watching this destruction and the 24 elders, the angels and those who believe will not only watch but will sing, “Hallelujah!.” Revelation chapter 19 is the true Hallelujah Chorus and is where Handel gets his inspiration. Singing Hallelujah is a beautiful, wonder filled thing to do. It is not a funeral dirge of “woe.” It is a celebratory exclamation of the Highest Praise for God’s faithfulness to Himself and to us.
We suffer from the same results of Original Sin as the rest of the world. We, however, have been saved from the same end result as unbelievers and sin encouragers on this earth. We have been saved through faith in Christ; and we have the hope of being totally released from the clutches of, and even the very presence of, sin in our lives or anywhere around us. That is something to rejoice about and to hope in as we travel this journey on earth.
May we realize that we have been gloriously saved from a truly horrible end of life; and may we see that we can rejoice that one day God will rid this earth of all sin and evil through fire. May we also stand firm in our belief that God will be victorious over all sin, and affects of sin, in and on this earth. And may we sing “Hallelujah” with renewed spirit and joy, knowing that it is the highest praise of all to our God.
Even so, come Lord Jesus! Amen.