Hell is for real


Many have raised the question and discussed the existence of a literal place called Hell. Is Hell for real? I believe that it is, in fact Jesus Himself spoke more about the literal existence of Hell than anybody else in the Bible. Another word for Hell is the lake of fire mentioned four times in the book of Revelation. What is that place and where is it?  

 I don’t think that anyone really knows for sure. 

There are some that believe that hell is in the center of the earth, while others believe that it may be far out in the universe i.e. the outer darkness Jesus spoke off. “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Mat 25:30. This phrase was used by the Lord  three times in the gospel of Matthew. 

The word Hell appears 32 times in all of the Bible. In the Hebrew the word hell is Sheol. According to the concordance the word Sheol can mean:  underworld, grave, hell, pit. The OT designation for the abode of the dead or: 1) place of no return 2) without praise of God.  3) wicked sent there for punishment.  4) righteous not abandoned to it.  5) of the place of exile.  6) of extreme degradation in sin.

In the New Testament which was written in the Greek the word Hell/Sheol is translated as Gehenna. Here is what the concordance list as to what it means: 1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.

The Apostle Peter in his second epistle uses the word tartaroo to describe Hell. Concordance: 1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews. 2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus.

I believe that Peter used this word because he was writing to a Greek audience and they knew what he meant by the word Tartaroo.

There are many even within Christendom that either flat-out deny the existence of Hell or fail to speak about from the pulpit. Just as many deny the existence of Satan i.e. the Devil. Universalism teaches that there is no Hell and that eventually everybody will be saved. Then there are those that would say, if God is so loving, why does He sent people to Hell? 

First of all, God does not send people to Hell, they send themselves there by rejecting His free gift of salvation which is through His Son Christ Jesus. He did not come into the world to send people to Hell, He came to set people free from sin and the white throne judgment of God that all of those who reject Jesus will have to face one day.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:16-20.

Many people know John 3:16, but many forget to read the other verses to get the full context of what Jesus was saying.  God loves us and he demonstrated His love by giving His only begotten Son, but many do not want to believe, do not care or simply reject Him. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Rom 3:23).  All of us have broken God’s divine laws and we deserve punishment.

God by His Mercy and Grace has provided a way to avoid that judgment and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Those who believe by faith will be saved and inherit eternal life. Those who reject will have a different destiny; Hell or eternal separation from God.

Some may say that God does not exist, therefore Hell does not exist. Can they really be sure? Can they be sure hat there is nothing after death?  I may not be able to proof the existence of God or Hell to an unbeliever or someone who rejects God completely, but I know that I know that God is for real, heaven is for real and unfortunately Hell is for real.

God does not want anybody to end up in Hell and I believe that He makes every effort to save people from that place. He does this through His word and the witness of others that share the gospel. People have to really harden their hearts before God let’s them go, just as Pharaoh did. It is not God that hardens the hearts of people. God gave Pharaoh many chances to listen to Him, but Pharaoh hardened his heart each time and rejected,  until God finally let him go.

I hope that there are many out there that have a soft heart that hear the call and the voice of God. This world as we know it is coming to an end. I don’t know the day or the hour, we are on God’s prophetic time clock. Looking at the world today, it’s a few seconds before midnight.

I’m no expert on Hell either, neither do I want to be, I never wanna see or be at that place wherever it may be. I hope that if you are an unbeliever and read this, not to laugh it off, but to at least think about what Jesus said and what He did. Jesus did for us what we could not do ourselves. He died for you and me, taking our deserved punishment so that we can spend eternity with Him. Eternity is a long time and there are only two destinations; Heaven or Hell. Which one will you choose?

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6.

 

Sinless Christians?


I have had several people tell me over the years that they are sinless and sin no more. Their argument is that born again believers are a new creation and thus they cannot sin and they have overcome sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. They quote 1 John 3 which says that a believer can no longer sin.

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” 1John 3:9.

Sounds pretty convincing and convicting doesn’t it? Is John saying that a believer cannot sin and if he or she does they are of the Devil?

Let’s go back a few verses: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” 1John 3:3-6.

They following contains a few exerts from commentary by John Stott and David Guzik. I ‘m gonna put some closing thoughts at the end.

Sin is lawlessness: John defines sin at its most basic root. It is a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for God Himself.

We often fail in the battle against sin because we won’t call it for what it is: lawlessness, an offense against the Great Law Maker, God. Instead, we say things like “If I’ve done anything wrong . . .” or “Mistakes were made . . .” and so forth. Call it for what it is: sin and lawlessness. “The first step towards holy living is to recognize the true nature and wickedness of sin.” (Stott)

You know that He was manifested to take away our sins: John here defined the mission of Jesus Christ at its most basic root – to take away our sins. The angel Gabriel promised Joseph regarding the ministry of Jesus: “you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin.” Luke 1:21

Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the penalty of our sin. This is immediately accomplished when one comes by faith to Jesus.

Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the power of sin away. This is an ongoing work in the lives of those who walk after Jesus.

Jesus takes away our sin in the sense of taking the presence of sin away. This is a work that will be completed when we pass into eternity and are glorified with Jesus.

He was manifested to take away our sins: This is the work of Jesus in our life. It is a work we must respond to, but it is His work in us.

We cannot take away the penalty of our own sin. It is impossible to cleanse ourselves in this way. We must instead receive the work of Jesus in taking away our sin.

We cannot take away the power of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, and we respond to that work. Someone who comes to Jesus does not have to clean themselves up first, but they must be willing to have Him take away their sin.

We cannot take away the presence of sin in our lives. This is His work in us, ultimately accomplished when we will be glorified with Him.

In Him there is no sin: Jesus had no sin to take away; therefore He could take away our sin, taking it upon Himself.

Abiding in sin or abiding in God.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin: Since sin is lawlessness, a disregard for God ( 1 John 3:4) and since Jesus came to take away our sins (1 John 3:5), and since in Jesus there is no sin, then to abide in Him means to not sin.

It is very important to understand what the Bible means – and when it does not mean – when it says does not sin. According to the verb tense John uses, does not sin means does not live a life style of habitual sin. John has already told us in 1 John 1:8. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. In 1 John 1:8, the grammar indicates John is speaking about occasional acts of sin. The grammar of 1 John 1:6 indicates that John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. John is not teaching here the possibility of sinless perfection.

“The present tense in the Greek verb implied habit, continuity, unbroken sequence” (Stott); the NIV has the right idea when it translates these verbs with phrases such as keeps on sinning, continues to sin, and he cannot go on sinning.

Whoever abides in Him does not sin: John’s message is plain and consistent with the rest of the Scriptures. It tells us that a life style of habitual sin is inconsistent with a life of abiding in Jesus Christ. A true Christian can only be temporarily in a life style of sin.

Paul’s teaching in Romans 6 is a great example of this principle. He shows us that when a person comes to Jesus, when their sins are forgiven and God’s grace is extended to them, they are radically changed – the old man is dead, and the new man lives. So it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Christ to be comfortable in habitual sin; such a place can only be temporary for the Christian.

In some ways, the question is not “do you sin or not?” We all sin. The question is, “How do you react when you sin? Do you give into the pattern of sin, and let it dominate your lifestyle? Or do you humbly confess your sin, and do battle against it with the power Jesus can give?”

This is why it is so grieving to see Christians make excuses for their sin, and not humbly confess them. Unless the sin is dealt with squarely, it will contribute to a pattern of sin that may soon become their lifestyle – perhaps a secret lifestyle, but a lifestyle nonetheless.

What is important is that we never sign a “peace treaty” with sin. We never wink at its presence or excuse it by saying, “Everybody has their own sinful areas, and this is mine. Jesus understands.” This completely goes against everything we are in Jesus, and the work He has done in our life.

Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him: To live a lifestyle of habitual sin is to demonstrate that you have not seen Him (in a present sense of the ultimate “seeing Him mentioned in 1 John 3:2), and that you have not known Him. There are some people so great and so wonderful that seeing them or knowing them will change your life forever. Jesus is that kind of person. (David Guzik)

So, if some claim that they are sinless, are they deceiving themselves? I strongly believe so. As long as we live on this earth in our earthly bodies we cannot and will not be perfect. They only sinless and perfect One is our Lord Jesus Christ. If people could be perfect and sinless on their own, than Christ did in vain. Why do we pray the Lord’s prayer where it says “forgive us our trespasses?” Why did Jesus in His letters to the seven churches ask them to repent? What about the passage in Revelation?

“Then “I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” Rev 12:10.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” 1 John 1:8-10.

 

The Grace of God


I believe that many believers have never really fully comprehended what grace truly means for the believer.  We hear the word grace many times, we hear about justice and mercy. Let me first say that mercy and justice are very much different from grace. Justice is something that we all deserve for we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.

Mercy is not receiving what we deserve. We are all guilty before God and because God is a just God, He has to punish the sinners. He cannot compromise His perfect law and justice. If any of us committed  a crime in this world and we had to appear before a judge and the judge would say, “you know what, I feel great today, I let you go.” That judge would not be a just judge. Crimes require a penalty, either with a fine or jail time.

The same thing is true with God our heavenly judge, He cannot just say, “don’t worry I let you off the hook.” A just judge will give a sentence that fit’s the crime committed, but he cannot let the person go free without any kind of  penalty. That is justice according to the laws of the land. The judge hands down the punishment, a fine of $50.000 for the crime committed. The person say’s “I don’t have that kind of money.” The judge decides because the person can’t pay the fine, to impose a jail sentence instead. Just as the officers begins to handcuff the person someone comes in and pays the fine for the convicted criminal. The man is free to go, someone paid his  fine for him. Not only that, when the men goes to his bank, he finds out that there is a deposit on his account for one million dollars.

That is what God did for us,  Jesus paid the penalty for the sinners. He took all the punishment that we deserved upon Him at the cross. He is our propitiation i.e appeasement.  It is by God’s grace that those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are pardoned from their sins. The sinner is justified before God because Jesus paid it all. We were all deserving of the judgment and the punishment is eternal separation from God. But because God in His mercy and Grace gave His only Son so that we may live. Grace is a free gift. We cannot earn it or improve on it.

All believers are declared justified before God and that is just like we never ever sinned. God sees us through the blood of Jesus and He sees His righteousness. It is not by our righteousness or good works, it is the righteousness of Christ that was imputed onto the believers.God has bestowed His grace upon the believer and His grace is sufficient and will never wear out.

Many believers are trying so hard to please God, either by good works or some acts of righteousness. They live a legalistic life with commandments and ordinances and the result is that they have placed themselves into a life of bondage. They live under constant condemnation because they never feel that they are good enough. They are working so hard that they have forgotten the grace of God that they are trying to please God in the flesh which is impossible. No one can please God by the works of the flesh. One of the last words of Jesus on the cross were, Tetelstai or, it is finished.  Relax, Jesus did it all for us. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

I believe that we need to remind ourselves sometimes that it is by God’s grace that we are saved and that there is nothing we can do to change that. He will never leave us nor forsake us. None of us is perfect and if we could be perfect on our own,  Christ died in vain. We all stumble from time to time or mess up, but God’s grace covers it all.

The believer is justified the moment they believe in Jesus, that is unchangeable and irreversible. There is sanctification and that is a life long process. Everyday we are conformed more and more into the image of Christ. As we let go of the things of this world we draw nearer to Christ until the day arrives that we will be glorified with Him.

In the meantime listen to the still small voice and abide in Christ and He will finish our faith. He is the author and finisher of our faith. To me that sounds like that Jesus is writing my book and with every chapter written, I’m one step closer to heaven.

I thank God for His grace and His love and mercy towards me. Without the gift of grace and the sacrifice of Jesus, I would be hopeless and lost. Thank you Lord for revealing Yourself to me when I needed You most. You are the way the truth and the life. Thank you Father for your grace and I pray that many will come to realize that you love them and that they would turn from the world and embrace you and you promise of everlasting life.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”Eph 2:8,9.

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1, 2. 

Do not cast your Pearls before Swine


“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Mat 7:6

Dogs and swine in this context are those who are hostile to the gospel i.e. the good news. There are many who hear the gospel, but do not receive it and even mock the once sharing the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. The Pearls of the precious gospel is foolishness to those who do not want to believe. They are blinded by the god of this age (2Cr 4:4).

The gospel is foolishness to them: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 2Cr 2:14

Instead of receiving the gospel with joy as many, they ridicule and reject the good news of salvation and eternal life. Jesus is basically saying, don’t waste your time on those who will not hear, they are too blind to see and they do not want to come to the knowledge of the truth but in return mock and ridicule the Christian who shares with them. This should not discourage us from sharing the gospel, but if rejected over and over again by the same person(s) we are witnessing to, than we need to know when to stop and let the Holy Spirit do the work on that person’s heart, we ourselves can not save anybody, it is God that saves. We can only share the good news and know when to step aside, we might miss  another opportunity witnessing to someone with a more open heart.

There are many that are seeking the truth, the truth is in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. He paid our penalty that was due, because God loved us even when we were yet sinners. He demonstrated His love for us at he cross.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16


Simply teach the word Simply


I have been involved for quite some time now using social networks and other internet sites to post Christian oriented videos, writing from a biblical perspective. I have made many friends (some enemies) and met some very interesting people. It is a blessing to see so many people using the internet and various sites to promote and proclaim the gospel.

The whole world is within reach, people from all over the world are just a few mouse clicks away. There are many people out there that are lost and seeking for the truth.  Many have questions about the Christian faith, what we believe and why we believe and how to live the Christian life. Questions like, why is Jesus the only way to salvation and to heaven, and  why do Christians believe that the Bible is the infallible and true word of God? What is the difference between Jesus or Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna and other spiritual philosophies?  What is the difference between Christianity and Islam or any other religion, do we not all believe in the same God? Are there not many path that lead to everlasting life and eternity besides Jesus?

These and many other questions are asked every day by people who are truly seeking. What a great opportunity for us as believers to share our faith with them. I believe that if we study the word of God and present the gospel in its purest form, that many will see that the gospel is very simple. God has made salvation available for those who want it and there are no ladders to climb, nirvana’s to reach or fences to break down.

The difference between Christianity and other religions is that in religion man is trying to reach up to God. All religions are man centered. Christianity is quite the opposite, God reaches down to fallen man and that is much easier for me to comprehend than working for my salvation and proofing myself to God, never knowing if I will ever be good enough. Christians are not perfect or better people than anybody else, Christians are sinners that have been forgiven because they have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Heaven is not full of good people, heaven is full of forgiven people.

God by His mercy and His grace has reconciled us to Him through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and shed blood on the cross. The gospel means good news and we as Christians have good news to share: God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

That is the good news, Jesus who knew no sin was made sin for us. Unfortunately, there are those on the same internet sites that are proclaiming to be Christians, complicating the word of God. They have perverted the gospel, twisted the truth and compromised the word of God. They are false teachers, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, drawing people into their destructive heresies. They are misleading many onto the broad road that leads to destruction, missing the narrow gate. They pose as wise men, fulfilling their desires of the flesh and prey on the weak. Followers and disciples of Christ have an obligation to warn those who are being led astray and to rebuke those who teach the way of Balaam. The internet can be used for the furthering of the kingdom in a mighty way, but as we all know it also can be used to destroy and kill. Satan is not sleeping, he is never-resting, neither should we. He knows his time is coming to an end and he is trying to keep as many as possible away from the truth. This is where I think we as true and genuine believers can make a difference.

We may not be perfect, but we can be honest and share the truth so that many can be saved and find the true and simple way which is only through Jesus Christ. God is not the author of confusion and if we proclaim and teach the word for what it is and not make it into what it is not, chance are that people will listen. Simply teach the word simply. The gospel is foolishness to the world. The gospel is simple, lets us keep it simple and explain the gospel in a simple unadulterated way. Let us have the heart of God, loving one another and care for each other. Let us proclaim the truth to the world as God desires it, Simply.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1Cr 1:18

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” 1Cr 1:21

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” 1Cr 1:25-31

Relationship or Religion?


True and genuine biblical Christianity is not a religion but rather a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There are many religious people out there that think they have to add to the grace of God by their works. They are trying to please God by their works. The problem with all religions is that man is trying to reach God on their own merits. 

Christianity teaches the opposite, God has reached down to man. The religious people are trying desperately to please God with their righteous works and deeds. It is not the righteousness of man who God accepts, it is the righteousness of Christ which is imputed by God to every genuine believer.  True Christians do not stand on their own righteousness, they stand on the righteousness which is in Christ. 

Our own righteousness are filthy rags before God. “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6

Salvation is believing in Christ alone, not any church, denomination etc.  Jesus had to deal with religious people in His days i.e. the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees were the conservatives and the Sadducess were the liberals of the day.  They were doing all the outward religious practices, the looked and acted holy and people thought of them as the most spiritual people.  Jesus confronted them on many occasions about their religious behaviors and teachings. The religious people thought that they obeyed the law of Moses perfectly. They thought that they have kept the Ten  commandments perfectly.  Jesus showed them otherwise.

In the sermon on the mount in the gospel of Matthew especially chapter five, we find how Jesus looked at the law.  It was not the outward obedience and fulfillment of the letter of the law as the religious leadership believed and taught, but it was an issue of the heart.  Here is one example, “you shall not commit adultery”.  The religious leader would have boasted, “we never slept with a woman besides our wives, thus we never broke that law.”

Here is what Jesus said concerning adultery:“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mat 5:27, 28 Clearly Jesus showed His authority over the law when He said, “but I say to you.” He raised the law up a notch, showing them that it was not the letter, but that the law was written upon every man’s heart.  It was a matter of the heart, the law was a school master to drive man back to God. Jesus also said: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” Mat 15:18-20.

Personally,  I don’t care how religious or good some may think they are, or how spiritual,  if the heart is not right, nothing else matters. How does God view man’s heart? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah17:9, 10

People that are portraying themselves as more spiritual or claim to have more knowledge, often border on self-righteousness.  The bottom line is that religion, certain rituals, church membership, titles, affiliations or head knowledge that will and cannot save a person. Salvation is in Christ alone through faith. Genuine faith is demonstrated in good works, bearing fruit,  we are not saved by working for our salvation.  Salvation is a true gift of God and the person that believes and has received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is justified before God.

Christianity has no room for religion.  Justification by God is a one time deal and cannot be improved on or changed. Sanctification is a life long process in which God changes the believer more and more into the image of Christ. It is Christ that has justified us the believers before God and it is God that works in the lives of every believer until they are face to face with Him.  “..being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;…” Phl 1:6