DayBreaks for 04/13/12 – As Hell Has Disappeared
From the DayBreaks archive, dated 04/18/02:
When we were little kids, we all had our fears. Some strange character called “the boogey-man” haunted our nightmares and inhabited the spaces under our beds and in the closets of our rooms. But time has passed and we know that there isn’t really a boogey-man. Sadly, we’ve discovered that there are much worse things in this world than “the boogey-man”.
One of the things that our world and culture has done away with is hell. When is the last time you heard a sermon on the topic? It is in the bible – over and over and over – and unless you decide to trash the entire bible, you can’t trash hell. Sadly, though, our wishes and hopes don’t determine reality. While we might wish hell was just a literary device (like the boogey-man) and that it would go away, God is the only One who can make such a thing happen. And while He hasn’t made hell go away, He has managed to snatch us out of hell’s grasp.
Listen to Calvin Miller’s reflection on the result of the “death” of hell and our role in our culture: “…traditional doctrinal values have been shot full of holes with the cannonade of multiculturalism. Salvation itself has been widened far beyond the definition of Scripture. Hell for the culturally elite isn’t there anymore. As hell has disappeared, heaven is generally broadened to include everyone who dies. All of this…goes to say that the secular realm will require our lives to be a sacrament. But his burden is light. There are strawberries in the darkness. We whistle in the darkness, indeed, we must or the old tune will be lost.
“But what is that tune?
“The tune is the unchanging nature of spiritual reality. This unchanging truth is grounded in God’s Word. Nay, it is God’s Word!
“However, God sent out his warnings against time as it operates to change the content of His timeless truth. Jude 3 asks us to ‘contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’”
The fact that hell has disappeared for our culture makes it all that much more important for us to sing the Song, to whistle the tune of the truth to a world that longs to believe lies. Why does the world want to believe lies? Because they believe it sets them free. As long as there is no hell, they need not fear spending eternity there and they don’t need to fear judgment for their deeds. Jesus, however, wanted us to know the truth. Lies can’t give us freedom, only the truth can do so: “You shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set you free.” (John 8:32) The truth is that there is a heaven where God wants all of us to be – but there is also a hell where we can choose to be if that is what we want. The choice still exists and people are making decisions about it day in and day out, moment by moment.
The world needs to hear the truth. Will you whistle the tune so that they can hear?
PRAYER: Let us not fear the truth, Father, let us run to the Truth and there find our true freedom! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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