Saturday, August 30, 2014

Where is hell?

The Word for today:
2 Thessalonians 1
mark this: 2 Thessalonians 1:9
They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.
Where is hell?
I don't know, but here's the road I took to get there:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25)
Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (Matthew 7:13)
The notion of hell seems a little quaint to our sophisticated ears. Jesus, however, wasn't so sophisticated. He spoke of hell often, far more often than anyone else in scripture. And when he spoke of hell, he described it in the most harrowing terms. Time and time again he describes the "weeping and gnashing of teeth," the "eternal fire," the "outer darkness," the "worm that does not die, and the fire that is not quenched."
Jesus spoke of hell in real, concrete terms, just like we would talk about a visit to, oh, Baltimore. Hell for Jesus is an address, a destination. It is not just a concept or a state of mind.
Man built hell. As if sin were bricks, we walled ourselves--brick by brick--away from God.
Jesus came to rescue us from this dungeon of our own making. The reason Jesus Christ died was not to give us sparkling personalities and successful lives. He came to redeem the lost, to save us from hell.
The most literal understanding we can have of hell is that it is a condition of being forever excluded from the LORD’s presence:
They will be punished with everlasting destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
God is the source of everything good (see James 1:17)--beauty, truth, life, love, joy, peace, grace, strength, forgiveness. All those things come only from God, and if someone chooses sin and self-will over these good things, God finally says, “Have it your way.”
Ultimately, then, hell will be the result of one’s own choosing. C.S. Lewis famously--and correctly--remarked, “The doors of hell are locked on the inside.”
Hell is eternal death (see below.)
Death is, in every case, a separation. (Death is never a cessation of existence, as we mistakenly think of it.)
There are three kinds of death in Scripture:
* Physical death, which is the separation of the spirit from the body. That is what we ordinarily call death. Adam didn’t actually die physically until 930 years after he died spiritually.
* Spiritual death, which is separation from God. This is what happened to man in the Garden of Eden when God said that man would die in the day he ate of the fruit. (See Genesis 2:17; Ephesians 2:1.)
* Eternal death, which is eternal separation from God. It is described as “the second death" in Revelation 20:14. It is what we--and the Bible--call hell.
So, where is hell?
I don't know, but here's the way to never find out:
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one gets to the Father but by me. (John 14:6)
(1) see Matthew 5:22; 8:12; 10:28; 22:13; 23:33; 25:41; 25:46; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 16:24; John 5:49; etc.

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