My conviction is Hell is a place where God Is Not. Hell suggests a separation from the Divine. A punishment? No, more a choice: to dwell in the presence of God, or not to. An omnipresent God, by syllogistic argument, must be everywhere in existence at all times. If Hell is indeed a place that exists within existence, then God, therefore, must be there. However, in my view, theology makes the argument that if God be God, He can make up His own damned rules.

Word came during choir rehearsal that
the young man had died

in a car crash. And these wails of agony went up, people falling out in shock and disbelief, mourning this young man, crying out to God. It got so bad the folk got out of the choir stand and left, saying they were too disturbed to continue. Some figuring it would be disrespectful to the young man or his family to simply continue with the rehearsal as though nothing had happened. Okay, first we have to separate man’s work from God’s work. Stacking boxes at Wal-Mart is man’s work. Choir rehearsal is God’s work. Please, folk, when you hear I’m dead, please finish your rehearsal. Leaving rehearsal won’t bring me back to life or bring my loved ones any comfort. The first and best thing any of us can ever do is to honor God. Second, upon hearing this story, the first thing I wondered was, of the people wailing and carrying on, how many of them had shared Jesus Christ with this young man? You see, if this young man knew Jesus Christ, what on earth was all that hollering about? If he did not know Jesus, then the hollering shouldn’t be for him, shouldn’t be for his family, but should be for us: our great remorse at having blown it, at having allowed this young person that was obviously so loved to slip into a Christ-less eternity.

Watching the Word Network these days, I don’t hear a whole lot about sin. I hear a lot about money. Not much about sin. And almost nothing said at all about hell. What they offer most consistently is not Christ but some book or DVD telling you how good you are. Well, pal, you’re not good. Somebody ought to love God enough to tell you that. The Bible says so: you’re not good. I’m not good. Bishop Phony Bling-Bling isn’t good. None of us are good. Romans 3:10 says there is none righteous. Not Bishop, not me, not you.

To believe in God, to truly believe in Him, is to both love and fear Him. Because, if the Bible be true and God be God, then, certainly, the consequences of sin are true as well. And this is something almost nobody talks about anymore: If you do not know Jesus Christ in the pardoning of your sin, you are on your way to hell. I know nobody wants to preach that anymore. I know nobody wants to even believe it anymore. It’s all Prosperity Doctrine and Happy Feet Doctrine and You Can’t Lose With the Stuff I Use Doctrine. But this is the truth. Not my truth, God’s truth. Just as heaven and God are surely real, the terrible consequences of rejecting God are real also.

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To the believers: evangelism isn’t just for evangelists. Evangelism is our duty. Just as surely as dragging a child out of a burning building is our moral obligation, telling people about Jesus Christ is a moral imperative because there are consequences—to them and to us—if we do not. This thing called hell. It’s what we deserve. It’s what we’ve earned. It’s not a punishment, not some bad thing God is “doing” to us. We were born in sin and shaped in iniquity [Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5]. Just by being born, we entered a sinful world in a sinful state, our feet set on a path that leads to eternal damnation.

Which brings us to our topic of the moment.

No. 420  |  June 2014   Study   FAITH 101   The Church   Politics   Life   Sisters   A Preacher's Confession   Keeping It Real   Zion   Donate