Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.“
A Stern Warning
These words are a stern warning to us as we approach our daily choices. However when we read through Judges, the impact becomes even greater. The book of Judges is a very sobering read. Time and time again the people of Israel choose to reject God and do it their way. They did not drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan as God instructed (Judges 1:19, 28-36), didn’t break down the alters (2:2), and worshipped the Baals and other gods, abandoning God (2:11-13). As a result God’s judgement came upon Israel. God didn’t drive out the inhabitants so that they would become a thorn in their side (2:3). Whenever they marched out against the enemies, the hand of God was against Israel so that harm would come to them. Israel were in terrible distress as a result of God’s judgement (2:15). Yet despite Israel’s disobedience, God still showed His mercy in sending judges to help them stay on God’s path for them. Yet they continued to disobey God and His commandments. As a result the anger of the Lord burned against them (3:8).
The Result: Eternity in Hell
This picture of the judgement of God doesn’t seem to be articulated much these days, yet we worship the same God as the one who judged Israel for their wickedness. God’s wrath and judgement is a scary thought. I suspect not too many people talk about it as it understandably makes us feel very uncomfortable. Yet it shouldn’t make us feel that way if we understand the gospel message which I will touch on later. In fact the Gospel is incomplete if we don’t learn of God’s judgement, why we deserve it and how we can be spared from it. My heart goes out to those oblivious to the judgement of God, especially given our churches seem to do little to teach of it and highlight to people their need for a Saviour. Without the atoning work of Christ upon our lives, we all will experience the wrath of God at His judgement seat when we die. The inevitable result is an eternity separated from God in hell. If that is not a petrifying thought then I don’t know what is.
For many people this reality goes against our mindset of the loving God we like to worship. But why does it sound harsh? In a way those people are receiving what they want – a life devoid of God. When there is weeping and knashing of teeth in the torment of hell, it will be too late to turn back to God. Those who choose to go against God now will spend eternity separated from Him in hell.
Yet we cry out that it’s not fair that God allows anyone to go to hell. We seem to want to do it our way and yet walk freely through heaven’s gates and experience eternal bliss. Surely a God of love would let us go to heaven if we are at least good people in the eyes of this world? Despite what much of this world would like to believe, this couldn’t be further from the truth. To teach or believe this will lead to eternally devastating consequences. It goes against all God stands for! There are consequences to our actions. God is just. We are all sinful no matter how good we think we are and God must deal with our sin justly. If He doesn’t then He would not be consistent with who He is. He cannot allow any sin to come into His presence and go unpunished.
Instead of whinging whether God is fair or not… a completely fruitless argument by the way… we should be rejoicing that God has mercifully offered us a way that satisfies His desire for justice and yet enables us to be safe and secure with Him forever, free from condemnation, His wrath and an eternity in Hell.
The mercy of God is only found in Christ
Just as God mercifully sent judges to early Israel to help direct them onto the right path, He has extended His hand of mercy to us through Jesus Christ. In Christ alone we have hope. God has made it possible for us to be in His presence forever despite our sinfulness and rebellion against Him. God the Father sacrificed God the Son, Jesus Christ so that we could be redeemed. Christ took on His shoulder’s God’s wrath and judgement so that we who have faith in Him may be spared. How dare we whinge about whether God is fair in His judgement on us when our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, took the full brunt of our punishment in our place! He was innocent and was the only one in history who didn’t deserve God’s wrath. Yet that was part of God’s good plan to redeem His children (Eph 1:3-14). Try and get your head around that one! God’s brutal sacrifice of His own Son was part of His good plan to spare us an eternity in hell, separated from God forever. What a merciful God we worship. His love for us knows no end despite our wicked and rebellious hearts.
So where do you stand?
So where do you stand with God? If you were to die tomorrow, would you be exposed to facing God’s judgement and wrath as a result of your sin, or do you stand redeemed through trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you? If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, then I plea with you to do so. You don’t know when you will die. When death comes it will be too late if we haven’t turned to Christ. It doesn’t matter how good you perceive yourself to be, or how many good deeds you have done. Without the atoning work of Christ on our lives we are all condemned before God and will face His wrath.
If you have accepted Christ then rejoice in the truth that you are a redeemed person, free from condemnation in God’s sight. Continue to persevere in your faith as a testimony to the spiritual rebirth within and the certain hope that you are secure with God forever.
What a joyous realization that is. What peace that brings to our hearts in a world of such wickedness, uncertainty and despair.
Stuart, I can understand why people find this teaching from Scripture hard to accept. Even though I do, I find myself feeling a little squeamish seeing it in a post on our blogsite.
No doubt Satan loves to encourage the response, “But how can a loving God…etc, etc.”
For so long the church has avoided this doctrine for fear of offending. Yet for many, this is the very teaching that drives them to the foot of the cross.
Robert L. (Bob) Deffinbaugh, wrote this excellent piece, “A Hell to Shun”, that readers who struggle with this doctrine should read.
Thanks for the courage that posting this took.
Soli deo gloria
Why not invite John Blanchard to come from the UK to take some apologetics meetings for you. His careful, painstaking, and winsome approach will be a great encouragement to you and to all those you might want to invite. Google his name to find his web site. He has a book entitled ‘Whatever happened to hell”?
Thanks for that Don. It can be a tough topic to talk about, however I suspect if it’s approached the right way we shouldn’t be as afraid. It understandably doesn’t come across too well when you see and hear people speak about “people going to hell” from a self-righteous and proud position.
The fact is without God’s gracious intervention in our lives through Christ, we all would be going to hell as we don’t qualify to be with God in heaven. Understanding this helps keep us humble and contrite before our holy God.
Great post. A proper understanding of Hell gives us a greater understanding of God and it is good and right for us to study it and talk about it.
The idea of eternal suffereing is offensive but it confronts us with the reality of the consequences of our rejection of God and should be part of our understanding of the Gospel and Christianity as a whole.
It reminds me that God’s wrath is nothing to be laughed at and that His love in saving us from such a fate is all the more amazing.
Great work Stu
God’s wrath is justified.
The King James Bible is the Word of God.
Heaven or Hell.
I knew God at 5 years old.
My faith carries me through.
People don’t want to preach about Hell.
But this world needs to wake up.
Thank you Rose for your comment. We don’t see our sin as serious and therefore we don’t value the cross, the place where God’s wrath upon His Son is displayed.