June 27, 2008

Hell and Grace

One of the essential truths that must be understood by all grace believers, is hell. Hell is the place of punishment for all who suffer the righteous judgment of God without forgiveness of their sins. Grace is God's free and undeserved favor toward some, sparing them from His wrath in hell by setting forward Jesus Christ as a propitiation instead. Without hell, grace would not be amazing, it would not even be necessary. But grace is necessary, because hell is real.

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28 ESV).

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority." (2 Peter 2:4-10 ESV).

Understanding hell is important, because it has to do with the righteous judgment of God, which is what makes salvation necessary. So it had significant meaning when Paul wrote: "among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved..." (Ephesians 2:3-5). Grace is amazing, because the justice of God is terrible. For all who have truly repented and have cast themselves completely on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, the judgment and wrath they deserved has already been poured out upon the Lord on the cross.

"But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:26-28 ESV).

May our praise of God be a combination of both healthy fear and joy with thankfulness. And let all saints who fear Him continually praise the Lord for His steadfast love and grace!


Roshan said...

John Macarthur puts it interestingly in a video clip I watched recently - The way most people deal with the thought of Hell is not dealing with the thought of Hell.

Hell is real, and it is one way we can savor Christ - to know what we are saved from.

Nice post, Penn. Thank you for your answers to all those questions on my previous post!

God bless you,

Life Savior said...

Great post man! I love it! Sorry I havn't been on lately I've been really buisy.


Kaysie said...

Very true. Hell is not something a lot of "Christians" believe in. (which is sad) But like you said, grace wouldn't be amazing or needed in there wasn't a hell. Thanks for setting us straight.

Anonymous said...

Hi Penn,

It seems to me that the modern church as a whole has watered downt he concept of Hell to the degree that people don't think it's all that important, or that much to fear. It really does need to be a factor in preaching the gospel or people will not have a sufficient understanding of it. Of course, it should not be the motivation to salvation; there are churches that press souls into committing to Christ out of fear -- but speaking about Hell should not be something avoided.

Great job, keep up the good work! Hopefully I'll see you on my blog sometime.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Thanks to all who commented! I appreciate what you have to say. I've been away with family lately, so I was not able to interact here about this post until now.

I've actually noticed that young people are showing more of an interest in hell when I'm witnessing to them. Perhaps it is because the church has watered it down? I don't know. But I was asked by some who were sincerely interested to teach more about it.

Thanks again for the comments, feel free to continue to share your thoughts on this subject :)