1998-07-08 - Heaven or Hell?
Question: "If we die (from this flesh body) and have not accepted Jesus Christ then we are bound for Hell?"
Every statement generally has a context. There was probably a progression that led up to the statement and probably things that followed. Your second response helped, and, I think I understand that what you are taking issue with is that "fear of going to hell" is not the reason we should serve God. If I could take this line of thinking one step further, (I don't want to put words in your e-mail), I would say that you might say that the real or true reason to serve God is from a motivation of love.
Since space is short, I would like to focus on one word in the above quotation: accepted. A lot of Christians can tell you the when, where and how they accepted Christ into their hearts. They might say, "On March, 22, 1984, at 1:33 in the afternoon, I was reading my Bible in my room at my desk, and I felt God's presence and I knelt down beside my bed and asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins. That was when I became a Christian." My response is, "That's fantastic, how is your walk with Christ today? Are you growing in the grace of our Lord and Saviour?"
My concern is not so much that someone knows the day, time and circumstances of becoming a Christian but rather my concern is, "are you walking with Christ". Is there victory over indwelling sin. Not so much, "do you have a changed life" (although I want to know that also), but more, do you have a changing life. Day by day are you growing up into a more mature follower of Christ and being transformed by the Holy Spirit.
I would like to re-state the statement as a reminder both for myself and anyone reading this: "If we die (from this flesh body) and have not accepted Jesus Christ then we are bound for Hell?"
What we are asking is, what is the gospel? Or, how does one not still be bound for Hell? The only road out of Hell is faith in the truth of the incarnation, sinless life, vicarious death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. Or as the Bible puts it, Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." This raises the question, saved from what? Well, Hell, damnation, eternal separation from God is what we are saved from. And this verse in Romans says the way out of Hell is confessing Jesus as Lord, and believing that God raised Him from the dead. If we die without doing this, we go to Hell.
Nobody likes to talk about hell today. We want everything to "work out". But just as bad things happen to people in life, so bad things happen to people in death. If we really think about it, the reality of hell is rather depressing. But bad news can still be true news and the good news is that Christ offers us forgiveness from the sins that make us bound for hell. My hope and prayer is that young Christian or old Christian, seeker or evangelist, we will learn more and more to trust in the grace and mercy offered to us in Jesus Christ.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
Soli Deo Gloria,