Heaven, Hell, annihilation and procrastination

Hell's Eternal Punishment

Hell’s Eternal Punishment (Photo credit: vaticanus)

Just lately I’ve been thinking of hell- it’s terrifying: the idea of never knowing peace or relief from pain.  I can see why annihilationism is so tempting: the idea that it does not go on for ever, the idea that death is just an end for those souls who reject God and his salvation through Jesus Christ.  I really wanted to become an annihilationist when I thought about hell.  I don’t mean thought intellectually about it, but just thought about what it would be like, what it would feel like.  Body and soul are destroyed (Matthew 10:28), but as Mark 9:42-50 makes clear this is not a clean-cut absolute end as “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”  Furthermore, if any part of you causes you to sin, Jesus says “It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell” (and gives other examples).  In other words, no amount of discomfort in this life is worth the pain of hell, even a lifetime of difficulty and pain does not compare.  On the plus side, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17), which coming from a man who had suffered as Paul had, shows that Heaven will plentifully compensate us for any pain encountered on earth, even a death for trusting in Jesus (my wife has been going through Revelation).   And thank God that it is He who judges and directs the affairs of both Heaven and Hell!  We can know safety and Peace in His saving plan (John 3:16-18)!  Continue reading

True Religion

Prayer

Prayer (Photo credit: Chris Yarzab)

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” says James 1:27 (see link for context), and there is a lot in there about not just hearing but obeying the word.  But this is easier said than done!  Recently I have been reading (on occasion) the old book A Taste of New Wine by Keith Miller.  This book is filled with a lot of wisdom from God, lived out and shared.  It is brimful of encouragement too- the author does not depict himself as perfect but points us more and more towards the perfect God.

One of the interesting points the book makes (among numerous others) is the value of spending time with God.  Just “feeling we ought to” does not inspire us to read the scriptures and really spend time talking with the Lord (oh… and listening).  Continue reading