PJ’s Daily Devotional for Monday, February 27, 2017.
Did you know that Hell is discussed in the Bible by Jesus and the Apostles? It is right in the middle of our reading lesson today so here we are, on a Monday morning, discussing Hell. That may not feel like an inspiring way to start your day or a fitting way to start your work week, but I encourage you to read on because you will be surprised to find the encouragement of God through three distinct writings about God’s justice.
- The reality of Hell calls us to URGENCY! The righteous judgment of God is coming and it will not be avoided by anyone. We are called to live a life worthy of the calling so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be proclaimed in and through us so that those who are far from God may turn and draw close. As a culture, we often live with an urgency to make our lives work for us here on earth (our will be done in heaven as it is on earth), but the teaching on Hell is a call for Christians to live for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven: to call people toward the limited time offer to receive the grace of God in Jesus Christ and away from the coming wrath of God.
Listen to Paul in today’s Bible Study: “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:5-12).
- The reality of Hell calls us to SACRIFICIAL LIVING! Jesus’ famous parable about Heaven and Hell, found in Luke 16:19-31 (https://www.esv.org/Luke+16/), is an eye-opening teaching about the fixed and great chasm between Heaven and Hell, reward and punishment, mercy and wrath. There is a great reward coming for those who surrender their lives to Jesus Christ and one of the great evidences of this surrender is sacrificial love for others in the name of Jesus. Having riches in life does not destine you for Hell, but what you do with what you have is the evidence to whom you belong. Going to Heaven is not about what you have done, but about who you belong to and for whom you live; in short, it is about faith in Jesus Christ.
Here are a couple of verses: “And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us’” (Luke 16:24-26).
- The reality of Hell calls us to ENDURANCE! Life on earth can be hard, for sure! But, an eternity in Hell is infinitely worse, so keep on enduring for the glory of God no matter what you are going through. For those who endure for Christ until the end will be shown to be those who belong to Him and the reward of Heaven is infinitely better than the best life on earth. The teachings on Heaven and Hell give us endurance to finish the race well. So, finish well!
God gives us a glimpse of eternity through the Revelation of John: “And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus” (Revelation 14:9-12).