Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No One Noticed.

February's Tabletalk gives the perfect example of bad hermeneutics: hell.  It's such an uncomfortable subject that nobody wants to talk about it, so they've done fancy mental acrobatics to downplay its reality or seriousness. 

Nevertheless, one cannot see the horrors people do to each other and say there is no hell.  People murder unborn children, abuse born children, abuse grown children, want to dispose of the elderly and disabled, have sex for money, destroy their body with drugs, and try to explain that their behavior doesn't hurt anybody.  We see more and more of this.  As we get closer to Jesus's return, more and more God pulls away his common grace that prevents unregenerate people from truly destroying the planet.

He pulls away the veneer that all people have without God's grace.  We are not beautiful and reasonable, we are simply heartless monsters who care only for ourselves.

For that reason, John MacArthur's article, "The Disappearance of Hell", is a good one to sum up the issue of hell and February's issue of Tabletalk.

"A slight majority of Americans still believe hell exists, but genuine fear of hell is almost nonexistent."  Two paragraphs ago, I proved the existence of hell and man's total depravity apart from God's grace.  But are people going there?  Isn't Jesus sweet enough to save everyone?  I do wish that all people would come to love Jesus and would not have to go there.  I praise God that Jesus took my hell punishment for me and all who are saved.  Still, sin is against an infinite God and must be judged infinitely.  The only correct punishment for breaching faith against the infinitely holy God is his infinite wrath.  And if people die from this planet without accepting Jesus's grace that changes us from monsters to creatures who glorify God, then they will not end up in his presence in the next life.  They will experience God's anger forever and it will never die down.

So the Church, both liberal and orthodox ones, believe in hell and believe that people will go there without Christ.  Why do they not talk about it more?  It is not loving to not warn people about a very real and permanent danger.  It is not loving to say that people are alright and that God is an indulgent push-over who lets people spit in his face.  He's holy.  Jesus is holy and tolerates whom he will tolerate.  It is not loving to our neighbors to respect their personal choices which not only harm themselves, but everyone they know.  It is also not loving to ignore the only good thing that is permanent: God, and try to impress people who will just continue in their destruction until God's grace intervenes.  Grace that is spread through the Christians preaching God's Word.  That is how God spreads his grace.  Through us.  Scary, yes, but still the truth.

So people, do not lose sleep over people who won't come to your side of the debate, but also contend boldly because this is a matter of spiritual life and death.

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