Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Understanding Grace: What about Hell and the Radical Grace Gospel? Does Radical Grace deny Hell is real?

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 We have been in an in-depth study of God's over the top, too good to be true but true good and glad news. The amazingly good news of the Grace of Almighty God. Recently, we began allaying the myths often associated with the Radical Grace Gospel.

 Today, I wish to address one of the most controversial issues in this Grace Restoration that has visited the Body of Christ. That being the topic of eternal damnation. More plainly stated, what about Grace and Hell?

Hell, real or unreal? 

 The Word of God teaches us that we have been completely forgiven of all our sins through the Finished Work. The Word of God is what reveals we need not confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness of our sin after we've been born again. The Word is what informs us that we have unconditional eternal security in Christ. The same Word that reveals the Grace Gospel also informs us that a place of eternal separation does in fact exist.

What Jesus taught about Hell

 Surely the person of Grace didn't believe a place of eternal separation exists?
11 It will not be just the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob who celebrate at their heavenly banquet at the end of time. No, people will come from the East and the West—and those who recognize Me, regardless of their lineage, will sit with Me at that feast12 But those who have feigned their faith will be cast out into outer darkness where people weep and grind their teeth. Matthew 8:11-12 Voice

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46 NLT

Here we see Jesus words. Add the book of Revelation and we see clearly the Scriptures reference a place of eternal separation. Now that we established that Hell exists, how do Grace and Hell coincide? Have I stopped preaching the good news because I agree with the Bible that Hell exists? Before some bring out their "grace" stones to throw, at least, finish reading. I promise you will see the good news of Grace even when acknowledging Hell exists.

 What Paul, the Apostle of Grace taught about Hell

 Some say Paul never taught about Hell, I must point out that they are mistaken.  
 It is only right that God would repay with trouble those who have troubled you 7-8 and give relief to all of you still bandaging your wounds, as well as to all the rest of us. On that day—when the clouds draw back displaying His powerful heavenly messengers in a fiery blaze, Jesus the Lord will appear from heaven dealing out perfect justice to anyone who doesn’t know God and anyone who disobeys the good news of our Lord Jesus. And what’s to become of them? They’ll pay for what they’ve done; their punishment will be eternal destruction. And what’s worse? They’ll be banished from the Lord’s presence and glorious power. 10 On that day when He comes, all the saints in heaven and on earth will celebrate the glory of His power, and all who believe will stand and be amazed—this includes you because you believed us when we testified on His behalf11 All this is why we are constantly praying for you, so God will make you worthy of the great calling you have received from Him and will give you the power to accomplish every good intention and work of faith. 12 Then the great name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified through your lives, and you will be glorified in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, our Liberating King. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12 Voice

This is essential to understanding the Grace Gospel and the existence of a place called Hell. What Paul taught here is the absolute good news of Grace. With Paul's teaching, He illuminates the "mystery" of a place called Hell. He answers who goes there and why. Now for the good news associated with Hell.

Acknowledging Hell's existence and Hellfire preaching are two distinct views.

I want to revisit Jesus Words and Paul's Words to give insight in the Gospel and good news. 
15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 NLT
41 Then I will turn to those on my left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. Matthew 25:41 TLB

...and anyone who disobeys the good news of our Lord Jesus 2 Thessalonians 1:8b Voice
 As promised here is the good news of the Gospel. Hell is NOT the gospel message. Hear the Words of Paul and Jesus. He said Hell was not even prepared for any man. No man has been destined to an eternity separated from God. Scaring people into receiving Jesus then, isn't God's best. It is not His commission to tell the World they're all going to Hell. There is no bad news in the good news.

 This doesn't mean Grace denies the existence of Hell. This means that we acknowledge that man wasn't designed to end up there. That Jesus made a perfect way of grace for all to receive new life and experience eternal love, peace and security that only comes from a freely received relationship with Him. Our highest calling is to spread the good news that God isn't mad at anyone and that He has made a way for all to receive eternal life and righteousness.

 It doesn't seem to coincide with Grace that a place of eternal separation exists? Here are some thoughts that will show how compatible the Good News is while acknowledging the existence of Hell. Who actually goes there? Does God send people there? Absolutely not.

 Jesus and Paul give us insight on why some people end up in a place of eternal separation. Jesus said that those who willingly reject the free grace of God will be condemned. Paul mentions those who know not God and who disobey the Grace Gospel. What does this mean?

 Go back to Hebrews 10:26-28. We know this isn't talking to Christians but those who refused the payment of the Finished Work in favor of relying upon temple sacrifices. I've been pondering this passage in light of this study. What we see here isn't just applicable to Jews who refused the Grace of God. 

 When the Grace Gospel is preached we all have the opportunity to receive it or reject it. This passage in Hebrews is a solemn warning about those who reject it. What are they saying? They see the payment Jesus has made for all humanity. They refuse that payment saying within, "my works, my performance, and my goodness outweighs any faults or "badness". I don't need your grace." 

 To further illustrate, it would be like me paying for your meal at a buffet and you saying, no thanks, I will pay my own way. Yet you have no money. You can't pay a debt you owe if you are bankrupt. 
 Still having trouble reconciling the Grace Gospel and a place called Hell? Let me illustrate it another way. Sin is what all mankind was born with. This sin is like a virus. The dead walking is a reality. It is the virus of sin. This virus is active in all humanity at birth. Because of this virus no man can spend eternity with God, because Heaven is "virus" free. Therefore, the only destination for the virally infected is a place of eternal separation.

 Again, God didn't design that anyone spend eternity separated. Yet this virus still exists and God can't have this virus in Heaven. So what did He do about it? He became a man and took the virus from humanity and exchanged it with His wholeness, His righteousness. He, therefore, is the cure for the virus of sin that has infected all of us. He sends His messengers out with the good news that there is a cure. All you need to do is receive the cure. If people fight the cure, or reason it away, deciding that their virus isn't all that bad what else can Grace do? If it is forced then it isn't grace.

 In summation, Hell does in fact exist. But it wasn't made for you. It was designed for the enemy satan. So don't align with his rebellion. Don't reject the cure, the Grace of God, and therefore, accept the same fate of the enemy. We are called to preach the good news that Grace and the Finished Work was enough. All one need do is respond. We aren't hell fire preachers trying to scare people. We are ministers of the Grace of God bringing hope not hopelessness to the masses. 

No comments: