Hell

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Hell – 16 March 2007

I wonder if the word “hell” really describes a state of “eternal conviction” rather than only an eternal physical burning with fire. Since humans are spiritual beings – we don’t take these earthly bodies with us when we die – it seems to me that the “unquenchable fire” that Jesus mentions is the eternal conviction of the unrepented sins committed.

Aren’t those who believe that they have no need for repentance – are “sinless” – “playing with fire,” so to speak? In his letter to the Romans (3:23), the Apostle Paul says “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….”

In the New American Standard Bible, the word “hell” is used a total of thirteen times: seven times in Matthew, three times in Mark, once in Luke, once in James, and once in the Second Letter of Peter.

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke it is Jesus who is quoted as using the word “hell.” It’s obvious that the Lord doesn’t mince words, as can be seen by the graphic descriptions:

Matthew 5:29-30

29. “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

30. “And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.”
~ New American Standard Bible

Mark 9:43, 45, 47

43. “And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,

45. “And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell,

47. “And if your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
~ New American Standard Bible

Luke 12:4-5

4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”
~ New American Standard Bible

When I read Luke 23:34, it appears obvious that those who wanted Jesus to be crucified had no idea what they were doing to themselves:

34. “But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
~ New American Standard Bible

Perhaps if they had known what the future held for them – the salvation through belief in Jesus or the undying fire of eternal conviction or “hell” – they would not have participated in His crucifixion. If only for selfish reasons – to escape eternal punishment – maybe they would have refrained from their actions.

In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul speaks about heaping “burning coals upon his head.” I think this is a metaphor used to describe a sense of guilt and conviction. In other words, one’s enemy will feel guilty if one shows kindness toward him or her:

Romans 12:20-21

20. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head."

21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
~ New American Standard Bible


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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