Discipline Produces Peace – Not Torture

A fourth misconception about Hell is that the imagery of fire is symbolic of torture and excruciating pain. While most Christians believe that the fires of Hell are not literal, they still believe they symbolize extreme suffering, torment and regret. In my view this is only partially true. While a certain amount of pain and regret would be involved in most disciplinary actions, the result is a good one. According to Hebrews 12:11,
“No discipline seems pleasant at time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Throughout the Bible the imagery of fire is symbolic of cleansing and purification, not torture. The fires of God’s judgment will not be pleasant to endure. Nevertheless, the resuit will be repentance and purification. According to the prophet Zephaniah, after God’s fiery judgment ALL will “call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.”
From “Logical Answers to Life’s Toughest Questions” by Richard Goyette http://amzn.to/2hi3c9N

Does Jesus Talk More About Hell than Heaven?

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell [Gehenna]? Matthew 23:33

There is the very popular (and completely incorrect) saying that hellfire and brimstone preachers have used for years, saying, “Jesus talked more about Hell than He ever talked about Heaven.”

Let’s see.

The gospel accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are where we will find the words of Christ Jesus. Now, even allowing for the horrible translation of a word (hades) which means “grave” into the word “hell”, and the word “Gehenna” which is a valley, south of Jerusalem (not a place, 9 miles under the ground), we’ll see the tale of the tape.

Jesus Christ used the two different words that were translated as “Hell”, a grand total of 15 times! Wow!  That is a LOT of times.  Surely, the Lord didn’t mention “heaven” that many times.  I mean, a preacher SHOULD know, right?

Well, after the book of Matthew, I ceased my count. That means that I didn’t bother counting the number of times Jesus talked about heaven in the books of Mark, Luke, and John.  The Lord had used the word for Heaven, over 70 TIMES, JUST in the book of Matthew.

So, if any teacher says, “Jesus talked more about hell than he talked about heaven”, you now can verify; that is utter nonsense…and you might just want to check behind that teacher on other things too.

By Phillip Garrison. Read the rest of this fine article at http://thediscernerstavern.blogspot.com/.

God is Merciful

Luke tells us the very moment the tempestuous winds of Apostolic indignation increase, Divine rebuke says,
“Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” Luke 9:55
The disciples wanted to see swift justice, but Jesus doesn’t care about their notion of justice. Jesus commands them, not to desire justice, but to pray for, bless, and do good to those who hate them (Mat 5:44). This very Jesus is the lens from which we interpret the Old Testament, because Jesus is the icon of the invisible God (Col 1:15). No man has seen God (Jhn 1:18), because to see God in all his mysterious abstract essence is to die (Exo 33:20). However, thanks to the incarnation, we can see God as tangibly revealed in Jesus Christ the Son (Jhn 14:9).
Unknown source.

Weekend Wisdom – L. Ray Smith

There are three great evils of men on earth today: corrupt government, false science, and deceitful religion. Of these, the Christian doctrine of “Eternal Torment” for the majority of God’s children, is by far the single greatest evil and contemptible teaching ever foisted on the human race anywhere on the face of the earth, in the entire history of the world!

L. Ray Smith https://bible-truths.com/

Is There Anything You can do to Make God Stop Loving You?

Grace is defined by most as unmerited favor. But your kids don’t earn your love. They simply receive love from the core of your being, and they always will. They are loved before they know or recognize it as such. They don’t have to ask for it, confess, or intentionally acknowledge it. It is simply there for them, and they receive it automatically. The love of God is as unconditional and immutable. To put it clearly:
There is nothing you can do to make God love or stop loving you.
John 1:29 says: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
” This passage of Scripture is often erroneously quoted as ”sins of the world.” Jesus did not take away our individual transgressions and failings, our tendency to “miss the mark,” as we discussed earlier. Rather, He took away the offense those acts would cause without His divine expiation. Again, you will never really know that you are free from sin until you know that you are actually free to sin and still be loved by God, and advocated Christ.
From “The Gospel of Inclusion” by Carlton Pearson. http://amzn.to/2yFBUUq

Is God Worse than an Infidel?

Paul says that:

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Ti 5:8)

How could we arrive at the point of thinking that God would not accept responsibility for all His children that were created by Him in His own image and likeness? The genealogy of Luke 3 ends in verse 38 saying: “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. If God has not denied that Adam, the originator of sin to the human race is His son, how is it possible that He would deny the son-ship of Adam’s descendants who are victims of the sin nature inherited from him? As Father God has said: “Behold, all souls are Mine….” (Ezek 18:4).

From the “Triumph of Mercy” by George Hurd. http://amzn.to/2hTonyw

 

Does Death End God’s Power to Save?

“Be not afraid; I am the First and the Last, and he who is living, and I did become dead, and, lo, I am living to the ages of the ages. Amen! and I have the keys of the hades and of the death.” Revelation 1:17-18

How many teach that death ends God’s power over lost souls?  As if Satan, who has them, were stronger than God, and that God was no longer loving, whereas it is Christ who holds the keys!
How many a mother weeping for her children refuses to be comforted because they are not! The mother’s prayer and work seems to have been for nought. They are dead in the land of the enemy. Hear the Word of God: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the LORD: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD ; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jer. 31:15, 16). These words were in part fulfilled in our Lord’s childhood at the slaughter of the innocents; but their complete fulfilment will not take place till the proud, self-willed, unbroken and dead children of Ephraim, and all other such children, repent and God’s Word is fulfilled, “I will surely have mercy upon” them, “they shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jer. 31:16-20).
From “Is Hell Eternal or Will God’s Plan Fail?” by Charles Pridgeon (1920)

Our Image of God Guides Our Actions

The doctrine of “eternal punishment” fosters a self-righteous, vindictive spirit in believers. The psalmist, speaking of idols said, “they that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them” (Psa.ll5:8).
If a Christian has an image or mental picture of god that projects Him as One who writes off those who disregard Him, then that believer similarly tends to reject those who disagree with him. Church history is replete with inquisitions and martyrdom’s manifesting this image of God. An extreme example is Queen Mary (1516-1558) of England, who won her title “Bloody Mary” by torturing and murdering non Catholics. She justified her actions, proclaiming “as the souls of heretics are to be hereafter eternally burning in hell, there can be nothing more proper than for me to imitate the divine vengeance by burning them on earth.” Bloody Mary’s image of God lives on today.
Condescending, pharisaical attitudes which continually divide the body of Christ, justify themselves because of a perverted image of God. “My little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen” (1John 5:21).

Human Helplessness

Being justified gratuitously in His grace, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus (Whom God purposed for a Propitiatory shelter, through faith in His blood, for a display of His righteousness because of the passing over of the penalties of sins which occurred before in the forbearance of God), toward the display of His righteousness in the current era, for Him to be just and a Justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is debarred! Romans 3:25

Notice here the succession of terms indicative of human helplessness:

Being justified — requiring to be made right with God
gratuitously — without a cause, without anything in oneself that would give God reason for doing this
in His grace — purely as a favor, unearned, undeserved
through the deliverance — requiring a rescue act
which is in Christ Jesus, Whom God purposed — not in oneself, but in the One Whom God appointed.
This is the first occasion in Scripture that any act of God is referenced to His purpose, and the next outstanding fact that we must note is that it is centered in Christ Jesus —not in Jesus Christ as He was on earth, but in Christ Jesus, the risen Lord, the One Who, by His victory over death and His resurrection from the tomb, has proved that He has settled once and for all time the problem of sin, and thereby paved the way for deliverance.
From “The Purpose of God” by John H. Essex

Weekend Wisdom – Benjamin Rush

“A belief in God’s universal love to all his creatures, and that he will finally restore all of them that are miserable to happiness, is a polar truth. . . It establishes the equality of [humanity]. . .”

Benjamin Rush – signer of the Declaration of Independance