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The Coexisting Message of Love and Hell



Without the reality of Hell, why is the good news so good? What is the gospel message of restoration if there is nothing to be restored from?

Last year the world saw a gruesome act of evil in Orlando, Florida when 29 year old ISIS-loyalist Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse night club, killing 49 and wounding 53. Mateen's target was the LGBT community, an agenda and community that he hated.

Compassion flowed in from every venue capable of it. Churches world-wide poured love into the Orlando community- despite their conflicting positions on the LGBT agenda. One example is Chick-Fil A, a conservative Christian-ran business notoriously closed on Sunday and reputable for their commitment towards traditional marriage. Despite their closed-on-Sunday policy, Chick-Fil-A opened their doors on the Sunday of the shooting and provided food for victims, blood-donors, and emergency service members involved in the shooting.

But regardless of the love shown, some people still could not reconcile these acts of kindness with genuine love for the LGBT community. A viral tweet by Jana Namirah read:

"Can't preach that gay people are going to Hell then tweet your prayers are going out to those in Orlando. Love is not a light switch."

I get it. It sounds odd to suggest that someone will be spending their afterlife in eternal suffering while also telling them that you care for them. Such conflicting messages may even appear dehumanizing or at best condescending. Again, I get it.

But here's the thing...

Truth is not defined by its subjects. The inspired Word of God is His authority to the world.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." –Romans 6:23

To call a Christian "hateful" for explaining that someone is on the path to Hell is quite convoluted. The reason that a Christian would say that someone is going to Hell is because they want to see them turn from sin (death) and surrender their life to Jesus (eternal life). Hateful? Some would call it hateful to say nothing:

"how much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" -Penn Jillette, devout atheist

So is it hypocritical to hold to the doctrine of Hell while also praying for the souls of the lost? On the contrary, it is absolutely consistent. Hypocrisy is preaching one thing and then intentionally doing another. Praying peace for someone who is grieving is not incompatible with opposing convictions.

Hypocrisy would neglect to pray for the souls of the lost while maintaining our identity as disciples of Christ.

Many pastors refuse to talk about Hell because it's "not what people want to hear."

Really? Does a doctor neglect to inform their patient when they're diagnosed with a terminal illness? It is as if the doctors know their patients have cancer but since the patient doesn't want to hear that kind of stuff the doctor just talks about how good their patient's teeth are. Without acknowledging the illness, there can be no treatment rendered.

Without the reality of Hell, why is the good news so good? What is the gospel message of restoration if there is nothing to be restored from?

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” –Charles Spurgeon

I won’t be that guy who says, “the gospel isn’t a message about Hell, it’s a message of love,” because, quite frankly, it involves both and I refuse to compromise the biblical message in the name of sugar-coating.

A false gospel only deceives more people…and considering the eternal implications here, deception is NOT loving.

But HOW can a message of eternal damnation coexist with a message of love?

The question above is a common one but it carries a false presupposition. It presupposes that God is sending us to Hell, but that is not the case. We have paved that road ourselves. God’s justice allows Hell to be the result of an unregenerate soul, but His love is made evident when His grace shreds our ticket to Hell into a million pieces. This gift of grace is available to anyone who surrenders their life of sin to God and declares Him their Lord and their Savior.

God is holy, meaning He is perfect. He demands nothing less than perfection to be in a relationship with Him. But since nobody is perfect nobody can be in a relationship with God, right?

Cue: In comes Jesus.

God's holiness demands our holiness. While His love for His children was great, it did not change the truth that our sin would not coexist with His holiness. Jesus' death on the cross was the atoning (redeeming) sacrifice needed to credit us the righteousness demanded of God. That was the ONLY way for our purity to be restored and our relationship with God to be made possible.

Hell is real.

Hell is eternal.

But God is love and His love compelled Him to step off his throne, incarnate as a man, subject Himself to everything shy of royalty, submit Himself to a humiliating and horrifying death...so that we don't have to go to Hell.

That is where love coexists in the message of Hell.

For the gospel \\

-JWR


Hi, my name is John and I love coffee. As I write this I’m sitting in a local roastery sipping a “mudslide” espresso with cream and two and a half sugars. There are few things in life that I feel merit precise orchestration with no room for error, coffee is one of them.

My life belongs to Jesus. I am his son and He is my King. His work in my life is reason enough for my faith to be made complete. He lived to die for me so that I may be credited righteous thus I will live for Him. I believe one area that has been greatly ignored by Christians is culture and politics. We must be active in representing our faith in these communities, but not in a relativistic or compromising way.


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