Proverbs 1-21-23

When Jesus talked about hell, He used the most disgusting word picture available: The city garbage dump.

47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where ‘”the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Mark 9:47-48

Early Christians believed in hell. Their creed included it. Here is the Apostle’s Creed, the oldest that we have recorded:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell;
The third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; The Holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.

There are two things to notice:

  1. “He descended into hell;” the Greek word used is Hades, which was considered to be the waiting place of the dead.
  2. “From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.” This judgment is about eternal destination: Heaven and Hell.

The Nicene Creed includes this same phrase, “the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;”

The Baptist Faith and Message reiterates this truth, “the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.”

Because of sin, mankind is perishing. Jesus came to save us from this wretched fate. John told us,

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

Jesus came to give us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Those who receive His gift of righteousness do not fear death, but look forward to enjoying God’s presence forever. Those who refuse to receive His gift and persist in unbelief, He will honor their choice to not be in His presence. Thus, hell.

Aren’t we glad that we came to trust in Jesus and received His gift of righteousness? We have so much waiting for us, especially our heavenly Father who loves us!

Abba, thank You for Your great Rescue. You did not abandon us to the grave, but sent Your Son to save us from ourselves and what awaited us. We rejoice in Your great salvation! Amen.

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