June 5, 2015

Hellbent For Hell

Hellbent  /helĖˆbent/ [adjective]: Determined to achieve something at all costs. Stubbornly and often recklessly determined or intent on doing something especially when the results might be bad.

I’m pretty sure that the imagery we have of Hell isn’t always accurate. Having meditated over Scripture I believe Hell will be a place where our over-indulgence of sin will be given over to its own “hell-bent” pursuits. Hell will be our sin unabated. We will be left to chase our sin with reckless abandon. As Romans 1:24 says, we will be given over to our sin. In the case of Hell it will be the same…only for eternity. The very sinful pleasures we loved in this life and pursued to the detriment of ourselves and abuse of others will become our own punishment.

Our “so-called” paradise here that has become a vexing trap will become our punishment there. I’m pretty sure Hell will look like what we thought paradise would look like here. Why? Because sin-twisted minds don’t think clearly or think well. When they get there I suppose many will be surprised but it’s not like God hasn’t warned us either. No, we’ve had many warnings in the Bible and most likely in our own personal lives too. It isn’t like God pulls a bait-and-switch. Oh no, if there is deception, it is we that deceive ourselves. Our sin makes us self-deceive through denial. Sin makes us blind to the truth of our condition. Most sinners (Christians included) are blind to their blind-spots.

Will Hell be fire and brimstone? Physical discomfort? Certainly, Jesus has even stated this fact.

In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

In Matthew 25:41, Jesus says: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire . . ."

In Mark 9:46, Jesus speaks about Hell: "Where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched."

But I believe based on Scripture it will be even more. More psychological…more emotional, more mentally distressing. The very pathos that doesn’t always necessarily convey itself well through written texts in the Scriptures. Usually because people don’t read it correctly or study it thoroughly.

Think about it people. Keep in mind that theologically we know that God’s presence will be in Hell for eternity in the form of His wrath. The attribute that will not be in Hell for the unrepentant is love and communion with a holy God. The very thing that a person was created for. The unrepentant sinner will be mourning the loss of the very thing they were created for, fellowship with God in a peaceful loving relationship. That will then be compounded by the fact that their sin will follow them to their condemnation. It will be the ultimate eternal slap in the face. Knowing what they could’ve had only to settle for a self-imposed inferior substitute. I mean, what is sin? Sin is the thing we chose to pursue or covet more than God. Sin…an idol. They won’t know what they had until it’s gone and forever out of reach…as in the Lazarus and the rich man narrative.

Luke 16:25-28 ~ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’

Sin left undeterred hardens a person’s heart. Hardening of one’s heart leads to a falling away or apostasy. If one gives way to sin, sin will end up having its way with that person. A true believer does not have a heart of stone so they should be sensitive to these facts. If one is not sensitive to these conditions, they should ask themselves what the true condition of their heart is. He that says he does not sin is self-deceived and needs to turn to God for clarity.

Hebrews 3:12-13 ~ Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

1 John 1:8 ~ “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

In our state of hardening we begin to believe we are not sinning and defend our own righteousness…which does not exist on its own…only through Christ. It is this deception that paves our highway to Hell. We don’t repent and then we cut the line to God altogether by abandoning the Scriptures the very last thing that can pull us out of our terminal dive. 

When we cut the line to Scripture, we’ve cut the line to God’s mercy and grace…therefore His route and method of salvation. Our end is a heart hardened like cured concrete. Rigid and resistant to change. A heart resistant to repentance or turning from sin. It is unresponsive to the work of God’s Spirit…therefore it is condemned.

The Bible is filled abundantly with statements about hell bound deception. Some of the most prominent are as follows.

2 Corinthians 4:4 “….in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

John 3:19-20 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

John 12:39-40 “For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, "He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them."

Ephesians 4:17-19 “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

The paradise we thought was paradise here was nothing more than the image created by a sin distorted flesh and sin distorted mind. It was not paradise at all. As the old idiom says, “The path to Hell is lined with good intentions." So too the path is lined with what we really desire more than God. It keeps us distracted from God until long after the last turn to get back to Him on our hell-bound route. The things we make idols are what we think is paradise here. We cannot think clearly when our flesh and mind is weighted down with sin. Inversely, it needs to be understood that we should desire nothing more than God Himself. In our self-made attempts to find our own twisted “paradise” here we will only end up finding Hell on the other side instead of the paradise intended for us by God.

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