God is for you and wants you to be happy.- attributed to Joel Osteen
Are you scared of hell?
"No need for that," you might answer, "I am clothed in the righteousness of Jesus."
Amen. The Lord bless you.
I'll repeat the question: are you scared of hell?
It seems to me, the more I study the Bible, that I haven't a truly biblical concept of the holiness of God. Oh, I have read that God is Holy, Holy, Holy and that no one can approach Him without clean hands and a pure heart.
And I pray, asking forgiveness for all the ways in which I sin. I am convicted, at my casual attitude toward personal sin.
But God's perfect holiness has been especially on my mind here lately. It has been the topic of serious, searching discussion in our Sunday night studies. As Bro. Billy preaches through Romans on Sunday mornings, we hear it each week from the pulpit. And again on Wednesday nights as he and Deon preach through Isaiah.
I think you have to have a firm grip on the notion of God's holiness for the concept of hell to make any sense. Or strike fear into the regenerate heart. Not fear for ourselves, you understand, but a true sense of horror at the danger faced by our unbelieving friends and family.
Christians in times past had it. Read any of the Puritans. Read one of Spurgeon's sermons. Read Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."
Pull out your red letter edition of the Bible and note that of the 14 or so mentions of hell in the NT, 11 (or 12, depending on the translation you use) of those come from the lips of our Saviour.
Hell is real because God is holy. He is angry because the beings He created have rebelled against Him saying, "Not your will, O Lord, but mine be done."
That anyone at all of the rebellious, foolish human race is saved is on account of God's mercy and His love.
It says that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)."
So I seek the wisdom to be afraid. I fear for the lost. May that fear for their immortal souls grow stronger and my prayers for them ever more fervent and constant.