Hell Part 1: Seeking A Judgemental God

(Cross-posted at Moms In The Right)

There's nothing quite like starting the new year with Hell-fire and brimstone, eh?! Yes, this Seek The Lord Sunday is about the reality and nature of people going to Hell.

During one of our many hours of waiting during our recent trip to Wisconsin for Christmas, I stumbled across the book 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese. I'd normally steer clear of a book about Hell, but this time I was intrigued. Reading this book really got me thinking, and is probably the reason I chose this topic today.

It's not a fun topic. It's not an easy topic. Most people would rather pretend that Hell doesn't exist and that all but the Hitlers and Stalins of the world will go to Heaven because they tried hard or were generally good people. It's easier that way....less "judgemental" that way. But the Truth of God isn't always easy. In fact, more often than not, it's very very hard.

Let's start with the idea of God being judgemental. It doesn't sit right with you, does it? It's hard for me too. It's painful to view my Jesus as both the lover of my soul as I've come to know him...and a righteous judge who will condemn people to a horrible place for all of eternity. How can it be?

In fact, this very idea of eternal suffering for non-believers was one of the reasons that I resisted Biblical Christianity for so long. I didn't like it, I didn't want it to be true, it didn't seem "right" to me...so I'll find something that makes more sense to me, thank-you-very-much. But the Lord graciously and lovingly revealed to me that I don't get to decide what's true and right. And if I don't like something? That doesn't negate it's truthfulness.

And the more I thought, prayed, and studied the idea of God being our judge at the end of our life, the more it began to make sense to me. An illustration always helps me to see the truthfulness in this difficult idea:

Imagine someone breaking into your home and robbing it. In his search for valuables, he trashes your house...broken doors and windows, torn furniture, a dropped high-def TV on your front walk. Thankfully, the police catch the thief just down the road, his car stuffed with your belongings. There is no doubt as to his guilt.

On his day in court, the thief stands before the judge and begs for mercy. He tells of financial hardship and an inability to feed his family. He begs to be forgiven and just set free.

And the judge? He takes mercy. He feels bad for the thief, and can feel his pain. He's compassionate and lets the thief go without so much as a slap on the wrist.

How do you feel? Probably enraged! What about you? What about all the damage that was done? What about the fear and pain and nightmares that man caused you? When you voice your concerns and outrage with the judge, his response is "Come on, just forgive and move on with your life!"

I think everyone can look at this situation and say that a terrible injustice had occurred. And yet, this is the kind of judge that everyone would like God to be! Why is it that we can so self-righteously stand and demand justice in our lives, and yet expect less of God when it comes to him judging us?

And yet, there is a twist with our Awesome and Mighty God! Mr. Wiese gives a beautiful example of God's brand of justice in his book on page 76:

"There was a judge in town that had a case brought to him one day. A girl was speeding in her car through an intersection that had signs posted warning drivers to drive slowly and watch for blind, handicapped children crossing the street. A police officer stopped her vehicle and gave her a ticket. The judge set the fine at the maximum - $25,000. Since the girl was unable to pay the fine, the bailiff prepared to take her away to jail. Just then, the judge did something very strange. He got up from his bench, went over to the bailiff, and paid the $25,000 for her! People wondered what was going on; only later did they find out that the girl was his daughter. Even though it was his daughter, the judge still imposed the maximum fine. He had to carry out justice. However, his love for his daughter would not allow him to leave her in that predicament."

You see where this is going, I'm sure.

The question that's begging to be asked is this: What will happen to you on judgement day? Will you stand before the Judge as a stranger to him or as his beloved child?

When your life plays before you and you see your life laid bare, what will become of you? Will you beg for mercy and expect the Judge to bend the rules for you? Or will you kneel beside your Jesus and say, "I deserve full punishment because I'm a sinner. Thankfully, my penalty has been paid in full"?

He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. Psalm 9:8

Have you been seeking the Lord's face? Please share what he's revealing in your life.

Seek The Lord Sunday Participants

1. Vanessa ~ Fear None of Those Things

2. Ruth A. Stiles

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Anonymous –   – (1/11/2009 04:31:00 PM)  

A very well-written post with excellent illustrations. Thanks for clearly explaining the role of God as our Judge! Without understanding that, it is impossible to see our need for salvation, or appreciate what Christ has done for us.

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