Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can a Believer go to Hell??

I have attended a lot of funerals in the last couple years. It becomes much more frequent as we age.  I am coming to a conclusion.  One that I didn't always believe.  One that is harder to sell if you are trying to build a church.  God's grace is much greater than any of our sin, rebellion, apathy, behavior and discouragement.  The imposition of how others should live and still make heaven is OUR standard, not God's.  There is supernatural power in coming to faith in God. Once we do become his son or daughter, HE is not willing to disown us.  Not willing to turn us away.  We are first among those who are those about whom it is said, "Not willing that any should perish".  Once we enter into that place in God, even for a time, we are connected in a Fatherhood.. a supernatural parentage.  His heart is towards us. 

I mention that because as I see friends and relations pass into eternity I see the reality that there is a place at the table.. the wedding feast.. for them.  Even if in later years in pain they seemed to drift,  God didn't. "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23    NEW every morning.   Even the morning when we step from time into eternity.

Can a once saved person go to hell? Sure. A complete rejection of GOD, or never coming to him in any way at all (Romans 1) will condemn a person.  However even if it is possible to claw your way to hell after you have been saved... it is incredibly difficult.  Even if a person THINKS they are faithless, a relationship is not severed by that level of ignorance.  If a person becomes a child of God and yet for whatever reason (offense) never darkens the door of a church for decades they are still an heir.

The road to hell is wide.  People choose it and never find that relationship that can save them.   The narrow way is still narrow...but once you find it... you cannot easily be taken off track... or turned back. And as you travel it gets easier.. seemingly wider.  Entering into his grace is a narrow way but walking in his grace is a 6 lane highway.  New every morning.

So what then of heaven?  If there are various levels of punishment and torment in Hell (and there is good biblical evidence there is) there are levels of a rewarding eternity in Heaven.  Fullness of Joy. "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." Psalm 16:11       It will look and feel different to those who knew HIM well in intimacy here and now.  Fullness there will be really full.  Those who were less intimate will have fullness but it will be less.  I'm not sure we will know, but in the fullness there will be joy slums.  In that way, finding intimacy here and how with our Father will be rewarding eternally.  Many people who lived in deep poverty on this earth but who know their God will have fabulous mansions of Joy Unspeakable full of Glory there.  Others who may have lived very well here, but without the depth of intimacy will find themselves in shantytown heaven. Still there... but not all that mansion-like. 

I will not preach a person into heaven, nor out of it.  I will however point to the one who occupies that place and His heart towards us. 

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