Faith, Gospel, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ From Here to Eternity

Originally published March 20, 2014here to eternityFred_Phelps_10-29-2002

Fred Phelps died last night. And I’m glad.

I’m glad there’s one less person on earth publicly sullying the name of Christ and dragging His holy Word through the mud.

What I’m not glad about is that, as far as we know, yesterday was the first day of his eternity in Hell.

Hell? But he claimed to be a Christian.

Fred Phelps and his kindred are a perfect example of the fact that you can claim whatever you want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Matthew 7:21-23

And that’s not just the case for people like Fred Phelps whose lives seem to define the word “vile.” It’s also true for “nice” people. People you’d never put in the same category as Fred Phelps. People who volunteer at hospitals and run marathons to raise money for cancer research. Moms who’d do anything for their children. Men who are faithful to their wives. Your next door neighbor. Your brother. Your coworker.

Vile people don’t go to Heaven.

Nice people don’t go to Heaven.

Saved people go to Heaven.

The bad news is that you could never do enough good things to earn your way into Heaven. And, the good news is that you could never do enough bad things to forfeit Heaven.

Because being reconciled to God is not about what you do. It’s about what Christ has done.

We’re not always good. He was. We’re not always pleasing to God. He was. We don’t always do the right thing. He did. He lived the perfectly good, right, and pleasing-to-God life that we’d never be able to live. And then came the cross.

Some people refer to what happened at the cross as “the great exchange,” and, indeed it was the greatest exchange ever. At the cross, Christ suffered the execution that we deserve as the punishment for our crimes against God, and in exchange, we can have the perfect life He lived. His rap sheet for ours. Our guilty verdict for His innocent verdict. His death penalty for our exoneration. And it’s all ours if we’ll let go of the sin we cling to and throw ourselves on the mercy of the Judge.

Could someone as evil as Fred Phelps do that? Yes, and I hope he did before he died. Because no one who repents and trusts in Christ is beyond the reach of His saving grace. Not even a nice person like you.

Evangelism, Gospel, Salvation, Sin, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ The Gospel According to Lot

Originally published February 26, 2013

gospel lot

Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
Genesis 19:12-14

The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah would make an epic movie. You’ve got your good guys: Abraham, Lot, and the angels. Your bad guys: everybody else in town. Violence, dramatic tension, a narrow escape, major pyrotechnics, and the good guys take the day. Epic, I tell you.

But that’s just what’s happening on the surface.

If you look closely, you can see the light of the gospel casting a shadow over Sodom. A shadow that’s the size and shape of a cross.

The city of Sodom was so wicked that God personally came down to deal with it. Judgment was coming. There was hell to pay—quite literally.

God revealed His plan of destruction to Lot, His only follower in Sodom. But God didn’t stop there. Did Lot have anyone in town that needed to be rescued from the coming devastation? Hurry! Go get them and urge them to flee!

“My sons-in-law!” thought Lot. Perhaps he raced out the back door, slipped carefully past any of the blinded mob left on his front porch, and scurried surreptitiously through town to avoid other hostile neighbors. Arriving at the respective homes of the two men betrothed to his daughters, he must have pleaded with them to drop everything and come with him. It was the only way they could be saved.

But they wouldn’t go with him. They didn’t believe him.

The next morning, judgment came. And that handful of people—righteous Lot, and those who believed with him that God would save them if they left everything behind and followed Him—were the only ones spared.hp-crossshadow

Is that shadow becoming clearer?

This world is a frightfully wicked place. And, one day, God is going to come down personally to deal with it. Judgment is coming. It will be swift, it will be terrible, and it will be final. God has revealed this to us in His word. He has also revealed to us, His followers, the plan of escape: Jesus.

But God doesn’t stop there. Do we have friends and loved ones who need to be rescued from the very real and eternal hellfire and brimstone that await them if they stay in the Sodom of their sin?

Jesus tells us to “go out and…compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23), and that they “must be born again” (John 3:7).

This isn’t some kind of “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” game we’re playing here. It’s urgent, a matter of life and death.

Eternal life. Eternal death.

And God’s way is the only way out.

God didn’t offer Lot’s sons-in-law the option of having their cake and eating it, too, by remaining in Sodom and being saved from His wrath. And it doesn’t work that way for us either. We don’t get to have Jesus and continue to rebel against Him by remaining in our sin.

Just as Lot’s sons-in-law could not survive God’s judgment any other way than fleeing the sin of Sodom and following God’s escape route, there is only one way we may escape. We must flee from our sin and into the forgiving arms of our crucified and risen Savior.

This is the gospel with which we must compel them. It is the only gospel that saves.

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for. – C.H. Spurgeon.

Faith, Hell, Salvation, Sin, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Are you a Bin Laden?

Originally published March 2, 2011bin laden

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Across the globe, people are celebrating.  There’s a general sentiment, even among non-Christians, that he is in hell, because that’s what he deserves.

I’m guessing that, some of those people, if you had shared the Gospel with them two days ago, would have said they didn’t believe in hell.  Or that a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell.  Or that God just forgives everybody when they die, and everybody goes to heaven.

If you hold any of those beliefs, the law of non-contradiction requires that they be applied across the board to everybody.  In other words, you can’t say you don’t believe in hell and at the same time believe that Bin Laden is in hell.  If it doesn’t exist, he can’t be there.

So I’d like to pose two questions to people who hold the aforementioned beliefs:

1. If God decided not to send Bin Laden to hell, but rather allowed him into heaven, has justice been done?

2. Do you think it’s fair that you will have to spend your own eternity in heaven with Bin Laden?  And Hitler, and Nero, and Mussolini, and Caligula, and Jack the Ripper?

As broken and messed up as we are, even we humans demand that there be justice –punishment– for people who have committed such heinous crimes.  If God doesn’t punish these awful people, what does that make Him?  How could He be perfect in every way and let such people off scot free?

I can tell you how.  Because I used to be Bin Laden.  And Hitler, and all of those other people rolled into one.  Me.  A good little Sunday School girl.  Guilty.  James 2:10 tells us:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

In God’s eyes, when I broke curfew to stay at Bible study just a little bit longer, I was as guilty as a serial murderer.  When I said, “Oh my G-d!” I was on par with a child molester.  When I refused to forgive someone, I might as well have flown one of those planes into the Twin Towers myself.  And I deserved the same punishment as all of those horrible people.  Hell.

God is perfect.  He’s perfectly holy and perfectly just.  And that’s why He can’t let any sin slide, no matter how small.  But He’s also perfectly loving and compassionate.  He knew none of us would measure up to his standard for us –perfection, no sin whatsoever– so He made a way for us to escape punishment, yet still serve justice: Jesus.

God Himself came here and lived out His perfection as a human being.  And when it was time, on the cross, He took the punishment for our crimes against God.  He got our sin and our punishment, and because of His death and resurrection, we can get His sinless perfection.

We can get it, but it’s not an automatic thing that just happens to everybody when they die.  As I said in a previous post, you can’t have it both ways.  If you decide to get married, you give up the single life.  If you decide to become a star athlete, you give up being a couch potato.  And when God enables you to turn from your sin to faith in Christ, He empowers you to give up a life of embracing sin, and, instead, embrace Christ and the new life He has for you.  Here.  Now.

Is Bin Laden in hell?  I can tell you with certainty that if he did not, in the last moments of his life, sorrowfully turn from his sin and bow his knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, yes, he is indeed in hell.

And there, but for the grace of God, go I.  And you.

Death, Heaven, Hell, In Case You Were Wondering

In Case You Were Wondering: Will a Believer Who Commits Suicide Still Go to Heaven?


Ladies- if you haven’t joined Satisfaction Through Christ’s Community Group on Facebook, I’d like to encourage you to do so. It’s a great group for Christian women. One of our weekly features is Tough Questions Tuesday. Each week, I answer a tough biblical or spiritual question sent in by one of our readers. From time to time, I’ll be reprinting those questions and answers here under the title, In Case You Were Wondering.


Will a Believer Who Commits Suicide Still Go to Heaven?

Yes. The key word here is “Believer.” People who are genuinely born again Christians spend eternity in Heaven when they die. It is not a particular sin that sends people to Hell, but rather that they die in a state of lostness and unbelief. If you think about it, because sin is so sneaky and pervasive most Christians will have some unconfessed sin in our lives at the moment of our death, whether that sin is suicide, unforgiveness, lust, a lie, or whatever. At the moment of salvation, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection pays for ALL of a Believer’s sins, from cradle to grave. While we should always strive to repent of any known sin in our lives, we must also trust in God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness towards His children.

For further reading:

If a Christian commits suicide, is he/she still saved? at Got Questions

Sunday School Lesson ~ 6-1-14 (Scroll down to “Follow up: Can a Christian be forgiven…”)

Hell, In Case You Were Wondering

In Case You Were Wondering: Did Judas Go To Hell?

Did Judas Go To Hell?

Did Judas go to Hell?

Although there is no Bible verse that says verbatim, “Judas died and went to Hell,” and we always have to be very careful with speculating, I believe we can safely infer from two passages (and their surrounding contexts) that Judas is, indeed in Hell.

The first passage is Matthew 26:20-25. This is the scene at the Last Supper when Jesus has just told the disciples that one of them (Judas) will betray Him. He says about His betrayer in verse 24, “woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” “Woe,” and “better if he had not been born,” are not phraseology anyone, let alone omniscient Jesus, would use to describe someone who would be entering Heaven mere hours later.

The second passage is John 17, Jesus’ high priestly prayer for His disciples just prior to His crucifixion. In verse 12, Jesus says, “not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction,” referring to Judas. Again, Jesus knows Judas’ death is only hours away. He also knows whether Judas will be in Heaven or Hell afterward. If Jesus knew Judas would be in Heaven, why would He call him “the son of destruction”? Furthermore, the Greek word for destruction, apoleia, can carry the connotation, “damnable,” and “the destruction which consists of eternal misery in Hell” (Strongs, 684).

So, yes, Scripture indicates that Judas is spending eternity in hell.

For further reading: