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Monday, 8 August 2016

Heaven and hell; and what we deserve!

could still obtain them, but having read the provided synopsis, I don't think I want to do so!  

I'm referring to a couple of books that I was offered, online, earlier today.  
The first was:
Heaven and Hell, by Kenneth Zeigler, about which it is explained that "Chris and Serena Davis die in a crash — but while Chris enters Heaven, his wife is sentenced to Hell. Can Chris save his beloved?   A thought-provoking, intensely emotional Christian novel with over 200 five-star Amazon reviews!"
The second was:
Dancing with Jesus, by Linda Fitzpatrick, and the associated synopsis reads: "An enchanting work of biblical fiction: Abia is convinced that an accident has left her unfit to be loved. But one special person will renew her faith and show Abia just how deserving of happiness she is... "

Interesting titles; interesting subject matter.  The first book, with its "... over 200 five-star Amazon reviews!" would suggest that there is more interest in these concepts than would be expected by the constant barrage from secular humanists and atheists who insist that this life, itself the result of billions of years of random mutations and accidental meeting of sub-atomic particles, is less popular than they would have us believe, and would want to believe themselves!
However, both titles also display a lack of understanding of, at least, Christian theology as based on the written Word of God - the Bible.  Look at the first title and the little synopsis.  Can Chris, from the bliss of heaven, save his beloved wife Serena from the horror of hell?  Not according to the Bible!  It is in this life that we make the decisions that decide our eternal destiny.  If we have entered into a saving relationship with the Lord, Jesus the Christ. in this life then we will continue in that relationship after our mortal death.  If we have failed to enter that relationship here, then we have no further opportunity to do so!  In Hebrews 9:27 we read that "... it is appointed for man (generic - includes females!) to die once, and after that comes judgment,"  There is no "second chance" - through a loving spouse, or anyone else.  Paul reminds us, in Romans 2:6-8, that "He (Almighty God) will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury."
So what about the second book?  The words that made me raise my eyebrows were at the end of the synopsis: "... show Abia just how deserving of happiness she is."   The problem, here, is that none of us deserves anything but the wrath of Almighty God because of our constant sinning against Him!  His wrath is provoked when we rebel against His Word.  Of course, there are those who do not like to think on the wrath of God. They want a loving, fluffy, stuffed rabbit, kind of God who looks down benignly upon His erring creatures, and smiles understandingly at their faults and failures.  That, however, is not the God of the Bible.  Yes, He is Love - that is His essential Being.  But, as the totally sinless One, He cannot bear to look upon sin.  Sin must be punished. "... the soul that sins shall die." is His word through the prophet Ezekiel (18:4, 20).  Indeed, as a study of any good concordance will show, there are more references in the Bible to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness!
That is a major problem for "Abia", for you, for me, and for every other member of the human race. That's why some of us seek to share the Gospel message as often as we can. Because that message is the answer - not an answer that any of us can provide, but one that is provided by that same Almighty God.  At its most simple, it says that the same Almighty God Who is sinless, and holy, and just, loves us so much that, in the Persona (not a typo - see my book: Great Words of the Faith; chapter on "Trinity") of the Son, He came among us, showed us His love and compassion, and then satisfied His justice by paying the penalty that we deserved to pay!  It is summed up in that well-known verse: "God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in (places their trust in) Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). 
That involves, for us, the recognition that we are, indeed, sinners in the sight of God; that we can do nothing about our own debt of sin; that He has already done all in Jesus, and then accepting the salvation that is offered, so freely through Him.  The life we then lead is so totally different that we right speak of having been "born again".
There is a heaven, and there is a hell.  You and I deserve nothing but hell.  Praise God for His love and mercy that provide us with the opportunity to spend the timelessness of eternity, in heaven, with Him.

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