How will God accomplish His redemptive purpose? Will the One who loved us into existence abandon some of us in the end?
Is Hell eternal conscious torment? If so, how does God console the intolerable loss of believers who have non-believing friends and loved ones in Hell? In Heaven God will wipe all tears from our eyes. Will He remove the memories of lost friends and loved ones (some kind of amnesia)? Or will we somehow be convinced to rejoice even though we know our lost loved ones are forever suffering?
Punishment exists in eternity, but is it eternal? Does Hell go on forever? Or does God eventually determine that a million years in Hell is sufficient for a lifetime of rejecting His love on earth? Is punishment retributive or restorative?
One day “every knee will bow” before Christ confessing Him as Lord. Is this willingly, or by coercion? Will people be given another opportunity to be reconciled to God, even after death?
Who is in the “driver’s seat”? Who is sovereign? Us, or God? We pray, “Thy will be done.” Will God’s purpose fail? Or will God overcome the obstacles that human unbelief and wrong choices present? Will God convince and compel people to receive His love?
All roads do not lead to God, but will people be shown the error of their ways after death? Will those who were taught false religious systems be eternally condemned for their misguided ways, or brought to the Truth?
God’s desire is for all to be saved; He’s not willing that any should perish. Is the suffering of the lost a hollow victory for God? Can God be content knowing that much of His Creation is lost forever? Or will He not rest till all are reconciled to Him?
What are the limits (if any) of Christ’s atonement? Scripture says Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Does our Savior's sacrificial death extend to them? Grace can be refused, but can human choice ultimately overrule God? Would God really grant people freedom to reject Him forever and suffer irreparable harm? Does Hell really have, as some suggest, a door locked on the inside?
Which is more reasonable--to view eternity through eyes filled with hope or despair?
Sunday, April 13, 2008
The facts about the Gospel message are important, but once we understand them, we should also want the Person who died so we might live. It’s similar to knowing your minister. I get calls from people all the time who basically are looking for a “Religious Service Provider” to conduct a wedding or baptism or funeral. They’re not interested in having a Pastor who knows them and cares about them. Once the procedure is done, they’re done. No on-going relationship. Some young people mistakenly think that after Confirmation they’ve met the requirements and they’re done, like graduating from school. But the Christian life is never over. It’s a commitment to a lifetime of learning and growing and relating.