But Why?

When I hear a fellow Christian say they believe something, I often will ask them why they believe it. It is surprising how many times either the person doesn't know why they believe it or isn't able to articulate why they believe it, or I get an answer like "That's what my Pastor says" or "That's what my family has always believed" or maybe "Isn't that what it says in the Bible?". I find that most of the time we can't give a credible answer to why we believe what we say we believe!
1Peter 3:15 tells us to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." God is not simply calling on us to know the answers to a bunch of  questions someone may ask. It is a call to a comprehensive defense of our hope or what we confess to believe. Not being able to defend a belief shows a lack of knowledge about that belief and anything we have such a lack of knowledge about should never be something we base our eternal hope upon. How can we have true faith in something that we have such little knowledge about that we can't explain why we believe it?
If you can't explain to someone else why you believe something, then you probably don't know enough about it to truly believe in it. Get into God's word and see if it holds up to scripture. Meditate on it and try to explain it to yourself in simple terms. Then you will be prepared to give an answer about, or defense of, your hope. People are looking for answers, not opinions.


Justice and Punishment

I don't want to go to hell. I don't want anyone else to go to hell. I do believe there is a literal hell to avoid and I don't see a problem with there being such a place. As R.C. Sproul puts it -What is mysterious about a holy Creator punishing willfully disobedient creatures?  Shouldn't Almighty God have the right to punish sinners? Where is the justice in letting law-breakers go unpunished?
I hear people talk about how a loving God wouldn't send a person to eternal torment in hell. But, if I am warned of the consequences of breaking a law and I choose to break it anyway, the judge doesn't send me to jail, I sent myself! The judge only sentences me according to the law! We have all been warned that the wages of sin are death. We have been told about hell. Will we choose righteousness which leads to reward or sin which leads to punishment?
God certainly has the right to punish those who break his laws. Actually, his righteous and just nature require him to. It is only by his great mercy that He has made a way of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
The old saying is, if you don't want to do the time then don't do the crime. So, live right and live forever.... Or live any old way you want to and pay the price.



"Will a person who has never heard of Jesus go to hell?" It would hardly seem fair to punish someone for something they never got a chance to do, namely, reject Jesus. But, let's look closer at that question for a moment.
The reason Jesus came was to save us from our sin. What sin?.... the sin of rejecting God. We think more about Jesus saving us from our sins (actions) than him saving us from our sin (heart attitude). Original sin came about when Adam rejected God and God's government. Jesus came to bring the possibility of being forgiven for rejecting God. Faith in Jesus' redemptive work washes away the sin of rejecting God. Rejecting Jesus means we are saying "no thank you" to God's merciful plan of forgiveness for the sin of rejecting God. When we reject God's means of forgiveness (Jesus), then we reject the only way to gain forgiveness for rejecting God in the first place!
I know that's a little confusing, but read that last paragraph again if you need to. Rejecting Jesus is actually rejecting God's plan of forgiveness for rejecting God. The book of Romans says that God has made his existence perfectly clear to everyone in the things he has made. No one has an excuse for not believing in God. Just look around you..... it's so obvious! But there are those who don't want there to be a God, because if there is a God they would owe him their praise and obedience. They would rather have autonomy instead, so they make an argument against his existence. They reject God. And they reject Jesus who is the forgiveness for that rejection!
A person who has never heard of Jesus still has all the obvious proof throughout creation that God exists. If they reject that proof and don't seek after God, they wouldn't have believed in Jesus either. How could Jesus be the son of God if there is no God? God is just and righteous and everyone will get a fair shake. Actually, those who accept God through Jesus Christ will get a merciful shake and those who reject God (whether they also reject Jesus or not) will get a fair shake.... because Heaven is mercy, Hell is justice.