Finding Hell Forever

“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds.'” (Romans 2.4-5)

What kind of heart belongs to someone who doesn’t know God?  A hard, impenitent heart.

  • The word hardness is where we get the name of a disease called sclerosis.  Sclerosis is the hardening of the body’s soft tissue because of the overgrowth of fibrous tissue.  When the heart is hard and not soft, it cannot receive what God is able to give.
  • The word impenitent means that the person refuses to change their mind.  They are stubborn and refuse to turn to God.

Those who are not children of God will not see all the good in my heavenly Father because they are hard, insensitive, and stubborn.  People who are hardened toward God will find God’s judgment and condemnation.  They find such judgment because they’ve approached God on their own terms or haven’t approached Him at all.  Conduct itself may not be very different, but the disposition each unbeliever has toward God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his own soul is different.

  1. An unbeliever’s conduct toward God – he doesn’t really care about God and rarely thinks about Him.  He prefers all the empty activities in this world.  He wants life to be fun and not serious.  If this continues, such a person will finally say in his heart that he no longer wants God in his life.  He doesn’t want to know about Him.  He doesn’t care about God’s goodness and blessing.  He doesn’t care about if God is pleased or honored by his life.  He calls the unbeliever and invites him through others, but this person is not paying attention.  He won’t do what God wants him to do.  He will go his own way.  How will that end for this person?  God will deal with him in the way he dealt with God.  God renders to each one according to their deeds.  If he doesn’t want God around; the day is coming when God won’t want him around either.
  2. An unbeliever’s conduct toward the Lord Jesus – Jesus died to bring people together with God.  He has offered to cleanse sin away and give people His spotless righteousness.  If they accept His gifts, they will stand before the Father as His children.  They will be without spot or blemish.  But if they refuse the Lord Jesus due to pride or temporal desires, then they belittle His work for them.  If such a person says that he will stand or fall in his own righteousness, he will surely fall.  If you reject Jesus, you reject your only hope.
  3. An unbeliever’s conduct toward his soul – they haven’t found what is best for their souls.  His mind is distracted by the world’s pleasure.  He has no inward peace or satisfaction.  Instead of turning to God, he nurses his hurts and pain.  He becomes angry at God because of the terror of Hell, the pain of self-denial, and the shame of ridicule from supposed friends.  God will render to each one according to his deeds.  If he sows to his flesh, he will of the flesh reap corruption.  He didn’t want to avoid Hell, so he shall have it forever.

There is a better way.  Jesus said,

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

Jesus’ invitation is for those who labor and amass their own righteousness.  It is for those burdened with guilt, shame, and inner pain.  It is for those who cannot sleep, are restless and distress, and disillusioned about live.  Jesus is a compassionate Savior, so willing to extend rest and comfort.  It is His work, His live, and His gentle and lowly character in exchange for our hard, impenitent hearts.  There is no other way to find rest for your souls.

“It Doesn’t Work!”

We are so easily disillusioned about life.  We lack enthusiasm for anything because we are passive.  If you love a person who is passive about life, you often feel like you don’t know them anymore.  There is no drive to work or to love in them.  Is it because this person is unable to act?  Is it because they are unwilling to act?  Such a person would almost certainly maintain that they are unable.  Often, they are in a battle but refuse to engage.  When offered biblical advice they counter, “It doesn’t work!”

Life doesn’t need to be this way.  Do you want to change?  Perhaps you need to stop finding your identity in martyrdom.  I can almost hear the next three-word sentence you might have for me:  “You don’t understand!”  But I do understand.  I understand that we often use a hopeless passivity in life to avoid sin issues like financial irresponsibility, life-dominating sin, or poor parenting philosophies.

Don’t allow yourself to say, “It doesn’t work!”  Don’t give up on God like that.  Don’t allow your world to become so small that it’s only filled with you.  Christians are here to build God’s kingdom and not their own kingdom.  It really is time for you to engage and be a part of something that will fill you with peace, hope, and love.  How will you build a spiritually active lifestyle?  Here are some practical ways to do so:

  1. Read through some of the narrative stories of the Bible.  Write down five applications from each story.
  2. Find good things in people close to you, write them down, and then send a text each day thanking the person for the good they bring in your life.
  3. Write out your purpose for living.  Allow spiritual friends to read it and help you revise it.
  4. Find out what it means to suffer in such a way that you are better for it.
  5. Take notes when listening to the sermon on Sunday morning.  Write down personal application from those notes later.
  6. Speak or write something for the purpose of encouraging people each day.
  7. Meditate on God’s creative beauty and count it as a blessing.
  8. Listen to spiritual music.
  9. Listen to God’s Word in the car.
  10. Don’t allow yourself to complain about people or circumstances.
  11. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!
  12. Get someone to help you make changes for the better.

Hypocrisy in the Church

Comforting Sympathy

We are not required to share.  If someone requires me to share what I have with others, that will not produce cooperation.  Instead, it will produce alienation.  This is why experiments with socialism and communism have yielded ugly, bitter fruit.  That said, there is a need for compassion and comforting sympathy among Christians.  The first century church didn’t look at material wealth as something to be possessed but as something to be held in common.  This example leads to great power and great grace in the church (Acts 4.33).

A man nicknamed Barnabas by the apostles exemplified sincere, compassionate giving in the first century church.  He was an encourager.  Literally, to encourage means to pour courage within someone.  When Barnabas sold his property and gave all the proceeds to the early, persecuted church in Jerusalem, he was pouring courage within the fledgling church.  You provide this comforting sympathy only when you truly love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Anyone who is genuinely moved with compassion to comfort others is responding to the great power and grace of God.

Corrosive Hypocrisy

What is hypocrisy?  It’s a word that is not explicitly used in the first 11 verses of Acts 5, but the concept cannot be missed.  The Greek word literally means to “put on the mask”.  Hypocrisy is the opposite of genuine.  There is no Barnabas-like comforting sympathy in hypocritical actions.  It is the act of communicating something you are not.  It is fueled by deceit and discovered by God.  It leads to the place all sin leads:  death.

  1. Hypocrisy is deceptive (Acts 5.1-2).  Ananias and Sapphira sought to deceive the early church by playing the part of Barnabas.  They were hypocritical encouragers.  They didn’t give all the money they gained from the sale of their own land.  Instead, they kept back part of the profit and pretended to give it all.  They allowed selfishness instead of selflessness to drive their actions.
  2. Hypocrisy is discovered (Acts 5.3-4).  Nobody hides from God (Hebrews 4.13).  The evil spirit filled the heart of Ananias to lie to the Holy Spirit.  His wife followed his corrosive example.  Living as if God does not see your heart or as if God does not exist is the epitome of hypocrisy.  Nobody forced this couple to give comfort to a hurting church.  But they wanted the same attention Barnabas received for his genuine sacrifice.  However, they didn’t actually sacrifice to give comfort.
  3. Hypocrisy is deadly (Acts 5.5-11).  God judged Ananias and Sapphira in a severe way.  Great grace and great power came upon the church through genuine selflessness.  When this couple died for their hypocrisy, great fear leading to great purity came upon the early church.  God judged them severely to provide a dramatic pause in church growth.  The church did not fear Peter, but the Holy Spirit who indwelled them at Pentecost.  We don’t often see hypocrites die in our churches as a direct act of the Holy Spirit.  However, death occurs wherever this sin is promoted.

The solution to our hypocrisy is found in our repentance.  We must truly see this as a problem, turn away from it, and change our thinking about its destructive nature.  The answer to hypocrisy is not brutal honesty which turns away from everything religious; the answer is found in compassionate, Christlike honesty which turns away from selfishness and toward the needs of others.