Avoiding Hell and going to Heaven?
The average Evangelical Christian thinks that avoiding Hell and going to Heaven is the Gospel or Good News. Well, I suppose avoiding being tortured for ever and ever would be something that you would want to avoid – if it were true.
Therefore, according to the traditional Evangelical, the Gospel is not really something you experience much in this life but what you experience way in the future. The bonus, is that you may even get to escape a sort of ‘hell on earth’ (the tribulation)- if of course you are fortunate enough to be raptured!
Is it Good news?
Therefore, is what we are proclaiming Good News to the average person around us? To a single mother depressed and struggling to look after her young kids, does the Gospel of Hell avoidance seem at all attractive? Likewise, to the young man with a drug addiction; the man who has recently been made redundant or the housewife facing cancer? No, some people are already in a kind of hell – they really don’t need to be told its going to be even worse!
If the Gospel is nothing except an escape from future punishment then it’s not good news at all by any stretch of the imagination. Good news is when you win the lottery or get a tax refund – not the avoidance of certain death in a car crash because your remembered to wear a seat belt! When Noah preached to his generation, warning them of the coming flood – that wasn’t good news! It was bad news! Yes, it was the truth but it wasn’t the Gospel!
Its about Jesus
No, the Good News is about Jesus Christ! It’s that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that we might not perish but have eternal life – not escape from hell. Without Jesus in our lives, we are indeed perishing! Some of us maybe do better in life for a while but all of us eventually die!
However, the true Gospel is a Gospel of hope because its the good news of how God intervenes and intervened in human history through the person of the son Jesus Christ. At the cross Jesus overcame death and brought the possibility of immortality and life after death through physical resurrection!
2 Timothy 1:10 “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”
The Gospel therefore, is great news when you realise that it proclaims an end to the the blood shed and the hatred in the world at the moment: a coming kingdom and age in which will righteousness will dwell but a kingdom that can be tasted now!
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Previous related post on the topic of Hell:
Love never fails (Part 1)
My new Kindle Book!
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