February 15, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
What The Hell…? What’s it about? Is it real? If it is, how can I be assured that I won’t end up there? Jesus gives us some answers in Mark 9:43 through 48. I have condensed this rather long Scripture:
…if your hand makes you sin, cut it off….if your foot makes you sin, cut
it off…if your eye makes you sin, pluck it out….It is better for you to enter
into life maimed…lame…with one eye…than having two hands…two feet
…two eyes, to be cast into hell fire — where their worm does not die and
the fire is not quenched.
We looked in the last blog at the reality of hell, and some of it’s characteristics:
• It is “…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death…,” according to Revelation 21:8.
• Jesus likened it to the Jerusalem garbage dump in our featured Scripture when he said that hell is “…where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched…” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). It is eternal suffering!
• We are told in Revelation 21:8 that the fuel of hell is brimstone – sulphur, which burns the flesh as well as the airways with a potent and noxious smell.
I believe that Jesus’ main point in our Scripture is to avoid hell at all costs! To lose a hand, a foot, or an eye to escape hell is price worthy of the purchase! Of course, no one can ‘purchase’ his or her way out of hell! (See Psalm 49:8). Jesus Christ made the purchase, and it cost Him His life’s blood! (See I Corinthians 6:19, 20; I Peter 1:18, 19). There is no other price anyone could pay!
But it is not the hand, the foot, or the eye that causes sin. Sin comes out of a corrupt heart, corrupted by Satan! When, by disobedience to God (which is what sin is), our first parents transferred their received spiritual heredity from the LORD to the devil, they became the children of the evil one instead of having God as their Father! Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:44 (and all of us are included): “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” Ever since that first sin in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3:1-7), we have all inherited that sin nature (see Romans 5:12) out of which sinful thoughts, words, and deeds come! (See Matthew 15:18-20). We don’t need new hands, feet, and eyes! We need a new heart (see Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26) – a new nature! And that is just what God gives us when we are born again! Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:17 (Good News Bible), “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”
So to escape hell, don’t cut off hands or feet! Don’t gouge out an eye! If that was how it was to be done, many people who were serious about avoiding hell would be limping through life, missing hands, feet and eyes! What we need is what the Lord told Nicodemus in John 3:6, “You must be born again.” And that only happens when we receive Jesus as our Savior! (See John 1:12).
When we have that new nature, we have then the power not to sin! John tells us in…
• …I John 3:9 – “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
• …I John 5:18 – “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”
The problem is that we still have the old sinful nature (as well as the new spiritual nature) until we see Jesus “…face to face…” (I Corinthians 13:12). And, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” We must count the flesh – the old sinful nature – dead by constantly crucifying it! (See Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; I Corinthians 15:31; Galatians 2:20). And we must feed the new spiritual nature by obedience to God’s Word! (See Romans 12:1, 2; II Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10, 16). Then we will experience what is written in I Corinthians 15:57: “…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I have found the best way to crucify the old sinful nature is to make Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane ours in every situation: “…nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). Accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior will keep us out of hell! Obeying Him as our Lord, we will experience “…life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10 Good News Bible – see Galatians 5:22, 23).