Who Goes To Hell?
The story was about a couple that had tortured their small child until he died from the abuse.
My gut reaction was thank God for hell.
There’s nothing we can do on earth that is painful and severe enough to punish that sort of evil.
Hell is a necessity if there is true justice in the universe.
Then, I had a troubling thought.
I remembered Steve Brown struggling with the fact that the notorious murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was reading Steve’s books on grace in his cell before he himself was murdered.
What if…they repented of this evil and truly were born again of the Holy Spirit.
Could they be forgiven?
Could heaven be their destiny instead of the hell they so richly have earned?
If we are to be consistent in our theology the answer to both questions is yes.
According to biblical theology (as I understand it) everything they deserve to experience for their evil acts was poured out on Christ…and in Him they can be forgiven.
The beatings, the shame, the humiliation, and the death they deserve were taken by Jesus Christ on behalf of all those who will place their faith on Him.
We can wrestle with that and come to a place of begrudging acceptance that divine justice was satisfied and that grace is amazing beyond our capacity to understand.
But…what if…they were already born again before committing those heinous acts?
Surely that would not be possible.
Born again people would never sin that way…would they?
The problem with that theory is that David believed God and it was “counted to him for righteousness”…before he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered.
His repentance was recorded for the ages, as has been his God given identity…”a man after God’s own heart”.
That’s pretty high praise for a murderer and an adulterer.
Moses, Abraham, Lot, David, Paul…all were men with darkness in their souls and blood on their hands.
We don’t want to believe that, so we have cleaned up their stories when we speak them to each other.
We recreate them as good people like us.
We clean up those stories because only good people should go to heaven and we prove we’re good people by what we don’t do and we have earned heaven by our good choices and decent behavior.
We won’t allow any bad people in this club…
The truth we really don’t like is the truth that we’re not good either.
The truth is that the same blood that can save the worst had to be applied to us as well.
There will be no “good” people in heaven and there will be “good” people in hell, because the key isn’t our goodness but Christ’s.
Heaven will be full of repentant sinners, hell will be populated by sinners who refused to repent.
I can barely grasp this…the Cross is too much for me to comprehend.
I can only hold on to it and invite others to do likewise…and never refuse to allow someone else to take hold of what saved me.
I know I’m not a good person…
Make your own application…