Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rob Bell: Heaven, Hell and Salvation Pt. 3

I've been wanting to make a post here at Bathos but have had a very busy several weeks. Now I'm in the middle of a week of prayer for the youth, young adults of Westchester Seventh-day Adventist church in Miami, FL. It's been amazing to see God work.

With that said and before continuing with part 3 of this series of post's  let us all continue to pray for Japan! My friend Rodlie has posted on his blog simple ways that you can give to help the ongoing relief efforts in Japan. Please take a moment and read his blog and then GIVE however you can.

Part 3:

First, if you haven't been following please read part 1 and part 2 of this series to fully capture why I'm doing this. In the two plus weeks since all this began a lot has been happening. People have now actually read Bell's book, one being a friend of mine. You can read two of those reviews here (note this review is very long) and here this is my friend Gio's blog, it's shorter and more concise.

Also Rob Bell has begun going on tour promoting his book doing interviews. Make sure to watch this very interesting interview by Martin Bashir and then read the rest of the post:

In my 2nd post in this series we concluded from the bible the following:

1. When people die they don't (when I first posted this I somehow left out the very important word don't) immediately go to heaven or hell.
2. When one dies the bible calls it 'sleep' people are 'unconscious' until Jesus comes
3. When Jesus comes and resurrects His people, some will go to heaven and others will go to 'hell'
4. Hell is not 'eternal'
5. God will put an end to 'all' suffering, sin, and death, making all things new.
6. Therefore from a biblical perspective there cannot be a place in the universe will there are people burning eternally! This would then imply that sin continues and people are immortal, which they are not.

So then what about salvation? Heaven? Who will be saved?

Let's begin with a few texts about salvation: (note: you may have noticed that here at Bathos if you put your cursor over the text you can read it without going to another site. It also saves me time in writing every text out:)

Ephesians 2: 8-10 Salvation is of God from first to last.
John 3:16 Perhaps the most famous text in the bible, clearly states that those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.
1 Timothy 2: 3-4 God desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth. Yet God's desire is our choice. The implications: NOT ALL will have God's desire.
John 14:6 The way to the Father is through Jesus Christ. Jesus says He is the way, salvation is through Him.

Summary: Matthew 24:14 tells us that the gospel shall be preached in all places and then the end will come. It doesn't say (nor anywhere else in the bible) that everyone will believe or even that eventually everyone will believe. The scriptures are clear that salvation is found in Christ Jesus only.

With that said though a host of questions arise for example: How about those who perhaps died before hearing the gospel? What about the people in remote areas of the world will they really hear and understand the truth of Jesus? It's been said that about 2/3 of the population of the world hasn't accepted Christ. Will then all those be lost?

These and other questions are usually some of the first questions that well known Christian leaders get asked when they are being interviewed on t.v. Though it may seem like an easy answer it's actually a bit more complex.

There's a very interesting chapter in Ezekiel 18 which I truly urge you to read. Essentially God is calling for repentance, for people to turn from their wicked ways to His ways. Then the chapter finishes with God saying, "For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord God. "Therefore turn and live!" (Ezekiel 18:32)

Romans 11:33 says, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 

Revelation 19:2 says, "For true and righteous are His judgments..."

At the end of it all, it is up to God! Yes God has lift us some very clear principals in the bible about salvation and how to live Godly lives. They are rooted in Jesus Christ! We need the gospel because it is good news, good news that tells me that even though I was full of bad news because of sin. The good news is that through Jesus I am made new in Him!

With that said though, I believe that there will be surprises in heaven. What I mean is that though I also desire everyone to be saved I might be surprised not to find someone I really thought would be saved in heaven. Ultimately God is judge of all and I must trust and do trust that His judgments are 'true and righteous.'

Regardless of what Rob Bell or any other famous preacher says, we must ponder the very first question posed in the bible. It's asked by God after Adam and Eve fell into sin. "Where are you?" (Gen. 3:9)

When it comes to your relationship with Jesus; Where are you? You see if anything Rob Bell is right about one thing, we do have the freedom of choice. In order for God to truly be 'love' He must allow for us to choose. True love is only love when it is chosen. It can NEVER be forced or chosen for me. No one can truly force me to love God or anyone else.

So no, not everyone will be saved, not everyone will live forever with Jesus, people will burn in hell but not eternally, sin will come to a complete end! So as Ezekiel says..."Therefore turn and live." Turn to Jesus today, He showed God's perfect love, He is love! A love you can freely choose to accept or deny.

The question we must answer is: Where are you?


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