In a previous article we noted that many people are very uncomfortable with the idea that there could be a place called Hell wherein God would assign to eternal punishment the souls of the unrighteous. Looking to the scriptures, God’s word, we learned that the Greek word most commonly rendered “Hell” in our English translations is “Gehenna.,” a specific word that identifies a definite place. “Gehenna” is used twelve times in the New Testament, eleven of those by the Lord Himself. Repeatedly it is used in phrases such as “cast into Hell” (Matt. 5:29, 30; Mk. 9:45; Lk. 12:5), “destroyed in Hell” (Matt. 10:28), “cast into Hell fire” (Matt. 18:9; Mk. 9:47) and “to go to Hell“ (Mk. 9:43). Reading objectively, it is nearly impossible to conclude anything other than Hell is a real place!
Many people are most uncomfortable with the concept of a place of punishment called “Hell” in scripture. Many believe Hell to be inconsistent with their concept of a loving, kind, merciful God of grace. Well, is Hell real?
I enjoy watching the Olympic games. Besides the enjoyment factor, they have at least a couple of good effects for society as a whole that may not get much notice. First, they’ve provide television programming that’s pretty family oriented and also rather compelling to watch. What a change that is! Second, they provide repeated and emphatic visual lessons that demonstrate that being ever so close to victory is still defeat.
What’s the best thing a mother can do for her child? Certainly, one of the strongest desires in the heart of a mother is for the welfare and well being of her child. Typically speaking, little compares with the devotion of a mother to her child. Motherly love is one of the greatest examples of compassion in the human experience. There is little that a mother would not do to save or protect her child, even to the point of giving her life. So, what’s the best thing a mother can do for her child?
Jesus stated, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Think about what that statement says. First, we can know truth. Jesus said so. Some people think that truth is relative. They believe that truth changes based on time, circumstances and personal feeling and interpretation. They see truth as fluid, always adjusting, changing. What is true today may not be true tomorrow, and then it may be true again next week. Jesus, however, settled the matter. His statement is unequivocal; we can know truth!
Just how much do we need God? Even the most faithful and dedicated people probably do not really think much on a daily basis about how much they truly need God. If we’re asked the question, most all of us would quickly affirm that we need God every step of the way, every day. But most of us probably do not demonstrate that realization much in the way we live our lives. We get caught up in all of the busy-ness of daily living. Well, do we really need God?
The apostle Paul stated, “but one thing I do...” (Phlp. 3:13). In this chapter, Paul talked about himself in order to illustrate his point. From a perspective of bloodline and heritage, he had excellent credentials. He could trace his bloodline back to the tribe of Benjamin. His bloodline was pure, being a Hebrew born of Hebrew parents. On the surface, his spiritual credentials also appeared most impressive. He was a Pharisee, meticulous in keeping the law of Moses and zealous enough to be an aggressive persecutor of the church (vs. 4-6).
A human being needs hope. It might be found in a goal that a person is working to achieve. It might be in a desire he’s trying to fulfill. It might be centered in a relationship. It could be something that he sees as giving his life purpose. It could be a promise that someone has made that gives him hope. Whatever its source, a person will search for, and cling to, hope.
The resurrection of Christ from the tomb spotlights, like a laser beam, several important truths that demand recognition and attention. The resurrection is the focal point of the gospel and Christianity. Anyone could appear on the scene and claim to be “the Christ.” Anyone could identify himself as “the Son of God.” Anyone facing death could say he will come back from the grave. Anyone could make these claims. But Christ really did rise from the dead and come forth from the tomb, alive!
It’s easy to recognize that God has blessed us. Even most people facing serious difficulties in their lives would still quickly admit to being blessed by God. Some are slower to identify God’s blessings in their lives, while others readily see them and continually thank God for them. But few would deny that they have been blessed by God.
Gary L. Hutchens