If Left to Him, We Would All Be in Hell

But Abraham’s life is also littered with doubt, fear, unfaithfulness, and lying.  For instance, immediately after God promises to give him the land of Canaan and make him a mighty nation (Genesis 12:1-3), Abraham flees to the land of Egypt and nearly loses his wife by lying to another man, telling him she is his sister (Genesis 12:10-20).  If God’s promises rested upon Abraham’s behavior, then we would all be in hell.

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 53

You Don’t Have a Holy To-Do List

But here is the good news: it is not your ministry, church or people.  You do not have to create and protect a personal legacy, but simply to distribute and guard Christ’s legacy entrusted to his apostles.  You don’t have to bind Satan and storm the gates of hell.  Christ has already done this.  We’re just sweeping in behind him to unlock the prison doors.  You  don’t have to live the gospel, be the gospel, do the gospel, and lead the troops to redeem culture and reconcile the world to God.  We are not building a kingdom that can be convulsed with violence like other realms, but we are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 119-120

Our User-Friendly God…

We often think we have done God a favor by down-playing the whole idea of His judgment.  Our user-friendly God does not punish sin.  He certainly doesn’t send people to hell.  But hell gives us a picture of the absolute perfection and beauty of GOd.  Hell is what hell is because that’s what sin against an infinitely beautiful and glorious God deserves.  Hell is not one degree hotter than our sin demands it to be.  Hell should make our mouths stand agape at the righteous, just holiness of God.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 93

What Is This Life Closest to For You?

In Christ, you are forgiven. In Christ, you are clean. In Christ, your captivity has been replaced with a new identity. For those not in Christ, this life is the closest to heaven they will ever get, and defeat is ultimately theirs. But for those of us in Christ, this life is the closest to hell we will ever get, and victory is ultimately ours. And as Winston Churchill once famously said, “If you were going through hell, keep going.”

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 227

They Are Symptoms of a Far More Serious Crisis

However, the Great Commission is not the Great Cultural Mandate, and the kingdom of Christ cannot be identified with any of the kingdoms of this age.  The troubles of the secular city, in which the church shares and to which it sometimes contributes, are important matters to be addressed by believer and unbeliever alike, but they are symptoms of a more serious crisis: the reign of death and hell.  If we could resolve our top ten crises in the world today, we would still have the devil on our back, sin mastering our heart, and everlasting death as the penalty for our mutiny.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 164

And What He Finds There is Hell

The characteristic of lost souls is “their rejection of everything that is not simply themselves.”  Our imaginary egoist has tried to turn everything he meets into a province or appendage of the self.  The taste for the other, that is, the very capacity for enjoying  good, is quenched in him except in so far as his body still draws him into some rudimentary contact with an outer world.  Death removes this last contact.  He has his wish – to lie wholly in the self and to make the best of what he finds there.  And what he finds there is Hell.

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

as quoted by Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page

The Gospel is Not Just “Fire Insurance”

To be sure, there is more to the gospel than salvation from hell.  The cross is not simply God’s way of forgiving sinners, but of conquering the demonic forces and structures that yield oppression and violence.  And it’s certainly true that the gospel has often been reduced to a simplistic and individualistic message that misses the sweeping grandeur, of Christ’s redemptive historical achievement.  It is not just “fire insurance”, but the way in which the Triune God fulfills his promise of a new creation in spite of human rebellion.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 93-94

The Gospel is Not A General Belief in Heaven or Hell, nor a Hope for a Better Life

The gospel itself is not a general belief in heaven and hell or hope for a better life beyond; it is not even confidence in a resurrection at the end of the age.  It is the announcement that Jesus Christ himself is our life, for he is our peace with God.  He does not merely show us the way; he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 79

Predestination Defined

In summary we may define predestination broadly as follows: From all eternity God decided to save some members of the human race and to let the rest of the human race perish.  God made a choice – he chooses some individuals to be saved unto everlasting blessedness in heaven, and he choose others to pass over, allowing them to suffer the consequences of their sins, eternal punishment in hell.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 141

The Primary Passage on Freedom from the Dominion of Sin

Just as Romans 3:19-26 is the classic passage of Scripture about salvation from the penalty of sin, so Romans 6:1-14 is the primary passage of Scripture about freedom from the dominion of sin.  In this section of Scripture we learn what God has done for us through Christ to enable us to deal with sin, even persistent sin in our lives.  We will see in Romans 6 that the gospel is far more than “fire insurance” from eternal punishment in hell. 

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 61-62