In his second epistle, the Apostle Peter is coming to the end of his life and ministry and leaves a treasure trove of wisdom to his beloved flock and for posterity. We today have the benefit of his deep wisdom. I doubt Peter realized that his two letters would end up in the New Testament, but he most certainly understood the precious gift that is Scripture:
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21)
Many of you have no doubt already heard of Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” and the controversy surrounding it. I have not nor do I intend to read this book, but suffice it to say it easily falls into the category of false teaching. For any pastor to teach that there is no literal Hell is to teach a falsehood. No hell means no Jesus, plain and simple. If hell is not real, Jesus is a liar and His death was not needed. I would be interested to hear Mr. Bell’s interpretation of this passage:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matthew 23:29-39)
The condemnation of hell, if Mr. Bell is to be believed, Jesus has to be talking figuratively and not literally since Mr. Bell has declared hell a non-existent place. If that be so, what did Jesus mean by the condemnation of hell? Our precious Apostle Peter warned us against false teachers and we will begin to look at that tomorrow. But suffice it to say that if in doubt, get your Bible out! Peter says we do well to heed the Bible “as a light that shines in a dark place.” Some of the darkest places in America are within church walls.
Beloved I admit it is a nice thought to believe there is no hell. To know that a deceased loved one who died without Jesus is not going to live in eternal torment is desirable. It is also a nice thought to believe I will not die in this body. The problem with many a nice thought is that there are completely devoid of any reality. Such is believing in no hell or not dying. It is simply foolishness.
Do not be surprised at such a false teaching as Mr. Bell’s; there is more to come. But you be prepared through the light of the Word, standing firm in truth and righteousness. The Bible promises much light in our lives and clarity in our minds:
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
The Bible promises wisdom when we are facing the wiles of the devil and his minions:
“You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me.” (Psalm 119:98)
The Bible also promises, as Peter wrote, to be a light for us to step into and receive discernment:
“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)
My dear friends if you are trying to live for Jesus every day and not reading your Bibles, I would be interested to hear how that is working out for you. And if the only word from God you are getting is from this devotional, then let me encourage you to opt out of this and dedicate what little time you give to God by reading from His Word, the Holy Bible. Never, ever use this writing or any other as a substitute for reading daily from Scripture. It is a sad and empty substitute. Like eating sugar, quick and sweet but without nourishment.
We live in a dark world but thanks to our Heavenly Father we have a brighter word by which to live. It’s time to dust off our swords of the Spirit, which is the word of God, as Paul told the Ephesians.
How about you go get yours and tomorrow we’ll tackle false doctrines?
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers