“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.”
The fear of hell has been used to control and manipulate people for a long time. I can remember my grandfather on my mom’s side using hell fire in his sermons. He was a person whom I’ve molded my ministry to not be like. I can remember feeling panic each time he spoke, or even walked into the room. Panic, however, does not come from God–it comes from the deepest, darkest, hottest places of hell.
Hell is a supernatural place of torment that no Christian will ever have to experience. For those who reject Jesus’ free forgiveness by grace through faith?…Unfortunately, yes. But not us.
Jesus talked about hell more than He did heaven. In Luke 16, He told a story of a man who died and went to hell. While there, he called out to Abraham in heaven asking him to warn his family about this place of torment. He longed to have a single drop of water to cool his tongue (see Luke 16:24).
But Abraham replied, “Between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (see Luke 16:26). Abraham then tells the man that if his family won’t listen to what is written in Scripture, they won’t even be convinced if someone rises from the dead (see Luke 16:31).
Friend, hell is a real place, and it is bad. The reason why it’s so bad is because it’s complete separation from God. Many people think we are separated from Him now, on earth, but He is here. In hell, He’s not–but here, He is!
Simply believe Jesus has forgiven you of your sins and you will not go there! (See John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8-9). If you do believe Jesus has forgiven you, you are secure! The punishment of sin, which is death that leads to hell, was taken care of at the Cross! Just look at what Peter said:
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18)
“The just for the unjust”? Who is unjust? We are! Or I should say, we were. That is, before we believed we were forgiven by Him who is just, Jesus. Now we are justified completely! It says it right there! And what were we justified from? Sin! What does sin do? It separates us from God! Jesus took away our sin for good at the Cross!
Christian, your spirit is now sinless! It’s perfect! A perfect spirit is what God requires to enter heaven; a perfect spirit is what He requires to come and live inside of you right now (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). This is why you don’t need to be afraid of hell: God already lives in you and He’ll never go away!
“Matt, that’s a lie! Every true believer knows that God blots out Christians’ names from the book of life all the time!”
Friend, I’m sorry you believe that, but He does not. That verse, Revelation 3:5, is actually a comforting verse for Christians, not a scary one. Just look:
“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)
John is telling us that our names will never be blotted out, and that Jesus will acknowledge us! This isn’t scary! This is really good news! Do you see it?! This passage, which was supposed to bring peace to us as God’s children, has been used to incite terror by the quasi-grace Christians! That is unacceptable! We are not of those who shrink back to this garbage, but of those who stand firm in the truth! (See Hebrews 10:39).
This reassuring verse has been twisted by self-centered people in order to get others to do what they say, “NOW! OR ELSE TO HELL WITH YOU!”…as if they are God.
Friends, God doesn’t work like that. Legalism does, but not God. His Spirit who lives in us will never stir up fear, but instead, ignite confidence. When young Timothy was struggling with fear, Paul encouraged him with the truth:
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
As you can see, fear doesn’t come from God. It comes from the accuser and our old, unrenewed thinking (see Revelation 12:10, Romans 12:2). Thankfully, God retrains our conscience to know when we should be afraid of what. Hell is not one of those things. Getting drunk and speeding is, but hell isn’t. Therefore, as God’s kids, when we feel fear about hell, a red flag should pop up in our souls warning us it’s not coming from Him.
“Yeah right, Matt! Real Christians know we can lose our salvation! That’s something to be very afraid of!”
Is God a liar? Was He naive about making His home in us for good? Is He constantly changing His mind about us being saved or not saved?…No. The answer is no. He wasn’t temporarily stupid when He decided to make us spiritually perfect for free based on belief and grace. He hadn’t lost His mind when He saw that we’d still struggle with our actions and attitudes. He’s very smart. He knew the only way we could become heaven-ready is if He accomplished this feat for us. So He did. If you think you can lose your salvation you sure do think highly of yourself–as if you are actually maintaining it. Whew, that’s a lot of pressure.
Friend, the reason why we will stay saved is two main reasons, and neither have anything to do with us:
In 1 John 4, John writes to the early church about how we have nothing to be afraid of any longer. According to him, the reason why we shouldn’t be afraid is because, “God’s love for us is perfect” and “fear has to do with punishment.” In his gospel he notes we won’t be punished for anything! (See John 3:17-18). If we are to be punished, the Cross wasn’t all it was cracked up to be! John was saying if you are still afraid of God it’s because you still don’t understand His love! (See 1 John 4:18). A love so great He’d never send you to hell!
So today, my friends, know this: Your old spirit has died and your new spirit will never experience hell! (See Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, John 3:16). From the moment you first heard the gospel with faith, your old spirit was crucified with Jesus, it was buried with Jesus, and then resurrected with Him in the spiritual realm! (See Romans 6:6, 10:17). YOU ARE NEW! Perfectly new! That new spirit inside your body is sinless and will never experience torment in hell! (See Colossians 3:3, 1:22, John 10:28). You have been sealed up with Christ until the day of redemption! (See Ephesians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:22). CHRISTIAN, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HELL, SO DON’T BE AFRAID! God already lives inside you, so be confident in this truth!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for teaching me about your perfect love, which casts out all fear. Oh my goodness, I had so much fear to unlearn. Thank you for teaching me the truth of what you’ve done in me. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them are having a difficult time believing what I’ve just wrote, and I can relate. They’ve been incorrectly taught–by way of fear–that they are actually doing something to maintain their salvation, but they’re not. It was free in the beginning, and it’s still free. We didn’t “get” our salvation, we received it as a free gift. Please ease their minds today. Let them know that anything which begins with “I do” or “I don’t do,” in order to keep their spot in our Family is incorrect. We keep our heavenly heritage because of what Jesus has done, and nothing more. We are grateful for this hope which anchors our souls! Your promise to Jesus, and His to you, was a wonderful, loving idea! Help us to grow in the knowledge of such grace and become confident in who we are in you! Amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!