the bottomline

Going to Hell
Tuesday, December 14, 2021 by Dan Allen


One of my grandsons has declared he wants to be a preacher when he grows–up and it seems he’s starting out quite young, but his theology needs some fine tuning. To his 5–year–old sister, who was fussing about going to church and declared: “I don’t want to go to church,” this budding theolog, having just turned eight asked: “Do you want to go to hell then?”


Way to go, my boy! That’s not why people go to hell, but it may be an indicator of a spiritual deadness in the person that will result in them ending–up in that dreaded place.


Spiritual deadness is where everyone finds themselves according to Eph. 2:1 – “and you were dead in your trespasses and sins” and Rom. 5:12 – “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” But this can all be turned around when one receives Jesus. Col. 2:13 – “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses;” Eph. 2:5 – “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ;” and John 10:10 – “I have come so they may have life and have it to the fullest.”


This is the reality in which we find ourselves as well as our Nathanaels (friends, relatives, neighbors, classmate, shop–keep down the street, etc.) – either we/they are dead or alive in Christ. For those who are dead, we, as followers of Jesus have been given the light (Jesus Christ) to help shine the path for them to become a follower of Him. So, I’m wondering, in this season of lights, how are we doing in this regard? Are we like a spotlight, lighting the path or a match that flickers and quickly burns out lighting little to nothing?

I’m reminded of what an atheist, who must have had some Christian training, wrote concerning witnessing or evangelizing. It’s in my book on evangelism, but worth repeating. Concerning people who will not witness to their Nathanaels, or “proselytize” (his word) — “I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward — how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” He continued - “I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that” (Penn Jillette of the Penn and Teller comedy team, Exhaling the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Evangelism as Natural as Breathing the Truth, pg. 114).

Wow – that kind of puts us in our place. Christmas is here with the New Year on its heels. Perhaps one of our goals for 2022 should be to share Christ with our Nathanaels. I’m sure God will honor this for He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).

We’ll work with the young lad on his theology, but I hope he doesn’t lose his boldness.


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