“Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” – Luke 13:2-5
I’ve been thinking about hell all week – and rereading C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. Here are a few quotes that have stuck with me,
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”
“The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
“I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right: but only by going back til you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, ‘with backward mutters of dissevering power’ –or else not.”
Did you get that? “All that are in Hell, choose it.” The reoccurring theme here is choices… Little choices, big choices, choices every day and every hour. Choices to love, to obey, to surrender, to seek truth, to reach out, to engage, to labor…. Or choices to disobey, to turn away, to be independent, to seek our own good, to hide behind falsehood, to ignore, to not love, to be lazy…
Over time our choices will define us and the path that we walk on.
One day we shall come to the end and discover that we have chosen our own destiny. God, in His grace and mercy, desires that we choose to follow Him… to take the narrow path, the path of surrender and obedience… And if we do He will do everything in His power to help us along, making us stronger, sustaining and encouraging us, and using us to bring about His kingdom on earth.
If we chose not to follow Christ He does not give up on us but continually pursues us… Yet, like a warm coal that is separated from the fire, as it draws farther and farther away it becomes harder and harder to breathe life and flame into it… It cools and eventually there is no possibility of a fire left in it.
God is calling – You choose. Hell is a reminder that the choices we make matter, right now.
Here’s the sermon: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fusion-sermons/id554555824 under the title “Hell And Who Goes There”. He covers what Jesus meant when He spoke of gehenna, God’s love and justice, universalism, exclusivism, and inclusivism, and more. It’s well worth 30 minutes of your time.