I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I have a friend who is involved in a prison ministry that visits a juvenile detention center. My friend was telling me that they had recently shared the truth about hell with the young men there. My friend said the Chaplin at the jail got very upset with him for letting the young men know that the punishment of the wicked is not an eternity spent in hell but rather death just like the Bible says in John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. The reason the Chaplin did not want them to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked was because he wanted the fear of being tormented for all eternity to motivate them to behave.
The teaching of people being tortured throughout all eternity is to me the most satanic doctrine of all! It totally misrepresents the love and character of God making it impossible to love and know Him the way He loves and knows us. It dawned on me that many churches use hell and fear as a motivation for doing good because they do not properly understand the love motivation. They do not understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice in dying the second death. They make the Cross out to be a mere pain endurance marathon instead of seeing a Savior who was actually willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save the world. When the early church saw the depths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice it turned the whole world upside down! Meaning it changed everything! It was God’s love that constrained, empowered and motivated them. This love is the only motivation that will actually work. Galatians 6 talks of a faith that works by love, not a fear of punishment. In John 14 Jesus says, “If you love Me keep My commandments”, not if you don’t want to go to hell you better keep my commandments.
Those who have “the everlasting gospel” have their work cut out for them. We must uplift the Cross and the truth about the Cross like never before. Young men in juvenile centers and people everywhere else need to know that there is a God who did way more than suffer for six hours on a Cross. He faced the second death for them. He loved them more than He loved his own life. He loved them so much that when tempted to come down from the Cross and go back to heaven He chose to die instead. Simply put, Jesus stayed on that Cross for the young men in the juvenile detention center because the thought of heaven without them was hell to Jesus!
When the love motivation receives its due power it will accomplish so much more than the fear motivation invented by men.
PS it is funny how some people quote John 3:16 all the time while preaching of an eternal torment of sinners while that verse clearly says those who do not believe will “perish” instead of being tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.