As Christians in our modern-day world, we are constantly put under pressure to keep our faith silent, especially concerning anything that may be offensive. This is especially evident when discussing the truth about Hell. People do not want to be told they will go to Hell because they rebelled against God, and so they refuse to listen and will often push us away when we speak of it.
Unfortunately, more and more often people do not need to tell Christians to ‘lay off’. Instead, we automatically assume others are not interested in or willing to consider the Gospel, and so we never (or fairly rarely) give them the opportunity to hear the ultimate story – the story of a King who would die for His people for His glory’s sake.
We have a variety of reasons for why we think we aren’t sharing the Gospel with those around us. Perhaps we assume we are being kind by not making others feel uncomfortable. Maybe we don’t want to scare that friend from Jesus or make them think that God is cruel, after all the time we invested in building relationships, or it could be that we don’t want our coworkers to think we see ourselves as better than others, and so despising us. Regardless of our reasoning, when we refuse to preach the Gospel, we are not only sacrificing the eternal for the temporary, but we are also revealing how we look at Hell.
When we are not consistently living a life of testifying Christ to those around us by both our words and actions, we either: 1) don’t believe Hell is real, 2) forget that Hell is real, or 3) don’t care (at all or enough) that Hell is real.
1) We Don’t Really Believe
We know that both Jesus and the Bible talk about Hell, and we don’t consciously deny it. But yet, we don’t actually think that so many people around us without Christ will really go to a literal and genuine Hell. We want to see God as loving and forgiving – to the extent that we would strip Him of His justice and holiness.
God is loving, but more importantly He is holy – set apart from us as perfect Creator. As much as we don’t want to think of where some of the people we deeply care about are going, we can not sacrifice God’s holiness for our personal preferences – no matter how desirable they are.
You cannot believe in the God of the Bible without acknowledging Hell. To deny Hell is to say that God lied to us about our punishment for sin. God, who we would therefore came as a liar, would no longer be perfect – and therefore no longer God. If you are a born-again believer redeemed by Christ, you have to come to grips with the fact there is a Hell where many people are going.
2) We “Forget”
I’m being slightly sarcastic. It’s not like we actually forget Hell is real. We know real people are going to a real Hell, and we are passionate about leading them somewhere so much better… but yet, so often we live our lives without keeping this truth in the forefront of our every day life.
We do not live our lives constantly aware of the fact that we are in a spiritual battle, where souls are being won and lost at any given time. Instead, we allow our minds to be concentrated on the temporary activities of life. We are more focused about which movie we’re going to see, the end of that degree we’re working towards, or the countdown to that amazing vacation we’ve planned – more than we are about the fact that so many people will one day stand before God and be charged guilty.
We very rarely forget the things that are most important to us. If the destiny of lost souls is not something we take much into consideration, how important is it really to us?
3) We Don’t Care
Sadly, this is where a considerable amount of Christians stand. We simply do not care.
I’m not addressing the situations where people do not care where their “enemies” are going. I’m also not saying that you don’t love the people you don’t witness to. I am pointing to the fact that you don’t love them enough.
If you truly care for the people in your life, you will be willing to do whatever is best for them, even at your own expense. But we are a self-centered people. We so often are more concerned about how others perceive us than where their souls are currently destined. Simply put, we love ourselves more than we love others, and we don’t care enough to jeopardize our friendships, reputation, or comfort.
If and when our personal benefits are of a higher priority than the destiny of souls and obedience to Christ in missions and outreach, we must ask ourselves what we value most.
Living It Out
If we believe God is who He says He is, than we must acknowledge and accept what He says. We don’t get to choose what we like from the Bible and throw the rest away. It’s all, or nothing.
As a Christian, I am not given the option of being complacent to where so many people around me are headed. I must believe Hell is real. I need to be continually aware many are going there. I desire to care more passionately about others – more than I care about myself. If I love God and others more than myself, then outreach shouldn’t be just a possibility – it should be expected.
Is it difficult? Yes. Is there sacrifice involved? Absolutely.
But is the difficulty and sacrifice worth the redemption of souls and God’s glory – is it worth it to you?