Trading The Eternal For The Temporary

Hell is a reality that we don’t talk about very much.  I think that we prefer to talk about Heaven (and for good reason) to the almost exclusion of Hell.  We are told of the existence of Hell throughout the New Testament, but we tend to ignore it or somehow we believe that no one is really going to go there.

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:15 (NIV)

As followers of Christ, I believe that we have a responsibility to not only tell people how to get to Heaven, but to warn people of the reality of Hell.  We need to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ and God’s love for them.  God is a God of love and grace, but He is also a God of justice.  He will not contradict His character.  God is faithful to His character of love AND justice.  If someone wants to live without God in their lives, He will honor that choice for all of eternity.  The rich man in this parable, lived as though God did not exist.  He experienced heaven on earth while putting others through hell.  When his time came and he died, he soon discovered that the heaven on earth he had was nothing compared to the comforting place where Lazarus ended up.  Do not trade the temporary for the eternal.  Heaven and Hell are eternal.  This life is temporary.  Jesus asked the question in Matthew 16:26 (NIV):

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Don’t trade the eternal for the temporary.  Temporary luxuries and comforts aren’t worth the price of your soul.

Luke 16:19-31 (NIV)

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, 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.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”


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