My Friends, Do not be Afraid!

And I say to you, “My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”

—Luke 12:4–5

We have all met people who seem to have an attitude that mirrors the bumper sticker of a few years back that read, “Heaven doesn’t want me, and hell is afraid I’ll take over!” But hell is no laughing matter, and to those who are always saying, “Don’t judge me; Jesus said not to judge,” I say that the words above are the words of Jesus Himself. According to His words, hell is not a concept or state of mind. It is the eternal home of the devil and his demons and all humans who reject God’s only offer of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Hell is not a frequent topic in much of the postmodern church today. The sad fact is, no one seems to shudder at the concept anymore, and there is certainly little or no fear of hell. The consequences of this are catastrophic, to say the least. First of all, if Christians view hell as merely a description of life on earth without Jesus, then what is our eternal motivation to share the love of Christ? Second, if, as universalism teaches, heaven is the home of all humanity after some time in purgatory or an afterlife purification process, then we have added our suffering to Christ’s suffering as a qualification for heaven and in effect made ourselves equal to Him.

Hell is no laughing matter and is to be feared! If God is going to purify and qualify all people for heaven apart from their acceptance of the work of the cross, then why the cross at all? Why would God take on human flesh, live a perfect life, and die a criminal’s death but not have finished the work needed to save men’s souls?

We have all heard or seen posed the question, WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? If Jesus were on the earth in a physical body today, I know what He would do. He would do just what He did the first time He was here: He would preach and warn us about hell!

Friends, this may not be something we like to hear, but it is something we need to hear and be ever mindful of. People who die without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will spend eternity in hell. It is not up to us to judge whether that is right or wrong; we are not God. His Son was murdered brutally for our sins, and God is willing to forgive those whose sins sent Jesus to the cross. But He will not forgive those who reject or deny this as the only means of salvation. “Do not fear man, but fear God,” is what Jesus is saying in today’s passage. May that be our motivation for sharing the only hope for salvation today—the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for the sins of the world!

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