Saturday, December 3, 2016

a real and actual choice

Lewis talks about the "detestable doctrine" of hell today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says that he wishes he could remove the teaching from our faith. But his reason doesn't allow him to. If people are free to choose... truly free... then they must be allowed to choose hell.

The reason that I hold out hope that all might be saved, as the church says we are permitted to hope, is that I think that we make the wrong choice in this life all of the time. We choose our selfishness and our sin over the right actions of love and holiness every day. But when we make those decisions, we're not staring hell in the face. We're not choosing our sin while looking at two doors, one with eternal happiness on the other side, and one with eternal loneliness, despair, and pain on the other side. Faced with those options, my hope is that everyone chooses the right door - if only out of sheer self preservation.

Will everyone choose it? We don't know. I hope so. It's possible that someone might be deranged enough, or misguided enough, or hard headed enough to choose the dark door. But I hope not.

The undeniable fact of the matter is that hell is real. Eternal separation from God, from love, from all possibility of hope or joy... that is a place where we can end up. It was never a place intended for us. I pray that no one ends up there.

The good news is, the other place is real, too. God is waiting for us in a place that He DID prepare for us. A place that will satisfy us to the core of our being. A place where we find what we've been looking for all of our lives. A place of joy and peace and love so deep and satisfying that it is literally beyond our imagining. That place is also real, and waiting for us. I hope we all go there.

Dear friends, let's make choices today to begin living in that eternal joy. Every choice we make enables us to begin living in eternal life, rather than eternal death. The kingdom of heaven doesn't begin when we die... it's here and now, among us. Let's pray for His kingdom to come, His will to be done on earth (and in our lives) as it is in heaven.

Some of us are struggling. I hear from folks who deal with depression and sadness every day. Let's pray for one another. A little love goes a long way. And it helps bring His kingdom into our lives.

God, thank You for drawing all men to Yourself, and being willing that none should perish. Please help us find You in our every day lives.