Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sabbatical Update - Week 7

I had some sound advice yesterday morning from a man with many years of ministry experience.  He said to me, "When you are studying hell, never drift far from the cross."  How true!  Romans 5:8 says, "God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Matthew 8 is a powerful chapter.  For the first time in this gospel Jesus begins to expound upon the nature of hell, describing it as "outer darkness" and a place where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (v. 12).  Before this, however, he has shown compassion to a leper and healed a Gentile centurion's servant.  And having performed these amazing acts of mercy he says, "[M]any will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven..."

How will these people from the east and west come?  How will they be able to recline at the table in the kingdom of heaven?  It is all through the cross.  On the cross, Jesus endured the outer darkness for his people!  To quote Cornelis Venema, "Christ, by virtue of his life of obedience and his atoning death, met the demands and the penalties of the law on behalf and in the place of his own people." (Venema, Cornelis, P., The Promise of the Future, p. 446.)

I hope by the end of this week to have completed the reading list that was given to me.  Next week then (DV) I will start writing.  I think the best way forward will be to start by defending the biblical position on hell.  Following that I will consider the main alternative views, namely, Restorationism, Universalism and Reconciliationism.  And then, having considered the alternatives, I will show why the alternative views cannot be defended biblically.

That's where I am headed.  Thanks for your prayers.


  1. The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners, and love to his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the stout, brave fireman, who careth not for the scorch or for the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity hath set his heart. He must, he will pluck such a one from the burning, at any cost and expense to himself." (C.H. Spurgeon)

  2. So, if your reading goes well, you will be universally reconciled and restored!!

    But on a serious note, I will keep you in my prayers for spiritual guidance during your studies.