One simple story illustrates an example of an opportune time, “Alexander was trying to save all the pennies that he could in order to buy a baseball bat. But he had a hard struggle. One night when he was saying his prayers, his mother heard him say fervently, ‘O Lord, please help me save my money for a baseball bat. And, God, don’t let the ice cream man come down this street anymore’!”
Isn’t that true of temptation? It takes from us, while at the same time, it looks so appealing. Commentator Klyne Snodgrass states it well, “Mention of the ‘schemes’ of the devil reminds us of the trickery by which evil and temptation present themselves in our lives. Evil rarely looks evil until it accomplishes its goal; it gains entrance by appearing attractive, desirable, and perfectly legitimate. It is a baited and camouflaged trap.” That’s important to note: we can miss evil for what it really is until after it has accomplished its purpose. Only by comparing thoughts and actions to God’s word can we have the insight to see beyond the circumstances.
Being tempted isn’t sin—surrendering to it is. Temptation is also an opportunity to do what is right by turning from it. I Corinthians 10:13 states, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” The door of temptation swings both ways—you can enter or exit. If we choose to enter, once inside, we may not see the exit sign so clearly again.
Consider these points:
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I take no special delight in writing this article. But hell is real and people are going there. So let’s look closely at what the Bible has to say about it as well as the on-going debate over whether hell is eternal conscious punishment.
What you and I “like” is utterly and absolutely irrelevant. God doesn’t set his eternal agenda based on what we “prefer”. What we might “hope” to be true simply doesn’t matter. What does or does not make us “feel comfortable” has no bearing on the truth or falsity of this issue. The fact that we have an intuitive sense for what strikes us as “fair” or “just” plays no part whatsoever in coming to a conclusion on whether or not there is an eternal hell. The fact that we may not enjoy the thought of eternal conscious punishment doesn’t make it go away! The fact that you “feel” the existence of hell is inconsistent with your concept of God doesn’t mean there isn’t one. What we “want” or “hope” or “desire” has no relevance at all in this debate. The only important question is, “Does the Bible teach it?” And if the Bible does teach it (and Revelation 14 together with numerous other texts would indicate it does), our responsibility is to believe it and fervently and faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only hope sinners have for now and eternity.
Here are 10 truths about hell that we must understand and accept.
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