[Personal note from Manny: I believe this post is helpful for at least two purposes: to clarify some questions about our Creator’s nature, about salvation, hell, and eternal punishment. As a secondary purpose, it clearly refutes the erroneous positions by so many who follow the “emergent way”, who do not believe that repentance and faith in Christ is the only way to heaven, or who do not believe that hell is real. If that is your position, take heed to this message. Finally, please note the opposite of what many emergents do not do: the author supports what he says with scriptural documentation, the only final authority for our faith and practice.]
The following was contributed by Lige Jeter
This letter was shared with the Board of General Superintendents and Presidents of our Colleges/Universities & Seminary.
“It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter, and I am in no way qualified to write such a letter, to such a distinguished group of men. As a bondservant of Jesus Christ, He has given me no way out and has compelled me to do so. I take as my authority and His command from His own Words found in Matthew [10:27] where He commands. “that what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.” This is the message He commanded me to speak. Thus saith the Lord. “You are shredding My Church by allowing heresy to be taught in My sanctuary; you are making those who follow twice fold more a child of hell. Have you not heard that I hate the works of the Nicolaitans. Repent and do the first works that I called the Nazarene Church to do.”
(Attached was a small portion of a book that I have written titled “Holiness! A Way of Life, God’s Standard for Living.” It re-emphasizes the reason why we are sent to rescue those who are lost by carrying out the great commission).
Who Is Responsible?
The Psalmist David once asked God, exalting the Excellency of God in all creation: “What is man that You are mindful of him?” Psalms [8:4a] The Psalmist went on to answer his own question by describing man as being made a little lower than the angels. Man was made to have dominion over the works of His hands reflected in the sheep, oxen, beasts of the field, birds of the air, and the fish of the sea. Man was created separate from the animals in that he was gifted like His Creator possessing moral character, immortality, and freedom of will. Unlike the animals man is capable of having communion with God bonded by a loving relationship with his Creator. Man alone is responsible for his own actions, which is very important in understanding what I am about to write. Having said all of that, how can a loving God see one of His creations perish in hell? No doubt this is a question that many can’t find any answer that satisfies their search for the truth so they offer theories of who will be saved and who, if any, will be lost. This in itself is a very difficult question to answer. I believe the answer is found in God’s holy relationship to His creation.
Truth one, is that God existed and was present before anything that now appears or ever appeared. In other words God was self sufficient and had no need of anything for his joy, comfort, or pleasure. God was before creation, was present in all creation, and always will be present. Truth two, God in Himself is separate to all that He created, meaning: He is not a part of His creation in any form as some believe, and all creation is subject to Him. Example, if a tree is consumed in a forest fire does not mean that a small part of God burned up with the tree? Third, man is not biologically linked to God in the same way we are linked with our earthly parents. Man was formed from the dust of the ground and made a living being. God has no connection to dust as being a part of or coming from. All of Adam’s off spring possesses a physical biological connection. Our spirit is the only thing that will live throughout eternity. God does not have the same connection to us as we have to one another in our physical makeup. Our connection to God is more spiritual, as eternal rather than physical, based upon a loving obedient moral relationship that reflects God’s holiness that cannot tolerate sin.
Back to our question, how can a loving God allow one of his creations to perish in hell? You see God can’t rescue you against your will, if you determine not to repent and accept Christ as your savior you leave God no choice. The truth is He doesn’t, you allow it. As parents we love our children and often say that we would give our life for our children and I do not doubt that you would do this. God’s love, though there is no biological connection, out distances any parents love. God has provided for your salvation by the death of His only begotten Son, who shed His blood for you when you could not save yourself. As hard as we try we cannot fathom what God did for us and how great a price He paid for our redemption. No earthly love can match His love. Our Lord’s death for our sins shows the love and length that God went to keep us out of a devil’s hell. Your sentence cannot be attributed to anything God has done; the guilt is yours because you made it impossible for God to save you against your will. God is innocent and blameless in one going to hell.
The Finality Of Hell
Some believe that hell is only temporary, seen as a place of purification, and they will be delivered after a short time and go to heaven. Jesus does not portray this belief in His story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke [16: 19 – 31]. Jesus describes a great gulf that is fixed that will not allow passage from hell to heaven or the reverse. He further tells of the rich man in hell who wanted Lazarus to go and warn his five brothers so they could escape the same punishment. And now for an eternal truth, that many refuse to accept.
After the final judgment referred to in Revelations [20: 11 – 15] those names not found in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire. Those who go to heaven are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, recorded in Revelations [21: 22 – 27] John makes the distinction very clear about the finality of the two places and who goes there. In the final chapter of Revelations [22:] Jesus warns that He is coming quickly and reemphasizes who will be allowed in and who will be left outside. Afterward there is no mention of Christ ever visiting hell or having anything to do with those who are tormented; they are sealed to everlasting punishment. They will be left to their torment and pain for eternity without mercy, away from God and God’s people. All their cries and anguish, even their sorry, will not relinquish what they are suffering. Can we do less than to warn those who are lost? Repent! Repent! Repent!