From the EU prespecitive. Who goes to hell ? How can we stop someone from going to hell, even if they believe in Christ as savior. Are they automatically saved by Faith or by Faith in action ?
In a sense from a EU perspective everyone goes to hell. By which I mean a person either willingly submits to a fiery trial which consumes the flesh/self (The Lord scourges every son who he loves) in this life or, perhaps, unwillingly in the next. Either way it is seen as a manifestation of God’s love toward us (which sometimes looks like wrath).
Strictly speaking, there are EUs who wouldn’t acknowledge the disciplining of the Lord. But I think most of us do. Everyone goes through purgatory. (“For all shall be salted with fire; and salting is ideal!”)
I don’t think it will be as much of a system shock (so to speak) for some people as for others, though. The warnings from Jesus in the Gospels would even hint that a significant number of Christians (maybe even a majority) will have a harder time going through it than pagans!
True self-sacrificial love can be hard to adjust to (which is one of the main themes of my novels, by the way); and true love is ultimately given to everyone.
Thank you Jeff and Jason.
How would you comfort someone who lost a loved one who had their ups and down, struggles with anger and violence, but was deperate to live like Christ and wanted to learn more about the Christian faith ? Is this not the true essence of how all of us, a struggle to do what we want but finding we don’t do what we want. Yet, St. Paul makes it clear we are justified by Christ, how long would one spend in purgatory ? Is it similar to the Jewish tradition of 11 months. Should we pray for the dead ? Why did the reformation find it wrong to pray for the dead ? I have alot of questions. I will check those novels out Jason, do you have any other resources that might help me. Thanks in advance to any insights you both may have…
I for one don’t believe in “hell” as traditionally described, partly because hell is an English word that was applied to three rather unrelated (to “hell”) Greek words. I don’t even like to use the word hell, as it only creates confusion as to what you’re really talking about. I do however, believe in chastisement/ discipline. I don’t have any clue how long it lasts, nor am I 100% sure any of it occurs after our physical death. What I do know is that God is good, and he will act accordingly in the best interests of us all.
I’m afraid like Melki I have no idea as to either the process or the timescale of any fiery trials that may (or may not he says for completeness ) lay ahead.
I am still essentially a non-believer but one who pins quite a bit of hope on the truth of the inescapable love of God as someone around here once put it.
**"God loves your loved one infinitely more than you do; so be reassured, that God will not abandon her or be faithless to her, but will continue to keep loving her. What only needs healing will be healed; what can be excused will gladly be excused; what is repented of will be forgiven; and God will continue always leading her to repentance of any sin she still insists on holding to, while always acting to teach her why it is a sin.
"It is true, that so long as she herself insists on holding to any sin, God will always keep leading her to repent of it; and one way or another, this will involve punishment. It will not be any more severe than God sees is necessary–the language of scripture is a warning of how severe it can get, not certainly will get in every case. But however severe it may get, God Who loves her suffers with her, and suffers even more than she does. And while the day may and hopefully will come when she can put that behind her, God in His eternality always and always shall experience it–willingly, for her sake.
"Trust God for her. And keep loving her, too. If you feel led to pray for her, then do so. But trust and hope in God for her. No true love shall be lost.
“And if you can already see that she is a sheep and not a goat, then have no fear for her at all. Only, remember that God may see more accurately than you do. Trust God for her, and pray, and never lose hope. For these three things shall be remaining: faith, and hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.”**
That is how I trust God for the one I myself love the most in the world under God. Who is clearly a sheep, by the way, and not a goat. But even if she was or (God forbid) ever became a goat–and we all are ‘goats’ to some extent–that is how I still would pray. I am not more loving than God Who is love and Who gives Himself for her self-sacrificially, always and forever.
I think there are those of us who struggle against sin more than others, at this present time. But if the one who has died was clearly one who struggled against the sin in his or her life, insofar as he or she could see the sin, then they were in fact striving with and not against the Holy Spirit. Such faith does not save a person from sin by obligating God to some higher moral standard; but God Himself acknowledges that the person is cooperating substantially in their own salvation, as the person ought to do: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Quite so! So, trust God, in and as Christ, to justify (to make just and fair) sinners. We trust Christ to do that for us, don’t we? So, trust Him to do so for other people, too.
It is not a question of ever leaving the fire (though in a secondary sense it could be said, as I think James does in his epistle, or maybe Jude, of being saved from the fire, in the sense of being saved from the fire as wrath. Though again, as Isaiah reports of God, “There is no wrath in Me!”, even when punishing those who go out with thorns and thistles to war against Him.) There is only one everlasting fire, in Gehenna or anywhere else: the Holy Spirit. There is nowhere God is not striving with us against sin, so long as we insist on sinning. And there is nowhere God is not in union with us in love, when we cooperate with love and justice. For God is essentially love and positive justice.
It is not a question, in any primary sense, of being saved from the fire; but of receiving the fire! (“ACQUIRE THE FIRE!” as a modern charismatic Baptist evangelical organization says. Sadly, they don’t go the distance in teaching this; but I have seen them get as close as C. S. Lewis, and that’s not a comparison to sneeze against!)
If you are concerned for them, yes, just as you should pray for anyone you’re concerned with. But as I grow older, I try (though it is very difficult, for someone as selfish, and in as much merely selfish pain, as I am) to focus my prayers more on asking God what He would have me to do. Trust God to do His side of things; ask God how you can and should be cooperating with Him in loving and serving all those for whom He gives His very life. I don’t know that there is much we can do for the dead at this present time; after the resurrection, yes; until then… perhaps not. And there is (it must be said) a wide field for self-delusion, whether accidental or intentional, in such matters. At the very least, though, we can trust God for the sake of other people.
Not all the reformation did find it wrong to do so. But Protestants were protesting, in this matter, primarily against a notion that had developed among the Roman Catholics, to the effect that people had to work off their sins in purgatory, and that we could help them work out their salvation, as a matter of legal formality. (Which the RCC made sure to literally capitalize on, for profit.) The main thing was a protestation against the notion of salvation by works; the RCC notion of purgatory at that time (which was and still is only for ‘saved’ Roman Catholics, by the way–not for good non-RCs, much less for intransigent non-RC sinners) was infested with that notion, and so was rejected along with the bathwater (so to speak).
I strongly recommend the theological works of George MacDonald (which I am in the process of posting up, a few paragraphs at a time, in our “Christian Living” section.) In fact, I strongly recommend those more than any novels of mine. The texts are available for free in various places on the internet, or you can buy some nice hardcopies from various places. The five main texts are Unspoken Sermons volumes 1, 2 and 3; The Hope of the Gospel which in effect is vol 4 of US; and The Miracles of Our Lord which is an overview of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. (Which in turn Lewis directly borrowed for his final chapters in his culminating apologetic work Miracles: A Preliminary Study.)
And anyway - whatever hell is or isn’t, the mode of transport used to get there is, apparently, a handcart|
I’m not dead yet! I’m gettin’ better!
(ding bring out yer dead!.. ding bring out yer dead!..)
Thank you Jason and Jeff. This is the conclusion that has been in my heart, its nice to have confrimation. Thank you for the book info.