by Dan Amos
Doctrine is not about religion; it is our core beliefs, and they are constantly under attack. This is why Pastor Martin is beginning a series on doctrine this week. It is no surprise the doctrine of Hell is being challenged so strongly right now; it was one of the first doctrines Satan questioned when he offered the fruit to Eve and asserted, “You will not certainly die.” In reality, the truth says everything about how we view sin and its consequences.
Surveys show the majority of people believe in Heaven, about half their number believe in Hell, and only a few percentage believe they are destined for Hell. The truth is we are all sinners against a holy God. Even our “littlest” sin disqualified us from relationship with God and eternity in his kingdom. Additionally, it is so vile we must be punished for our sin in a literal, eternal, conscious Hell. Our rebellion does not want to accept that and so we deny hell, alter its reality only in our minds, and minimize our sin as of no consequence.
But it is real and it is terrible. It is so horrific that God, the creator of the universe, sent his Son from glory to live a sinless, perfect life on Earth ultimately breaking constant communion with himself (listen to Martin’s sermon on the Trinity this Sunday) as he bore our punishment for our sin on the cross. By believing in him we are adopted into his family and the wrath of God’s holy justice which we deserve is satisfied by Christ’s blood. Our belief must be founded on the truth which is the doctrine we will be taught once more over the course of this series.
If we ignore Hell, if we minimize our sin, there is nothing to be saved from, but the truth is we and everyone else who doesn’t know the truth are destined for Hell. It can’t get any more basic than that.