One of Christianity’s Most Offensive Teachings
By Greg Laurie
“You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.”
The idea of divine judgment is probably one of Christianity’s most offensive teachings. I think this
is because there’s a lot of misinformation about Hell and the Devil.
For example, some like to think that Hell is a continuous party place. Another false assumption is that the Devil lives in Hell
and has red skin, horns, hooves, and a pitchfork.
But none of that is biblical. The Bible describes the Devil as “the commander of the powers in the unseen world . . . the spirit at work in the hearts
of those who refuse to obey God” (Ephesians 2:2 NLT). He’s not in Hell now, but he’s going there one day.
Because of Christianity’s biblical teaching on Hell, some atheists have
criticized our faith and said that it’s at the root of a lot of the world’s problems. They claim that people, because they believe this, do horrible things in the name of religion.
history directly contradicts that assertion. History shows us that a lack of belief in God and in the afterlife is at the root of many atrocities.
If the atheistic Joseph Stalin really believed that he
would be accountable to God and face Him one day, do you think he would have been as cruel as he was?
Would Mao Tse-tung and other atheistic mass murderers have done the things they did if they believed
they would face a final judgment?
If Hitler believed in a future judgment, would he have murdered six million Jewish people?
Timothy Keller points out, “It is the lack of
belief in a God of vengeance that ‘secretly nourishes violence.’” So, we can view a belief in Hell as a constraint on cruelty.
Belief in the afterlife affects us in this life as well
as the next one. And it should motivate us to live godly lives.