I said this in a previous post: "...we always practice what we really believe." The same can be said in this way: What we really believe governs our actions and attitudes. In no way is this truth more clearly and readily demonstrated than in our attitudes and actions concerning the lost.
As in-errantists we say that we believe all of the Bible is true. Even the unpopular parts like those that describe the sure and certain punishment of those who reject the Gospel of Jesus. However it seems that our actions and attitudes toward the ones who are sure to be the objects of the righteous wrath of God, don't match the horror that we profess to believe, that according to scripture, they are shortly to endure.
Jesus taught that hell (that's a word rarely heard from modern pulpits) is so horrible, that one would be better off to cut off his hand, or foot, or even pluck out his own eye, if through the sins relating to these, he would be cast into hell (Mk.9:43-48). What a terrifying prospect; to think of a place where there is no rest from the torture of eternal fire. Where the mercy of God will never again be experienced, and where the hope of a better tomorrow is always disappointed. It is a friendless and lonely place where their torments are the due reward of a wasted life and foolish rejection of the offer of grace.
This whole thought process became more clear to me last night and this morning as I thought on the wrath that abides on one who is near and dear to me. According to God's Word, the path that she is traveling is the "broad way...that leads to destruction" (Matt.7:13). As I prayed for her, I was rebuked in my spirit for how lightly I have taken the reality of her doom. Do I really believe that hell is a real place? Do I really believe what the Bible teaches about it? Am I really convinced that, at any moment, she could step into the abyss of eternal agony? If I really do believe it, where are my tears? Where are the hours of agonizing prayer for her soul?
Being a Bible believer, I know that there will not be a single soul in hell for whom Jesus died. However, I also know that God often uses the prayers of His people to melt the heart of the sinner. This is why I feel rebuked in my spirit; because, though I know these things, my heart is strangely lethargic, and lacking in the passion that should be the evidence of my knowledge.Especially when it concerns one that I love.
Here is the agonizing question that is tearing at my heart right now: How would I be able to go into my comfortable, climate-controlled house, lay on a soft bed with over-stuffed pillows and go to sleep, knowing that one that is dear to my heart is, at that very moment, screaming in torment?
The time will come when our loved ones will be forever beyond the help of our prayers and our tears for their souls. May God grant that we would have a passion for their souls now, while there is still hope, like we surely will have then, when there is no hope.