TiO 15 – {Un}Apologetic – Hell

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The Main Idea

One of the objections to the Christian gospel is that the concept of hell is unjust and sadistic. That God would send people to a place of fire to consciously burn for all eternity just seems wrong. But what is hell like and how do people end up there?

Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)

Q1: What do you imagine heaven to be like?

Q2: What do you imagine hell to be like?

Q3: Is hell a real place?

The Word

Read the main passage aloud: 2 Peter 3:8-9.

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Hell is a real place where people go if they sin and do not accept the sacrifice of Jesus which pays for that sin and reconciles them with God. But in the end, it is not the consequence of our sin that should be our main focus, either in our own lives nor in the lives of others. Instead, our focus needs to be the salvation, the relationship, that God holds out to us.

Q1: What does Peter say is God’s longing for all people?

Q2: What does Peter say should be our goal in life, given that the physical world will one day be destroyed?

For some people, the threat of punishment is enough to make them desire the alternative. But, according to Scripture, the desire to be good and righteous is not enough. What is enough is a relationship with God through Jesus. While hell is a real place, we must admit that its exact nature is unknown to us. That is why our focus should be on the real grace and peace that God holds out to us right now in Jesus.

Q3: If someone wants to engage you in a discussion about hell, where could you move the subject of the conversation instead?

Prayer

Pray together for the words to say to share the grace and love of God rather than to focus on the punishment for those who do not believe.

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