“When I’m finished exploring and declaring the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ with my brothers and sisters, I’ll get around to dissecting the anatomy of hell.” Frank Viola
This quote by Frank Viola resonates with me. I rarely speak or teach about hell (or Gehenna), and when I do, it is usually done obliquely, through a parable of Jesus.
Rather than spending my time and energy trying to understand hell, I am still trying to get my head around some of the amazing realities of what it is to be a loved, redeemed and adopted child of God.
Some of these realities are that:
- I know God and have a relationship with him.
- I am filled with his Holy Spirit.
- My own spirit is being renewed and revitalised daily by the Holy Spirit.
- I’m being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.
- I am already a citizen of Heaven, my eternal life has begun, I am seated in heavenly realms.
- I have a gloriously rich eternal inheritance.
These are the things I want to contemplate, to try to understand, and to talk about with others. And when I read the Bible—especially the letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians—I am given more mind-blowing concepts and realities to consider and marvel at. So, at this point in time, I am really not that interested in contemplating or understanding hell.
I have been rescued from darkness and death. I thank God for this. But I don’t follow Jesus to merely escape hell. I follow Jesus because I believe in him; and the love, life and vitality he offers is irresistible, compelling and inexhaustible.
P.S. Did you know that Paul never mentions hell?