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Randy Alcorn #fundie #psycho epm.org

Question from a reader:

Is there any consolation for me concerning my parents who both died without a personal belief and faith in Jesus? It is all very well for me to know that I have since been saved, but I still feel deeply upset about the outcome for my parents whom I love dearly. How can you not grieve in Heaven while knowing your parents (and anyone else for that matter) will suffer so terribly for all eternity?

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

Many people have lost loved ones who didn’t know Christ. Some people argue that people in Heaven won’t know Hell exists. But this would make Heaven’s joy dependent on ignorance, which is nowhere taught in Scripture.

So, how could we enjoy Heaven knowing that a loved one is in Hell? J. I. Packer offers an answer that’s difficult but biblical:

"God the Father (who now pleads with mankind to accept the reconciliation that Christ’s death secured for all) and God the Son (our appointed Judge, who wept over Jerusalem) will in a final judgment express wrath and administer justice against rebellious humans. God’s holy righteousness will hereby be revealed; God will be doing the right thing, vindicating himself at last against all who have defied him. . . . (Read through Matt. 25; John 5:22-29; Rom. 2:5-16, 12:19; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 18:1-19:3, 20:11-35, and you will see that clearly.) God will judge justly, and all angels, saints, and martyrs will praise him for it. So it seems inescapable that we shall, with them, approve the judgment of persons—rebels—whom we have known and loved.

In Heaven, we will see with a new and far better perspective. We’ll fully concur with God’s judgment on the wicked. The martyrs in Heaven call on God to judge evil people on Earth (Revelation 6:9-11). When God brings judgment on the wicked city of Babylon, the people in Heaven are told, “Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you” (Revelation 18:20).
Hell itself may provide a dark backdrop to God’s shining glory and unfathomable grace. Jonathan Edwards made this case, saying, “When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it.” He added, “They shall see the dreadful miseries of the damned, and consider that they deserved the same misery, and that it was sovereign grace, and nothing else, which made them so much to differ from the damned.”

We’ll never question God’s justice, wondering how he could send good people to Hell. Rather, we’ll be overwhelmed with his grace, marveling at what he did to send bad people to Heaven. (We will no longer have any illusion that fallen people are good without Christ.)

In Heaven we’ll see clearly that God revealed himself to each person and that he gave opportunity for each heart or conscience to seek and respond to him (Romans 1:18-2:16). Those who’ve heard the gospel have a greater opportunity to respond to Christ (Romans 10:13-17), but every unbeliever, through sin, has rejected God and his self-revelation in creation, conscience, or the gospel.

Everyone deserves Hell. No one deserves Heaven. Jesus went to the cross to offer salvation to all (1 John 2:2). God is absolutely sovereign and doesn’t desire any to perish (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9). Yet many will perish in their unbelief (Matthew 7:13).
We’ll embrace God’s holiness and justice. We’ll praise him for his goodness and grace. God will be our source of joy. Hell’s small and distant shadow will not interfere with God’s greatness or our joy in him. (All of this should motivate us to share the gospel of Christ with family, friends, neighbors, and the whole world.)

Although it will inevitably sound harsh, I offer this further thought: in a sense, none of our loved ones will be in Hell—only some whom we once loved. Our love for our companions in Heaven will be directly linked to God, the central object of our love. We will see him in them. We will not love those in Hell because when we see Jesus as he is, we will love only—and will only want to love—whoever and whatever pleases and glorifies and reflects him. What we loved in those who died without Christ was God’s beauty we once saw in them. When God forever withdraws from them, I think they’ll no longer bear his image and no longer reflect his beauty. Although they will be the same people, without God they’ll be stripped of all the qualities we loved. Therefore, paradoxically, in a sense they will not be the people we loved.

I cannot prove biblically what I’ve just stated, but I think it rings true, even if the thought is horrifying.

Not only in Heaven but also while we are still here on Earth, our God is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). Any sorrows that plague us now will disappear on the New Earth as surely as darkness disappears when the light is turned on. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain” (Revelation 21:4, ESV).

This is God’s promise. Let’s rest in it.

Of this we may be absolutely certain: Hell will have no power over Heaven; none of Hell’s misery will ever veto any of Heaven’s joy.

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Randy Alcorn #fundie epm.org

Part of what makes Fifty Shades of Grey so dangerous is that it twists and distorts God’s design and intentions for sex. Often we fail to understand that the most magnificent gifts of God, taken outside their God-intended boundaries, become utterly ruinous.

Think about two of the most powerful things God has created: fire and water. What would we do without them? But have you ever seen water out of control? Flood, tidal waves, and tsunamis are devastating. Have you ever seen fire out of control—a forest fire or a house burning to the ground? Have you seen somebody’s body covered with burns? It is absolutely horrific. So it is with sex. Its potential for great good has a flip side—potential for great evil.

There’s much more that could be said about the movie and its dangers. But I think Kevin DeYoung sums it up well when he writes in an excellent post, “Some movies do not deserve sophisticated analysis. They deserve sober repudiation. If the church cannot extend grace to sexual sinners, we’ve lost the heart of the gospel. And if we cannot tell people to stay away from 50 Shades of Grey, we’ve lost our minds.”

Of course, some will think I’m overreacting when I say this: Satan is behind this movie. But there you go, I—who do not see the devil behind every bush—believe it, because I have a Christian worldview, and the Bible says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This is a movie that will devour many people, as the book has done, and drag them down into the black hole of immorality.

Am I being an alarmist? I don’t think so, because I’ve seen in people’s lives the utter ruin and devastation that comes from sexual perversity. Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last strategy from the pit of hell. But make no mistake, that’s where it’s from. I’m especially sad that many young people will be dragged down with this in the “read it/see it because it’s cool” culture.

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a reader of Randy Alcorn #fundie epm.org

I was struck by the fact that it really is insane, illogical, plain NUTS to choose to sin, to disbelieve God. I mean, everything’s laid out, God’s explained everything, and yet there are people who would prefer to suffer in hell than serve God. Satan knew everything, and he chose to rebel, and so many other people do likewise. I’m simply amazed at the audacity of human pride, and its stubborn depths.

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Randy Alcorn #fundie epm.org

Throughout Scripture we read that animals praise God. I don't know exactly how animals praise God, but our inability to understand it shouldn't keep us from believing it. [...]