Hell, and Freedom
Recently, a friend who was wrestling through some of my thoughts that challenge the doctrine of eternal conscious torment asked me, “What if a belief in hell is what stops a man from raping a woman?”
“Then, dear God, that fella needs to believe in hell,” I said.
Look, if a future punishment is the only thing keeping a person from hurting others, by all means, that person might need to keep believing in hell. But let’s not pretend that person is whole or free. And whatever we do, let’s not give that kind of thinking a pulpit in our lives.
If we need punishment to motivate us in any way, either to avoid evil or to do good, we don’t fully understand the gospel of Jesus and we still have much to learn about freedom.
Freedom isn’t just about having the self-control to choose not to sin when you want to, freedom is also, and ultimately, about desiring righteousness, and it’s evidenced by not wanting to sin but instead wanting to do what is good, right, and whole…
Jesus wasn’t just free because He chose not to sin, He was free because He only wanted to do the things that His Father wanted to do. His freedom was birthed out of union, intimacy, oneness, and a revelation of His inherent righteousness. And it was for this freedom He set us free.
When I challenge the doctrine of eternal conscious torment, it’s not because I am seeking to remove punishment from a sinner, it’s way better than that, I am seeking to encourage sons and daughters to know the same freedom Jesus knew; to live empowered by grace through faith in Christ as righteous sons and daughters!
Praying grace over you today!
Jason Clark is a writer, producer, speaker, and lead communicator at A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Madeleine, Ethan, and Eva.