Monday, April 2, 2012

Hell is not the point. The joy of the Lord is.

Taken from "He Loves Me!: Learning to Live in the Father's Affection" by Wayne Jacobsen

". . . All this is not to say that hell does not exist, or that dire consequences await those who refuse God's freedom. What I am saying is that when we use the threat of hell to motivate people to come to God, we are using it in a way Jesus never did and in a way he never intended. In doing so, we push people farther away from God's greatest desire rather than inviting them closer to it.

His message was not "Come to God or you'll burn in hell." His message was "God's kingdom has come near you and you can become a participant in it.
You have a Father who loves you more than any other person ever has or ever will, and you can now discover what it means to have a daily relationship with him.
If you choose not to, then your own sin will destroy you utterly and completely."

Jesus compared this life to a treasure discovered in a field: something so valuable that you would give up anything to possess it. His life is not something you have to follow. He is worth knowing just because of how incredibly awesome he is. If you want his gifts without wanting him, you cheat yourself out of the best portion.

Here the fear of hell is no use to us at all. The insecurity it breeds only takes us further from him and makes us uncertain about who he is. Jesus wanted us to be very clear about who his Father is because we grow in him only to the degree that we trust his love for us.

There is no one God does not love with all that he is. His love reaches beyond every sin and failure, hoping that at some moment every person will come to know just how loved he or she is. There is nothing more important for you to know.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
-Matthew 13:44

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