Chapter 7 – Don’t Be Overwhelmed
So what now? How can we carry on with visions of hell in our head? Wouldn’t it be easier to try to not think about it? Certainly it would, but that doesn’t mean we should. As a matter of fact, shouldn’t we work even harder to try to think about hell and do life differently? Chan believes we should. “We shouldn’t go on with life as usual.” (pg 145) This would be foolish. So he gives us some final thoughts.
First, this calls for a greater urgency. In Romans 9, Paul says he has “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” in his heart. Do we feel this sort of urgency? Paul goes so far as to say he wishes he could switch places with those who are on the path of destruction? Do we even come close to feeling like this? Do I? I would have to say that most time I don’t, and that’s a shame. The thing which is lacking, of course, is love. We don’t love people like Paul did. They were on his heart and mind all the time.
Chan also says that hell gives us a greater sense of joy when it comes to the cross. When we realize what we’ve been saved from, it makes the cross of Christ that much greater. In fact, the teachings of hell magnify “the beauty of the cross.” (pg 148) I do not suffer the wrath of God, but this is not for what I’ve done, but for what Jesus has done on my behalf. This is reason to worship!
Finally, Chan asks us the big question: “Are you sure?” It’s pointless to read, study or concern ourselves with hell at all, if we never turn the question back to ourselves. So this is where Chan spends his last few pages. If hell is real and most of the passages concerning hell were addressed to those who believed they wouldn’t be there, everyone should stop and consider the question of whether or not they are going to hell. So I’ll put it to you: Are you sure?
“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – II Corinthians 5:20b-21.