Good News/Bad News
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Mt. 7:2)


                Over the last week, I have seen two TV events which prompted my meditations and thoughts today.  One was a movie (as my wife and I call them, a “veging movie”, which means it serves no purpose but to facilitate laying like a vegetate on the couch).  It was about a little girl who could see beyond the person to the evil which lurked beneath.  She made a statement, which it so opposite of the teachings of Christ, I was shocked.  She said, (and I paraphrase) “When good people die, they become part of the beauty of the earth – flowers, trees, and the breeze.  But when bad people die, their spirit remains on earth.  They don’t go away.”


                The second event was an interview between Chris Wallace and the daughter of the pastor who protests at military funerals.  She was very articulate, but very dangerous to the Kingdom of God.  She was spewing out venom toward the Congress, President, and Supreme Court – saying they were all condemned to hell.  On the other end of the spectrum, she was about as far away from the teachings of Christ as the little girl in the movie.


                One movie writer disavowed the existence of hell, while this real life woman acted as if she was the caretaker of the eternal burning place and dictated who went in and who was left out.  Frankly I am glad she is not.  I don’t think I would stand a chance according to her standards.  But here we have it, a dichotomy of beliefs – one who does not believe in hell at all (and heaven for that matter), and the other who believes that only the most Pharisaic will escape it.  Outside of solid biblical teaching the world is left confused.  And the world usually follows the path of least resistance in living on this earth.  They simply just don’t think about it.


                There was a book written a few years ago which I believe explores the biblical teaching of life after death better than any I have read.  It is called, “The Other Side of the Good News.”  Its thesis is that Jesus came proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God.  And if there is Good News out there, by implication, there is bad news.  The Good News is that Christ has provided a way through faith to escape the judgment and wrath of God (Rm. 1:17-18).  The bad news is if you reject Christ, you reject the only hope of humanity.  The Good News according to the New Testament is really good.  It is eternal life in God’s Kingdom where there is no pain, suffering, hunger, hatred, or sin.  It is a life of love, service, and worship – of being co-heirs to everything that Christ has inherited.  And conversely, the bad news is really bad.  It is eternal separation from everything that good, and whether it is fire or eternal evil – it is hell.

                 Because hell is so repugnant to our thoughts, instead of simply responding by loving God, many develop theories to do away with it.  But for many others who embrace the teachings of hell, they use it as a weapon to get the weak to fall in line behind them.  Jesus warned to the first group: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One [God] who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt. 10:28)  And to the other group, He said, “Do not judge or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  I don’t think in either case – by ignoring the existence of hell, or by judging others to hell – is the cause of Christ advanced.  We advance Christ by loving Him, living confidently in His teachings, and demonstrating those teachings by loving others as He loved us.  That takes us out of the judgment seat, but it also puts us into a place where we can witness to the eternal hope that can be had in Christ.                The world needs desperately to hear the Good News (and yes occasionally to understand if there is good news, then there must be bad news as well).  But the Good News cannot be heard when the roar of denial or condemnation becomes too loud.  And that roar becomes too loud only when Christ’s voice is silenced.


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