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The long American nightmare is over. Osama bin Laden has been brought to justice, killed in Pakistan yesterday by U.S. commandos after a decade-long hunt. Justice has been served. But let's be clear: bin Laden is not now in Paradise with 72 virgins.
Bin Laden was a fanatical Radical Sunni Muslim. He hated the Lord Jesus Christ. He hated and cursed Christians and Jews. He murdered Christians and Jews and others; recruited, trained and deployed thousands of others Muslims to murder Christians, Jews and others; and pursued a life of sheer evil defiance of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Unless he truly and sincerely repented at the last possible moment and received Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior -- unlikely given the speed of the raid -- he is now burning in the fires of Hell.
In the days ahead, I'll analyze how the death of bin Laden could affect the U.S., Israel and the world. But it is important to first understand the conclusion of his life. Bin Laden was deeply religious and deeply sincere, I have no doubt. But he was sincerely wrong, and the Bible teaches there is a consequence to defying the One True God.
Hell is not a topic much discussed in our world today, even by many Christians. Some pastors choose not to teach what the Bible says about Hell. One high-profile American pastor, Rob Bell, recently published a book -- Love Wins -- denying that Hell is real. "A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better," writes Bell. "It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear."
As difficult as it is to conceive of such a place of eternal torment -- indeed, no one wants to think about it -- its reality is exactly what the Bible teaches. Indeed, since Jesus was God incarnate -- all-seeing, all-knowing, all-loving -- He knew all too well the reality of Hell. He came to Earth to pay the penalty for our sins and to rescue all who would follow Him from having to spend their eternity there. In fact, Jesus taught more about Hell than He did about heaven. Why? Because He loved all people so much that He wanted to save the from eternal damnation. He wanted them to understand the choice of rejecting the Messiah. And He wanted to give each of us a way of escape, if only we would say yes by faith.
- Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell."
- Jesus said in Mark 9:43, "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into Hell, into the unquenchable fire."
- Jesus said to corrupt, hypocritical religious leaders in Matthew 23:33, "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of Hell?"
- Jesus said in John 3:16-18, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish [die and be condemned to suffer in Hell forever and ever and ever], but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
- Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-39, "Therefore, everyone who confesses Me before men, I will confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.....He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life who lose it [in Hell], and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it [in heaven]."
Hell is real. And it's not only mass murderers like bin Laden who go there. The Bible says that unless we receive Jesus as our Savior and accept His payment for our sins, we will all end up there. May you choose eternal life instead. Why not today?
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