Today I’ve seen some comments on a news website, in which Jesus was being criticised because of his “hell-fire” preaching.
Firstly some might jump to His defence and claim that He wasn’t a hell-fire preacher, that He came and preached love. However the fact is that most references to hell, and people being condemned to hell came from Jesus Himself.
But is that a reason for anyone to condemn Jesus or His teachings?
After that most famous of bible verses (John 3:16) we can read the following:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And yet, I’ve seen even that kind of statement criticised, with claims that it’s unfair for people to be condemned merely for not believing in Jesus.
There are probably many deep and complex arguments to explain why there’s no unfairness involved, but I think the following very simple analogy is sufficient.
We start with a sinking ship where passengers and crew have no way to survive without outside help.
If a rescue party is sent to save those on the doomed ship, should the rescue party be criticised if some of the ships passengers refuse to leave the vessel?
Should the rescue party be condemned for warning the passengers of their inevitable fate should they choose to remain on the ship?
Is it the rescuers fault if someone on the ship refuses to believe in, or put their trust in them and choose to stay where they are?
As a comparison to the above bible quote:
The rescue team weren’t sent to the sinking ship to condemn those on board to a water grave, but to save them from inevitable death.
Those who believed in the rescuers weren’t condemned to drown, but those who rejected the rescuers had no chance at all, because they rejected their only hope of being saved.