Evidence of Heaven and Hell… on Earth

“So you are not sure whether or not you believe that heaven and hell are real places. OK. Try this. Do you believe that America and North Korea are real places? Start with what you can see. God will help you to believe in what you cannot see.

If you want to get a small glimpse of the immeasurable difference between heaven and hell, just compare America to North Korea. One nation was founded largely upon the Bible and Christian principles. America is a free land, and we owe our freedom to Jesus Christ. The other nation is held captive to satanic control, and it has produced hell on earth for those who dwell there.

Camp 14 in North Korea is believed to hold 150,000 people doing hard labor while barely existing on the brink of starvation. It is a modern-day concentration camp. If you dare to question the North Korean government, you can be sent to that camp for the rest of your life. It is like hell on earth for those who dwell there.

Shin Dong-hyuk was born in that camp, and he escaped in 2005 at the age of 23. Shin was brainwashed to believe that life was only about obeying the prison rules. He actually witnessed his mother and his brother being killed right in front of him. Shin was so empty of any love that he admits he felt no sadness watching his mother and brother die. He felt they were getting what they deserved. After all, they had broken the prison rules.

Shin stated in recent years that he was actually the one to turn in his mother and brother to the authorities. At the time, he felt it might get him some preferential treatment.

That is a picture of what Satan gives a person.

No empathy. No love. No compassion. Shin, like the rest of his family, was a victim of cruel leaders and a spiritual adversary who has worked hard to turn North Korea into a living hell, and people into zombie-like robots.

There is another hell, which is also “living.” It is a place of eternal existence. And there is a real heaven, and its residents will never leave that place. America is not paradise to be sure, but it is a far cry from North Korea. The Gospel of Jesus Christ produces freedom in hearts and in nations. Satan produces hatred, control, and the killing of innocent people.

If you are someone who doubts the existence of heaven and hell, just compare America to North Korea. Who would have guessed that a world which God created could end up with such opposite experiences? One is free, and one is under cruel control. One allows people to live in happiness, and the other forces people to live in constant fear. One is an earthly portrait of heaven in a way, while the other is an earthly portrait of hell. The actual heaven and hell are just as real, and far more extreme in terms of the joy and the pain which people experience in those eternal destinations.

Shin escaped from Camp 14 and from North Korea. No one will escape from hell. At the same time, no one will ever want to leave heaven. Just because you have never been to North Korea does not mean it doesn’t exist. The same thing is true about heaven and hell. If you can trust a YouTube video showing North Korea, how much more can you trust God’s Word as it tells you about heaven and hell?

Start with what you can see. God will help you to believe what you cannot see.”

Excerpts from Christian Post article by Dan Delzell

John Piper on “Once Saved Always Saved”

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“Once saved, always saved” has become an evangelical cliché which grossly misrepresents the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. It has unfortunately been used by immature Christians and perhaps even unsaved “Christians” as a license to sin.

Here’s what John Piper has to say about the subject in his book Future Grace (via Delight in Truth friend Gabe Bogdan):

“A few years ago I spoke to a high school student body on how to fight lust. One of my points was called, “Ponder the eternal danger of lust.” I quoted the words of Jesus–that it’s better to go to heaven with one eye than to hell with two–and said to the students that their eternal destiny was at stake in what they did with their eyes and with the thoughts of their imagination…

After my message… one of the students… asked, “Are you saying then that a person can lose his salvation?”

…This is exactly the same response I got a few years ago when I confronted a man about the adultery he was living in…

I pled with him to return to his wife. Then I said, “You know, Jesus says that if you don’t fight this sin with the kind of seriousness that is willing to gouge out your own eye, you will go to hell”…

As a professing Christian he looked at me in utter disbelief, as though he had never heard anything like this in his life, and said, “You mean you think a person can lose his salvation?”

…So I have learned again and again from firsthand experience that there are many professing Christians who have a view of salvation that disconnects it from real life, and that nullifies the threats of the Bible, and puts the sinning person who claims to be a Christian beyond the reach of biblical warnings.

I believe this view of the Christian life is comforting thousands who are on the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13)…

The main concern of this book is to show that the battle against sin is a battle against unbelief. Or: the fight for purity is a fight for faith in future grace.

The great error that I am trying to explode is the error that says, “Faith in God is one thing and the fight for holiness is another thing… The battle for obedience is optional because only faith is necessary for final salvation.” (John Piper, Future Grace pg. 330-331 and 333)

It is a grave error to separate obedience to the Word from an initial conversion type event. Disobedience, lack of striving for holiness, and lack of perseverance in the faith may be indicative that the professing Christian is not saved.

Do Christians Who Commit Suicide Lose Their Salvation?

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In a somewhat superficial way, in one of their blogs, the Christian Post is asking this question in the wake of Matthew Warren’s suicide by a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

The following questions are put forth to show that a Christian cannot lose his or her salvation:

So since suicide is a result of mental illness, then the question is whether or not God holds illness against a person when deciding whether or not to allow them into heaven?

Does He hold it against cancer patients that die of cancer?

Or heart disease patients who die of heart attacks? Is that reasonable?

The blogger who wrote this for the Christian Post is taking a dangerous position with the assurance of salvation.

First of all he groups all mental illness with other illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Then he classifies suicide in the same way as death from a heart attack as a result of cardiovascular disease, and death from complications of cancer. He cites Romans 8 where it states that nothing can separate us from the love of God, and he implies that even taking our own life is subject to this declaration made by apostle Paul.

The big difference is that unlike suicide victims, cancer patients and heart attack victims for the most part do not premeditate their death, and they do not carry it out by volition.

There will be cases where believers have completely lost their mind as a result of some medical or psychiatric illness, and they are effectively unaware of the consequences of the suicidal act. They do not have the reasoning capacity to discern the gravity of what they are doing. In those cases, their actions cannot be held against them. But those cases may be more rare than we imagine.

Most suicides take place after prolonged suicidal ideation, and some of these victims have an elaborate plan on how to accomplish the act. Euthanasia is an example of this type of premeditated assisted suicide.

In those cases of suicide where the person is aware of their actions and understands the consequences, and more so is a professing believer, and THEN proceeds to destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit by self-murder, there is no excuse.

Such an action actually may be evidence they are not believers. One who has the Holy Spirit living inside him will not destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit willingly.

There is one other possibility. Gabe Bogdan brought this up in a previous comment. Depression and suicide may not be a sin in themselves, but they may be the consequence of unrepented sin. One’s refusal to be convicted by the Holy Spirit may lead to depression and then suicide, and in that case the spiritual devastation is evident.

Now… It is not appropriate for us to say in which group suicide victims belong. Whether they have lost their mind and are victims of lack of understanding, or whether they have premeditated and meticulously carried out the act.

We cannot speculate whether they go to heaven or hell, because that is the domain of the Omniscient.

Image credit: istockphoto.com