Daily Devotion for Tuesday 28th November 2023

Tuesday, 28 November 2023
Hell: The Absence of God

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12

This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marvelled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfil by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection
 

When the call came out regarding interest in writing about Heaven or Hell, I jumped at the chance because I am fascinated by all things associated with both topics and what is commonly known as The End Times (eschatology). I am not the only person who has this interest, our society is obsessed. I am sure that many of you could think of films, TV shows, books etc that are all about what happens when we die and when the world ends. I opted for focusing on Hell because my faith journey has meant that I started life in a very different denomination to the URC and Hell is thought about a lot. 

I struggle with the “classic” ideology of nine levels of Hell as described by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem Divine Comedy. I also struggle with the fire and brimstone that we see in much art and literature in Western society because I truly believe that Hell is an absence of God. When I suggested this, I was told that it sounded great, but was there Scripture that supported my thought and opinion. The last person I thought would discuss this was Paul, but in his writing to the church in Thessaloniki he states that those who have turned away from God will suffer eternal separation from God’s presence. 

Now this might not sound terrible to some, but the reason it is so terrible is because the person in Hell knows that God exists but God’s glory does not rest on those in Hell, so they also know what it is that they have lost. In God’s Kin-dom the people experience blessings, wholeness and joy, they also get to dwell in the full presence of God for eternity, but in Hell, the folk are tormented because they know they turned away from God, they rejected all that God offered and they have to live eternity in the complete deficit of God’s presence. That is the true Hell, knowing that they rejected the love, fellowship and blessing of God for all eternity.

If you want to read about this in more detail, this following web page offers more on this perspective.

Prayer
 

O God, we know that your love for us is abundant and eternal, but we also have to acknowledge that our lives are not. You give us every opportunity to accept and receive your Love and saving Grace, we thank you and again commit ourselves to the Way of the Cross. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Today’s writer

Kirsty Ann Mabbott, Church Related Community Worker, Ansty Road, Coventry

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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