The lesson is love, not hell
There is one thing that supremely annoys me about the early day preaching's that were meant to bring people to Christ, and it's the fact that they preached fear.
The preachers and evangelists were always telling people to give their life to Christ so they wouldn't go to hell. So the motivation and reason they gave people for giving their life to Christ was so people could escape hell. The issue with that is the fact that if your motivation for being in Christ is fear, or self, then you can't sustain it. This is because the idea of hell is so far and vague, which means the motivational point wouldn't be strong enough to keep a person from sinning or falling out of Christ.
In fact, I've heard someone say that they know there is a God, but that they would repent in the future because they wanted to live their life enjoyably for now. And that's the problem with teaching people to give their life to Christ so they don't go to hell. It makes them feel like they can live however they want and then give their life to Christ when they're about to die.
It takes the focus off love and instead makes people focus on hell. Now if you're a Christian and you've been listening, the Bible actually tells us to focus on the Kingdom of God. It deffo doesn't say focus on running from hell. You can't focus on running from sin and then overcome sin. That's not how it works. You overcome sin when you face God.
I remember that I used to count my sins when I was a child. Self righteous me also used to quote Matthew 5:20-21, which basically says that you shouldn't call anyone a fool or you would go to hell. So I used to tell my mates in school that they shouldn't call each other foolish or its synonyms so they wouldn't go to hell (looooooooooooooooool).
Thinking back, I just laugh at the mentality I had then, it's quite jarring cause I wanted to keep tabs on the sins I was aware of so I wouldn't do them. So I made sure I didn't lie, steal etc. Except there are deeper sins within us that we aren't aware of. It's when you give your life to Christ and work with the Holy Spirit, that those sins become revealed to you and your transformation into Christ begins.
So hell as a motivator to become a Christian is actually ineffective. The gospel is love, the gospel is victory. That's what we're supposed to focus on! The fact that Jesus loves us so so much, that He went through hell for us and died for us so that we could be saved.
The fact that we have a sweet sweet father that is always there for us, if only we'd allow Him to be there for us.
I think it's so important for parents to teach their children that they should seek Christ because of love and not because of the fear of going to hell. Don't get me wrong, I understand the motivation behind the fear factor of hell, cause it's a lot easier to push and teach. The issue is that it's not long lasting. Fear eventually becomes disregarded. You also don't get the full experience of Christ if your motivation for being a Christian is fear.
There's also the fact that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. So why would God want us to make such an important decision out of fear? The entire Bible is full of love and God's desire for us to love Him and seek Him the same way He loves us. It's so funny that the way to growth is through intimacy with God.
It's so obvious that all God desires from us is intimacy. He wants us to talk to Him, to think about Him regularly, God wants a relationship with us. Why would God then want you to come to Him in fear, if what He's after is love? The two can't be mixed together.
When the Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the word fear means "awe" and "reverence", not the negative connotation attached to the word. So our disposition when approaching God should be in love, awe and reverence.
I just think that instead of preaching hell, we should teach love. A love so great that we struggle to comprehend it. Running from hell doesn't necessarily mean you're running to God. The sad thing is that people who claim Christianity without understanding seem to forget that God searches the heart. So how would you feel if the reason someone chose you (A), was because they didn't want to have to be with (B) another person. It just means that if C comes along, the person will jump ship.
Choose Christ because of love and not because of fear. Let love lead you. If you don't know how to go about it, please I beg you, let me know and I'll do what I can to help. Because there's so much beauty in knowing Christ. OMG guys!!!! The sweetest being I've ever met is the Holy Spirit, He's just so beautiful and tender and it's so sad that some people never get to experience this side of God.
So please Christians give people a chance to actually be in Christ by teaching love and not fear. And people, please change your mindset on why you want God, it shouldn't be because of what you get out of God, or because you're afraid of hell, but it should be because you want to experience the love and sweetness of God. Seeing God in your life is actually so addictive guys, especially because of the tender way that God has handled me.
So guys, the point I'm making is disregard hell, sin and the devil, and focus on God, on love.
Once again, I love you and God loves you.