The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Years ago, a small country church was looking for a new pastor.
After some significant searching, they managed to pare down the list to two possible candidates. Each of these men was requested to present an "audition" sermon to the congregation. That's how it came to pass that on two consecutive Sundays, the potential pastors found themselves preaching to a most attentive audience.
The first pastor preached on hell. The second pastor preached on hell, as well.
When it came time for the congregation to make its selection, the vote for the first pastor was a unanimous, first-ballot decision.
After he was installed, the new pastor found out that both of the nominees had used hell as their topic. Understandably curious, he asked one of the congregation's leaders why the church had picked him. The leader didn't have to think long before he gave his answer. He said, "When the other pastor preached on people going to hell, he seemed to be almost satisfied that they were getting what they deserved. When you preached about folks going to hell, everybody saw that it just about broke your heart."
Today, on this Lutheran Hour devo, I'm speaking about hell. What I want to say is I don't want you to go there. Neither do any of your Christian friends.
Most importantly, neither does the Lord.
If this devotion has been sent to you by a friend or a family member, please don't disregard it. Don't get angry or upset. Where you spend eternity is something they're worrying about, and it took considerable courage for them to run the risk of upsetting you. They're reaching out to you -- like that pastor -- with a heart that is breaking.
Now I know that nobody likes to hear about hell. It is a distasteful place.
But it is also a real place, and it is a place where you don't have to go.
To keep you out of hell and headed toward heaven is why Jesus Christ, God's Son, was born into this world. So that you might be forgiven He lived a perfect life and resisted all the temptations that were so perfectly placed before Him. So eternal death would not be your fate, Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested, unfairly tried, and nailed to a cross where He gave up His life in exchange for yours.
The fact that He succeeded in His work was shown when, three days later, He rose from the dead.
Now, when people are called to faith by the Lord, they know the angels in heaven are rejoicing for this wonderful event God has brought about, and there is a gladness down here because you have listened to God's call.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I may share Your Son's Good News story with those around me who are lost. May they, having heard, be touched with the news that the crucified and risen Savior has rescued them. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries