Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Loving the Lost!

Luke 12:4-5  "And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!


Please be Patient!

Recently, I was at a Bible Study where those of us who are “believers” were admonished to share our faith. We were told that if we loved the unsaved we had a responsibility to tell them that sinners need to be saved and that they can be saved through trust in the Lord Jesus.  But I walked away and asked myself, “What are we telling the unsaved that they need to be saved FROM?  Yes I know that I have ended a sentence with a preposition, but I don’t know how else to say this.   Again, I say, why do we need to be saved and from what do we need to be saved?  We were told to emphasize the sin question.  I agreed with that.  But I noticed that we “share,” we don’t preach anymore, which is the word the Bible uses most of the time.  We talk about sin, but we hesitate to use the term HELL.  Frankly, I confess, I am one of those. I like to make the Gospel attractive and acceptable,   I don’t like the concept of hell, I wish that hell didn’t exist, and I am afraid of offending good friends by speaking about hell.  If you are one of my friends that rebel at the word “hell” please be patient and hear me out. I feel I must speak on this topic since I do believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit with regard to the writing of these meditations; and after being at the Bible Study, my normal regular reading for that day included the verse I have quoted above.


Who Has Authority to Cast into Hell?

The Lord in the previous chapter had criticized the religious rulers and now they were “out to get Him!”  But the Lord says not to worry about the Pharisees but rather be concerned about One who can not only kill but can cast into hell.  I am confident He is talking about Himself.  Satan wants us to end up in hell, but only the Lord has the authority to put us there.  This word for hell is not the word for the unseen state or the grave.  It is the word for a garbage dump south of Jerusalem called Gehenna where a fire burned at all times.  The term is used metaphorically in the Bible for everlasting destruction.  The Lord spoke more about this place than the writers of the epistles did.  But they used different terms to teach the same thing.  Paul tends to use the term perdition which means to perish or to be destroyed.  The term usually refers to eternal destruction without explaining what is involved.  Reading the book of the Revelation makes it clear that the Lake of Fire, which is likely what Gehenna fire is picturing, is the final destination of those who reject the Gospel (Revelation 20:13-15). This is what Paul’s eternal destruction is all about.  Eternal destruction is not a loss of “being” or existence but it is a loss of well-being.  Eternal destruction is the eternal conscious punishment of the unbeliever in Gehenna fire who has rejected Christ.


There seems to be a distinction in the Bible between the unseen state of unbelievers who die now verses their final destination which is the hell to which the Lord is referring.  But as I understand the Bible, dying without trusting Christ will consign the unbeliever to a place of torment even now as we see in Luke 16:24.  Some would say the whole concept of hell or hades or the unseen state in Luke 16 is metaphorical and is not real.  But if the Lord uses a metaphor to explain what happens to the unsaved after they die, what must the real thing be like?  He obviously uses a metaphor when referring to Gehenna fire which ultimately stands for the Lake of Fire which is the unbeliever’s final destination.   I assume He would use a metaphor because understanding the real thing is so difficult.  I hope (and believe) that at least Luke 16:24 and ultimately Revelation 20:15 are not metaphors.  But even if they are, that does not solve the problem.  It would be terrible to end up suffering for eternity in the real thing which certainly would be worse than the picture being used to describe that real thing.


Can the Warning Be Done in a Loving Way?

Yes it can!  It would be unloving not to tell people what the warning signs of cancer or heart attack or stroke are.  Hopefully, the warning signs will be seen early enough so that the doctors can “save” the person who is sick.  We believers have a solution for the sickness called “sin.”   It works 100 percent of the time.  John 5:24 summarizes this cure.  The Lord says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”


I am a believer today because I believed the Bible when it talked about hell.  Frankly, I was afraid of going there.  Some of you may accuse me of trying to “scare you into believing.”  I would take your criticism as a compliment.  Eternal conscious punishment in the Lake of Fire (Hell or Gehenna fire) is something to fear.  But take courage.  The Lord did not come to condemn, He came to save.  John 3:17says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  It would be unloving not to warn those I love about something that is so much a part of the Gospel and in which I so firmly believe.


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of April 10, 2016

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