Most Americans, even “Christians,” are living as if there will be no final judgment. So many people say, “I just don’t think a God of love would send me to hell.”
The recent story of the conversion of a famous English atheist to Christianity is a timely reminder that the Bible really does warn unbelievers that they will be sent to an eternity without Christ if they ignore his love and the salvation he has provided.
Recently on our Apologetics Central site we posted an article about Peter Hitchens, a Marxist atheist, who was deeply disturbed by what he saw in Rogier van der Weyden’s painting, “The Last Judgment.” He was impressed with the terror on the faces of those who were being condemned to hell. “They’ve obviously just heard the last trump,” Peter said. “And one of them was actually vomiting with fright.”
Peter admits he was afraid, but quoted the Scripture, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). He is now a strong believer in Christ, and has written an apologetics book entitled, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith.
Christian apologists often refer to the biblical truth that The Lord does not want anyone to perish, “but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). Those who reject God’s offer of salvation are instead choosing to pay for their own sins. In The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ ”
The “Great Awakening” in the 1700’s started with Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Maybe Hitchen’s experience is just what this generation needs. Maybe we are ready to allow a great revival in these End Times.