Philippians 4:8 Test
brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever
is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think
about such things." NIV
it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your
minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic,
compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful,
not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into
practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw
and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work
together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."
The doctrine of eternal hell does not pass the
test of "what is good" by the standards of God Himself.
To think about, to actually meditate on, the fact that 90%+
of humanity will be tortured forever with no hope of reprieve
will cause you to conclude that it is neither something good
nor lovely. It is a mine-distorting horror full of ugly images,
nightmarish visions and black hopelessness. It conjures up
only fear and no reverence. It motivates with terror not love.
It has no purpose, no redemptive qualities and therefore does
not qualify as something true, right, pure, lovely or praiseworthy.
what about the ugliness of the outworking of God's judgements
we read about in the Old and New Testaments? The difference
is that these are temporal judgments in the context
of His mercy that He says will never end. The Scriptures never
abandon us there, but usher in the restoration at every turn.
Even the Old Testament shows us how mercy triumphs over
judgment when the prophets drop their themes of resurrection
throughout the Story as in Ezekiel 16 where Sodom's restoration
is predicted or where Egypt and Assyria are named as redeemed
AHEAD of Israel! Like Joseph we must let the goodness
and love of God trump our thoughts about sin, evil and death:
intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish
what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Gen. 50:20).
while the consequences of sin, evil and judgment are not "lovely"
God has given us a higher and truer thought still; that
He will undo, remake, redeem and restore everything that has
ever violated His standard of good, true and lovely in this
world. The thought that is always "true" is that
He is continually using evil for good and righting wrongs,
...not erasing hope. This is exercising Philippians 4:8.
you Gerry for this concept).