Since it is so long & this week & next week are crazy, I'm only going to pull out a few verses that really struck me.
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;I have so much to be thankful for. I was raised by amazing parents who taught me about God & the importance of education & not shirking responsibility. I am about to marry an amazing man of God with an excitement to learn more about God & a willingness to go on to the mission field should God give us that opportunity. I am about to have gain incredible in-laws. I believe in the One true God & He has given me a passion for Him, His Word, theology, apologetics, evangelism, & writing and I pray that He will give me the opportunity to use it in a greater capacity in the years to come...maybe even moving into a full-time capacity. I live in a country where I am free to speak of my beliefs without fear of arrest, torture, or execution. I have friends I consider family & family I consider friends. I have a hard time stopping this session of thanksgiving. I would say "I'm so lucky," but Anthony has gotten me out of that habit & taught me to say, "I am so blessed."
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
(Psalm 9:1-2 ESV)
But it isn't just the things & people He has bestowed upon me. The most precious gift is His sacrifice & saving grace. I, being a wretched soul, deserve nothing but Hell. Yet, He saw me worth dying for.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)
But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.(Psalm 9:7-8 ESV)God is Judge & He will judge the entire world one day at what is referred to as "The Great White Thrown Judgement." This time is prophesied about in Revelation 20:11-15. It occurs after the Millennium. At this point, all who ever lived will be present & judged. Those who did not come to Christ will be "thrown into the lake of fire," & those who did come to Christ, will become the Bride of Christ & live for eternity in the New Jerusalem.
There are many who claim: "there is not such place as Hell;" "a loving God would not send anyone to Hell;" "Hell is only for really bad people like Jeffrey Dahmer, Hitler, & the guy who cuts you off in traffic;" or "you can burn off your sins in Purgatory" or "you get many chances through reincarnation to get it right." These are all false.
Hell does exist, despite what Rob Bell & the like proclaim. There are many references in both the Old & New Testaments of Hell. For example, Daniel 12:2, Matthew 13:41-42, Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:47-48, Revelation 14:11, & Revelation 20:10.
God does love but He is also righteous & just. He has set rules which we have all broken (Romans 3:23) & has told us what the price of those sins are (Romans 6:23). Because He is righteous & just, He cannot commune with sin, He must destroy it. However, God is loving & because of this, He provided a way (John 3:16). God does not send anyone to Hell. We send ourselves there by sinning & we choose Hell by not accepting Christ as our Savior. We only have ourselves to blame if we end up in Hell.
Hell is not just for the "really bad" for we are all wretched & depraved. I mentioned these verses in my last post. Psalms 14:1 says, "there is none who do good;" Romans 3:10-12 says, "no one does good, not even one;" & Isaiah 64:6 says, "all our righteous deeds are like polluted garments [used menstrual rags]."
There is absolutely not evidence what-so-ever to support any idea of Purgatory or reincarnation. In fact, quite the opposite. The Bible teaches that there is no chance after death to make any kind of decisions affecting eternity. If you want to read more about evidence against Purgatory, I would recommend "What Does the Bible Teach About Purgatory?" at the Please Convince Me website. And, as far as reincarnation, Hebrews 9:27 says, "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment."
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.(Psalm 9:9-10 ESV)This verse reminds me of Psalms 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
I also love how this verse states that the Lord will never forsake those of us who put our trust in Him. What a comfort that is!
The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.(Psalm 9:17 ESV)Sheol is another term for "the grave." This verse supports my claim above that God will judge all & that the wicked will be sent to Hell. A rewording of Romans 6:23.
Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah(Psalm 9:19-20 ESV)