The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
 
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A RENDEZVOUS WITH HELL

      Actor Charles Dutton played the role of Baltimore garbage collector Charles “Roc” Emerson in the Fox network dramatic comedy entitled simply “Roc.” The show aired for three seasons in the early 1990s. While I did not watch this particular program on television, I do recall one scene that appeared on my TV screen while I was in the midst of channel-surfing. If my memory serves me correctly, Roc burst through a door at his house and declared something like “Well, I’ll be damned and go to hell.” Through his statement, Roc seemingly was announcing a self-prescribed rendezvous with Hell.     
      The French word rendezvous means “to meet at a certain time and place.” In other words, a rendezvous is an appointment scheduled between two or more parties who have agreed to meet at a specific time and a designated location. Having focused on both the Reality of Hell and the Realm of Hell, the current edition of From Daniel’s Den strives to present truths concerning “A Rendezvous with Hell.”
      A rendezvous with Hell represents an appointment Determined by Human Will. Inasmuch as God does not desire anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), he does not send folks to Hell. Not only did God create human beings in his image (Genesis 1:27), but he also desired to have fellowship with us from the beginning (Genesis 3:8). He even provided the means to enjoy such fellowship (Genesis 2:15). Yet, when Adam and Eve willfully disobeyed God’s instructions, they were cast out of the Garden as a consequence of their sinful choice.     
      God is holy. He does not change. God has never tolerated sin…not in the past, not in the present, and not in the future. God is love (1 John 4:16) and in love he provided a means by which sinful humanity can escape the perils of Hell (John 3:15-18; Romans 5:8; 6:23b; Ephesians 2:8, etc.). As such, mankind is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
      Since God does not send people to Hell, whether or not a person spends eternity separated from God is the consequence of personal choice. An individual’s choice to remain unrepentant and to reject the benefits of Christ’s death prevents them from escaping the agony of Hell. As C.S. Lewis declared in “The Great Divorce,” There are 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.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.” Similarly, another quote that not only seems to paraphrase the previous statement but also has been attributed to C.S. Lewis…“Sin is man’s saying to God throughout life, ‘Go away and leave me alone.’ Hell is God’s finally saying to man, ‘You may have your wish.’ Hell is God’s leaving man to himself as man has chosen.” A rendezvous with Hell is a date and place determined by human will.     
      A rendezvous with Hell also represents an appointment Distinguished by No Appeal. Unlike lawsuits tried in a court of law, the party receiving an unfavorable ruling typically has the right to appeal their case to a higher court. A rendezvous with Hell, however, is not characterized by the right to an appeal. Rather, Hell is marked by the finality of the coming judgment…a finality that is emphasized through the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16).
      In his book “The Final State: Heaven and Hell,” J.A. Motyer stated “When the verdict is rendered at the judgment, the wicked will be assigned to their final state.” Jesus declared to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 26:41). Jesus concluded “Then they will go away to eternal punishment…” (Matthew 26:46).     
      Jesus himself declared that the unrighteous will go away into eternal punishment. Scripture does not offer the possibility of a second chance. The theme song to the television program “Cops” raises a question that is rather poignant within the context of a rendezvous with Hell….”Whatcha gonna do when they come for you, bad boys, bad boys?” Hell provides no second chances, no appearance before a parole board, and no opportunity for appealing to another court.
      Not being familiar with the show “Roc” in general or the particular episode referenced above in particular, I am unable to offer the context for Roc’s comment. Nonetheless, his statement “I’ll be damned and go to hell” is both telling and troubling. Why? Because Hell is and will continue to be the eternal residence of untold numbers of lost souls who by choice and with consequence hear the words of Jesus “Then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you workers of iniquity’” (Matthew 7:23).     
      Against the backdrop of the privilege and responsibility that Christians have to influence unbelievers away from a rendezvous with Hell and toward a relationship with Jesus Christ, I’m reminded of words penned by B. B. McKinney who wrote…

 

While passing thro’ this world of sin, And others your life, shall view;

Be clean and pure without, within, Let others see Jesus in you.

 

Your life’s a book before their eyes, They’re reading it thro’ and thro’

Say, does it point them to the skies, Do others see Jesus in you?

 

What joy ‘twill be at set of sun, In mansions beyond the blue,

To find some souls that you have won, Let others see Jesus in you.

 

Then live for Christ both day and night, Be faithful, be brave, and true,

And lead the lost to life and light, Let others see Jesus in you.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, May I see other people as you see them. May I love them as you love them. May I live in such as way that others can see the presence of your son Jesus reflected in my life and may others be drawn to you through me. Amen.

                                Daniel