Dear Muslim friends,
“Do you fear hell?”
I usually don’t start out my blog posts with such a serious kind of question. But this is a subject that is really on my mind today and is incredibly important. I wanted to get right to the heart of the matter.
Please allow me to share a few brief experiences I have had with some Muslim friends regarding fear of hell.
A few years ago, I was with a dear Muslim friend from Bangladesh, enjoying a meal together. We were having great conversation about life and faith and at some point I asked him, “Do you fear hell?” His answer really impacted me (and hurt me on the inside). He looked down and said with real seriousness and a sadness in his voice and facial expression, “Every day.”
Another time, I was driving with a Muslim friend from Yemen and I asked him the same question. He replied with surprise, “Who wouldn’t fear hell? Can you imagine burning your hand in a fire? Then try to imagine your whole body burning. Can you imagine that? Of course I fear hell.”
While taking Christians on a tour of another mosque in Michigan, a very kind and well spoken imam said, “Your good deeds can outweigh your bad deeds and you can still go to hell.” When I asked him why, he said, “Because God is King. He can do whatever He wants.” (Wow, I have to admit, that answer shocked me.)
Dear Muslim friends, may I share with you why I don’t fear hell?
First of all, let me say that it’s not because I am such a good person. It’s not because my good deeds will outweigh my bad deeds on a scale on the day of judgment. It is certainly not because I never sin, because I sin every day – against the Lord and against people. I sin every day – either in my actions or in my thoughts. I sin every day – in what I do or in what I should have done. And I am not alone. The Injil says that we all have sinned and that we all have fallen short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23).
No, the reason that I don’t fear hell has nothing to do with my goodness. It has everything to do with God’s goodness. And just as importantly, with God’s promise. You see, God has promised that anyone who puts their faith in Jesus and his sacrifice will be completely, totally, and forever forgiven. Imagine it. All sins forgiven. Washed away. Every single one. All shame removed.
I have followed God’s way, His path. I have chosen to follow Jesus as my Savior. Because of this – and only this – I have God’s incredible, amazing, stunning promise of forgiveness in my heart:
And because of this – and only this – I do not fear hell.
God. . .is a promise maker.
And God. . .is a promise keeper.
He can change His mind.
But He won’t.
This is my hope and prayer for every man and every woman: that they not be plagued by a constant anxiety about hell but that they might know an incredible peace in the deepest part of their soul. That they might know that heaven can be their eternal home and that their sins can be completely and eternally forgiven.
This is God’s amazing promise to all who put their faith in Jesus and His sacrifice of love.
Dear Muslim friends: “Do you fear hell?”
If you do, please hear these words: “You don’t have to. . .”