Christian BoyLove Forum #63873
I dont believe in an everlasting fiery torment either (and most certainly not one that is given as a judgement by God) and I'm definitely not a Jehovah's witness.
My own belief is fairly clear: I think we can easily misunderstand the notion of everlasting life (which isnt surprising when you think about it.)
The point is that we are finite beings in an infinite universe and it is the way we misunderstand our FINITY (and if there isnt such a word then there should be) that makes us misunderstand everything else.
The Christian way tries to help us comprehend that we only have one shot at this and it's what we do with our time HERE and NOW that is our only route to even beginning to understand the ALL.
If I murder someone tomorrow then I have murdered him or her for ever. I am a murderer and I always will be. When I die I will be remembered as 'that guy who murdered someone on such and such a day'. The condemnation is infinite because final. Nothing I do can change that however hard I might try. Everything we do is linked in this way with eternity because it is irradicable. (When my time is up then my time is up and there is nothing at all that I can do about it, whether I am Christian or atheist.
This is a terrible burden upon Man because we are so prone to selfishness and sin, not to mention chance and accident.
The gospel turns all this right on its head. It isnt that the gospel suddenly gives us the chance of eternal life. I think it is the other way round: that the gospel frees us from the terrible burden of being labelled a murderer for ever and ever. In a strange kind of way, the message of the gospel FREES us from the burden of eternity.
Yes I might have murdered someone. In the eyes of everyone I will always be that murderer, but it isnt the way that GOD sees me and once we receive the gospel we are indeed given an insight into the way that He sees us: it becomes a life-changing reality for us in a way that cannot happen to people who do not hear this good news.
Although guilty, I am freed from the burden of eternal murdererness and given the gift of a new innocence because this is the way that God chooses to see me through the redeeming work of Christ.
I am given a second chance.
So it is true in a way that those who do not know the gospel are burdened in a way that the Christian isnt but it is only because he condemns himself by his sin and not because God condemns him.
We cannot forgive ourselves for the wrongs that we do. We can try to forget (by addictions and pleasure) but we cannot forgive. Only God can do this, and it is ALL that God does. God does NOT condemn. Only WE condemn because we do not have the power to forgive. Forgiveness is an Amazing Grace in every sense of the word: the very heart of God.