In a discussion last week about Christian Atheists, I heard a phrase that interested me. “The urgency and reality of hell”. This phrase was in reference to the apathetic approach to faith of the Christian Atheist. It is a kind of belief to say that one has their whole life to get things in order with God and that even if they don’t, they will still be given some sort of last chance to make that choice. It is the kind of belief that I heard described as God not being big and scary enough. The new testament takes a different approach in highlighting a very real urgency of hell. First, Christ says do not worry about tomorrow for today has enough to worry about on its own. I take this to mean that you are to take things one day at a time. If you take things one day at a time, as if you have no other days, the things that are truly important will become your daily focus. If following God and the belief and acceptance of the resurrection is truly a priority, you will live it out before all other things, before you even worry about your meals or where you will sleep. Secondly, the people of Christ’s generation, as they still do today, were looking for signs of the end times, when God’s judgment would be final. Of course, the irony here is that the people sought signs from the very person that came to offer salvation. Christ’s response was to say that a wicked and perverse generation seeks after signs. I believe that seeking after signs can offer the apathetic Christian or atheist the opportunity to procrastinate on their relationship with Christ. If they know the day of the 2nd coming, they can simply live their life however they would like so long as they make things right before that day. The irony in this circumstance is that they are gambling that they will live to see that day and will not die before hand, which stresses a lack of the urgency and reality of hell in their belief. Christ says that the end times will come like a thief in the night. He is saying again that you should live your life each day as if the judgment is coming that day and that hour. Beyond that, it becomes a distraction from the urgency and reality of hell.
The real message is that our lives begin in death and unless we make a choice, we will end in death eternal. If our earthly end comes before we make that choice, the result is death. Do we not take God seriously.