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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

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I live in the United States where I enjoy the constitutional right to practice my religious beliefs and I face very little opposition in serving God.  There are many Christians who don’t have this freedom.  In the Middle East many Christians run the risk of being killed by Muslim extremists.  Persecution of Christians is increasing in China.  India is controlled by a Hindu nationalist party whose goal is to make India a completely Hindu nation.  According to Open Doors North Korea is the place where Christians suffer the most persecution.

 

Paul had this to say about the suffering experienced by Christians.

 

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

When we know the glory that awaits us in the next world we will forget all about the sufferings we have experienced during this life.

 

There are many unsaved people who live lives of pleasure and happiness.  The Bible describes what one of them experienced after his death.

 

And he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.”

 

But Abraham said, “Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.”

 

And he said, “Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

 

But Abraham said, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” 

Luke 16:24-29

 

The man wanted relief from his suffering and he was concerned about the fate of his brothers but the pleasures he had enjoyed while alive brought him no comfort.

Believers look forward to an eternal weight of glory that will outweigh all the sufferings we experience in this life; unbelievers look forward to an eternal weight of damnation that will outweigh all the happiness and pleasure of this life.  In his book The Great Divorce C. S. Lewis expressed it this way.

 

That is what mortals misunderstand.  They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.  And of some sinful pleasure they say, “Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences,” little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of their sin.  Both processes begin even before death.  The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven; the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness.  And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven,” and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.”  And both will speak truly.

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100 years of this life (at most?..pretty much, if we even live that long).

Now compare that with eternity and it isn't even a rain drop in the ocean, not even a molecule of a raindrop in the ocean.

 

 What really got me was when I heard that when some North Koreans escape and later become Christians they go back into North Korea to tell their family (and others) about the gospel. They insisted that it was so important to spread the word to those who didn't know that the threat to their own lives meant nothing.

 Now that is faith!

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Posted (edited)

From a mathmatician's understanding, eternal damnation involves a never ending torment that DOES NOT approach completion.

Edited by Solas

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