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5 Lessons for Children About Horrors of Hell and God’s Final Judgment – John Piper

Evangelical theologian John Piper has
told parents that they need to teach their children about the horrors of hell,
as a way to show God’s glory and the coming final judgment.

5 Lessons for Children About Horrors of Hell and God's Final Judgment - John Piper


Piper, who is the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in St. Paul,
Minnesota, took a question Wednesday on his Desiring God website from a parent concerned about
what he should tell his child, who has “extreme anxiety” about death,
about the topic of hell.

The theologian told the parent, Michael, that it is better that his son is
afraid of hell, than not be afraid at all.

“God does not intend for His children to experience hell as an end, but
to experience the warning of hell as a means of clarifying and establishing
these five great realities. This is true for a 6-year-old and it’s true for a
60-year-old. Look at this moment, Michael, in the child’s life as a golden
opportunity for teaching him many wonderful things,” Piper said.

He then listed five “great realities” about hell;

1.     
Pointing out that the fear of hell “is a golden
opportunity for treating God as big and glorious and utterly real.”

“The reason hell is so terrible is because God is so great that
despising Him is so evil that it deserves this terrible punishment,” he
argued.

“In other words, the horror of hell is a signpost concerning the
infinite worth and preciousness and beauty and goodness and justness of God. If
He were small, if God were small, hell would be lukewarm. Because He’s great,
scorning God is a horrible thing.”

2.   Piper said that the topic is also a great
opportunity to teach children about the seriousness of sin.
“Hell is all about the outcome of a life of sin, and therefore a child
needs to understand what sin is. Sin is all about falling short of God’s glory;
that is, failing to see God as glorious and to honor Him and thank Him as
glorious, and to follow Him and praise Him and glorify Him,” he explained.

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3. He said that fear of hell can also be used to bring awareness to a child
of the “reality and justness of God’s final judgment.”

“What a gift for a child to grow up deeply convinced that the whole
world will face judgment someday. This will give seriousness to the child’s
life. Parents worry far too much that their children will be unhappy in the
fear of judgment when they ought to worry that their children will be happy with
no fear of judgment,” he explained.

4.  “Truth,” Piper said that
the key to everything is to use the opportunity “to magnify the cross of
Christ.”
“What a golden moment for children to meet and know the living Christ
and the glories of what He achieved on the cross. The remedy of our children’s
fear is not to hide hell, but to reveal Christ and the cross,” he said.

“We should be prepared to paint the achievements of the cross in such
lavish colors that they outshine the fears of hell.”

5.  The theologian insisted that the
fear of hell can teach a child how to live a “fearless life of
faith.”
“If you can teach your child fearlessness in the face of hell, on the
basis of Jesus’s death and resurrection, you will have given him the ground of total
fearlessness in life,” he advised.

“Make him a warrior, or make her a warrior, because there isn’t
anything greater that they could ever face. Nothing will threaten them more
than sin and death and hell.”

Piper concluded: “If they know how to conquer sin and death and hell
through Christ, then they can face anything.”

Piper has tackled a number of big questions on Desiring God these past few
months, and in February analyzed that Jesus Christ could possibly return to
Earth before 1,000 years time.

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