It was morning, and Chloe was watching me iron my shirt and pants for the day.
As I moved the iron over the clothing and steam rose, Chloe asked, “How come you always tell us to be careful and stay away from the iron?”
“Because I love you,” I said. “The iron is very hot and can burn you badly. As the daddy, I know how dangerous the iron is. So, to make sure you don’t get hurt, I warn you to stay away from it. If I didn’t warn you, you might touch it and get burned.”
It’s basic fatherhood: Daddy 101. Protect your children from the things that will harm them. The best way to do that is to tell them to stay away from something or not to do something that could hurt them.
I do it with Chloe and Cole, and our heavenly father does it with us.
Ever wonder why God tells the Israelites, the first century Christians, and by extension us not to do certain things? Why he gives them and us such a long list of things to avoid?
It’s because as the heavenly father, he knows how dangerous sin is. So, to make sure we don’t get hurt, he warns us to stay away from it. If he didn’t warn us, we would definitely get burned by it.
This burning is figurative, as we would have to deal with the daily consequences of our sins. But without Jesus dying for our sins, the burning would be literal, as in the fires of hell.
Hell is a real place. It is a place of torment (Mark 9:43-48). It is a place of eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). It is a place separating us from the presence of God (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
God doesn’t want anyone’s eternal destination to be hell. Rather, he desires everyone be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and their eternal destination be heaven. For this reason, he wants to protect us from an eternity in hell.
How does he do this?
First, he sent Jesus to die for our sins. Second, he gave us the Bible, which tells us about Jesus and warns us about sin. Third, for those who accept Jesus as their savior, they receive the Holy Spirit, who is a daily presence to warn us against sin.
God does all these things because he loves us and doesn’t want us to get burned — figuratively or literally.
The Rev. Parrish Myers is a local minister living in Braselton. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.