What are the prospects for those who come to Christ, not because they know and love Jesus, but simply because they fear hell?


I do not believe anyone becomes a Christian only because of fear of hell. I believe some may become a Christian largely or even principally because of fear, but one cannot repent of sins simply out of fear.  The Bible tells us that fear is not necessarily, in all cases, a bad motive. Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." I would say that anyone who accepts and confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, repents of their sin, makes Jesus Lord and is baptized into Christ is saved. That is what the Bible says and that is what I will go on. If fear is a principle motivation for one deciding to make Jesus Lord, repent and be baptized, then I believe that person will be saved.

However, being saved and making it to heaven are two different things. We must be faithful to the end. A faithful Christian will move from fear to love as a motivation over time, or he/she is not likely to make it to heaven. Fear will not sustain our faith in God.  As it says in 1 John 4:18 "perfect love casts out fear." In this passage, the word translated as perfect means complete or mature. As our love for God and our knowlege of his love for us grows as Christians, love will increase and fear will decrease as a motivation.

John Oakes

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