Every Christian is familiar with the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Ask yourself these questions:
- 1. How did you gain your understanding of this passage?
- 2. Was it by detailed and patient study of the whole Word of God?
3. Or was it by the sermons you heard where the preacher taught about hell and used this story to prove everything he said?
A principle applies here: We are often very ignorant of the things we are very familiar with. Many of our conceptions are imposed on us by our religious associations. We then import these conceptions into the Word of God even though they have nothing to do with the passages we are considering, nay, they are completely foreign to the whole revelation of God. We thus alter the Word of God to suit the doctrines of men.
Please take a fresh look at Luke 16.