Does Hell Scare You?

An increasingly unpopular subject in most pulpits is the subject of hell. When’s the last time you heard a sermon on hell? When’s the last time you contemplated the concept of hell? Many “Christians” deny it’s existence or deny that a loving God would send anyone there. Let’s examine some things the Scriptures reveal about hell. The Bible teaches that...

1) Hell Is Real. Hell isn’t a fairy tale, myth, condition or state of mind. It’s a real place. In fact, it’s as real as heaven for they are often put on an equality as far as some of their contrasting qualities are concerned. For example, in Matthew 25:46 Jesus said, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” So, if heaven is real, so is hell. If hell is a myth, so is heaven. If hell is just a “state of mind,” then so is heaven. If hell is only temporary, then so is heaven. Jesus said we ought to fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). In this we learn three things: A) Hell should be feared, B) Hell is beyond the grave, and C) The reality of hell should motivate us to live so we won’t go there. Have you seriously contemplated the shocking reality of hell? If not, you need to give yourself a “reality check,” for hell will be a reality for the vast majority! (Matt. 7:13-14)

2) Hell Is Terrible. Some believe the Bible’s descriptions of hell are overstated. That’s blasphemous since the person who used the word most often was the Lord Himself! The horrific nature of hell can be seen from three of its aspects. First, its name, Gehenna, is derived from the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem where idolatrous Israelites once burned their children alive as sacrifices (2 Chron. 28:3). Later this valley came to be used to burn Jerusalem’s garbage and trash. Dead bodies were thrown into this dump and its fires were kept burning to consume the rotting corpses and rubbish. Second, the Bible describes hell as a “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8). Imagine if every drop of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior was gasoline and was then set ablaze. What would it be like to be thrown into the middle? Further, hell contains “brimstone” which is a sticky, flammable, sulfurous compound. Imagine having a sticky, gooey, stinking, burning liquid clinging to your body! Can you image how such would intensify the pain? Increase the agony? Magnify the suffering? Other passages portray hell as a furnace of fire (Matt. 13:42, 50), a flaming fire (2 Thess. 1:7-9), a baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11-12), and an unquenchable fire (Mk. 9:43). Is it any wonder then that hell is characterized by “weeping,” “wailing,” and “gnashing of teeth”? (cf. Matt. 8:12; 13:50; 25:30). Do you need a more vivid picture? Do you want to go there? Do you want any of your loved ones or brethren to go there?

3) Hell Is Eternal. The above descriptions would be bad enough even if hell only lasted for a few seconds. But, the pain and suffering of hell is eternal. Jesus equated “hell fire” (Matt. 18:9) with “everlasting fire” (v. 8). Jesus contrasted “everlasting punishment” with “eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). Everlasting is a difficult concept to get our minds around, but be assured it is a long time! Hell is as long as heaven for the smoke of torment ascends “forever and ever” (Rev. 14:10-11). We’ll all spend eternity somewhere.

Do you want to spend it in hell or in heaven? Unfortunately, Jesus Himself tells us that the overwhelming majority of people will go to hell (Matt. 7:13-14). Such is certainly not God’s desire (2 Tim. 2:4), but it will be our choice if we don’t obey the gospel and live God’s way (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Where do you plan to spend eternity? What are you doing now to prepare? Are you ready...NOW! (2 Cor. 6:2)

By Craig Thomas

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