Hell – the place of eternal torment. Why discuss such things? I wish to discuss such things out of concern and love for the human soul. Each passing moment brings all of us closer and closer to our appointed time of death. There is no time to play games with our soul. Christ could appear in the clouds at any time. We all have seen the signs of the times and prophecies unfolding before our eyes; but do we recognize these warnings as such? God loves us and has sent out warning after warning. Will we continue to allow this world to dull our spiritual senses and lull us to sleep?
God is love, right? Yes. But, is love his only attribute? Is he not also a God of justice and judgment? If any person is right with God, they will find him merciful, faithful, pure, and perfect. But, if any person is unjust and perverse, they will struggle with him and view him as torturous (see 2nd Sam. 22:27). There is horrific, eternal punishment awaiting those without Christ. Be careful not to deceive yourself into thinking that you’re “alright” if you know deep in your soul that you are not.
If, after reading this blog entry, you find yourself offended by this warning – I beg of you to search your soul. It is so important that we are right with God at all times. I am not seeking to offend anybody – but it is likely to happen. As Galatians 4:16 says, “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” The truth, no matter how painful, is what sets us free. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). My motive is to give us all a “wake-up call”, lest we fall into this mediocre state of complacency and lose our zeal for God, if we even had it to begin with. When we lose the “fire” for God it is effortless to fall into this trap of apathy toward him. Life can make us battle-weary for various reasons – financial stress, health problems, broken relationships, you name it! When we find ourselves slipping, we must cry out, “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Rise up in me, Lord! Create a clean heart in me, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me! Give me a hunger and a thirst for righteousness and deliver me from evil!”
Once we have found this treasure, once Jesus’ blood has covered our sins, once we have repented and turned away from our sins – is this the end? No – it is only the beginning. We continue seeking him daily so we don’t grow cold in our relationship with him. We put our spiritual well-being and the spiritual well-being of others above all else. We share God’s love, yes. We also warn the lost of his coming wrath if they do not repent. I used to think if a person chose not to follow Christ and the Bible, well – that was their problem. But no – that selfish type of attitude shows nothing of the love of Christ. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! He came to seek and to save those who are lost. We are to be like him and to love others as he did. We are, also, to warn others as he did.
Revivalist, Leonard Ravenhill once said: “I think we’ve got to watch this business of, ‘God loves you, God loves you’ and all of the bumper stickers… [such] sloppy evangelism. [But], will you remind people of the goodness and the severity of God? Will you remind them that there is a day when mercy is cut off forever? Will you remind them that people pray in hell but nobody ever answers?”
Not to sound morbid – but death is something that awaits us all. This isn’t something we typically discuss over the dinner table; but it is true – death occurs daily to people of all ages. Typically, the average life expectancy is 70 years of age. However, some live to be older and many do not even live to see their 1st birthday. In 2010, there were nearly 2.5 million deaths in America, according to the CDC. Mind you – that is in America only; not considering other countries around the world. Regardless of age, race, marital status, financial status, or spiritual status – people die every single day. No one is immune to death. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men [mankind] once to die, but after this, judgment.”
Heaven is Not the Default
“Knowing the fear of God, the terror of the Lord…knowing that there is a heaven to gain, a hell to shun! We ought to persuade men.” ~Bob Jennings
After death, your eternal fate is sealed. For the righteous, the Bible teaches that when we are absent from our bodies then we are present with the Lord. But, at the moment of death for the unsaved (those without Christ), they will go to a real place called Hell. Even though the body is physically dead, the soul lives on consciously. There is no gap in time or “purgatory” time in order to get things right – no, that is not scriptural. Once we die – it’s over and there are no second chance given.
“Soul, you are eternal. You will never ever, ever, ever cease. You are eternal; a soul will never ever cease for all eternity – you will never ever, ever, ever cease to exist.” ~Keith Daniel
Heaven is not the default place where humans automatically go when they die; Heaven must be chosen, but moreover, God must be chosen. “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Also, in Matthew 7:13-14, the Bible says, “Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be who go in there: Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” Note – this says that there are only going to be few that find the way which leads to life. Are you one of the few? There is no neutral ground; you either are saved or lost. No matter how giving, moral, and nice you are – if you have never yielded your whole being to Christ then you are utterly lost and bound for hell’s eternal fire. Remember, our souls are eternal.
Over the years, I have been shocked on a few occasions to hear people actually admit they want to go to hell! They reason, “I have a friend that died and I’m sure he went to hell; so I want to be with him wherever he is.” A person who flippantly says such things has no idea of what hell really is. Each person will be in their own pitiful, extreme torment which is horrific enough – but that hopeless misery would be deepened by seeing a friend in the same gut-wrenching, horrendous state. There is no comfort in hell whatsoever. Crying doesn’t help, screaming doesn’t help, and at this point – even their prayers won’t help. They have made their choice. Make no mistake about it – they chose Satan over God, rebellion over obedience, and Hell over Heaven. God has given us all the opportunity to follow his holy word. After death, our choice cannot be reversed.
If we choose God – Heaven will be our eternal home. This is an entire topic in and of itself; but remember that God is making a New Heaven and a New Earth. He will eventually set up his kingdom on earth. We will rule and reign with Christ. But such comfort the Christian finds when we read the promises in Revelation 21:4. It says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
But, on the contrary, there will be masses in hell who are consciously tormented (see Luke 16:24). Scripture teaches that there is a gulf fixed and no saint can get to hell to offer any comfort or help; nor are those in hell ever able to leave its torment. After the Great White Throne judgment (spoken of in Revelation) many will be cast into the lake of unquenchable fire. God is done with them. God’s Spirit won’t always strive/struggle/contend with mankind; for, we are allotted a span of time and then we die. If one goes to hell, there will be no mercy there. No matter how much they cry out – it’s too late. For all eternity, there is no peace, no compassion, no respite, but only relentless torment forever and ever. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the mighty God. This isn’t a tale or some fictitious story – it is very real.
“Did Christ sensationalize? Did he stand there and tickle your ears with little stories that aren’t going to happen? Is God a liar telling us such things – this God of love? A man who does not warn you of hell who stands in any pulpit on this earth… does not care for you, he hates you [by not warning you of hell].” ~Keith Daniel
The true Christian leader will preach of God’s love and forgiveness, yes – but he will also warn every unrepentant sinner, under the sound of his voice, about hell. By this warning, he is showing God’s love.
The Wages of Sin
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~Romans 6:23
Many go day-to-day and never even give God a thought. They shower, eat, drive, work, sleep, and allow time for entertainment; but they give God none of their time – or very little of it, at best. Of course, we have responsibilities in this life we must attend to – but if a person wants to put God first, they will. Watch their life and you will see what is most important to them.
In 1st Corinthians 6:9, the Bible states that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God unless they turn from their wicked ways and are justified by Jesus Christ. The Bible also speaks of a very fearful thing happening to those who practice habitual sin. They will reject God so many times that he will eventually turn them over to a reprobate, depraved, worthless mind. “Furthermore, because they did not think it worthwhile to keep knowing God fully, God delivered them to degraded minds to perform acts that should not be done” Romans 1:28. The light of God’s love is available – but unholy people love the darkness instead, so that they may do their evil deeds in the dark. But, their sin is not hidden from God’s eyes.
Can you imagine?! One day, you may hear God speaking within your being. However, as time passes, his voice becomes more faint – even to the point that you can no longer hear him or feel him wooing you. Some people in deep sin might appear to be enjoying their sin since they no longer feel God’s prohibition within their being. But know this – there will come a time when they hit rock bottom and find themselves utterly lost and empty. Don’t let this be your story.
What Must We Do?
Is simply believing there is one God enough? Although this is a necessary step in the right direction, we must remember that the Bible states: “You believe that there is one God; you do well: the demons also believe, and tremble” James 2:19. We must take our belief a step further. We must confess Jesus Christ as Lord with our mouth and believe in our heart that God raised Jesus from the dead (see Rom. 10:19). We must confess Jesus before others (see Luke 12:8-9). We must repent – which means to turn away from and forsake our sin (see Mark 1:15).
We are powerless to cleanse ourselves of sin; only Jesus’ blood can do that. Therefore, our good works alone will not save us – BUT, our good works prove that we are saved by Jesus’ blood, according to James chapter 2. Also, 2nd Corinthians 5:17 states: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” As Christians, we will have certain which separate us from sinners. These traits are referenced as the “fruit of the Spirit”. They are: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (see Gal. 5:22). Furthermore, it is such a great testimony for us to be baptized in water, signifying our transformation. Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
There are so many other facets to our Christianity and I certainly don’t want it to appear as a contrived step-by-step program; because it must be felt within the heart. We must be grieved over our sin and recognize how depraved and lost we are without Jesus. Each person grows in holiness and will know if they are truly saved. Personally, I was saved by Jesus at seven years of age. Even at such a young age, I felt the burden of sin lift off of me after I confessed Jesus as Lord! I knew 100% that I had a re-birth of my spirit that night. Others may have different experiences at the time of their salvation; nonetheless, I knew beyond all doubt that Jesus had saved me. Choose life, choose God, and Heaven will be yours too! I have found this to be true – the only thing that’s good in me is Jesus.
I implore you to read the following scriptures listed below. If you do not have a Bible, the following scriptures can be found here.
~2nd Thessalonians 1:5-12
Click the links below to view.
“Sloppy Evangelism” by Leonard Ravenhill
“Hell” by Keith Daniel