This is a blog post about Hell. First, let me start by saying that no one likes to discuss Hell. It isn’t some great fantasy of Christians to talk fire and brimstone. It’s hard for me as a Christian to think about Hell and what it really means. However, I write this post because I think it’s important to understand the Bible, every part of the Bible. To not talk about this part of the Bible is to misrepresent Jesus and the scripture.
Now, not a week goes by that I don’t hear about how evil Christians are. I hear them called bigots, narrow-minded, extreme, and borderline fanatical. I recently heard someone say that they were worried about any faith that excluded people. I hear that Christians are negative and selling a message of hate and fear. Then you hear people say that if Christians loved their neighbors they would just leave them alone. Now that one really blows my mind.
First, you must understand that Christians believe in the Bible. They just don’t think it’s a good book. They believe it is the infallible Word of God. Christians believe that in His love and mercy God revealed himself to men. Those revelations were recorded in the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christians believe that the Bible is a gift, a means for understanding God’s will and His plan for salvation. Christians believe that plan was culminated on a cross when Jesus Christ was voluntarily sacrificed to pay for the sins of all mankind. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the finest of God’s revelations, because He told us exactly what was necessary for us to be saved. God spoke directly to us, and left nothing more to chance.
Jesus gave us many messages while He was preaching. He talked to us about the Kingdom of Heaven. He spoke to us of love, God’s love (John3:16) and the love we should have for each other (Mark 12:31). He told us to the love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind (Luke 10:27) and to pursue the Kingdom of Heaven first and foremost (Matthew 6:33). He taught us to be merciful and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32). Among all of these teachings, He also taught things that no one likes to talk about. He taught another message that people like to forget, Hell. We never see a painting on that topic hanging on the wall of the Christian bookstore.
Jesus taught us about Hell and the consequences for sin. He taught us that none of us is righteous (Romans 3:10). He taught us that the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23), which means that if we got what we deserved we would be punished. He told us what Hell would be like. He told us that there would be those that would be cast away from God. He even told us that there would be those that thought they were saved, and their false sense of worship would be revealed in the worst way, as they were also sent away from God (Matthew 7:21-23). Now, I type that in a nice way, but Hell is not just being sent away. There is nothing nice about it. When you read what the Bible, what God says about Hell, it sends chills down your spine.
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 13:49-50
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ” ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ – Mark 9:47-48
…he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever… – Revelation 14:10-11
When you really spend time thinking about these parts of scripture, you feel conflicted. You think of all the people you love and care about and then you wonder where they will spend eternity. I think about all the people I work with, play with, and just wave to as I go about my day. Then I realize that if I really loved and cared about them I wouldn’t want them to have that kind of a future. If I really loved those people, or even if I just liked them, I wouldn’t want them to have an eternity of torture. Personally I think being called a few names is a small price to pay to prevent that from happening.
When you think about the long-term consequences of this decision, every other decision made in this lifetime seems to fade into the background. Every other portion of this life seems to pale in comparison and seem inconsequential. I mean, does it really matter how much you weigh? All the mundane matters of this world suddenly seem so silly when you think of God’s plan for the world, and the salvation of your neighbors. Jesus told us that He wanted His message spread to the four corners of the world (Matthew 28:19-20). Don’t you think that means here in our community?
I’m not writing today’s post to frighten or scare you. Although when you think about Hell, it is frightening and scary. I am writing this post because I want everyone to remember what is really at stake. When you wake up tomorrow what is the most important thing you could do? What is the most important investment you could make with your time? Find a neighbor, friend or co-worker and tell them the Good News. Let them know that God has a better plan for them, a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Take a pause from the busyness of your day and have a conversation with someone you care about. This conversation could mean more than a moment, it could mean an eternity.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14