Hell is a reality. Jesus talks about it. Jesus warns us of it.
But we casualize hell.
We trivialize hell.
We dismiss hell.
All to our peril.
What do we know about hell?
It is a geographical place (topos) that can be gone to.
It is a place that lasts forever.
It is a place that God choose not to be.
Hell is where the rebellious is forever separate d from God. We simply do not know what that feels like. Take the time when you have felt most alone. That’s not even a fraction of what it must be like to not have God around – for even when you feeling the most lonely, God is there loving you. Not in hell.
Who goes there?
It was designed for Lucifer and the angels that followed him in rebellion.
It will be a place that those who reject Christ will go.
What happens there?
Torment never ends. It will be a place where people are at their worst all the time. It will be a place of fear and pain that never knows any rest or reprieve. Jesus talks about a “worm that does not die” and “a fire that does not go out.” Those who go to hell will spend an eternity at their worst
“Death freezes the moral compass. People will remain in the fashion they enter.” (Max Lucado, 3:16)
(Rev 22:11) Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy….
Hell is not a correctional facility – there is no reprieve. It isn’t designed to transform a person – indeed it cannot.
(Rev 16:9) They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
Notice the rich man in hell in Jesus’ parable in Luke 16.
(Luke 16:24) And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.'
He didn’t even ask for reprieve! He only asked for relief. His heart was hard even before he went to hell – and the fires of hell didn’t melt it any! He was selfish in life and was still thinking only of self in hell!
Is there good news? Yes!
Christ went there so we don’t have to.
On the cross, Jesus suffered hell for us. He was completely abandoned by God – as He cries out “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?”(Matthew 27:46).Christ’s death and resurrection saved us from hell.
After Jesus’ death, He did descend into hell – the physical location. But not to suffer; rather to bar entry forever and for everyone.Which isn’t to say no one is going to hell. I am saying that God sends no one to hell. Those who go to hell go on their own free will.
What does this mean for you?
God takes this seriously. So much so that He sent His one and only Son. Jesus’ death takes our sin away – giving us the power to accept God – to choose to live with God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Without Christ, hell is the only choice that can be made. So we have to tell people that there is another way –but only by Christ and His epic sacrifice.We need to take this seriously. We need to not shy away from it. And “we need to ask God to help us be ambassadors of joy to people who are living with fear and dread.”