“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
I will be honest. Hell is my least favorite teaching in the Bible. I would prefer that there would be no hell. I would rather those who don’t know Christ and who rebel against God just cease to exist. I don’t like the thought of anyone being tormented forever and ever. I don’t want ANYONE to go to such a place! I long with all my heart for everyone to be in heaven with God, joyfully praising Him, living with Him and each other in total harmony, and experiencing His greatest blessings and His glory in Paradise. Thankfully, the path that leads to eternal life is available and open to all who are willing to follow Jesus!
I may not like this topic, but the Bible talks about there being a literal hell – a place that God originally created for Satan and his angels, but a place of eternal punishment where He will send sinners in order for them to receive justice for their sins against His holiness. Once someone goes to hell, there is no escape according to Jesus. That is extremely sobering to me. Our time to make important decisions about where we will spend forever is very short.
“Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41
“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Luke 12:4-5
We like to talk about God’s love. These days, that is the only side of God we like to talk about – His love. Well, we also like to talk about His mercy, forgiveness, and grace, too. Those are palatable things. God does have unfathomable love for us – and unspeakable mercy, forgiveness, and grace available to each of us. So, we do well to focus there. But – we cannot forget the other attributes of God that all exist in harmony, balance, and perfection: His holiness, His justice, His hatred of sin, His complete intolerance for any sin.
God presents Himself to us in the Bible as He is – not as we want Him to be.
God is totally love. He is also perfectly just.
- Because God is just, He cannot gloss over sins and wrongdoing that offend His holiness and that wound people. He cannot pretend they don’t exist. His holiness – and His love for those sinned against – demands justice for every sinful thought, word, and deed that every person has ever committed on this earth. That is fair. That is what we deserve.
- Because God is love, He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him. He doesn’t want us to experience hell. He doesn’t want us to be dead in our sins here on earth. He doesn’t want us to face His wrath and punishment. He warns us of the judgment which is to come over and over again in the Bible.
- Because He is just and because He is love, God became a man – Jesus. He lived the perfect life we could not live, He died the death we deserved, and He rose from the grave and conquered sin and death on our behalf.
Now God can fully love us and maintain His perfect holiness and justice – because He, Himself, bore His own wrath against our sin. Sin has been appropriately punished and paid for. His righteous wrath has been satisfied. Now He can be in relationship with us – because when we receive Christ as our Savior and LORD of our lives, He sees Jesus and His holiness and perfection when He looks at us. So His justice, holiness, love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness all work together on the cross of Christ that we might be able to enter into an intimate spiritual relationship and become one with Him spiritually without tainting His holiness. Now He gives us a new heart, a new mind, and a new spirit – so that we can become holy as He is holy.
HELL IS NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT IN OUR CULTURE, BUT IT IS A REALITY ACCORDING TO JESUS
No one wants to talk about hell today. We would rather not think about it. But – if hell is real – what is the loving thing to do? To warn others about it now, while they still have a chance to turn to Christ, or to ignore it?
I love y’all too much to ignore this scary subject! You are each very precious to me.
Jesus spoke more about hell than He spoke about heaven. Jesus also prayed fervently that if there was some other way for us to be made right with God, that God might allow Him to avoid the cross. God’s answer was that there was no other way for us to come to Himself. There was no other way for any of us to be saved from the devastation, torment, and destruction of hell.
If hell did not exist, Jesus would have had no need to go to the cross. We want to believe that somehow, magically, everyone just ends up in heaven no matter what they did on earth and no matter how they lived. If that were true, Jesus would not have had to come to this earth to accomplish the work of the cross.
- The bad news is – we are all sinners who deserve hell. All of us. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “The wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23).We have all sinned against a holy and eternal God. God hates sin. He does punish all sin. Those who have sin in their lives must be separated from God. That is what hell is – total separation from God and from all that is good. It is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual suffering and unending torment. According to God’s Word and according to Jesus – this is a very unpleasant reality.
- The good news is – “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 6:23)!!! WOOHOO!!!!! THIS IS GREAT NEWS! Jesus took our punishment on Himself so that we might give our lives to Him, trust Him, live for Him, follow Him, love Him, and have the opportunity to know and love God through His gift of His death on the cross and His resurrection and victory over sin and death!
We don’t have to go to hell! No one has to go to hell!
Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.” John 14:6
Jesus opens His invitation to everyone! PRAISE GOD that He has provided a means for us to escape hell. PRAISE GOD that He has provided a means for us to know and love Him and to have relationship, fellowship, and peace with Himself.
My prayer is that each of us might turn to Christ Jesus in faith and receive the Gift of Eternal Life that He has made available through His death, burial, and resurrection. My prayer is that we each might live wholeheartedly for Christ as LORD of our lives, giving ourselves fully to Him even as He gave Himself fully for us. This is the Great Exchange. He took on all of our sin (wrong doing) and He took our punishment. Then we get to receive Jesus’ holiness, His right standing with God, His goodness, His spiritual Life, and His inheritance in heaven. This isn’t about praying a prayer one time. It is about a lifetime of following Jesus with all our hearts and about Him radically transforming us to be more and more like Himself.
If we didn’t know about hell while we are living on earth – we would be terribly surprised when this life is over. What a gift that Jesus loved us enough to tell us about the dangers of hell and that He loved us so much that He was willing to provide a way for us to escape hell and to be with Him forever. And what a blessing that we can share God’s truth about hell and heaven, and His plan to save all of us from hell with everyone so that we might all choose Christ and avoid hell!
Another blessing of knowing about hell now is that it helps us adjust our perspective to see what is truly most important – not this temporary, brief lifetime – but the life that comes after this. This new perspective completely impacts how we spend our time here, what our priorities are, what our motives are, how we love others, how we share the powerful gospel of Jesus, and our walk with God.
David Platt’s sermons about hell
John Piper’s sermons about hell