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Is Hell Real and Does It Really Matter (Part 3)?

Image of Hell

Controversy about Hell

The question “Is Hell real?” is one of the most controversial and frequently asked questions because it’s hard to think that a good God would allow the existence of Hell.

The Inevitability of Death

Regardless of one’s beliefs about Hell, everyone agrees that all of us will die. The timing of our death is uncertain, known only to God as stated in Psalm 139:16, which emphasizes the importance of being prepared now: “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”

Eternal Consequences

What we think about God will determine our eternal destiny. The Bible is the inerrant word of God and should be regarded as the sole authority on Hell. Human opinions and stories are irrelevant; only the word of God matters. Human authors wrote the words we find in the Bible as revealed to them by the Holy Spirit: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).

  • The late theologian A.W. Tozer noted that until we feel the Bible speaking to us, we haven’t truly read it. Similarly, C.S. Lewis acknowledged that while he would prefer to remove the doctrine of Hell from the Bible, it is supported by Scripture and reason.

Jesus Says This About Hell

The teachings of Jesus provide the most comprehensive insights into Hell. Jesus’ words about Hell can be categorized into five themes: Reality, Rebellion, Regret, Relentless, and Reconciliation.

Reality

Jesus spoke extensively about the reality of Hell.

  • For example, in Matthew 23:33 says, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?”
  • Jesus describes Hell as an eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels: “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…” (Matthew 25:41).
  • Jesus also mentions the unquenchable fire and the darkness associated with Hell, as we read in Matthew 5:22, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”
  • Jesus describes more about Hell in Matthew 8:11-12, “And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Rebellion

Jesus used parables to illustrate the consequences of rejecting God.

  • In the Parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22:1-14), He compares the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast where many guests refuse the invitation and mistreat the servants. Ultimately, the king punishes the rejecters and invites others, emphasizing the necessity of spiritual preparedness.
  • Similarly, the Parable of the Dinner (Luke 14:16-24) highlights how excuses and worldly priorities (“too busy living my life to think about Christ now”) can lead to missing out on God’s invitation to salvation.

Regret

Regret is a profound theme in Jesus’ teachings on Hell.

  • In Matthew 13:40-42, Jesus speaks of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the furnace of fire at the end of the age: “’Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
  • Jesus states in Matthew 22:13-14, “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
  • And in Matthew 24:50-51, “the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.”
  • These verses further illustrate the sorrow and regret of those cast into outer darkness. Jesus emphasizes that Hell is a place of torment and regret, not a place of calm or comfort.

Relentless

Hell is described as relentless and eternal. In Mark 9:47-48, Jesus says this about Hell: “And if your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.”

Matthew 25:46 contrasts eternal punishment with eternal life, indicating the unending nature of Hell. “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 underscores the permanence of Hell and the impossibility of crossing from Hell to heaven.

Reconciliation

Despite the harsh realities of Hell, there is good news: God desires everyone to come to repentance – “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

However, God’s patience will eventually run out. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior offers reconciliation with God and the promise of eternal life.

John 3:16-18 emphasizes that belief in Jesus prevents perishing and ensures salvation: “’For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’”

Jesus assures all Christians in John 5:24 that those who believe have eternal life and avoid judgment: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

Final Observations

  1. The reality of Hell is affirmed by Jesus’ teachings.
  2. Hell represents the ultimate consequence of rejecting God’s grace and mercy.
  3. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is urgent and essential because there are no second chances to so after death.
  4. At the moment of conversion (this means the moment that someone becomes a Christian), there is justification, where the believer becomes justified in the eyes of God which is the status of being not guilty, not condemned, but instead viewed by God as completely innocent.
  5. Next there is sanctification which means that the believer is declared as holy and set apart for God’s use, becoming more like Christ each day.
  6. The final step is glorification. In the last days, the righteous in Christ will experience resurrection to a new, spiritual but still physical body, a body that will be perfect and glorified, devoid of all disease, sickness, illness, and any deformity. How glorious that will be!

How to Accept Christ

  • You cannot save yourself. No magic phrases to repeat that a pastor gives you, or being called up to a stage in front of people and dunked in a water tank getting baptized, will save you.
  • ONLY GOD can save you. How do we know that? Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

So respond NOW if you feel a stirring in your heart. If you don’t know what to say, you can say something simple like, “Jesus, please come into my heart. I accept you as my Lord and Savior beginning now. Please forgive me for my sins.”

Listen to the full podcast by clicking here.

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

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