This is another post on the Bible, it isn’t technical content, you’ve been warned. Back to technical posts next week. Yesterday, for resurrection weekend a blog post of mine went live about the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Good News. That was going to be it. Last night, however, I attended a simulcast of Secret Church. The topic was Heaven, Hell and the End Times.
One of David Platt’s prayers and hopes in discussing these things was an urgency in spreading the Gospel. An urgency in proclaiming God’s truth. Well during the talk on hell, he preached on truths I’ve known; on truths I’ve believed and hold fast to about hell. In fact I would say that the knowledge of and belief in the doctrine of hell is one of the things that has prompted me to share my faith. But – last night I felt convicted about my post yesterday, I felt convicted about how I approach hell. I fully believe in a literal hell for a literal eternity, but I don’t think I’ve given it the proper weight. My convictions are that, even in yesterday’s post – I focused a lot on the Good News but I don’t really talk about what makes that news so good.
Platt said, and I agree, that we must declare this doctrine of hell continually, unapologetically , compassionately, and with urgency.
It Really Is Bad News
Right now I literally have tears welling up in my eyes as I type this. As I contemplate the truth of what hell is and apply that with the realization that so many are heading there. So many I love, so many I am friends with, so many I care about and so many I’ve never met. It hurts. You see we’ve put hell aside. In so many surveys people overwhelmingly believe there is a heaven, they overwhelmingly believe they are heading there and they overwhelmingly believe there is no hell. That’s wrong. It’s not Biblical.
Christ talked about Hell in verse after verse. The Bible at length describes the horrors of Hell. David Platt pulled some lessons and truths out (you can see the study guide here for all verses and the full text):
Fire and Pain - “So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace” – Matthew 13:49-50
Conscious Torment - Read Luke 16:22-28 – About the rich man in hades – just pleading for relief, begging that someone would go and tell his brothers that hell is real.
Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth
Continual Rebellion - Russel Moore describes this well -
The sinner in hell does not become morally neutral upon his sentence to hell. We must not imagine the damned sinner displaying gospel repentance and longing for the presence of Christ. The damned indeed are longing for an escape from punishment, but they are not ‘new creations’. They do not, in hell, love the Lord their God with heart, mind, soul, and strength. Instead, they are now handed over to the full display of their natures apart from grace, natures that are satanic (John 8:44). Thus, the condemnation continues forever and ever and ever, with no end in view either for the sin or the punishment thereof.
Hell is a Place of Complete Separation - From God. From the One our hearts were made to long after. Fromthe very One we were made to fellowship with.
Hell is Eternal - Forever… During the event David used a good phrase to describe this – you are never any closer to the end of this suffering than you are to the start. Even after a million ages of this torment – you are still no closer to the end. There is no end. That seems harsh but you see our sin is sin against an infinite and eternal God. A pure and righteous God.
We Send Ourselves There
CS Lewis says this one best:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.
– The Great Divorce
I often hear the questions like “what about those who are innocent?” Or “I’m not that bad?” But as I talked about in the Good Friday post – we are. Just one moment of sin condemns us. Just one white lie. Just one moment of selfishness. We all deserve hell. The real wonder of God isn’t why He would send good men to hell (for there are no good men!!) but why He would pardon broken, sinful creatures like us. Why He chose to allow His son to enter into history and pay a price that we couldn’t bear – all the while being spit on by the very people He was dying for.. That’s the question I can’t get. Because it is quite clear that I deserve hell. I’ve offended – and constantly offend – a righteous, holy, perfect, infinite and eternal God. Every day. I deserve hell. So do you.
Justice. You cry out for it. I cry out for it. This world cries out for justice. I heard it loud and clear after the Sandy Hook massacre, you see it after heinous crimes. People call out for it for corporate greed. Hell will execute God’s justice. When time as we know it is fulfilled and Christ comes back – as a Judge this time, not as a baby - justice will be complete. Every sin will be taken into account. For the Christian we will hear FORGIVEN. FORGIVEN. IT’S ALL FORGIVEN - Every single one of our sins will be forgiven – not because of any worth in us – but because of Christ’s completed work. For those who are outside of Christ – those sins will be taken into account. Every sin will be charged, hell will be the place where the just sentence for sin is carried out.
D.A. Carson says it like this:
Do you really want nothing but totally effective, instantaneous justice? Then go to hell.
The Bible leaves no room for question on this one. Jesus leaves no room for debate. Hell is a horrible place. God doesn’t want you to go there – but if you choose to go there by choosing to trust in self or choosing to put off a decision on trusting Christ – then He will allow you to go there. His righteous wrath will be poured out on you there. Not because He was offended that you don’t believe in Him, you won’t be there as an innocent person condemned by some jealous and capricious God. You will be there because you have a sin nature, because you are not innocent, or good. In the light of a Perfect and Holy God – you fall short. I fall short. Well short:
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Let that verse sink in. I’m going to Heaven – but I don’t deserve that. I deserve hell. I deserve eternal suffering. If God sent me there, He’d be well within His right as the Sovereign King of this world. In earthly measurements, I’m a saint compared to Hitler. But God? God sees the heart. If God were to come down right now and open your heart fully and completely and play it out on a stadium jumbotron – would you be okay with everyone in your life being there? Every sin, every impure thought, every fall to temptation.. I wouldn’t. God sees the heart. Not only does He know what is on it but He knows what our deepest motives are. He sees our smallest sins. And when we compare ourselves to our Creator we see that we aren’t any better than anyone. There is one area where the entire human race has full equality. There is no difference in social status, there is no 99% and 1% – we are all equally unfit and unworthy of standing on our own before a Holy, Perfect and Righteous God. Each of us deserves hell equally.
That’s Why The Good News is So Good.
I won’t share it again here, you can go read it on yesterday’s post. You can go to this site I link to below to read more about it. But I urge you. I exhort you to consider this Truth. I don’t share this because I want to win friends and influence people. I don’t share this because I get some points if you believe in some pool at church. I share this because I believe hell exists. Because I love you. Because I don’t want you to suffer without contemplating the weight of what rightfully awaits us apart from Christ.
This is a “today” question. Today is the day of salvation. We don’t know when we move from here to eternity, no one wakes up thinking this is the day I die.
My contact info is on this blog. I’ll even take your phone call if you have sincere questions here and you want to hear more. I’ll trade e-mails with you if the motive is to seek more understanding or get more verses to study. But my prayer – my sincere prayer is that you don’t go down the broad path that leads to hell.
Yesterday’s post about the Good News.
A site with more info on how to become a Christian.
Let this be your first Easter celebrating grace and forgiveness that comes from Faith in Christ.