The concept of hell is one that has fallen on hard times.  Our polite, politically correct culture doesn’t like to talk about flames and fire, justice and judgment, recompense and righteousness.  Most preachers are moot on the subject.  Out of a fear of appearing unsophisticated and antiquated, they say little about the prospect of eternal doom.  Such silence should be uncharacteristic of Christian preaching.  It has often been noted that our Lord referenced hell more than heaven.  Jesus preached in this way, because He wanted His hearers to see their need to repent.  Perhaps modern Christianity is falling on deaf ears because the church has quit talking about this important doctrine.  When people have no concept of life after death, they have little motive to seek forgiveness.  If churches want to be faithful to Christ, they must be sober regarding eternal punishment.  Consider three truths we need to remember about hell.

A Place of Separation

Mankind is made for a forever relationship with God (Genesis 1:26).  The operating system of our souls is pre-programmed with a desire for Him.  Many seek to fill the hole in their heart with pleasure, profits, and personal recognition, but the Lord is the only source of true joy.  We will never experience real life until we enter into a relationship with God (John 10:10).  I say all of this in order to unearth the worst part about hell.  Hell is hellish because it is a place devoid of God’s presence.  Jesus said that He will one day cast sinners into eternal torment with these words: “Depart from me” (Matthew 7:23).  Let’s not forget this awful truth — those who don’t know God will be separated from God forever. Hell is a horrible place, and we should work to rescue people from it (Jude 23).

A Place of Suffering

Since it will be impossible to enjoy the presence of God in hell, it will be a place of immense suffering.  Humanity will be cut off from all of the blessings that come from living in God’s creation.  Food will no longer be enjoyable, friendships will not fulfill, and the beauty of creation will no longer be seen. The deceitfulness and depravity of the devil will be at full throttle.  Jesus described this horror — “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28).  Weeping is a sign  of sorrow.  The gnashing of teeth represents anxiety and anger.  Have you ever known someone who ground their teeth because of nervousness?  In hell, suffering sinners will cry and grind their teeth for all of eternity.

A Place for Sinners 

Many think that God won’t send anyone to hell.  “My God is a God of love,” the rationale goes — “He would never send anyone to such a miserable place!”  It is true that God is a God of love, but He is also a God of justice.  Because He is perfectly righteous, He will not allow sin to dwell in His presence.  He will one day provide a perfect place for all those who have been made righteous by the blood of His Son (Revelation 21:1-3).  Because He loves righteousness so much, and because He hates sin equally, He will not allow anything that is defiled by sin to enter into His New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 22:3).  If you have never been forgiven of your sins, ask Jesus to save you (Romans 10:13).  If you have, rejoice that Heaven awaits you (Luke 10:20)!

Dr. Patrick Latham

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