Have you ever seen those who always got into mischief? They were not innately bad, but they were the kind who like to play too close to the fire and eventually they got burned with the hardened criminal. Contrary to what most want to believe and what most teach, there is a hell. Jesus Himself spoke more about hell than any other person in the New Testament. He ought to have known, for He was both deity and flesh, and the only one to have seen hell and be able to describe and confirm its existence. Notice some of His teaching regarding the subject:
Jesus said it is better to go into heaven maimed than into hell fire whole. He said along that line: “And if your right eye offend you pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell. And if your right hand offend you cut it off and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell” (Mt. 5:29-30; cf. 18:9 f; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47).
Jesus said God will cast both the soul and body of the wicked into hell. In a passage in which Jesus was teaching His disciples not to fear men, He told them that they should rather fear God. His reason for reminding them of this was that man only has the ability to destroy the body, whereas God has the ability to destroy both body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28; Lk. 12:5).
The wicked cannot escape this eternal punishment. In His scathing rebuke of the hypocrisy of the Jews in His day, Jesus asked, “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt. 23:33). The wicked cannot escape the righteous judgment of God.
Jesus bore record of and declared that there is a hell. Modern theology might scoff at the idea, all men might remove it from their minds, and we all might hope that there is no such place, but none of these will change the fact that God has prepared a place of everlasting punishment for those who are wicked and refuse to obey His will.
Most of us are able to see that the descriptions of hell contain figures of speech to describe a punishment much too horrible for us to imagine. Yet, these figures of speech need to be continually impressed in our minds. Here are some of them: Wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:50). Everlasting fire (Matt. 18:8). Outer darkness (Matt. 22:13). Worse than death without mercy (Heh 10:28-29).
Notice these passages which show that there is an everlasting punishment awaiting the wicked: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power . . . (2 Thess. 1:6-9).
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile (Rom. 2:8-9).
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are ~ kept in store, reserved unto, fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Pet. 3:7).
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14-15).
The testimony of God’s revelation is quite clear regarding the matter of a place of everlasting punishment for those who are disobedient to the will of God. God’s justice demands that those who are not cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus be cast into hell. How can our holy God be morally pure and close His eyes to the sinfulness and rebellion of man? God can only be just when the price for sin is paid by the blood of Christ and applied to the souls of man.
Let us not allow our minds to be contaminated by this doctrine which is so popular today which treats God as some kind of sugar coated candy. The present doctrine of God visualizes God as being so gentle and kind that He could not do harm to anyone. The God whom we worship is the same God who destroyed the world with water, destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire, visited wrath upon the Israelites several times for their wickedness, and otherwise showed His willingness to punish the wicked, even unto death itself.
Conclusion: As bad as life here is on earth, hell is much worse. On earth one may get ill or have an accident and die. To the human mind this may seem like hell. However, imagine a place so bad that no matter the pain you are suffering, the flames of hell will not subside. We all get careless from time to time but we all need to remember this, that God can take us at any time without warning_like a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2-3).
Therefore, the next time you think of getting into mischief believing you have time to run away from it, think of hell’s flames. The awareness of death, the judgment, and hell itself should never be too far removed from our thoughts on a daily basis. Peter said, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Pet. 4:17-18).
There is a hell! We must act now in obedience to God our Father in order to be able to escape everlasting punishment and receive everlasting life. Obey the gospel of Christ today and continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Rom 10:17 ff; Rom 10:10; Acts 2:38; Acts 2:42; 2 Jn 9). Why stand we in jeopardy every hour (1 Cor 15:30)? Remember, our God is a consuming fire, a God of vengeance, and He will judge his people (Heb 12:29 f; Heb 10:30). It might be considered old fashioned to believe in and preach about hell, but if that be the case, let us be content to be considered old fashioned, a peculiar people, safe from the flames of hell (1 Pet 2:9 f; Jam 5:19-20).