Do you ever think about hell? Do you understand that if you died in an unsaved condition that you would spend eternity in hell? So, I ask you if you are afraid of hell. The more you know about Hell the more it ought to scare you to death!
Hell Is Real
Hell is not a fictitious story or myth. It is not a condition or state of mind. It is a real place. Luke 16, which speaks of the realm of departed spirits (Hades and not the eternal abode), is a foretaste of greater things to come. The rich man spoke of this “place” of torment (vv. 23, 28). He was in a real place. It is merely a foretaste of worse to come.
Hell is just as real as heaven. They are often put on an equality as far as their nature goes (Matt. 25:46). If Heaven is real, so is hell. If hell is a state of mind, so is heaven.
Jesus said we ought to fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). In this we learn that
- Hell should be feared.
- It is beyond the grave.
- It should motivate us to live so as to go to heaven.
All of these point to the reality of hell.
Hell Is Terrible
It may be that some of those who believe in hell think that the biblical descriptions of it are overstated. Surely it could not be as bad as the old fashion preachers used to say it would be. The following points tell us how terrible hell really is.
The word hell (when referring to the eternal abode of the wicked) is used to describe eternal damnation. Hell is described as a lake that burns with fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8). Imagine a literal lake that you know. Picture that every drop of water were a flammable substance (i.e. gasoline). If that were set aflame, what would it be like to be thrown into the middle of it? Consider a Volcano which has a sulfur content of 29%. Sodom had a content of 98% sulfur content. The word “brimstone” is the definition of sulfur. The lake of fire burns with fire and brimstone. If your foot should touch active lava from a volcano your foot would instantly burn off. Hell is at least 3 times hotter than that lava. Can you image the intense pain, the agony and the suffering hell is going to bring to its inhabitants?
Other passages portray hell as a furnace of fire (Matt. 13:42, 50), a flaming fire (2 Thess. 1:7-9), a baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11-12), and an unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43).
Those who are cast into hell will be howling, crying aloud and grinding their teeth (Matt. 8:12; 13:50; 25:30). What a picture of punishment! Hell Is Eternal. The above descriptions of hell would be bad enough if it only lasted for a day or a even an hour. However, the pain and suffering of hell is eternal. Jesus equated “hell fire” (Matt. 18:9) with “everlasting fire” (v. 8). Jesus contrasted the “everlasting punishment” with “eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). Hell is as long as heaven is. The smoke of torment ascends “forever and ever” (Rev. 14:10-11).
Just imagine you turned your oven to its highest temperature and waited until it fully heated up. Then you opened its door and climbed in for just one minute. Sounds crazy to you, right? If it sounds crazy to be in an oven for one minute, then why are you risking your eternal soul in hell (which is so much hotter and far much worse) for ever and ever?
It scares me to think about hell. It motivates me to want to obey God exactly as he wants to be obeyed (1 Cor 4:6). That’s why I obeyed the gospel of Christ (2 Thess 1:7-9). That is why I continue in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9). That is why I endure trials and persecutions (Jam 1:12). If you actually believe the biblical account of hell, it ought to scare you too!