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In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham from afar, with Lazarus by his side. So he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. For I am in agony in this fire.’ — Luke 16:23-24 (NKJV)
There ‘the worms that eat them never die, and the fire that burns them is never put out.’ — Mark 9:48 (GNT)Jesus did not shrink from talking about Hell, nor should we.
HELL IS REAL.
What is it like? The Bible tells us it is like … Hell.
Dark, lonely, painful … forever.
Don’t think for one moment that you’ll be joined by your friends, and life will be one continuous keg party, Spring Break without going back to classes, the big corner office with a tremendous view and no meetings, your own forklift that you maneuver on your schedule in the warehouse without a boss telling you when you can take a break.
It’s not lazy days at the beach, family gathered for a barbecue under deep blue skies, or a paddle boat ride around a nearby lake.
Jesus described it as a place of torment, where the fires never burn out and the worms never die. Eternal. Fully conscious. Where there will be anguish and gnashing of teeth.
JESUS TELLS THE STORY of a rich man, who is unnamed, and a poor man, named Lazarus. On earth, the rich man lived the life of leisure, taking his pleasure whenever he wanted, wherever he was.
Lazarus was a poor beggar, who gladly would have scooped up the crumbs from the rich man’s table, if only the dogs hadn’t got there first. Jesus tells us the dogs licked the sores on Lazarus’ pus-filled body.
In death, however, their fates were reversed. The rich man was sent to Hades (a holding pen before final judgment), where he was in torment, while Lazarus was shown God’s mercy. ( Luke 16:19-31)
Jesus tell us the rich man called out to Abraham, father of the Jewish nation, for help, asking him to send Lazarus to Hades for a moment to “dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” (Luke 16:24 NIV) Note that even in death, the rich man sees Lazarus as his “errand boy.”
At the end of history, after mankind has been judged, “death and Hades [will be] thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14 NIV)
The lake of fire is Hell.
WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE, including those who call themselves Christians, downplay the existence of eternal damnation?
Of course, we don’t want to think about it because the imagery is terrifying.
It’s supposed to be.
We’re supposed to be so appalled by the torture of those souls consigned to an eternity of torment that we will be motivated to share the Gospel with those people — our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others — that God places in our lives.
Problem is, those who do not believe that Jesus is God, or who do not have a personal relationship with Him, do not believe Hell exists.
No matter what we tell them, no matter how we warn them, we’re just noisy gongs and clanging symbols. We’re mouths that move spouting nonsense.
The Bible warns us this would happen: “For the word of the cross is follow to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV)
HELL WAS NOT CREATED FOR MAN.
The Bible tells us that Hell was created for Satan and the fallen angels — demons. (Matthew 25:41)
However, a holy God cannot allow sin into His presence, so anyone who cannot or will not admit their sin to Him, repent of that sin, and ask for forgiveness is blemished, tarnished, and banished. (Matthew 25:46)
But our God is a loving God and a merciful God. He created us for His glory and wants us in Heaven with us forever. (Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 43:7; Revelations 4:11)
All who do turn to Him will be saved. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 ESV)
When we believe in Jesus, whom God sent to redeem, our eternal life is secure.
The apostle John assures of this with these words:
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. – 1 John 5:12 (ESV)
Dear Lord God, our Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your healing and saving grace. Thank You for paying the price of our sin. We are so grateful that You can be trusted to save us from wrath and punishment for our sin when we come to You and repent of our sins. Lord, give us the boldness and opportunity to share the Good News of Your salvation plan with a dark and fallen world. In Jesus’ Almighty Name. AMEN
Questions for Meditation or Small Group Discussion
- Is the idea of Hell real for you? Can you believe it exists on Jesus’ authority? If not, why don’t you believe Him?
- If you believe in Jesus and what He says is true, does that make it easier for you to tell others about your faith? If you are hesitant to do so, why is that? Can you pray to God to help you in ministry?
- Does your church pastor teach the reality of Hell and the punishment of God’s wrath? If not, why not? Is he preaching from God’s Word? If not, shouldn’t you switch churches?
- Is your heart burdened for your unsaved family members and dear friends? Do you pray for God’s saving grace to work on their hearts? Do you pray regularly for their salvation?
Would you like us at LoveAndGrace to pray for you? If so, please indicate in the Comment field. God bless!