Many Christian churches avoid, even reject the concept of fearing God. Some pastors won’t even talk about it! They even deny the existence of Hell and the truth of how God’s white hot anger sends people there! Sadly, the subject of Hell, the end result of God’s wrath, turns up more often outside of churches today than in them and often to minimize it, even joke about it because so few think its real! But it is a real! The Scriptures tell about it and Christ spoke about it often, more than anyone else in all of the 66 books! Even atheists imagine there must be an ultimate place where evil doers receive everlasting punishment! They’re right!
Hebrews 9:27, says after death comes judgment. Matthew 10:28, says unrepentant sinners, their bodies and souls, face everlasting punishment, not purgatory or reincarnation. The worst criminals or dictators aren’t the only ones sent there. That’s because sin, such as the slightest private thought of anger or ill will by an unrepentant sinner kindles His wrath and if that sinner doesn’t repent God ultimately condemns him. Psalm 7:11, says so.
Rev. 20: 15, describes the destination of the unrepentant as a lake of fire. Imagine being dumped into liquid fire with never ending pain in and outside ALL of your body like they do in Hell! We all have a fear of death. We’re afraid of a painful, violent end of our life, like being eaten alive, falling from a high building; engulfed in flames; or asphyxiating. They’re all terrifying but did you know we’re REQUIRED to fear God MORE than any of them?
Now, some when they’re asked if they fear God will say something like: “Oh, I think God is awesome!” But that’s wrong! See, if we look out over the expanse and downward at the depth of say the Grand Canyon we might call that “awesome.” But that isn’t the same thing as fearing it. The thought of meeting God and receiving final judgment, possibly going to Hell’s fires we should find not just fearful but mortifying!
The bible consistently describes Hell in terms of fire but Jesus of Nazareth once called it “outer darkness” perhaps a metaphor of how the Romans thought of the worst prison- a dark, underground, dank dungeon, filled with vermin and disease. Yet he was emphasizing that the love of God isn’t found there but Christ and God’s white-hot wrath is!
Psalm 139:8, says “If I make my bed in hell, behold you are there.” Rev. 14: 10, states “…he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and Jesus Christ.” Revelation 20: 1, describes the duration of Hell as if a bottomless pit; with the thought of forever falling which is meant to help us understand that Hell is forever! Rev. 14: 11, underscores that truth telling how the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever.
Some think those in hell are eventually annihilated, destroyed, or just go into non-existence escaping torment but the people there wish, oh they wish they could become non-existent! Universalists believe all souls enter paradise, never Hell. I wonder if they realize they’re implying Christ’s lied about the wide road to it in the Sermon on the Mount? Well Christ didn’t lie! He didn’t lie about anything because He was incapable of lying!
We need to understand that God had to create Hell since he cannot and will not allow the unrepentant into Heaven. Those who refused to live holy lives on earth would naturally be miserable there! So, by denying Him they condemn themselves to Hell.
Everyone there remembers not just their sins but how they rejected the Gospel message or put off committing to Christ. How unfortunate since Romans 2:5-8, tells how he stores up his anger and wrath. That means He gives everyone plenty of time in life to repent and turn to Him. In Luke 16:25, the rich man was told to “… remember that in your lifetime you received your good things,..” Yet such memories won’t relieve their suffering. In fact their memories will only bring them to curse God which increases their sin and adds more logs onto the fires that torment them!
A self-examination makes it clear we are all sinners deserving Hell under God’s terms. Yet if we simply, honestly admit our sinfulness to Him he will pardon and justify us to enter His paradise. He even thought of the need for a helper to live godly lives. He sent his Holy Spirit to help us in our earthly walk of sanctification, the dues paying part of the faith, to help us to sin less and less. Finally, being regenerated we should want to gather with other Believers periodically where God’s sovereignty, majesty, and righteousness are honored and worshiped. We should want to learn more about The Christ and His Great Commission to help others avoid the avoidable- God’s wrath and Hell.