What does the Bible say about hell? Does it actually exist? Does the Bible say that there are people who will be sent there? Would it even be fair for anyone to be sent to hell? The truth is that those are some very tough questions. Hell is not an easy subject to discuss, because if you ever take much time to think about it you soon realize that the very concept of hell is absolutely terrifying. But considering the fact that Jesus talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible, we should not be afraid of addressing the subject. The reality is that the Bible does teach that hell exists and that there are people who are there right now.
That is not an easy reality to face, but the truth is that we have all violated God's laws. That is why Jesus had to come to die on the cross as a payment for our sins. Because we are all guilty. We can all either turn to Christ and have our sins forgiven, or we can pay for our own sins. Those who invite Jesus Christ into their lives go to a place known as heaven when they die as we covered in our previous article entitled "What Does The Bible Say About Heaven?", while those who reject the Lord Jesus go to a place of punishment known as hell when they die.
Those are the only two options. Everyone on earth has a choice to make, and the Bible is abundantly clear about the consequences of those choices. John 3:36 is one example of how incredibly clear the Scriptures are on this point.....
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
Another example of this clarity is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.....
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
The truth is that the Bible is super clear on this. We have the choice of either turning to God and being saved or rejecting Him and going to a place where God offers no protection. In Matthew 23:33, Jesus even warned the religious leaders of His day that they were in danger of hell.....
"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"
Perhaps this seems way too harsh to you.
After all, is it really and truly fair that some people are going to hell instead of heaven?
Why does God not just let everyone into heaven and make everyone happy?
Those are fair questions.
So what are the answers?
Well, one principle that is abundantly clear in the Bible is that God seems to really value the idea of meaningful choice.
Apparently God felt that it was very important to create humanity with free will and to hold us responsible for the choices that we make.
After all, what kind of world would it be if mankind did not have free will?
In such a world mankind would be just be a bunch of robots.
Robots are great for getting jobs done, but they have one huge problem.
They cannot love.
In order to have real love, you have to have real choice.
God decided to create us with the ability to love, and therefore also with the capability to make real choices.
Real choices mean being able to choose to do good or to do evil.
So what should God do about that evil?
After all, if there never were any consequences for evil, what would that say about God?
This is a key point.
Take a moment and imagine the following situation in your mind.....
Imagine that someone in your family was just raped and horribly tortured by an incredibly sadistic, twisted and perverted serial killer who had been doing the same thing to other people for decades.
What would you be feeling if that actually happened?
Would you be angry?
Would you be crying out for justice?
Would you want to see that killer punished?
Would you want to see that killer sent to the electric chair or locked away for life?
Well now imagine that the serial killer has been captured by police and will stand trial for his crimes.
You feel (perhaps naively) that at this point you are finally going to get some real justice.
However, at the trial, the judge quickly dismisses all the charges and says the following to the serial killer: "Well, you did make a few little mistakes, but I'm willing to let them slide. You seem like a good guy. Let's go hit the bars. I need a drink. Case dismissed!"
Now how would that make you feel?
More importantly, what would your opinion be of that judge?
You would not think highly of that judge at all, would you?
Because that judge would not be just and would not be worthy of an ounce of respect.
The reality is that evil deserves to be punished, and any judge that refuses to punish evil is a wicked judge.
The same applies to God.
Either he must punish evil, or He is not just.
For example, what if God said the following to Hitler: "I see that you killed 6 million Jews, but overall you seem like a good person.....come and let me show you around your mansion."
Do you think that God would say that?
Of course not!
Anyone who believes that God is like that is totally delusional.
In the Scriptures we read that God is a God of perfect love AND a God of perfect justice.
Wickedness deserves to be punished, and God is most certainly going to punish it.
So where does that leave us?
Well, the reality is every person is going to face the justice of God some day.
Are you prepared for that day?
Most people really do not like to think about that because they do not want to be accountable to God or to anyone else for their actions.
But we are accountable to God.
Most of us prefer to believe that we do not deserve any punishment.
In fact, those who are truly guilty rarely think they deserve their punishment, while those who know what the guitly have done usually feel that they deserve even greater punishment.
Just take a trip to any prison some time and ask the inmates there if they feel that they got what they deserved. What you will find is that the vast majority of the prisoners will not admit that they truly got what they deserved.
But most of them did indeed get what they deserved, and some day each of us will stand before God and He will judge us.
Are you ready?
Does the Bible tell us anything about this coming judgment?
Well, the Scriptures do inform us that not everyone will receive the same judgment:
In Matthew 11:20-24 we read this.....
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
So will your judgment be the same as that for Satan or for the person standing next to you?
No, it will not.
Remember, God is perfectly just, and we can trust God that all of His judgments will be completely just.
But the truth is that unless you have accepted God's pardon for your sins, you will face punishment.
In Revelation 20:10-15 we read about that future day when those who do not belong to Jesus Christ will be judged.....
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gaveup the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The Bible says that getting thrown into the lake of fire is the final destination for all those who reject God.
The portion of Scripture above even tells us that death and hell (Hades) will be thrown into the lake of fire.
If a person does not want to be cast into the lake of fire is there any way to avoid that?
As we mentioned previously in this article, God is a God of perfect love and a God of perfect justice.
The truth is that God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you on the cross.
Jesus Christ took your punishment on Himself at the cross.
Jesus paid for all the sins of mankind as He suffered and died on the cross.
Being fully man, Jesus could die for the sins of all men.
Being fully God, Jesus could die for an infinite number of sins.
That is why the cross is so central to the Christian faith. It was the ultimate sacrifice and it was full payment for our sin.
The sacrifice on the cross satisfied God's justice, so now God can offer you forgiveness of your sins and eternal life as a free gift.
A free gift.
Although it was not free - it cost Jesus dearly.
Will you reject a gift that cost so much?
In our previous article entitled "What Does The Bible Say About Salvation?" we explained how a person can accept that gift of eternal life.
All people need to do is to pray and invite Jesus Christ into the lives and God will forgive their sins and will give them eternal life.
In fact, I John 5:11-13 tells us that we can know that we are saved and have eternal life.....
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Yes, the Bible does say that hell is very real and that many people are headed there, but you do not have to go there. God has made forgiveness of your sins and eternal life with Him available as a free gift.
Please do not take that offer lightly.