All Scriptures Are From The Amplified Bible
Please Compare Them With The KJV
Many people are uncomfortable, to say the least, with the idea of an eternal hell. This discomfort, though, is often the result of an incomplete understanding of three things:
- The Nature Of God,
- The Nature Of Man, and
- The Nature Of Sin.
As fallen, sinful human beings, the nature of God is a difficult concept for us to grasp. We tend to see God as a kind, merciful Being whose love for us overrides and overshadows all His other attributes. Of course God is loving, kind, and merciful, but He is first and foremost a holy and righteous God. So holy is He that He cannot tolerate sin. He is a God whose anger burns against the wicked and disobedient as seen in the following scriptures:
Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people, and He has stretched forth His hand against them and has smitten them. And the mountains trembled, and their dead bodies were like dung and sweepings in the midst of the streets. For all this, His anger is not turned away, but His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
Your calf [idol], O Samaria, is loathsome and I have spurned it. My wrath burns against them. How long will it be before they attain purity?
My anger is kindled against the shepherds [who are not true shepherds] and I will punish the goat leaders, for the Lord of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His beautiful and majestic horse in the battle. See Ezekiel 34:1-10
He is not only a loving God—He is love itself! But the Bible also tells us that He hates all manner of sin – Proverbs 6:16-19:
16 These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.
And while He is merciful, there are limits to His mercy. Isaiah 55:6-7 has this to say:
6 Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.
Humanity is corrupted by sin, and that sin is always directly against God. When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having Uriah murdered, he responded with an interesting prayer:
Against You, You only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and faultless in Your judgment. See also Romans 3:4
Since David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, how could he claim to have only sinned against God?
David understood that all sin is ultimately against God. God is an eternal and infinite Being – Psalm 90:2.
“Before the mountains were brought forth or ever You had formed and given birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
As a result, all sin requires an eternal punishment. God’s holy, perfect, and infinite character has been offended by our sin. Although to our finite minds our sin is limited in time, to God—who is outside of time—the sin He hates goes on and on. Our sin is eternally before Him and must be eternally punished in order to satisfy His holy justice.
No one understands this better than someone in hell. A perfect example is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Both died, and the rich man went to hell while Lazarus went to paradise – Luke 16.
Of course, the rich man was aware that his sins were only committed during his lifetime. But, interestingly, he never says, “How did I end up here?” That question is never asked in hell.
He does not say, “Did I really deserve this? Don’t you think this is a little extreme? A little over the top?” He only asks that someone go to his brothers who are still alive and warn them against his fate.
Like the rich man, every sinner in hell has a full realization that he deserves to be there. Each sinner has a fully informed, acutely aware, and sensitive conscience which, in hell, becomes his own tormenter. This is the experience of torture in hell—a person fully aware of his or her sin with a relentlessly accusing conscience, without relief for even one moment.
The guilt of sin will produce shame and everlasting self-hatred. The rich man knew that eternal punishment for a lifetime of sins is justified and deserved. That is why he never protested or questioned being in hell.
The realities of eternal damnation, eternal hell, and eternal punishment are frightening and disturbing. But it is good that we might, indeed, be terrified.
While this may sound grim, there is good news. God loves us – John 3:16-17 “16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.”
and wants us to be saved from hell – 2nd Peter 3:9 “The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.”
But because God is also just and righteous, He cannot allow our sin to go unpunished. Someone has to pay for it. In His great mercy and love, God provided His own payment for our sin.
He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross for us. Jesus’ death was an infinite death because He is the infinite God/man, paying our infinite sin debt, so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity –
2nd Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].”
If we confess our sin and place our faith in Christ, asking for God’s forgiveness based on Christ’s sacrifice, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. God loved us so much that He provided the means for our salvation, but if we reject His gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision. An Eternity In A Place Called HELL!