We are continuing our meditation on the topic of eternity, and for the next few days, explicitly thinking about what the Holy Scriptures say about that awful place called Hell. Some would say that there is no place called Hell and that there will be no accountability before the Judge of the living and the dead. But what if there is? Let me ask you a question: If you were standing in line to board an aircraft and coming off the plane is the pilot of the previous flight, who happens to be a friend. What if he were to tell you that the plane you are getting on was having engine trouble, and there was a one in six chance that it would crash? Would you take the chance and still get on the flight?
Do you believe that there is a one in six chance that God is telling you the truth about a place called Hell? Would you gamble with your eternal destiny? To believe there’s a heaven but no hell is to take a gamble that there were times when Jesus was telling the truth and times when He was lying. Thomas Brooks wrote, "God has but one hell, and that is for those to whom sin has been commonly heaven in this world." Although it is hard for me to write about such things as Hell, the love of Christ compels me to reach some of you before you are called to eternity at the end of your life. I do not want you, dear reader, to ever see that place where some say written over the gate are the words, TOO LATE.
While we wait for the return of Christ, our mission as Christians is to rescue people from Satan's control so that they will not be separated from God for eternity and sent to Hell. God deeply loves every man, woman, and child, and He does not want any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But what if they don't? What if they die without coming to know Christ? What if they are unresponsive to God's message of love and good news? At the Second Coming of Christ, He will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (non-believers), and Jesus twice said that the punishment would be for eternity:
41Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matthew 25:41-46. Emphasis mine).
The Lord often talked about Hell, and He devoted several of His parables to the subject of heaven, hell, eternal judgment, and eternal rewards. If it were essential for Him to tell His disciples about such things, then we need to give serious attention to the subject of eternity and what the Bible teaches about heaven and Hell. We must also remember that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies, and we cannot trust anything that he would whisper in our ear. Our faith must rest in God and His Word. Satan seeks to dupe many to think that all go to heaven and that all roads lead to God. We can only trust the Scriptures. I don’t want any of you reading these words to find out the truth but too late. Keith Thomas