From the moment it was penned by the Apostles, the scriptures have been copied and transmitted throughout the centuries maintaining the highest degree of accuracy compared to the original writings. That’s why I can say with confidence that the word of God (or the Bible) has stood the test of time and passed with flying colors.
That is also why it saddens me to see many Christians taking what is written in the Bible with a grain of salt. This attitude is one of the reasons why liberalism and movements like the Emergent Church and the New Age Church are so very popular with Christians today. I have read and even had discussions with people that don’t believe God’s word in its entirety. Today’s Christian likes to participate in what I like to call the Bible buffet. They take some parts of scripture and accept it at face value, and other scripture gets dismissed or ignored because it doesn’t fit in with their theology.
The doctrine of hell is a perfect example of how people like to use the Bible buffet to deal with this topic. I have spoken to people that say, “Well, I read in the Bible that God is forgiving and loving towards us. There is no way that He would send any of us to hell.” First off, that type of thinking is referred to as universalism (the belief that everyone will be saved). Furthermore, this person is missing completely what the Bible says about how God will deal with those who disobey Him. You see…While it is true that God is forgiving and loving, He is also a God of justice. That means that while He does love us and will forgive anyone that repents of their sins, He must also punish the unrepentant sinner that never turns to Him for forgiveness.
When it comes to God’s love for us, there is one scripture verse that immediately comes to mind that I am sure all of us can quote by heart:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
For me, another one also comes to mind that some might not be as familiar:
Romans 5:8-10 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
While both scripture verses speak about God’s love, it also speaks about how we will not perish in John 3 and how we will be saved from the wrath of God in Romans 5. It is through the precious blood of Jesus Christ that saves us, but to be covered with His blood, we need to first repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This is truly the good news for the saved Christian.
So, what about the unrepentant sinner? Well, it only seems logical that if we are saved through Christ as described above, it only makes sense that the unrepentant sinner is on the receiving end of something that is the exact opposite of a heavenly rewarded with our Lord and Savior. But we are looking for the truth from God’s word. So, the question becomes, “Does the Bible talk about a place called hell?”
Yes, it does.
Here are (2) verses that come to mind right away:
Matthew 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Luke 12:5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”
So we see in the verses above that God has the authority to throw people into a place called hell, but how does this relate to the unrepentant sinner? For that answer, we need to go to the book of Revelation. For those who do not know, this is the book of the Bible where John wrote (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) about how Armageddon and the second coming of Christ would play out. Below is a scripture verse that speaks of those who are not written in the book of life:
Rev 20:14-15 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
If that is not speaking about the unrepentant sinner, I don’t know what is.
For a final discussion point about hell, let’s go to Matthew 25. Here Jesus was speaking about those who would stand before him on Judgment Day. Everyone would be split into (2) groups. Jesus used an analogy of being a shepherd to explain this. The goats would be on the left, and the sheep would be on the right.
Each group would be judged by whether they were doing the works of God or not. To the sheep who were rewarded for believing in Him with the faith which was displayed through love, Jesus said, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)
For the goats on the left who were not, Jesus said, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)
Even with this evidence from scripture, the liberals within the church today would say, “That’s not fair that God sends people to hell.”
Well, what I think is NOT fair is that God sent His only begotten son to die for our sins and that all we have to do is repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but there are people who choose to stay in rebellion against God and never receive the free gift that has been offered to them. That is the best example of unfairness to me.
This is why I can say that God is ALL loving without hesitation. He doesn’t send the unrepentant sinner to hell, the unrepentant sinner sends himself to hell…by choice.
So, as you can see…the Bible speaks about the love of God and the justice that must come from God. Scripture shows us that heaven is real and that hell is real. Choosing not to believe in the doctrine of hell doesn’t make it untrue. We must read the scriptures in their entirety and accept it for what it says no matter how hard that might be for us to do.