December 18, 2015

Hell is Taboo: A Mythical or Factual Place?

    - HELL is TABOO -

Why is that no one seems to mention Hell these days, other than as a swear word that is! Why is it such a taboo subject? Why is it so offensive to so many? Quite frankly, if it truly exists, I want to know! If there is any chance whatever of me ending up in such a place, I want to know how to escape it! But then, maybe its not such a bad place after all. Perhaps it is as some say, “A place to party!” Yet, as always, we must see what our Creator-God has to say in His Holy Word – the Bible.


First off, this place called Hell, is also referred to as the Lake of Fire. This is a place were the fallen angels, including Satan, will find there permanent home. We are told in Revelation 20:10, that, “The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Further to this, we are also told that, “If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) To expand on that a little more, it also says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) I don't know about you, but this is not sounding like a “party place” to me!


How else is this place described in the Holy Bible? We read it this way in the Gospel of Matthew 8:12, “Thrown into outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Okay, that does it! Now I know for sure that this is not a happy “party joint”! Jesus also describes this place as a “fiery furnace,” in Matthew 13:42. We also read it like this, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41) Clearly, this is a place of literal on-going punishment for all the ungodly. Still further, we hear this description, “For whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 13) I can tell you simply, I do not want to go there! Neither do I want you there! That is why I write you this, to warn you, in order that you can escape the eternal punishment of God for your sin.


So, just how seriously does Jesus say we should take Hell? He speaks in this way to you, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30) Is Jesus teaching that we should dismember our body?! No. What He is showing, is the serious action that must be taken regarding our sin and its consequences! This truly underscores just how horrifying Hell is.


In light of this dark background, if I told you that there was a way of escape, you would call it “good news,” would you not? Indeed! True, there most certainly are consequences for our sin. Yet, the Lord has also been gracious and provided us with “a way of escape.” (1Corinthians 10:13)

As we have already seen, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a) We would say, the earnings of committing sin is, separation from our Creator-God, for time and eternity. This is the bad news. Yet, the “good news” follows immediately in the same verse, “...but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now, a “free gift” can either be thankfully received, or rejected, the choice is ours. God has given us a free will to choose. God will not force us to accept His offer. He will never force us to love Him. However, God has put everything in place that all that remains is for you to reach out your hands and receive the “free gift” He offers you – without any strings attached!

So, you're probably still wondering just how this all works. Well, as you saw, the consequences of sin is death. This means that either you or someone else, who would be willing to take your place, must now be punished by death for your sin. Obviously good deeds on your part, is not a punishment. In fact, you will look the Holy Bible through in vain, to find a concept that says that our good deeds can outweigh our bad deeds. No, sin must be punished. Now, God knew full well, that there was no way you could rescue yourself. This is the reason that God the Father sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, so that as a human, He could go to the cross and take the punishment for your sin, which was death. Jesus is your substitute. He died instead of you. This is your only escape! All that remains, is for you to trust that what He did for you is enough, that there is no laws you have to keep, or good you have to do or avoid in order to be saved, but that what He did on the cross was sufficient, and you will receive “eternal life” as a “free gift”! This may sound overly simplistic to you, but it was not for Jesus as He hung upon that dreadful cross for three dark hours, as He received the wrath of His Father for our sins!


Now, stop and ponder... will you, or will you refuse, to accept this loving, sacrificial “free gift” that God offers you now? What will you do with Jesus the Savior, who died for you upon the cross, who is now raised to life and coming soon to judge the people of this Earth?

Clearly, Hell is real, and it is a terrible place where one pays forever for one's sin. Truly, in the Lake of Fire, all is utterly hopeless! Indeed, it is true that God is just. That means sin must be punished. Yet, He loves you so much, that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be punished instead of you. Consider these words given by God:

Enter by the narrow gate.
For the gate is wide and the way easy that leads to destruction,
and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7:13-14

Jesus said to him, I am the way,
and the truth,
and the life.
No one comes to the Father
except through me.”
John 14:6

Truly, truly, I say to you,
hears my word
and believes
him who sent me
has eternal life.
He does not come into judgment,
but has
passed from death to life.”
John 5:29

We have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ
once for all.”
Hebrews 10:10

who calls upon the name of the Lord
will be saved.”
Romans 10:13

Victor J. Reimer

    *Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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