Some people speak casually about hell. They talk about hell as if it were no more than another place, and, ho-hum, they might go there one day. This penman has heard some speak flippantly about hell, saying, such things as, “I guess I’ll go to hell for….” Beloved, such a casual attitude about such a place reveals much about those who make such comments.
First, speaking of going to hell with such calmness may suggest that one does not understand the hell pictured in the word of God. God’s word describes hell in various ways. The Greek word for eternal hell is GEENNA, pronounced GHEH’-EN-NAH. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, page 478). It is taken from the valley of Hinnom, a continual burning site of garbage at Jerusalem, and as a “place (or state) of everlasting punishment:–hell.” (Ibid). God calls this place “hell” (Matthew 5:29; 10:28; 23:15, 33; etc.), “hell fire” (Matthew 5:22; 18:9; 9:47), “fire” (Matthew 3:10), “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12), “everlasting fire” (Matthew 18:8; 25:41), “flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:8) “the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7; 2 Thessalonians 1:8), “burned in a furnace of fire” (Matthew 13:40, 42, 50), “the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8), “the second death” (Revelation 21:8), “cast the bad away” (Matthew 13:48), “there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50), a place where the sinful will be “punished” (2 Peter 2:9), “everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46), a place where the wicked will “perish” (2 Peter 2:12), “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9), “eternal damnation” (Mark 3:29), etc. In addition to all of these horrible things, “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21). Think of spending an eternity suffering the physical anguish of hell, and the mental suffering of not being able to be with God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), the holy angels, and the redeemed of all ages. Folk, this is not a fabrication of some. These are clearly stated statements from the eternal God who inspired the writings. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Corinthians 11:3).
Second, one who can speak calmly about hell who understands what the Bible teaches, must not believe those statements, must think they teach something different to what they say, or must believe that he/she will repent prior to death. A survey said that of all attending every service of the church where they were members could only expect a ten (10) per cent chance of hearing the word hell. The same survey indicated that some twenty (20) per cent of those surveyed thought that heaven actually existed. It is no wonder why some churches are shrinking or closing. Please do not gamble with your soul. God doesn’t desire to see you suffer in this awful place. (2 Peter 3:9). The “everlasting fire” was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), but, make no mistake about it, you will go there if you leave this world unprepared. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Do not be like those in Jeremiah’s day, Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14-17).
Do you think you have time to repent? Consider the statements of James, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:13, 14). “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.” (Job 7:7). Job also said, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1). Even the rich must realize that “as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.” (James 1:10, 11). What if you, like the rich man, were told, “this night shalt thy soul be required of thee.” (Luke 12:20). Are you ready to pillow your head this night, knowing that you may go to sleep on this side of eternity, only to awaken on the other side, possibly to hear Jesus say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41).
Most knowledgeable people desire to be in a circumstance where there are good and beautiful things happening, not where there are hurtful things to experience. If you sin, and are sent to hell, you will be in the presence of all of the wicked from the beginning. There will be no escape from this miserable place. Joshua’s statement rings true today, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve;….” (Joshua 24:15). Jesus calls you, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest….” (Matthew 11:28-30). Read the word for understanding (Ephesians 3:4), study with someone who will teach you what Jesus says (Acts 8:35), study the word of God, rightly dividing it (2 Timothy 2:15), and receive the word with all readiness of mind, searching the scriptures daily, whether the things are so, to develop genuine faith. (Acts 17:10-12). Read the following scriptures, verifying that they are so to determine what you must do to be saved in heaven and miss hell. Jesus said, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Mark 12:29). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30, 31). Jesus also said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32, 33). Jesus declared, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15, 16). It is in this final act of obedience to the good works God has ordained for us to do that one enters Jesus, the author of eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 3:26, 27; Hebrews 5:8, 9) and His church. (1 Corinthians 12:13). “Neither is there salvation in any other:….” (Acts 4:12).