The Heart-Breaking Reality of Hell

By   •   April 19, 2011   •   Topics: , ,

My father has said, “Some teach ‘universalism’–that eventually everybody will be saved and the God of love will never send anyone to hell. They believe the words ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting’ do not actually mean forever.”

This is what pastor and author Rob Bell and many others are teaching. Bell, in fact, has invoked my father’s name in recent interviews talking about a new book he has written reflecting his own doubts about the existence of hell.

However, my father has pointed out, “the same word which speaks of eternal banishment from God is also used for the eternity of heaven.” The Bible speaks more about hell than about heaven.

Why would God’s Word put such an emphasis on hell? Because God sent His only Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. Those who acknowledge and repent of their sin will receive forgiveness and eternal salvation and the hope of heaven forever.

God does not want anyone to perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16), but He does not force His salvation on anyone. He gives men and women the choice of accepting what He offers–His everlasting forgiveness and eternal love.

Some claim that evangelical Christians take pride in the fact that they are going to heaven, and those who believe differently are bound for hell. The redeemed of Christ have no claim apart from the Word of the Living God.

Before he ascended into heaven, Christ said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). The Bible says that God wants all people to be saved, but the Bible also warns, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

This is why believers in the Lord Jesus Christ must preach the whole Gospel. Christ did die for “all” but not “all” will receive the grace and gift that He offers. At this Easter season, I encourage all followers of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to remember what a seminary professor once said, “Never preach about hell without tears in your eyes.”

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5 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    The comment “Never preach about hell without tears in your eyes,” in the above article really caught my eye. It drives home the depth of the 'realness' of this aspect of life. That there is such a thing as hell and that there are many who may perish therein. It is heart breaking to understand this yet simultaneously motivating for the Christian to be more zealous for the sake of the Kingdom and do our part in spreading the Gospel in 'big' and 'little' ways.

  2. Jeriame says:

    To Wanda: It can be inferred from the following verses that it happened: In Matt. 12:40, Christ says “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. In Revelation 1:18, Christ victoriously states He has the keys to death and Hades. In 1Pet. 3:19, Peter mentions that Christ preached to spirits in prison and also in 1Pet. 4:6. Paul tells us that Jesus appeared to over 500 people after His resurrection, all at the same time. During His ministry, Jesus performed many miracles, including walking on water. It was no coinicidence He kept the the Pharisees from stoning Him and capturing Him before His time had come. Peter also reminds us that to God, 1000 years as a day (2Pet 3:8), and David states similar in Psalm 90:4. With these scriptures in mind, this shows how God is not limited by the physical laws that we are subject to (ie: Gravity, time/space). Since God has not revealed much about such things, I would only surmise, instead of a place called purgatory, eternity does not have the same passage of time, and that Noah may have been separated from God in hades for only 4 to 5 days, and David about a day before Christ rescued them, if any time had passed at all to them!

  3. Wanda says:

    Explain what happened to Jesus after he died on the cross. Some say he went down to hell and 3 days later was resurrected. Is this true?

  4. Felix says:

    I am a young Ghanaian working in Tanzania with a German Development Agency. My observation has been that the many poor and afflicted are also the ones who don't know Christ. I cry to see so much poverty and so little knowledge of the saving knowledge of Christ…Tears must be in our eyes when we preach hell indeed.

  5. hendek says:

    True message. God bless you.