Lately I’ve been locked in a study of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. There I have found God’s plan for the ages—His plan to make one final and complete end to sin and to death and to Satan. Tonight that study will continue in Revelation 5. Last week we came across that amazing verse in 5:9,
for you were slain and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Rev. 5:9, ESV).
And that verse has captured me. This captured me mainly because of what it does for Local Church World Evangelization. I’ll quote John Piper to explain:
He died so that you can say to every nation, ‘Anyone who believes in this tribe will be saved!’ And this text is spoken in such a way to say that there will be some! (John Piper).
This verse reveals the awesome glory of the atonement that Jesus actually made when He died on the cross. His atonement is an actual atonement which purchases people out of the earth for God, thus making them His own. And that propels missions. That’s what gives me hope to go unto the uttermost parts of the earth for the sake of the Gospel. That’s why we seek to train men to preach the Word.
But. But just as the atonement that Jesus actually made guarantees that the one who believes will most certainly be saved, it also guarantees that the one who does not believe will not be saved. That much is assured by the triumphant and actual atonement that Jesus made on the cross. And this really hits at the heart of the issue of the reality of hell.
Men today are given to various opinions about that subject. Some view it as a curse word and still others as joke. Some despise the subject even though Christ Himself taught often on it. The misconceptions about the reality of hell are wide-ranging: from hell being an eternal work-camp where Satan and His angels rule to the thought that it is really only a temporary place of torture. There are those who believe that hell (like heaven) is really just a figment of our religious imagination—a fairy tale of sorts. And then others ask, “if God is so loving and good, then how can you believe in a real place called hell?”
However if we are to find the truth, we must be concerned not with the opinions of men but rather with the revelation of Almighty God. Charles Hodge has rightly observed,
It would be well if all who call themselves Christians, should learn that it is not their business to teach what they may think true or right, but what God in his Holy Word has seen fit to reveal (Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. vol. 3. Wm. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI. REPRINT, 1997, p. 877).
Before I take time to summarize the Biblical doctrine of hell, please take time to watch this video from David Platt.