Here are a few more truths regarding the Biblical doctrine of hell:
The Task of Hell
We probably have had enough already, but let’s continue on and find out the purpose of this place of darkness and fire, of damnation, and of eternal destruction. You see, in His book, God tells us that hell was created or prepared specifically for someone.
It is prepared for Satan and His angels (Matthew 25:41).
“prepared for the devil and his angels”
Hell is actually being prepared by God for Satan and his angels. One of the most common misconceptions of hell is that it is Satan’s kingdom under his rule and reign. The word “prepared” here means “to make ready”. It is a suitable place designed specifically for Satan and all of his fellow fallen angels. And it is in this place that God will continually meet out His punishment. Satan is not there yet for that is to come in the future, “The Devil, who deceived them, was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).
It is planned for every unforgiven sinner (Rev. 20:15).
“and anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of Fire”
There will be people in hell, they are not there yet but there will be people in hell. The Scripture says, “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of Fire”. This is simply a reference to those whose sins have not been forgiven. Any and every person who has not been forgiven their sin will be there. They will be tormented forever in hell. They will be experiencing the unending wrath of God along with Satan and all of his angels. The tragic end of Arminian theology is evidence in Rob Bell’s recent book Love Wins. I have heard it over and over again here in small-town America. “No, God does not intend hell for people.” No…that’s simply not the truth.
The Truth about Hell
The truth about hell should be unmistakably clear to all of us. But perhaps this will be the last opportunity that you have to hear so I must tell you one more time.
You can actually go to hell (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:15).
Oh my friend, you need to know that if you are still in your sins, you need to know that you can go to hell. You have choice today—believe the opinions of man or the eternal truth of God who cannot lie. He says that you can go to hell. Take a moment to look around this room—could it be that there will come a day when some who are present in this very room—perhaps that one sitting right by your side will be experiencing the wrath and separation of hell? Look at your heart—could it be that you would be in that number?
You can avoid going to hell (Matt. 25:31-34)
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matt. 25:31-34).
There is a way that you can be saved from the incredible horrors of hell. Throughout the Scriptures the term “sheep” is applied to those who are called children of God—God’s people. Only those “sheep” enter into the kingdom of God.
You see, all are doomed to eternity in hell because all have sinned against God. All sinners deserve hell—separation from God (cf. Rom. 6:23). Our sin condemns us to hell. But God provided His only Son, Jesus Christ, God yet man, to pay the penalty for our sin in our place. He died to go through hell for us. On the cross Jesus bore the full brunt of the wrath of God against our sin in our place. He suffered, bled, and died. The price had been paid!
His body was taken down from that cross and placed in a tomb. His followers wept and seemed hopeless. His enemies rejoiced and waited. You see, Christ said that He would rise again. And, as a matter of fact, three days after His body went into the tomb, He walked out! He rose again! And now we know that every word of the Bible is true and that those who receive Christ—those who trust in Him become children of God and therefore will enter into the kingdom of God—heaven.
“As I live’, says the LORD God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live, turn, turn, from you evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel” (Ezekiel 33:11).
God, in His grace and mercy and love has made an escape from the just condemnation—the condemnation that you and I rightfully deserve. God has declared that “whosoever believes on Him (Christ) shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This indeed is the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ—“there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
This is the truth—God’s word on hell. He cannot lie and He does not lie, His word is faithful and true. I want to conclude by making an unashamed, all out plea to those of you who’ve been reading and are on your way to hell today. I want to talk to those who have read and are convicted in their hearts that unless something drastic happens in their lives they would be in hell should Jesus Christ return today. No, it doesn’t sound pretty—and a message like this will probably not win friends and make people happy, but it is the truth. And I am speaking to those in our midst this morning who are on their way to hell. You may be religious but you’re going to hell. You may be a baptized church member but you’re on your way to hell—I am speaking to you this morning friend. There has never been a more important moment in all your life than this moment right now.
God is once again demonstrating His love and grace and mercy. You see, He is offering to forgive your sin and to save you from the penalty of your sin. He is offering to deliver you from eternal destruction in hell and give you an eternal home with Him in heaven. Will you take Him at His word? Will you acknowledge that you are a sinner and headed for an eternity in hell? Will you repent of your sin and trust in God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, to be your salvation? Will you humbly cry out to God to have mercy on you and not send you to hell forever? If you will, God will do for you what He did for me 20 years ago—He counted my sin as paid in full on account of Christ and gave me the righteous standing of His Son so that I will not be punished but richly rewarded with eternal life in heaven.
What effect should this truth have on those who are genuine children of God? What about those genuine believers who are struggling right now, perhaps going through trial or discouragement. Does this truth only provide more discouragement? Oh please hear this beloved—this is the thing you need to hear more than anything else because God has saved you from all of this horror. Rejoice and give thanks.
Obviously, this truth leaves us with a grave concern. For the ones you love the most on this earth are facing this very grim reality—an eternity in hell. You can try to ignore it or excuse it or explain it away but tonight before you go to sleep, just like every other night for you, you’ll lie awake thinking about your husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, grandfather or grandmother, co-worker, friend, or neighbor and their eternal destiny. And your heart aches with great pain and agony.
- Don’t blame yourself for their unbelief, continue to preach the truth that they might come to believe.
- Do pray more earnestly and eagerly.
- Do consistently preach the gospel.
- Do not blame God.
Learn to hate the deceitfulness and wickedness of sin more fully in your life. Learn that the only hope for changing the heart of stone to the heart of flesh is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Live it, preach it, pray it for the glory of God.