GOD'S JUDGEMENT AND THE TERRORS OF HELL
By John Henry
June 13, 2004
Preachers like to speak on the love, mercy, and grace of God, and well we should. Without these things we would have absolutely no hope at all. But many Bible teachers avoid the doctrine of Hell altogether. The doctrines of God’s Judgment and Hell are two of the most neglected doctrines of God’s holy, eternal, infallible, inerrant Word.
People, in general, just don't want to believe that there is a Hell. The carnal mind hates the idea of being held accountable to a holy God for their sins. They object to the very idea of a place of eternal suffering and torment. But there is a just and holy God who must punish sin. Almost 2000 years ago God’s judgment for our sins fell upon Jesus Christ. The Word, God from all eternity, became flesh to give Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and only He is able to pay off that eternal debt. The Bible has this to say concerning Christ's deity, incarnation, power and payment for the sins of man:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." ( John 1:1-3, 14) "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:6-8) "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:3) "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:11-13)
There is one other way for one to pay off his sin debt. He may pay it himself. The coast is eternal death in Hell. The Bible tells us of the final judgment of the lost in these words:
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:14-15) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
We need to know that we are lost before we can be saved! We need to know what we are saved from! One must realize that he deserves to got to Hell because of his wicked and sinful heart. One must realize with his heart the holiness, love, and power of the Saviour in order to receive God’s mercy and grace. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God ...” (I Peter 3:18)
“And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” Finite and sinful man must reconcile his sin debt with an infinite and holy God. Our sins will be paid for by Jesus Christ, God in the flesh; or we must spend eternity in hell paying an eternal sin debt. “When thou goest with thine adversary [God] to the magistrate [Jesus Christ], as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; least he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison [Hell]. I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.” (Luke 12:58-59)
"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20) "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ... So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:8-10, 17) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17)
FALSE IDEAS CONCERNING LIFE AFTER DEATH:
Annihilation: This is the teaching of Humanism, old Buddhism, and some cults believe in annihilation. It says that when one dies only nothingness follows. According to this false teaching death is a total cessation of consciousness. This idea comes from the false doctrine of evolution. Evolution taken to its logical conclusion says: 1) Man was not created, but came about by chance; 2) Man is not accountable to a Creator, and morality is whatever man says it is; 3) Man is the highest animal so he is god; 4) There is no life after death. Evolutionists have believed the old Satanic lie, “Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5).
Reincarnation: Hinduism, modern Buddhism, and the New Age Movement believe in reincarnation. This teaching says that if one is good he is reborn as a higher life form over and over till he reaches Narvana (Heaven) or in some belief systems till he reaches annihilation or oneness with the Universe. This is salvation by works. God’s Word says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us ...” (Titus 3:5) The Bible also says, "... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)
Purgatory: This false doctrine of Catholicism teaches that there is a place between Heaven and Hell where one's sins are purged before he is allowed into Heaven. This is a place of suffering to pay for the sins committed after becoming a Catholic. The time of suffering is indefinite, and depends on how bad the individual was. Prayers and offerings and made by the living on behalf of those in Purgatory. This false teaching is an insult to God in that says: Christ’s death on the cross is not enough to save us. God’s Word says: “Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28) “For Christ ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to Good ...” (I Peter 3:18) That word “once” in these two verses in Greek carries with it the meaning: "of perpetual validity one time not requiring repetition." There is on purging required for those who have trusted Christ as Lord and Saviour.
THE NECESSITY OF HELL:
The infinite holiness of God: God hates sin more than any thing else. If we would get a glimpse of God’s absolute purity, perfectness, righteousness, and holiness we could comprehend a little better why God hates sin so very much. Absolute holiness can not tolerate the least sin. God's Word states, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity ...” (Habakkuk 1:13) The smallest sin is filth in God’s sight. It was because Jesus was going to literally be bear our sins that He “sweat great drops of blood,” and pray: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42, 44; cf. 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 9:28) Christ did not fear torture and death as much as the repulsive idea of "... [bearing] our sins in his own body ... (1 Peter 2:24) But because He loves us He carried our sins for away. “The LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6, cf. 53:11) It is because He was carryinig our sins that the Father and the Holy Spirit forsook Christ when He was on the cross when He cried: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46) God’s holiness demands that we receive Christ’s substitutional payment of our sin debt, or that we must pay that debt ourselves in Hell.
The great evil of sin: “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
A truly just God must punish sin: “... [A]fter they hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God.” (Romans 2:5)
* Hell is a place of outer darkness (Matthew 22:13, 25:30; 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13).
* Hell is a place of everlasting fire (Matthew 25:41; Luke 16:24; Revelation 20:15).
* Hell is a place of torments (Luke 16:23-24, 28; Revelation 14:9-11; Mark 9:43-48).
* Hell is a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12, 13:42, 50, 22:13, 24:51).
* Hell is the second death, eternal separation from God (Revelation 20:14)
* Hell is a place of everlasting punishment (Matthew 5:22-25, 25:46; Revelation 21:6)
VARYING DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT IN HELL:
Judgement will be according to the amount of spiritual light given. The one that knew will receive many stripes; the one that knew not will receive few stripes (Luke 12:47-48). Unregenerate people in America will receive the greater condemnation than those in lesser evangelized areas of the world.
Judgement will be according to the frequency and severity of evil deeds. Scripture says:
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God .... death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. ..." (Revelation 20:12-14; cf. Romans 2:5-6).
"I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 17:10; cf. Psalm 62:12; Isaiah 3:11; Jeremiah 32:19).
THE DURATION OF HELL:
God is infinitely righteous therefore He requires an infinite payment for sin (Psalm 111:3). It is an infinite evil to offend a holy and infinite God even once, but we all sin repeatedly. Moreover, we have all committed the very worst sin (Matthew 22:36-40).
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matthew 25:46)
Furthermore, men are still sinners in Hell adding sin to sin and infinity to infinity by their continual sinning.
THE OCCUPANTS OF HELL:
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17)
Most people will go to Hell. The Lord Jesus Christ said:
“Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be withch go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
The Lord described this narrow way, which leads to life when He said:
“... I am the way ... no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Revelation 21:8 lists "the fearful" first among those who "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." The second to be listed are the "unbelieving." The fearful in this verse are those that fear man more than God. This is the number one cause of people going to hell. They are afraid of losing their friends, of what others will say, and of persecution. The Lord Jesus said this about it:
"... Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. ... The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. ... In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. ... By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. ... The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil." (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 14:26, 16:6, 19:23)
All that go to hell have only their own selves to blame. The Lord will not force salvation upon anyone, but short of that He has done everything possible to save man. He has given us the Bible which gives detailed information on how to be saved.
"... God our Saviour ... will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
"The Lord is ... longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
The Lord will one day say to all Christ rejectors, "... Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41) People go into this everlasting fire "... because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21) If you are lost receive Christ now!!!
A vision of Hell should give believers a since of urgency to tell people about the Lord Jesus Christ.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)