ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

HELL

“What will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel?” (I Pet. 4: 17).                         “What will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (I Pet. 4: 18).

Many become angry with the subject of hell. They become indignant and say it is not good to frighten people. But is it true that it is not good to frighten people? That depends: If you frighten a child about the boogie-man and cause him to have nightmares and be afraid of the dark, that’s not good. But if you find your child playing with matches and you frighten him by telling him that this could kill him or scar him for life, that is a different story, for then you are causing him to fear a very real danger.

If a doctor tells you that you have a terrible illness when you do not, that is not good. But if the doctor tells you that you have this illness when you really do, it may frighten you but it can also save your life.

The world is offended by serious talk about sin and eternal suffering and many pulpits are unwilling to offend people. These are like the doctor who says you have a clean bill of health while cancer is eating away your insides. The contemplation of what it means for a soul to be eternally lost should bring grief to every Christian as it did the Lord Jesus.

But it is a stern fact that must be dealt with and cannot be evaded, however painful, if we consider seriously the teachings of Jesus Christ. I did not invent Hell and I cannot destroy it by not mentioning it. For his own conscience sake the Christian cannot be silent on this subject any more than he could silently slip out of a burning building without warning the rest of the occupants because he did not want to frighten them!

As long as men and women refuse to see God’s holy outrage against sin they will refuse to accept the fact that sin brings such severe consequences to the one whose sins have never been blotted out. Eternal damnation is the result of sin. You may laugh at sin now but someday you will weep bitter tears. You may think of sin as a small thing, but someday you will see how completely it has ruined your eternal soul. Because we are born sinners we are unaware that we are sinners. Even Angels

Could not escape the consequences of sin when they rebelled against a holy God, and neither can we.

In the 6th chapter of Galatians we are told, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”.

We cannot deceive God, we can only deceive ourselves: what a man sows he will reap. Mankind thinks they can get by with sin, but God warns us that if we play with fire we are going to get burned. We sow today but tomorrow we must reap. “Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done” (Isa. 3:11). How can disaster not be upon them since they have declared themselves the enemies of Almighty God. How terrible it will be to stand before an infinitely holy God whose holiness you have turned into unquenchable fire!

It will do you no good to plead that you are as good as others. God is not going to judge you by man’s standard. He is going to judge you by the standard of His own holiness! How do you measure up? It will do you no good to plead that God is too good to punish sinners. It is BECAUSE He is good that He will judge sinners. His very goodness DEMANDS that evil be punished. It is not because God is mean and ugly but because WE are.

While it is true that He is a loving, gracious God, that He “so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16); And it is also true that He is “Patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9).

It is also true that His love does not overlook sin. It does not excuse your sin. His love has provided a way for your sins to be removed from you and paid for by another—the Lord Jesus Christ, but if He is rejected then there is no hope for you.

Heb. 12:29 says: “Our God is a consuming fire”. He is Holy and will not overlook sin.

Mal. 3:2 says: “But who can endure the day of His coming? Who shall stand when He appears?”

II Thess. 1:8: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”.

I once heard a liberal minister say that he did not teach about Hell but only what Jesus taught. He said that Jesus did not teach about Hell but only love, and that Hell was the subject of Moses and Paul. The truth is that this man’s Jesus exists only in his own imagination. He chooses to believe a pleasant lie rather than unpleasant truth.

Lets look at what the real Jesus said on this subject:

Matt. 8:12: “They shall be cast into outer darkness”.

Matt. 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell”.

Matt. 13: 41-42: “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they shall weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping a gnashing of teeth”.

Matt. 25: 41: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”.

Matt. 25:46: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment . . .”.

Matt. 22:13: “Then the king told the attendant, ‘tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

Luke 16:23: “In hell, where he was in torment . . .”.

John 3:18: “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already for he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

These are the words of our loving Lord Jesus. May God grant that no one reading this will ever know the meaning of these words by awful experience.

We are told in Heb.9: 27: “ . . . man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment”. You are going to die and you are going to be judged.

Death is certain. In James 4:14 we read: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes”.

Job 14:1-2 reads: “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure”.

Psa.103: 15-16: “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more”.

The poet has written: “I have an appointment with death, and I shall not fail to keep that appointment”.

There is a legend of a merchant in Bagdad, who one day sent his servant to the market. Before long the servant came back, white and trembling and in great fear said to his master: “Down in the market place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. When I turned around I saw that it was death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Master, please lend me your horse for I must quickly ride away to Samara and avoid her!” So the merchant lent him his horse and the servant rode away in great haste to Samara.

Later the merchant went down to the market place and saw death standing in the crowd. He went over to her and asked: “Why did you frighten my servant this morning? Why did you make a threatening gesture?”

Death answered: “That was not a threatening gesture, it was a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him here in Bagdad, for you see I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara”.

Each of us has an appointment with death!

Judgment is also certain. In II Pet. 3:7 we are told “the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men”.

We are told in Rom. 2: 4-5: “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed”.

We are told in Ecclesiastes 11:9: “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment”. In other words God has given you freedom of choice. You can live as you please. But God calls you to remember that there is an accounting day in which you will be judged.

Acts 17:31 tells us: “For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead”. People spend thousands on fortunetellers and quake prophets trying to know their future. But the 2 most important things about man’s future has already been revealed: “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment”.

We have come to a time when we talk glibly of the Fatherhood of God. Many think of God as smiling down on everyone as His children. But God does not see all men as His children. He separates mankind into two classes. The first class is seen in John 1:12: “To all who received him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God”.

The second class to in John 8:44, where Jesus referred to those who rejected Him with these words, “You belong to your father, the devil”. In verse 41 these same people had claimed to be the people of God. But Jesus said they were wrong, they were children of the devil. He rejected their claim. He is the creator of all men but He is not the Father of all men.

After preaching on Hell a minister was confronted by a woman who asked him if he had any children. He replied that he did. “Do you love them?” she asked. He replied that of course he did. “Well” she said, “What would you think of a father who could save his children from suffering and refused to do it?” He answered that that man would be a very poor father. “Just what I thought” she said, “That’s just what you are making God out to be. He would be a monster if God sent His children to Hell”.

The minister replied, “But you have made one mistake. God does not send His children to Hell. God has a home for His children, and another place for the devil and his children”.

Ministers who say that God will not condemn the unsaved to eternal suffering are blind leaders the Bible warns about. II Tim. 4:3-4 warns of these men: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to hear what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”.

In other words, these false teachers, rather then telling the truth and offending you, will tell you what you want to hear to keep your favor and support.

It was the same in the days of the prophets of old. God had warned Israel through the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel that Israel would be destroyed and its people carried away into captivity because of their sins. But the people hated these prophets and mocked and persecuted them.

They did not want to hear the truth, so they gathered to themselves false prophets to tell them what they wanted to hear. In the 13th chapter of Ezekiel God condemns these false prophets and says He had never sent them. They claimed to come from God and speak God’s words. But God says He did not send them, and because they spoke lies, He was against them.

These false prophets told Israel that God would not judge them for their sins. God condemns them for declaring “Peace, when there is no peace”. He compares them to men who come to a wall whose foundation is crumbling and ready to give way, and instead of condemning the unsafe wall and warning the people of the danger, they covered the wall with whitewash. God warns them that He will send a storm of judgment that would break down the wall and expose the rotten spiritual foundation.

Men who warn people of their faulty spiritual foundation are never popular, but they flock to those who will whitewash their spiritual condition. The Bible warns in of them in II Pet. 2:3: “In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up”. The slogan of the business world is “Give the people what they want”. This may be alright in some cases but in the spiritual realm it can be fatal. There are laws protecting consumers from certain products. These laws are necessary because there are those who will sell anything, no matter how dangerous or harmful in order to get your business. This is also true of many preachers. The Bible warns that many of Satan’s greatest servants include ordained ministers and seminary professors. Men who do not know God, but profess to speak for Him.

Another lie that is propagated is that no on can know until they die where they will spend eternity. John 3:18 assures us that “whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”. Already “condemned” or “not condemned”. Already, right now you are either saved or condemned.

In John 3:36 we read: “Whoever believes in the son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him”.

Note the present tense of these words: The one who believes in the Son HAS, not will have or may have but HAS eternal life the moment they believe. And note that the wrath of God REMAINS on the one who rejects Christ. The unbeliever is Now under condemnation and exposed every moment to an eternal Hell. He need do nothing to be condemned but to continue as he has until now. God’s wrath REMAINS on him.

This is the settled and intense anger of an eternal, Almighty God who created you and can do with you as He pleases. God loves the sinner and longs for him or her to be saved. The Lord Jesus paid a terrible price to redeem you. The Tender, loving Holy Spirit seeks to draw you to the Savior. He grieves over your rejection of Christ. But once your rejection is final He honors your free will. C. S. Lewis said that those who receive Christ will say to Him “Your will be done”. But to those who rejects Christ He will say to them “Your will be done.” Make no mistake about it Hell is a reality, a very grim reality. It is a place of unimaginable suffering, hopelessness and despair.

If God sends you to Hell if will not be to purge you of your sins and fit you for heaven, but to condemn you forever. It is not to rehabilitate you. You will have rejected the only remedy. This is what is meant in Prov. 29:1” “A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy”. You

Will go to Hell because you have hardened your heart to the pleadings of the Holy Spirit until you became set in your rejection of Christ.

To be destroyed is not to cease to exist. It means that you are no longer fit for the purpose for which you were created. When you destroy a ship you do not make it cease to exist, but you make it unfit to fulfill its intended purpose. The word “Destroyed” means “Ruined”. When a person dies without Jesus Christ he is forever ruined from fulfilling his intended purpose. Mankind was created to glorify God in eternal, blessed fellowship. When mankind fell he was ruined for this purpose. But through Christ God reclaimed and restored those who would trust in Him to their original purpose for them. But those who refuse Him remain ruined by sin forever.

Those who reject Jesus Christ will remain ruined forever, “Without remedy” the Scripture says. You will go to Hell because you will be an unsaved sinner and you will remain there forever, because you will remain an unsaved sinner forever. You will have forever rejected the only cure!

No one declared the love of God more than Jesus, but at the same time no one declared the wrath of God more than Jesus. He came into the darkness of this world as Savior. But a savior is not a savior if there is nothing to save us from! Hell is the most horrible thing imaginable.

Rom. 6:23 says “For the WAGES of sin is death (an eternal death, where you will die forever). But the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord”. When a man works for wages it is proper for him to want what is coming to Him, what he has earned. God tells us that someday He is going to pay us the wages that we have earned. Death, spiritual death of unending misery is what we have EARNED. This is what God OWES us. Eternal life is not wages, something we earn; it is a GIFT. A gift is not earned but must be accepted. When God gives us the GIFT of eternal life He forever blots out what we have earned.

If you never come to God as a helpless sinner and trust Him for His gift of eternal life, then you will get your wages, just what you have earned, your just due; nothing less. And as the cries of your torment are mingled with the rest of the inhabitants of Hell, they will sound out the words: “Wages, wages, wages”

Eph. 1:7 tells us: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. Here the word “grace” means the opposite of what we deserve. On the cross Christ received the judgment we deserve, the opposite of what he deserved and now God deals with us the opposite of what we deserve, the offer of eternal life as a gift. We have EARNED judgment   but through Christ God offers us the GIFT of eternal life.

God reveals to us our desperate condition and the terrors of Hell to open our eyes to our need of a Savior and drive us to the cross of Christ for pardon and eternal life. It is more than being saved from Hell. It is a new life of fellowship with God that will span the ages of eternity.

Back in the days of the pioneers prairie fires were common. If the wind drove the fire toward you it moved so fast that it was impossible to outrun it. If they could not get to a body of water in time they were trapped and doomed. There was only one thing they could do. They had to stand with their backs to the fire and set fire to the high grass in front of them. Now they were standing between two raging fires. The one moving toward them, and the other, in front of them, moving away from them. When a large enough area in front of them had been burned, they would simply step onto the area that had already been burned and they were safe from the fire coming toward them. The fire could not reach them because they were standing where the fire had already been.

This is a picture of the person who is safe in Christ. The fires of God’s judgment that we have earned, burned themselves out on Christ, and all who are in Christ are safe because they are standing where the fire of God’s judgment had already fallen.

The Lord Jesus pleads with you today to consider the lost condition of your soul.

“What good would it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul”(Matt. 16:26). He wants you to consider the value of your soul. He declares that it is worth more than the whole world. God wants you to consider His offer of eternal life through Christ: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Matt. 16:26).

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