Hell Is More Than A Swear Word

Fires of hell

Reading blogs I disagree with is frustrating, or sad — depending on your attitude. These responses intensify when the writer flat out denies the clear teaching of Scripture and then claims that she rejects certain doctrines in the name of Christ.

A few weeks ago, I read a blog post arguing that God, being kind and loving, would never assign anyone to an eternity of fire and brimstone. Other than a vague allusion to John 3:16, she offered no Scriptural substantiation for her beliefs, nor did she engage any of the passages in which Jesus explicitly stated that hell exists and that God has the power to send people there. She merely appealed to her personal view that humans invented hell in order to control the masses. She indeed sounded sophisticated in some of her points, but she failed to really accept Scripture at face value.

Obviously I can’t go through all the Biblical passages about hell in a single blog post, as tempting as it is to produce cumulative evidence. This article in Got Questions offers several Scripture references demonstrating the reality of an eternal hell; I encourage you to read it (as well as the related articles on the website).

But let me direct you to a comment Jesus made in His parable about the sheep and the goats, and then ask you a question or two. Look with me at what He says to the goats on His left:

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~~Matthew 25:41-46 (ESV)

Setting aside the ways liberal Christians use this parable to promote the Social Justice Movement, let’s notice verses 41 and 46. In both verses, Jesus affirms that there is indeed a place of eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,  and that the disobedient will go there.

Would Jesus make such a statement if hell didn’t exist? If so, why?

Jesus surely didn’t say those things simply to accommodate First Century superstition! All through the four Gospels, He debunked Jewish myths, so it’s highly unlikely that He would acquiesce to Jewish tradition on a matter as consequential as eternal damnation. Especially since He spoke of it on several other occasions. To suppose that He used hell merely as a metaphor (for what?) shows at best a disrespect for His knowledge of eternal things. At worst, it suggests that He didn’t know what He was talking about, therefore calling His deity into question.

I sympathize with the blogger’s discomfort over the doctrine of hell. I don’t enjoy it either.  Frankly, I think any true Christian experiences deep sorrow at  knowing that those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ will spend eternity in that horrendous place.

That said, I fear God enough to believe His Word about this matter.

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