So what is the purpose of hell??? There was a movie a few years ago called “Tuck Everlasting.” It was about people who lived forever in a fallen evil state and were not separated from others. Could you imagine living forever with Adolph Hitler or Charles Manson? Well you get the idea. God wants those who want him. He has always given mankind free will; but freewill which is a wonderful thing also brings consequences. I think where we struggle is not with the Adolph Hitler’s of the world going to hell, but what about my friend who is a nice person but doesn’t believe in Jesus. Hollywood is releasing the story of Noah in a couple of months. I am looking forward to seeing it. I was thinking about this and can I be honest? If I was Noah and saw all of those people rushing at me saying help me when they were about to drown, I would probably have opened the ark and let them on. Put yourself in this situation; probably you would have done the same thing. These would have been my friends and I would have let child molesters, murderers and God rejecters on board. Think of the consequences. I am glad that I am not God. You probably are too. I don’t have the stomach for this. My job is to tell other s about Jesus so they can accept him and don’t have to perish.
God isn’t fickle: he lays down the rules and doesn’t change them. We want to have our free will and then well you know “have our cake and eat it to.” Jesus said in John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That is the rule: no exceptions!
Hell is a very real place. It was originally designed for punishment for the devil and his demons not man. Now it will be for both.
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20: 15-20)
The bottom line is this: we determine our own destiny by our actions; we write our own ticket-just like a person who commits a crime sends themselves to prison even though there is a judge who pronounces the sentence-it was their actions that caused this-their choices. We choose to accept what Jesus did or reject it.
But I’m a good person! “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10) If you commit one sin, you need a savior, it’s as simple as that. The good news is there in ONE available.
There is no such thing in the Bible as purgatory. I must believe this was invented by man to give man another chance after death and to comfort loved ones. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews (9:27) It clearly states that man die then the judgment takes place. There is no in-between place. As long as you have breath on this earth there is hope for you. As soon as your breath is gone so is your hope. I could soften it, but I would be lying to you.
Look at it this way; if you sent your Son to lay his life down for others and they just spit it your face over your sacrifice and used his name for a swear word, etc.; I think you would be pretty mad about it. There would be consequences because of the rejection of grace.
Is there an age of accountability for people? In other words, how old do you how to be to be held accountable to God for your salvation. I don’t believe there is a definite answer for that in the Bible. One theory is it varies from person to person. Another theory I heard is it is twelve years of age. This is the age that Jesus went to the temple to become a man. Certainly some people have more opportunity than others. They hear more, live longer, etc. All I can say is that Jesus said was for such (meaning children) was the kingdom of God for. In my opinion, that would include all children and those that are special needs that have the mind of a child. Now where you draw the line, I’m not sure. That exact age we will have to leave in God’s hands. Here is my opinion. Obviously, adults are held accountable. Are teens, I would think so. Children, I would think not. Again, when does that person step over from a child to an adult and become accountable is the million dollar question. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25) I heard a missionary teacher at Bible College state this. For me it kind of sums it up. Some things are cut and dry-like adults are accountable, but with young age issue-I know this God will get it right.
I know that some people say you shouldn’t use hell to motivate people to God. I look at it this way. I think heaven and God’s love and having a relationship with him is the best way. However, I think some people do come in out of the fear of going to hell and then find the love of God later. I know for me, hell helps keep me straight. Let me compare it this way. I shouldn’t speed on the highway because it’s the right thing to do and it is safer for me and others, but if that doesn’t do the job, I certainly don’t want that expensive ticket and insurance hike if I get caught. I call this secondary motivation. I think we should preach on hell a lot more, it under preached on.
So how do we guarantee ourselves eternal life? We must realize that we are a sinner. But I think I am a pretty good person (We always give ourselves a passing grade when we are grading our own homework don’t we). We compare ourselves to our neighbor and say I think I’m about as good as them. The problem with that is they are not good in God’s eyes either; no one is.
The plan of salvation is pretty simple and straight forward
1. One must be born again to go to heaven
“unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of
God.” (John 3:3)
2. God made a bridge back to him for man through Jesus
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)
3. We are all guilty
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
4. Sin equals spiritual death and separation but eternal
life can be found only in accepting Jesus
“for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
5. You must mean it from your heart and say it with you lips
(and if you do both you will be saved from hell and headed toward heaven. The greatest benefit is that you will start knowing Jesus from that day through the rest of your days on earth and in heaven forever and ever.)
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans: 10:9, 10)
Eternity is a long, long time. I know where I want to spend it!