He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:10,11
Praise the Lord that our Heavenly Father does not reward us according to our sins the way we deserve
to be dealt with. Had it not been for our Saviour's work on the cross, we would all be gonners! But the fact that we no longer have to worry about spending eternity in hell's burning flames does not mean that it stops there.
A good study on hell and what it has in store for those who are not born again and blood bought is so needful today! I can probably count on one
hand the number of times the topic of hell has been the center of conversation in those Christians around me. I have maybe heard two messages in my 26+ years of salvation on the teaching of hell. Why is
that? Not only do the lost need to hear where they will be spending eternity but I believe the saved would be more challenged to be soul winners if they had a clear understanding of where these lost souls are going!
What is hell all about? The Bible mentions the word "hell" 54 times. There are three terms that are used to reference hell: Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. Most of Christ's accounts of hell were referring to Hades and Gehenna. The most popular use of Hades was the account of the rich man in Luke 16:22-24. Here all of the rich man's natural senses were affected by being in Hades. The account shows that the rich man could see what was happening, he spoke to Father Abraham, he could hear Father Abraham's response, his mind was clear because he recognized where he was and where Father Abraham was, he cried to him for mercy, he asked Father Abraham to help his family on earth, he felt the pain because he thirsted and asked for water. All his senses were affected, as well as his emotions. He was so aware of his surroundings and what he was suffering that he did not want his family to go through the same thing. He knew he could not escape the torment he was in and it was too late for him, but not too late for his family. It was too late for him to be a soul winner at this point.
Gehenna is another term for hell which refers to the Lake of Fire after Great White Throne judgment. Rev. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death. The souls in hell (Hades) will experience a second death at this point and be thrown into Gehenna (the lake of fire). Gehenna's fires are so real that Jesus warned that it would be better to lose an eye or other part of our bodies than to be whole in the Lake of Fire! (Mark 9:43-48) That's pretty serious stuff - to be told to cut off a part of your own body! Jesus said it is better that we cut off a hand and enter heaven a partial man than to be in that Lake of Fire with a whole body!
Jesus also said in Matt. 18:8 that the flames are everlasting
! Have you ever burned yourself on the stove or with a hot iron? The first thing I do is run to get a cold glass of cold water filled with icecubes and dip my finger in it until the pain subsides. But this won't be an option to the unsaved person who is cast here! Matthew 3:12 also says that the fires are unquenchable
. It's not like a campfire that dies down after a while. These flames keep going.
The Bible shows us that the Lake of Fire will have different degrees of punishment also. God's punishment will be given out to the lost in same degree that they denied His Word. Luke 12:47-48 describes it well: And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (47) But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (48)
I also think of Rom. 2:5-6, But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (5) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:(6)
My friend, all will stand before Christ and give an account of every action we have done. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10)
It's reiterated in Rev. 2:23, And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
I look at it this way, those unsaved who get "few stripes" will burn for all eternity at a level like being burned all over with the most horrible sun burn he's ever had. The unsaved who gets "many stripes" will be burning at a level of being totally engulfed with fire!! Both will be suffering but at different degrees. However, they will all
share equally in hell's permanence (eternity) and its unquenching flames - there will be no reprieve - there will be no death as a result of these burns. Granted, there is no way for me to know exactly the pain levels the lost will experience - this is just my interpretation which helps me to imagine. Whatever it takes for you
to get a burden for the lost soul, do it! This is just my
way of keeping myself motivated to win the lost.
The unsaved stand no chance. Luke's account of the rich man says it all. Once the unsaved dies, it is too late. There is no going back and changing one's mind. The Hitlers and Neros of this world will suffer greater punishment once they are released from Hades and cast into that Lake of Fire. In my soul winning efforts, I've come across people who just don't see their sin. They can't be saved if they don't know they are lost. But upon death, it will be a horrible awakening in a place where the worm dieth not. Christ spoke this statement three
times in Mark 9:44-48. Not only is there no escaping hell's fire for the unbeliever, but the pain and torment of being burned continuously goes on for all eternity. I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like for a person to be engulfed in flames and to continuously be burned and their body not turning to ash - just continuously burning and burning and burning. Not for just an hour, a day, or a week - but forever!
Christian, have I helped you to realize your need to tell your lost loved ones about where they will be spending eternity if they don't repent and get saved? Prayerfully, this has renewed your zeal for lost souls! If not, shame on you.
If you are reading this and you are not born again, won't you reconsider what you believe today? You may not believe in a literal hell. Many may say that hell is here on earth. But Jesus did not preach that at all. Don't take what others say and make it your
belief. Could you possibly be wrong? Have you been right about everything
in your life? What if you're wrong about this?
God created hell for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). It is your
choice to remain in the lost condition you are in right now. No one is forcing you to get saved. But admit this one thing ... deep down inside you, you're wondering if what I have said is even remotely
true. I would rather exercise my little faith, be saved, and find out when I die that the Bible was true than to ignore my little faith and enjoy life full of sin only to find out that everything about hell was true and now I have to spend an eternity burning, writhing in pain for all eternity.
A wise Senior Saint once told me, "Hell's fire is too hot and eternity is too long for me to ignore salvation!"Dear God...
Please open the heart of the one who reads
What You have laid on my heart today
Create in me a burden so heavy and great
That I need to show someone salvation's way.
Labels: Characteristics of God, Encouragement, Teaching, Trials