Any world view has a notion of perfect justice that at the end of it all, every good deed, words and intention must and should be rewarded. For Christians, the reward is by all means heaven. The reality of which we and the entire creation are eagerly long for it. (Philippians 3:20 & Romans 8:19). The other side of justice is that every wrong deed, words and intentions must and should be punished, hence hell while all the injuries incurred due to the wrong done in deed and/or in words must be compensated and restored in full.
ELEMENTS OF JUSTICE.
To serve justice, you need, in the first place a law since you cannot charge anyone with wrong if you have not defined what is right and what is wrong (Romans 5:13). Secondly, you need the lawgiver who by default is the Judge herein is God (Isaiah 33:22). Thirdly, you need subjects of the authority and are bound by the law. These subjects are the one who may keep or rebel against the lawgiver by breaking the law (Romans 3:23).
The subjects must have the faculty of volition. Hence God created man in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). Then, God, the lawgiver gave man only one law, yet man failed to keep it (Genesis 3). Sin is lawlessness or rebellion against God (1 John 3:4; Psalm 7:11; Roman 13:2). Before God created man, he had created Angels who also are capable of sinning against God by abandoning the position of authority that God gave them (Jude 6). The devil is one of the angels who disregarded to honour God (1 John 3:8). He, too, will be punished (Matthew 25:14).
HELL IN THE BIBLE.
Hell is real, and it is already there waiting for all who sin against God (John 3:18), and we know so because the Bible says so. If you believe you exist, the earth exists, good and evil exist (Romans 1:18-21; Psalms 19). Then you hope that one day good will overcome evil, you, by all means, you must know that heaven is and so is hell.
The word “Hell” is mentioned 54 times in the King James Version. Interestingly, humankind is so afraid of hell that some of the modern English translations have reduced the mention of hell to 14 for English Standard Version (ESV), 13 times for the New International Version (NIV) and New American Standard Bible (NASB), and even 0 mentions of the word hell in the Young Literal translations (YLT) and New American Bible (NAB). The underneath reason for the deliberate removal of the idea of hell in the Bible is the devil and our sinfulness that hates the fact that sin must and will be punished.
HELL IS ETERNAL.
The gravity of any offence will determine the gravity of the punishment. The gravity of the punishment is dependent on the value of the person you’ve offended. If today I find an old used car dumbed and take my key and scratch it on the side, no one will complain. However, if I get near the president’s official car, and use the same key to make a scratch on it, I will be in serious trouble. The reason is not just the scratch, but the value of the vehicle and to whom it belonged to. Every time we do anything contrary to God’s words, whether to an individual or not, it is him that we are sinning against (Psalms 51:4). The value of God is infinite, and so sinning against God calls for an infinite punishment. Therefore, only an infinite God can administer an infinite punishment against finite beings like man, the devil and its demons.
The length of the sentence must be proportional to the value of the one offended. Unlike human judges and authorities that have time limits that at best live till the age of eighty (Psalms 90:10). God is eternal- no time limit. Breaking His law would then demand a punishment that would last for eternity. Hell won’t burn out after some time, as some of us think. Hell will burn as long as God will continue to exist (Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 18:8; Revelations 20:10).
REGRET & FIRE IN HELL
All of us know that the worse thing about punishment is the regret that comes with it. The “I wish I couldn’t have” statements that follow while you are in the heat of receiving what you deserve. Before the judgement seat of God, we will have no excuse for our sins (Romans 1:18). Like the rich man in the parable (Luke 16:91-31) of Jesus who neglected and treated the poor man worse than a dog, hence degrading the image of God the poor man carried (Genesis 1:27). His weeping in regret and in pain, hoping and wishing that his brothers to believe and do the will of God. So, will everyone be in hell (Revelations 1:7; Matthew 8:28). Hell, won’t stop at physical pain, but it will be an emotional distress night and day forever and ever. Regret is to come to discover that you knew the truth and intentionally neglected it. Thomas Hobbes said, and I quote “Hell is truth seen too late.”
The fire in hell is a real fire; it is not metaphorical. It is the fire that burns but doesn’t consume. God shows us that this is possible when He appeared to Moses in the form of fire that was not consuming the bush (Exodus 3:2). This fire is pure; it needs nothing to be ignited. Only God can make such a fire. To those who reject Jesus, it will be more severe than Sodom and Gomorrah who were consumed by the fire from heaven (Genesis 19); they will burn but never get annihilated (Matthew 10:15).
THE HORROR IN HELL
Hell is not separation from the presence of God. It is to be separated forever from the merciful and gracious hand of God which are so glorious (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Only in hell, you will get what you deserve. Here on earth, we see Gods mercies on us and are new every morning, indeed great is thy faithfulness oh God (Lamentations 3:22-23). However, in hell, men will be in the presence of the Most High God but receiving the full cup of his wrath (Psalms 139:8; Revelations 6:16). God will be there because he is omnipresent- He is everywhere. We can never hide from God (Psalms 139:7-12). The most terror of hell is to be in the hands of an angry God. He will be there punishing sinner perfectly (Revelations 6:16).
It is so horrible and terrifying to think and come to terms with the horrors of hell. In fact, very little is known about hell. I have only found two books so far that are written about hell. I recommend them to you: The title is ‘Whatever happened to hell?’ by John Blanchard and ‘The Doctrine of Endless Punishment’ by W. G. T. Shedd https://bit.ly/35L8Byh. The terror of hell is so clearly taught in the scripture that many would rather wish it away. The late theologian and teacher John Stott said in one of his books that he approached the subject of hell with “a very heavy heart” and that the reality that those who reject the gospel will be in hell was very “unbearable” to bear. It was C.S. Lewis who wished it away. He said “there is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay… in my power. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully, “All will be saved.”” Paul also had such wishful thought, to the point that he was willing to be damned for the sake of the Jewish to believe and miss hell (Romans 9:3).
Yes, indeed, those are our sentiments. But if we believe that the Bible is the word of God and it has the power to save us from sin and the power of sin. By no means must we believe all that it says about eternal condemnation. John Stott and C.S. Lewi express our wishful thinking, but still like you and I are under the authority of the Bible.
I am writing this to remind you that before the gospel is any good news, you must know the bad news. The bad news is that we are sinners from birth, and as such, we have for ourselves an express ticket to hell (Palms 51:5). We are so inclined to sin that we are dead in it, following the powers of the air like the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3). If you’ve ever sinned, no matter how small it may seem to you, you’ve confirmed that what you deserve is death that is eternal damnation (Romans 3:23).
But, God full of grace and mercy, has caused us to be born again (1 Peter 1:3) with new nature that is not in sin, but in God, kept for Jesus Christ (Jude 2). And so, we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:9-10). Receive Christ today for God punished him for all sins you have ever committed, and you will ever commit, and he will make you perfect as he is (Hebrews 10:12;14). This is the only way to escape hell, through Jesus Christ (John 3:16)