We’ve covered my top ten reasons for “believing” in hell. By “believing” I don’t mean that Christians should revel in the idea of anyone being eternally lost. By “believing” I mean I want to affirm what the Bible teaches, allow its truth to orchestrate my actions to seek to rescue those who are still going there.
The first reason I affirm the doctrine of hell is that God saved me from going there. I trusted Christ because I was afraid of God’s judgment — a great reason to get saved! I find it amazing that more people are not getting saved out of a fear of God’s eternal judgment. Maybe we’re not getting that part of the message out.
The second reason I believe in hell is its logic. If all people will exist somewhere after death, then the biblical teaching about hell makes sense. If a person has died rejecting Christ, there is no forgiveness, no second chance, no possibility of redemption. They will be cast outside God’s kingdom and confined to a terrible place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. And it seems clear to me (from Revelation 20) that they will endure the same torment that will be inflicted on the devil, the false prophet, and the beast.
The third reason I believe in hell has to do with the doctrine of God. Is He truly “holy, holy, holy”? Then He must do something about SIN. This same God who commanded the extermination of the Amalekites in I Samuel 15, who destroyed Uzzah for touching the ark of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6, and who killed Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10 is the same God who executed Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 and prematurely brought some of the erring Corinthians home to heaven because of their abuse of the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11. The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are one and the same. And He hates sin!
The fourth reason I believe in hell has to do with the doctrine of man. Made in God’s image, man is broken and needs his sin atoned for. He does not cease to exist at his death, but there will be the separation of his body from his soul or spirit. He will also experience eternal death if he dies in his sins (not believing in Jesus). Luke 16 provides a glimpse into that time period of one’s existence between physical death and one’s resurrection.
The fifth reason I believe in hell concerns the biblical teaching about sin. To minimize sin is to minimize the price Christ paid at calvary. If God is thrice-holy, we are in a lot of trouble. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was God’s plan to redeem man from his sin. We may not think of our sin as cosmic treachery, but the issue isn’t what we think of our sin — but what God thinks!
The sixth reason I believe in hell relates to the biblical teaching about salvation. We were indeed “brands plucked out of the fire” (as John Wesley forever considered himself — As a five-year-old he nearly died in the Epworth Parsonage fire, leaping out of an upper window into a rescuer’s arms just as the whole roof fell in). We were rescued from God’s righteous wrath by the death of His Son. His substitutionary sacrifice bore the punishment we deserved. Editing hell automatically means redefining salvation.
The seventh reason I believe in hell concerns the doctrine of Christ. Jesus clearly taught hell as eternal separation and punishment. If He were wrong, His deity is invalid. Or He purposely deceived people in His teaching. A simple survey of a gospel like Matthew shows that Jesus is our primary source for details about the after condition of “the wicked.”
The eighth through tenth reasons I believe in hell concern the suggested alternatives. Each, we said, lacks biblical support. Annihilationism isn’t taught in the Scriptures, although many work hard to try to prove that it is. After-death opportunities for conversion isn’t in the Bible. Nor do we find persuasive evidence that all will eventually be saved (universalism).
In conclusion, these ten reasons provide a biblical certainty about the sad state of those who die outside of Christ. We who hold to the final authority of Scripture must embrace the awful truth — that God will forever separate from His presence those who die without His Son.
May we who believe such truths plead with the Lord to give us opportunities to share the Good News with others — before it is eternally too late!
(The books on the left are recommended; those on the right should be read with care).