Hell is a terrible reality… but Jesus saves

Church Family: Revelation 14, produces some hard questions. Do you believe in a God who shows His power by punishing non-Christians and who magnifies His mercy by blessing Christians for eternity? I know, that is a difficult question, so here is another. Do you believe in a God who decides to punish people who do not believe and follow Jesus Christ?
 
As I write this email, I am sitting in a room with a friend of mine who is laughing and talking and drinking iced coffee that I made him, yet he denies Christ and even mocks me for being a follower of Christ. I really love this friend but Scripture tells me that unless He repents and believes in Jesus Christ he will be heading to hell for eternal damnation that he has earned. That is a terrible thought. It is a sad thought. It is a sickening thought. I do not like that thought.
As believers we are called to embrace a God who is not always easy to understand. His ways and purposes and thoughts are far beyond ours. He is the heavenly sovereign Creator and sustainer of all things and He has the privilege and power to do “whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). There are some things that are hard to accept about God and His ways and purposes. We arrive at one of these difficult to accept truths in Revelation 14. Jesus communicates in this chapter very clearly about Hell and eternal damnation. We want to believe that God will save everyone in the end, but this is not what God says that He will do. What do the Scriptures teach?

In three verses in Revelation 14:9-11, Jesus describes hell as a place for those who follow the world systems while denying Jesus Christ as God and who persecute His followers. Jesus says that hell is a place where God’s wrath is poured out in full strength on those who are not His followers. He says it is a place of torment that is eternal, never-ending day or night. These three verses hold very difficult truths.

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus speaks about hell and eternal judgment more than all of the other New Testament writers combined. Jesus doesn’t just reference hell, he describes it in great detail. He teaches that hell is a place of punishment after judgment. He describes it as a place of fire, darkness, never-ending judgment, unquenchable fire, where people gnash their teeth in anguish and regret in outer darkness. And then Jesus says, go warn your loved ones about hell.

Paul also makes reference to the fate of the wicked more times in his New Testament letters than he speaks of God’s forgiveness, mercy and heaven combined. Paul wants us to understand that hell is not a place where God sends those who have been especially bad; it’s our default destination. We need a rescuer or we stand condemned because of Adam’s sin. Our default condition is that we are all guilty and deserve God’s eternal punishment. Our understanding of hell shapes our view of the gospel, God’s holiness, and our depravity. If we don’t accept the reality of hell, we won’t rightly understand the glory of the gospel.
The Good News is that God in His great mercy causes us to bow the knee and cry out in faith and fear. He grants us the understanding that we do not deserve salvation; we deserve punishment. His mercy allows us to enter into His presence boldly through our Savior Jesus Christ. Because He is good, we can have a relationship with Him as a child, dearly loved, snatched from the flames of hell. Amen!

Church! How can we believe these passages from Scripture and remain silent? Let us not go on with life as usual. The reality of hell is a reminder to be passionate about the gospel and sharing it with all who are heading there. Personally, I will send this email to you and once again beg my friend to repent and believe in Jesus Christ and enjoy the mercy of eternal life in heaven with a loving God. Jesus saves souls from the default destination of hell.

Revelation 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
 
I look forward to worshiping the Lion and the Lamb, Jesus Christ, with you Sunday. – Steve

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