Many people love the idea of heaven but hate the idea of hell. Many people believe in heaven; fewer believe in hell. The Bible, however, is clear that hell is just as real as heaven. The Bible clearly and explicitly teaches that hell is a real place to which the wicked/unbelieving are sent after death. Hell is not simply, as many would have it, a place where only people like Hitler wind up. The truth is that all of us deserve hell because we have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). God has declared that the just punishment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Since all of our sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), and since God is an infinite and eternal Being, then sin against an eternal being deserves eternal punishment. Physical death, then, can't be a sufficient payment for eternal sin. The payment must also be infinite and eternal.
That hell is a dreadful place is undeniable. The conditions in hell are described throughout the Bible as "eternal fire" (Matthew 25:41), "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12), "shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2), a place where "the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44-49), a place of "torment" and "fire" (Luke 16:23-24), "eternal destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place where "the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever" (Revelation 14:10-11), and a "lake of burning sulfur" where the wicked are "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Jesus Himself indicates that punishment in hell is just as everlasting as life in heaven (Matthew 25:46).
Everyone lives forever. The only question is one of location. The righteous, those whose sin has been exchanged on the cross for the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), experience neverending bliss in heaven. The wicked are forever subject to the fury and the wrath of God in hell, where they will acknowledge the perfect justice of God (Psalm 76:10). Those who are in hell will know that their punishment is just and that they alone are to blame (Deuteronomy 32:3-5).
Yes, hell is most definitely real, a very real place of torment and punishment that lasts forever and ever. The only escape from the reality of hell is to run to the cross where we can gain forgiveness for sin. Only an infinite sacrifice can pay the penalty for infinite sin against an infinite God. Either the infinite God in flesh, Jesus Christ, pays for our sin in the one-time sacrifice on the cross, or we pay for it infinitely in hell. There is no other option. Those who would deny the reality of hell should ponder carefully this statement. Hell is real, it's a horrifying place, and eternity is a long, long time.
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