By Anne Hope
Hell is a difficult subject to discuss.
It amazes me how many people I meet who don’t believe hell or Satan exists.
Perhaps it is their way of justifying their lifestyle.
Perhaps it is just total ignorance and believe both to be merely part of a fairy tale.
It may not even be a concept that enters their minds.
It’s possible both hell and Satan may seem irrelevant to them.Hell is a difficult subject to discuss since many people—even professing Christians—don’t believe it exists.
Is Hell a Real Place?
“If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.” – Psalm 139:8 HCSB
It’s certainly an interesting conversation to have with an unbeliever (and maybe even with those who profess to be Christians).
I always tell them I just don’t feel I can afford to be indifferent to hell and Satan.
According to Scripture, hell is a real place. But the good news is that hell is completely avoidable.
Studies show that Scripture speaks three times more on hell than on heaven.
So, it would seem that God thinks it’s a pretty important subject to consider.
Many of the parables Jesus told dealt with the concept of hell. It is a real place to Jesus.According to Scripture, hell is a real place.
Is Hell a Real Place Even if We Don’t Believe it Exists?
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28 HCSB
Many years ago, when England closed its Libyan embassy, the Libyan leader Kaddafi told map makers in his country to remove England from all their maps.
It was not to be in any school books or materials that people could buy.
But just because he ordered it removed from the maps didn’t mean that England ceased to exist.
Hell and Satan are like that.
Just because a person doesn’t believe hell is a real place doesn’t mean it is any less real.
It certainly isn’t a true indicator that it doesn’t exist at all.
My grandmother never believed man actually went to the moon.
She thought it was all a television hoax. She died believing that. But it doesn’t mean man didn’t actually go to the moon.Just because a person doesn’t believe something to be real doesn’t mean it is any less real.
What Scripture Tells Us About Hell
“The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” – Revelation 20:10 HCSB
So, what does Scripture actually say about hell?
Revelation talks about how the devil, the false prophet, and the antichrist will all be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur.
It seems safe to say it will not be a party in hell, no matter how many people joke that they will be partying with their friends there.
Hebrews 9:27 HCSB clearly states: “And just as it is appointed that for people to die once and after this, judgment.” We only get one life; there are no “do-overs.” We don’t get to come back and try again.
Each person has this one life—one brief span on earth to determine his or her eternal destiny.
I’ve always liked what C.S. Lewis said: “You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
Scripture makes it clear that all humans are immortal and will exist eternally, either in heaven or hell.
In Matthew 25:46 HCSB, Jesus states: “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
We also learn from Scripture that if we go to hell, it is eternal and irreversible. It is a horrible, continuous death.
Several passages describe the ongoing torment that will be experienced there. Matthew 13:50b HCSB declares: “In that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
It seems to be that hell was originally designed for Satan and his demons. But even there, in hell, Satan is not in ultimate control.
God is in control of all creation—including hell.Scripture makes it clear that all humans are immortal and will exist eternally, either in heaven or hell.
Why Hell Exists
“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 13: 41-42 HCSB
It is also clear that hell exists to punish the sin of those who reject Christ.
The interesting thing is that Jesus never used hell as a scare tactic to get someone to change. He did not use it to manipulate.
When I was growing up, this was an often-used tactic in the church I attended.
We would joke that the preacher was going to scare us into heaven.
But in reality, heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell.
Heaven is a place for those who have a loving relationship with God through Jesus. That is the beauty of heaven.Though Jesus never used hell as a scare tactic to get people to change, it is clear hell exists to punish the sin of those who reject Him.
Our Choice: Heaven or Hell?
“‘But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh.’” Joshua 24:15 HCSB
According to the Bible, hell is a real place. God does not want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
He wants us to experience the life he designed for us, not wrath. But it is our choice.
As humans, we are usually so focused on our instant pleasure right here and now that we lose sight of eternity.
The pursuit of happiness in the present takes away our vision of the eternal.
Sometimes it takes a lifetime for us humans to realize that the pursuit of happiness is just that—a pursuit. We will never find it by merely pursuing happiness.
Happiness and joy are only truly found in the pursuit of God.
Pursuing God and pursuing holiness should be our goal.
A closer walk with God should be our guiding light.
A love story with God through Jesus should be our present dream.
Is it worth walking that narrow path? You bet.
Is it worth taking up your cross daily and following Him? Absolutely.
Is it worth giving up control and letting God have the reins? Ahhhh, that’s the tough one, isn’t it?
There always seems to be a part of us that wants to hang onto that control.
Yet, when you make that decision to give up control, you will never, ever regret it.
You stop asking God to come walk with you on your path, and you choose daily to walk with Him on His.
It’s an adventure that will take you to paradise.
– Anne Hope
Anne Hope is the award-winning author of the memoir “Bent Pages,” an adventure with God that will captivate with tenderness and, at times, flay with honesty. She publishes an inspirational Christian blog on her website. She was a contemporary Christian singer-songwriter for many years and has had four original songs on the airways. She currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.