OK, I’m Saved. Now What? A Bible Study by Jack Kelley Therefore, if anyone is…
The Destination No One Wants to Talk About
By Mike Gendron
There are many destinations people love to discuss, but there is one destination that is rarely talked about and often avoided, dismissed or ignored. It is the destination that awaits most of the world’s population when they take their last breath (Mat. 7:13). Most people will be surprised and shocked when they arrive because they thought their good deeds outweighed their bad deeds (Mat. 7:22). A recent poll revealed 52% of Christians believe this fatal error. Others will be shocked because they thought their religion would ultimately save them (Mat. 23:13). If only they would have read God’s Word to discover the truth about eternity. Perhaps, it would be wise for Christians to talk more about the dreadful destination of hell that awaits those who are being deceived. We know from God’s Word that the purpose of hell is to punish the devil, along with his fallen angels and all the sinners who die without faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mat. 25:41). “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Those Who Are Perishing Need to be Warned
Perhaps the reason no one wants to talk about hell is because it is not a pleasant topic. Many pastors avoid the subject because it is too negative, too gloomy and too counterproductive for building “their” church. Yet, the Lord Jesus spoke more about hell than everybody else in the Bible combined. He continually spoke about hell and warned sinners of its horrible reality. His mission was to seek and to save sinners from the just punishment of hell (Luke 19:10). When our Lord ascended into heaven, He gave this vitally important mission and responsibility to His church. Christians alone are in a position to rescue those who are perishing and to seek those who will not seek God. We must emulate our Savior by warning people of the destination that awaits them if they do not repent and believe His Gospel.
Divine Justice Must Be Satisfied
Every sin that has ever been committed by everyone who has ever lived must be punished by God who is holy and righteous and just. Yet, some people still ask the question, “How can a loving God send anyone to hell?” They should be asking, “How can a holy God allow sinners into heaven?” Both questions are answered in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our loving God provided a way of escape from the punishment of hell by sending His only Son to pay the penalty (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). Jesus satisfied divine justice for all who trust Him as their substitute to atone for their sin (Rom. 3:21-28). His perfect, all-sufficient, redeeming work, not only saves believers from the punishment of hell, His righteousness is their only passport to heaven. God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). The Savior imputes to believers the gift of His perfect righteousness and cancels their eternal sin debt.
The Bible Describes the Reality of Hell
Those who die in their sins go to a place of torments where they consciously experience pain and thirst from a burning fire. The horror and hopelessness is so great they want to warn their loved ones on earth. The eternal state of punishment for their sins is irreversible, there is no second chance and no escape. (Luke 16:19-31). Hell is the place of shame and punishment where the eternal debt for sin can never be paid or cancelled (Daniel 12:2). It is the place of despair and desperation, terrible torture, dreadful agony, and soul-racking remorse were there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth forever (Mat. 13:42; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Rev. 14:10). Hope never enters there. Light never shines there, only pain, gloom, restless agony, and indescribable torment (Matthew 8:12; Hebrews 10:26-31; 2 Pet. 2:17). After the great white throne judgment hell will be thrown into the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15; 21:8).
God Has Provided Only One Way of Escape
Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). He is the only way to the Father and the only mediator between God and man (John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5). “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10). People need to know that everyone is born spiritually dead, enslaved to sin, and condemned to hell because of the sin of Adam (Rom. 5:12-19). Some would argue that it is not fair that Adam’s descendants should be condemned because of his one act of disobedience. Yet, the curse of sin can be reversed through Jesus Christ. Through His one act of obedience, many will be justified when they receive God’s gracious gift of His righteousness (Rom. 5:17-20). “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Those who are in Christ have been made alive while those in Adam remain spiritually dead (1 Cor. 15:22).
Many Roads Lead People to Hell
There are as many roads to hell as there are religions in the world. They all teach a works-righteousness system of gaining favor or forgiveness from God A study of church history shows that religion has always been an enemy of Christ and His Gospel. Jewish leaders turned over Christ to the Romans to be crucified (John 19:6-7). Roman Catholicism denies the sufficiency of Jesus Christ and distorts His Gospel with a works-based salvation. Islam offers a counterfeit Jesus who was not crucified and is not God. All other religions reject or distort God’s Gospel which keeps their people on the wide road to hell. This should not surprise us because Satan knows the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). He uses religion as one of the most effective tools to blind people from the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). The only hope for sinners is to exchange their worthless religion for an eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:3-11).
We Must Speak the Truth in Love
A momentary glimpse of the intense suffering and terrible torture that is going on in hell right now would motivate more Christians to warn unbelievers of their pending peril. If we truly love people we will tell them about the terrifying reality of hell and the only way of escape. Those who choose to avoid talking about hell are aiding and abetting the devil who wants to keep it a secret. If unbelievers do not know they are storing up God’s wrath for themselves on the coming day of judgment, they will not be interested in a Savior (Rom. 2:5). We must make the most of every opportunity to tell people about the grace and mercy of God that He offers through the Savior. “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:9). Every believer can rest on this promise: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever” (2 Tim. 4:18).