What the Bible says about Hell
Hell is not a popular subject today and never has been. It is rarely mentioned in many churches, although the Bible has a lot to say about it. Jesus spoke very clearly about the reality of hell with its horror, agony, and torment. Hell is not figurative or symbolic. It is literal. It is the eternal home of those who reject the only way of salvation offered by a loving God, through Jesus Christ, his son.
Hell is a place of eternal and unquenchable fire. It is referred to as a lake of fire, a place of everlasting burnings, a furnace of fire, a place of fire and brimstone, a fiery lake of burning sulfur and a place where people gnaw their tongues in agony because of their pain. It is also spoken of in the Bible as a place of chains of darkness, gloomy dungeons and of the blackest darkness.
Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a beggar by the name of Lazarus in Luke 16:1931. It is a story about a rich man who lived in the lap of luxury. By way of contrast, Lazarus was a beggar who daily laid at the rich man’s gate, content to eat the crumbs from the rich man’s table. The rich man died and went to hell; Lazarus died and went to heaven.
In hell, the rich man lifted up his eyes and prayed for Father Abraham to have mercy and pity on him by sending Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, because he was tormented in the flame. Abraham told him this was impossible, because a great chasm was set between heaven and hell. Upon realizing his own eternal fate, the rich man then asked Abraham to send someone to his five living brothers and warn them not to come to the horrible place of hell.
The Bible only has one good thing to say about hell, and that is that no one need go there. Salvation is a free gift from God made possible through the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross for the sins of all humanity. If we will totally forsake our sins and confess them with sorrow to God and place faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross and through the empty tomb, we can be saved.
If you are not sure of your eternal destiny, you can be. Place your faith in Christ, and do not insist on paying for your own sins through all eternity. You can escape the horror of hell, and live eternally in the holiness of heaven. Listen to what the Bible says about hell. You will be glad you did. Pastor Wayne Rutherford LifePointe Church of the
What’s it worth to you?
A couple weeks ago a Mets fan named Matt Murphy was at the Giants game when he was tackled, kicked, piled on, and bloodied. The police had to rush in and rescue him — all because he caught a common, ordinary, leather and yarn baseball. Of course, something had just happened to that ball to make it worth much more than the cost of its production. He was now holding on to history, the record-breaking home run ball and wasn’t about to let go.
Of course we could find fault with the crazed people who piled on greedily grabbing, doing anything they could think to do to get it away from him. But then we’d have to find fault with ourselves. You see, our text has us looking at how we so often mis-value things. We act like our stuff is what life is all about and forget about the value of God. Read Luke 12:13-21.
Did you catch Jesus’ warning? “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The farmer in the story hadn’t learned that lesson and saw all he had as nothing more than things that would serve him. It didn’t cross his mind to thank God with his wealth or to serve others with it.
And Jesus warns us of the same thing. Think about it. How much extra storage space do you have in your home? Why not? Is it because you are like me and we just keep buying and taking and gathering more than we could ever effectively use, even more than we have room for? Jesus asks us, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” I guarantee you, if you ponder Jesus’ words in our text long enough, God’s law will lump you right in there with this foolish farmer.
But then, he pulls you right back out, because it’s true — our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. No matter how often we try to act like it does, God reminds us again today: Our life consists in our true riches, being rich in God. Sure the toys are nice — but our last verse mentions something so much nicer.
We are rich in God. And here we have it all — more peace than any millionaire could ever buy, more fulfillment than the most powerful CEO could achieve. Our peace and hope and joy are guaranteed — in God.
We have been made valuable. Christ paid more than any eBay auction could bring for Murphy’s ball. He upped our value from trash to priceless, “not with gold or silver, but with his Holy precious blood and his innocent sufferings and death.”
He said we were worth enough to him to leave his glorious heavenly home, where his glory could not be contained, and enter into a weak, frail, dying human body. He said we were worth enough to him to take the beatings and humiliation and the full payment we deserved for misplacing our values. His love has made us worth so much more. His cross has made us priceless. God has made us perfect.
Sure, Barry Bonds’ bat made that innocent looking ball exceedingly valuable. But that’s nothing — Jesus’ sacrifice for us made us truly priceless. So let’s remember each day that our value is not in our cars or homes or toys or collectibles. We are rich in God. Let’s live like it. Pastor Jonathan Scharf Abiding Grace Lutheran