DO WE REALLY BELIEVE THE GOSPEL?
"Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." John 8:24
On Monday, June 13, 2016, my daughter had bowel enterectomy surgery in which a foot of her small intestine was removed and resection was performed. Although performed laparoscopically, this procedure is no walk in the park. We were a little on edge as we prayed for a great result. After two hours, the surgeon came out and informed us that all went well. We were so grateful to God for this good news!
Post-op was a different story, however. The CO2 gas used for the procedure caused tremendous pain that the hospital was unable to control. My heart broke as my daughter suffered hour after hour with a 10+ pain level. She was crying in agony, wondering if she could take it any longer. Finally, after a four hour wait, the attending doctor came to reassess her. She upped her meds, and the pain slowly subsided to a more bearable level.
As I watched my daughter writhe in pain, I was totally helpless to fix it. I prayed for God to take away her pain. I prayed for Him to give her relief. Without question, I would not want my worst enemy to experience this level of suffering. Then it dawned on me. This is a faint picture of the horrors of hell. In Luke 16, Jesus told of a rich man who died and went to Hades (hell). This man said, "I am in agony in this flame" (Luke 16:24).
THE REALITY OF HELL
The Bible clearly teaches there is a terrible, horrible place called hell. It is a place of outer darkness... a place of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. This awful place was not created for people, but for "the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). The Lord doesn't want anyone to go to this place. Jesus died in agony and blood on the cross to prevent it! He took our hell so that we would never have to go there. However, those who reject Christ and His love and grace will find themselves in hell one day, just as the rich man in Luke 16 did. It is definitely not God's will or desire that they be there, but it is the just end to any sinner who refuses the Savior.
Some have asked why is hell a place of torment? Why not just make it a place of banishment? I believe the answer to that question may be more simple than we tend to make it. God is good, gracious, compassionate, kind, and loving. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (see James 1:17). If a person rejects God and refuses to bow the knee to His Lordship and salvation, that person gets their wish--a place without any shred of the goodness of God. If you remove all light from a room, the result is darkness. If you remove every vestige of God's goodness and grace from a place, the result is hell.
DO WE BELIEVE IT?
Here is the sobering truth: every person you know who does not know Christ is one heartbeat away from the agony of hell. This agony will not last for hours, but forever and ever. It is this truth that should motivate every Christian to fervently pray for lost friends, neighbors, work associates and loved ones... and to boldly share the gospel before it is too late.
I heard a man give his testimony a few years back. He came to Christ out of the iron clutches of Islam. He admonished the Christian audience by saying, "I knew many Christians in high school who never ventured to tell me about Jesus. Did they not really believe I was going to hell without Christ, or did they not really care?" What a stinging indictment.
May you and I always keep on the forefront of our minds the reality of hell for all those who reject Jesus and His love. May it spur us on to pray for the opening of blind eyes. May it give us boldness to open our mouths and confidently share the good news that Jesus conquered death, hell and the grave. He will save anybody who comes to Him in repentance and faith. You and I possess the cure for sin. It is Jesus and only Jesus. Let's tell the world about Him while there is still time.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.