Who Goes to Hell?
Anyone who does not have a saving relationship with Jesus goes to hell. We can’t say “Well Christians go to heaven, and non-Christians go to hell,” because we cannot personally know what is in a person’s heart. We know many “Christians” who are goats disguised as sheep.
The Bible makes it clear – we need to have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus (we need to have experienced his salvation on earth) in order to go to heaven.
But wait, we may say, doesn’t hell seem like overkill? After all, wouldn’t people tire after thousands of years of watching even the most evil of men, such as Nero or Hitler, suffer eternal punishment?
Of course, an article of this size cannot nearly capture the scope to answer that question. In some ways from our perspective, hell seems unfair. Why would good people by our standards ever endure such punishment?
First, we need to establish, as mentioned above that someone who goes into hell marches into it. We choose to go to hell; God does not send us there. His holiness would annihilate us on the spot if we approached heaven with unrepentant hearts. Only because the Holy Spirit lives within us can we boldly approach his throne.
Secondly, the Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and the Parable of the Rich Man suggest that people in hell would rather hate heaven. In fact, these suggest that they may commit more sins in hell, accumulating the sin debt, and prolonging one’s punishment for all of eternity.
Allow me to explain. In the Great Divorce, a work of fiction by C.S. Lewis, people from hell get a chance to visit heaven. And they hate it. They want to go back to hell.
In the parable of the rich man, the rich man begs Abraham to let him go warn his family about the dangers of hell. Abraham says, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”
In other words, Abraham tells him, “Look, they have Scripture. If they don’t listen to that and believe (even after Jesus literally rose from the dead), you can’t unharden a heart.”
Finally, we need to understand the gravity of sin. As Christians, we don’t take sin seriously enough. Sin is far more than a slap to God’s face. It is rebellion. It is betrayal. It is claiming that God does not deserve to be on the throne, but in fact, we do.
Sin destroys, deteriorates us beyond recognition, and causes a “good person” to commit terrible atrocities. The more we understand sin, the more we can understand the length of punishment in hell, especially if in hell, sinners keep sinning.
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