A while back I was praying for the salvation of my grown kids and it broke my heart thinking about them spending eternity being tormented in Hell if they die in their sins. They will suffer unbearable pain, day and night with no relief and the smoke of their torment will rise forever. This will happen to them if they die as unrepentant sinners.
The thought of my kids ending up in Hell is more painful to think about than I can bear. I really can’t imagine it. So then I thought “maybe I really am too hard line on what the Bible says. Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe our loving God really wouldn’t send people to Hell. Maybe I’m misreading or misunderstanding God’s Word. Maybe I’m wrong.”
I realize that these were just thoughts, but I really thought them. The problem is they were just thoughts. My thoughts were not the Holy Bible. So then I thought “I’ll scour the Scriptures and see if there is a loophole somewhere – even one little verse.” I wanted to see if there was a single passage somewhere that would give me hope that my kids won’t end up burning in Hell if they don’t repent and put their trust in Jesus. I was looking for just a glimmer of hope.
But before I could even turn to one verse in the Bible, God brought to mind Revelation 21:8, where Jesus says, But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
That covers it. That settles it. There are no loopholes. There is no misreading or misunderstanding Jesus’ words in this one verse. So no matter how much I wish it weren’t so, no matter how bad it breaks my heart to think about my kids ending up in that awful place of never ending torment; it doesn’t change the reality that they will end up there if they continue on the paths that they are on. They will end up there if they die in their sins as impenitent sinners.
You see my oldest kids are unbelievers, they are idolaters; just to name a couple of categories listed in this verse. But the clincher is the last one our Lord mentioned: all liars. All means ALL!That one category covers each and every one of us. We have all lied. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. In fact, most of us have told countless lies. Since Jesus Christ is not their Lord and Savior, then my kids are also in this last category and if they remain there, if they never turn away from their sins and put their trust in Jesus, then no matter how heartbreaking it will be for me, they will end up in Hell.
No matter how much I wish that there was another option. No matter how much I wish that there really was a purgatory or some other way of escaping everlasting damnation for my kids, there just isn’t one – if they die as unrepentant sinners. No matter how much I want a different answer, there isn’t one! My hoping and wishing does not change the reality of the situation. My kids will be tormented in Hell forever and ever if they don’t come to Jesus.
I didn’t have to search the Scriptures for any more verses. The truth in this one verse is enough for Jesus Christ to find my kids guilty on Judgment Day – if they continue rejecting Him. If they continue rebelling against Him. There is no way around it. In Matthew 5:18 Jesus says, For verily I say to you, Til heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Isaiah 40:8 states, The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
The word of God will stand forever. There is no compromise. There are no other options. No matter how much we wish or hope for another alternative; there is no other option. It is Life or Death. It is Heaven or Hell. It is Jesus or Satan. It is surrendered to Christ or rebellion against Him. It is Turn or Burn. It is Repent or Perish. It really is black and white. There are no gray areas. God is not wishy- washy. He doesn’t go back on His word. If He did, then He would cease being God.
There is no doubt that God punishes unrepentant sinners and that punishment is eternal punishment in the lake of fire and brimstone. This is reality and there is no way around it. So we know that God really will send people to Hell. He has already sent people to Hell (read Luke 16:19-31). God will most definitely not go back on His word: so all liars, that is all unbelievers, that is all unrepentant liars will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. So would a loving God really send people to Hell? Yes He would, yes He has, yes He will and yes, that even includes you, if you have never been born again and you die in your sins.
But wait a minute, how can a loving God really send people to Hell? Some people preach the message that God is love. This is biblical. God is love (1 John 4:8). But if all you preach is that God is love, that He is merciful, kind and forgiving; then you are not preaching the whole counsel of God. You are only presenting one side of God’s nature. He is all of these things – loving, kind, merciful and forgiving. This is true.
At the same time, God is also Holy, righteous and just. God is Holy and we are not. We are sinful by nature. We are sinful because of the fall of Adam and Eve. We really are born this way. You don’t have to teach a little kid how to be bad. We teach children how to be good (at least that’s what parents should be doing). Since God is Holy, righteous and just, then He must punish sin. If God did not punish guilty sinners, then He would be unjust. He would be unfair.
If God were only loving and not just, then He would have to allow ISIS jihadists into Heaven just like He receives true believers into Heaven. Can you imagine how unfair that would be? What would Heaven really be like if you had mass murderers, child killers and rapists like ISIS terrorists allowed there? It would no longer be Heaven! Wickedness would seep throughout Heaven and it would no longer be Heaven. If God allowed you into Heaven in your unregenerate state, then Heaven would no longer be Heaven. Even an unrepentant sinner like you would taint Heaven, if God allowed you in. But He can’t and He won’t let you into Heaven if you die in your sins.
No, God is not unjust. If He were only loving, then He would not be fair. Impenitent sinners are working for death. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). The soul that sins, it shall die. God is a just God so therefore He must punish rebellious sinners and He does and will punish all liars – all unrepentant liars in the lake of fire and brimstone. This punishment is thorough. This punishment is everlasting because God is that Holy. Sinners who die in their sins suffer and burn forever because suffering and burning forever in Hell, never repays the sin debt that they owe. God is that Holy and righteous. Unrepentant sinners need to truly understand how Holy God is and how unholy fallen man is.
But because God is love, because He is so loving; He made a way of escape for us through His own Son, Jesus who walked this earth a little over 2,000 years ago. Jesus never sinned in His thoughts, words or actions. He is the perfect, sinless One. Jesus suffered and died on a cruel cross, bearing the wrath of God, the same wrath that you and I rightly deserve. Jesus was beat unmercifully. He was beaten so badly that you couldn’t even recognize Him. Then He suffered on the cross for six long agonizing hours. Again, He suffered God’s anger over our sins while He hung there.
Jesus died, He was buried and He rose from the grave three days later. Jesus rose victoriously. Jesus is not a wimpy little Savior. He is a victor! He defeated sin, death, Hell and Satan. God, out of His great love, offers us everlasting life if we repent by turning away from our sins and put our faith in Jesus. If we stop rebelling against God and submit to Jesus’ lordship. Now that truly is amazing love! God put’s our vile sins on the beaten, bloody back of Jesus while He’s on the cross and then He gives us credit for Jesus’ perfection and total obedience – when we repent and believe the Gospel.
There is no greater love than this. Why don’t you, yes I’m talking to you; why don’t you quit rebelling against God? Why don’t you repent and put your faith in Jesus? The question isn’t: Would a loving God really send people to Hell? The question is: Will you, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, surrender your life to Jesus? Will you submit to Him tonight? Will you confess your sins and ask God to save you?
For godly sorrow works repentance unto salvation not be be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death (2 Corinthians 7:10). Don’t continue working for death. Don’t continue working for physical death in this life and even worse: for the second death in the next life. Because that death is eternal. You don’t just burn up to a crisp in Hell and then it’s all over. The second death keeps going and going. It never ends. I wish that it weren’t so, but it is. The Bible declares it and God’s word cannot be broken.
Come to Jesus and live. Receive everlasting life. Confess and forsake your sins. That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation (Romans 10:9-10). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). Please don’t foolishly die in your sins and spend eternity in the lake of fire and brimstone.
Our loving God really does send people to Hell. People suffering in Hell right now are there because they loved their sins. God really will send you to Hell after you die if you die in your sins. But please don’t miss this: the same loving God that sends people to Hell also gave His own Son to ransom you – to redeem you from your sins. Our Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Galatians 1:4-5).
Don’t reject the love of God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Choose life tonight. Come to our loving Savior. Willingly bow your knee and confess with your tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is Lord. Surrender your will to His will and put your trust in Him. Be saved tonight and truly receive the love of God.
(This message was proclaimed on the square in downtown Springfield, MO on November 9, 2014)