Last time, we established that “there is nothing under creation that fights as deliberately and ferociously against its Creator as mankind.” Furthermore, we concluded that, “until we get a grasp of this fact, we will never be able to comprehend that God is just, right, and good to condemn the entire human race to eternal judgment. Nor will we be able to appreciate the incomprehensible mercy and kindness of a God who forgives even one single human.”
Do we believe this to the point that we accept it? Seriously. You’ve read the Old Testament. You see for yourself what God has in store for judgment and wrath against a sinful and adulterous people. You see for yourself what Jesus says about eternal judgement. Let’s take a look at how Jesus describes Hades.
Luke16:22-25, 27-31 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father, Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.’….And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house – for I have five brothers – so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
This certainly isn’t limited to Hebrews who don’t listen to God.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
And for the final judgment for those who refuse to obey:
Matthew 25:41, 46 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels….And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Revelation 20:10, 15 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever….And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Why so harsh? Why everyone? The answer lies in a common attribute of God you see popping up over and over throughout the bible.
Psalm 89:14a Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Do you get that? These two attributes are the FOUNDATION of God’s throne. Righteousness is the standard. Justice is the consequence of disobedience.
Do we believe this stuff? Come on now, be honest. Do we believe that EVERYONE deserves this? Perhaps we have a part of us that thinks God is unjust in all this. I mean, is he really being fair? We may talk all we want about believing the bible, but when it comes down to brass tacks at a funeral, we start making all sorts of excuses in hopes that the unbeliever in the casket is in heaven rather than eternal torment. Right?
This is dangerous ground, my friends. My advice is to really let this doctrine sink in deep because if we don’t, we shall always doubt God. Are we settled that God is just, right, and good by sending our unbelieving son or daughter to hell at their death? Are we comfortable that that is where WE deserve to go had it not been for God’s mercy? We’ll get to the mercy part tomorrow; but for today, let’s settle this issue that hell is prepared for the rebellious. That includes you, me, and everyone else that has ever been born.
Let me take it one step further. Can you praise God because of this? Can you rejoice in the fact that all sinners will pay for their rebellion in the lake of fire? Can you glorify God in your acceptance of this reality? I’m not saying you should be happy about it. No, Jesus lamented over Jerusalem. Can you instead see how wicked we truly are and how magnificently holy God is? Can you see that there is no other alternative than to punish our behavior – with eternal fire?
Folks, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Seventh Day Adventists all had trouble with this doctrine. That’s why they altered scripture and wrote their own bibles to fit their belief. Same is true for the Muslims and Jews. All liberal churches, post-modernists, humanists, etc., etc. all have trouble with this doctrine. All abandon the inerrancy of the bible. What sayeth you?
Father, teach us. Amen.