Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Bible Verses on Hell

1. Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

This is an interesting quote from Revelation. We are told exactly who will be going to the lake of fire and sulfur. And it's interesting that it's described in such visceral terms as "fire" and "sulfur." So we know that cowards, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, sexual immoral, sorcerers, those who hold other gods, and liars will receive this punishment. It is referred to as the second death. What does this mean? Well the first death is our physical death. The death of our bodies. And the second death? Should we face it, it is the death of our spiritual selves.

2. Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

We should never fear corrupt governments, or criminals or even terrorists. For they have only the power to kill the body. That is meaningless, for our physical bodies will pass away eventually anyway! What is important is our spiritual selves. So ought to fear God, as he has command over our souls. We are not to fear the demons or Satan. They do not have the power to destroy our soul. The only power they are allowed is what power God gives them.

3. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We see in Romans 6:23 that what we earn from our sins is death. Spiritual and physical death. We do not earn our place in the next life. It is a gift from God. Eternal life became possible for all who want it with the sacrifice of Jesus, the lamb of God. So when we ask ourselves what will all our sinning lead to? Well, assuming we confess and repent, God will forget them all. If not, then we will face judgement by them.

4. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

The passages I've encountered about hell are very cryptic. Thessalonians refers to eternal destruction which is almost a complete contradiction of terms, but there it is. We get an interesting glimpse into the idea of hell here. We learn that hell is far from the presence of God. The presence of God is always with us here, and will be much stronger in the next life on the new earth. Being away from the presence of God is unimaginable, but it does not sound fun. We would be away from his glory and all his love. I imagine it would feel quite empty. Let me emphasize just for a minute that the fear of hell should not be the driving force in our spiritual journeys. That will lead to nothing but more sin. It is by an exchange of love, between ourselves and the creator, that we are sustained through this journey. So don't let all of this talk of hell make you turn your back on that love.

5. Mark 9:43-48 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.'

This is a memorable passage from Mark. We are told that if our hand causes us to sin, cut it off! Many take this very literally. But I believe it is more symbolic of removing the negative parts in our personalities. Jesus is explaining just how vital it is that we not sin. We might as well rip off our hand or foot to avoid damnation! It's an important message about righteousness. We know that through Christ all things are possible, and that if we earnestly seek God he will add all good things to our personalities. There is no need to fear hell, we are in Christ. Christ loves us, and protects us.