A difficult topic most would like to avoid

This prophecy about Satan’s future is found in the book of Revelation: “Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

Hell exists for God to deal righteously with our enemy, Satan. Hell also exists for God to deal righteously with unbelievers. This is where things get complicated. Many people would say this doesn’t seem fair. How can a loving God send someone to hell? We may get it for the extreme cases, like rapists and murders, but this idea of a highway to hell and a broad road to destruction make it sound like lots of people are headed there. Nobody likes the sound of that.

Even though we all know people who really don’t have much to do with God, we still think of them as pretty good people. Surely, God would never send them to hell, would he?

There is almost universal agreement that whenever some type of injustice takes place, somebody must pay for it. If somebody hurts someone else, they should have to pay for the injustice. If someone violates the law, there is a consequence. There is a price to pay. And yet, the very same people who argue for justice here on Earth often argue for a God of love and mercy without any justice.

Contemporary culture has attempted to recreate God in their own image in an attempt to justify their own lifestyles. After all, God is love, right?

People believe God is holy. He is righteous and all of that, but their attitude is “It is my life. Shouldn’t I get to live it any way that I want without any consequence? Since God loves me, he gets it. He understands. Surely, he will look the other way and let me do what I want without any punishment.”

It is impossible for God to be holy without being just. Hell exists for God to deal righteously with the devil and with those who reject God’s gift of eternal life to continue in a life of sin (which is any willful violation of God’s known law). This is a difficult topic, one most of us would like to avoid.

But it does no good to bury our heads in the sand. The same Bible where we read about heaven speaks plainly about hell.

Next time, we will give further consideration to what the Bible has to say about this place that everyone wants to avoid.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or email him at [email protected] Send comments to [email protected]