THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (37) THE DOCTRINE OF HELL
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching from the Book of Romans. The title of her sermon was ‘The Doctrine of the Wrath of God’ (4). Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans chapter 1. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 1:16-25)
The doctrine of Hell is the most terrible doctrine of all. The natural man hates it. Most preachers avoid it. But we must not be ignorant of it. We must preach the whole counsel of God and warn men about this place called hell. The word or concept of hell appears 162 times in the New Testament (70 times out of these, it was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ). Based on these numbers alone, we must study this difficult doctrine.
Hell is a place of total, conscious and eternal separation from God and His blessings. It is a place of torment. The word ‘torment’ means an extreme mental and physical suffering, mixed with pain and fear (1 John 4:18). All people on earth, they go to either heaven or hell. There is no middle ground. Everyone has but one life to live on earth. The purpose of this life is to find God, find Jesus Christ and surrender to Him. It is only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that anyone can escape hell and go to heaven. There is no other option by which a man or woman can go to heaven. Faith in Christ is the Key and the only Key! Originally, hell was designed by God for the devil and his demons. After the fall of man, all who reject Christ and follow the devil will also go to hell. All unbelievers go to where they wanted to go. They rejected God! They must go to hell where they will never see God again! Even if they pray in hell, nobody will answer their prayers! Hell is a conscious torment. Like the rich man who died and went to Hades, people in hell will remember their lives on earth (Lk 16:22-24). All unbelievers who go to hell will become ‘believers’ for now they finally see that Jesus is the Lord! But it is too late! They cannot change their status. Their choice is eternal and irreversible! Hell is a place of total darkness, similar with the plague in Egypt, where darkness could be ‘felt’ (Ex 10:21). Hell is a place of terrible weeping, wailing noise. The souls in hell weep (because of un-ending pain) and ‘gnash their teeth’ (a sign of regret and hopelessness). Weeping and gnashing of teeth have one thing in common—the undeniable fact that those who do not belong to Christ will suffer a terrible fate, while God’s children will enjoy bliss in heaven with Him forever. Hell will be a place of anguish, remorse, pain, and misery. It reveals hurt beyond repair, extreme frustration, and hopeless pain. It seems that there are different levels of torment in hell. Pride has the highest torment (Mt 10:15). There is no rest in hell, no worship, no singing, no hope! What a fearful place! Every pain or suffering we experience on earth, a headache or a toothache, is a little ‘sample’ or what hell could be. It is a warning also, that we may repent and run to Jesus while there is time!
There are many wrong, unbiblical doctrines about hell. Some say that the unbeliever goes to a waiting place called ‘purgatory’. If his family on earth can intercede for him and pay some offerings to the church, that one can be translated from purgatory to heaven. This is a wrong doctrine. No change can happen after death. Others say that all people are God’s creation and therefore, they will all go to heaven where God is. This error is called ‘universalism’. Another wrong doctrine is called ‘Anihilism’. People believe that an unbeliever will be annihilated, completely destroyed after he dies, just like an animal. They say that God is too good to send people to hell. These are all wrong doctrines.
In the Bible, there is a place called ‘Hades’ (or Sheol). When a believer dies, he goes straight to heaven to meet the Lord. Absent from the body, it means present with the Lord (2Cor 5:8). But when an unbeliever dies, he goes to a place called ‘hades’, which is a hell like prison, where he will wait until the final judgment. At last, all unbelievers, death itself and the devil himself will be cast out into Hell fire. That is called the second death (Lk 16:22-24; Rev 20:10-14; 21:8).
150,000 people die every day throughout the world. Study the Word about hell. It will help you hate sin as God hates it! The doctrine of hell should help us in our sanctification and doing evangelism. The demons believe in hell more than men do. They know that they will be tormented forever in the future (Mt 8:28, 29). These are some of the scriptures that refer to hell: Matthew 3:7-12; 5:21, 22; 5:27-30; 7:13, 14; 19, 20; 8:12. 28. 29; 10:23, 24; 12:31, 32; 13:37-51; 18:8, 9, 34; 22:13; Luke 16:22-24…
Finally, as believers, we should be encouraged. Nothing replaces the Word of God! In good times and bad, praying on top of the mountain or in the deepest valley, the Word of God is life to us! For Christ’ sake, every child of God is saved from the wrath of God and hell. Jesus died on the Cross to be the Propitiation, to appease God’s wrath. By faith in Christ Crucified and Resurrected, we are now free. This is the power of the Gospel! Heaven is our destiny and our final eternal destination. “For God has not destined us to [incur His] wrath [that is, He did not select us to condemn us], but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died [willingly] for us, so that whether we are awake (alive) or asleep (dead) [at Christ’s appearing], we will live together with Him [sharing eternal life]. Therefore, encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing” (1 Thess 5:9-11; AMP). Dear child of God, there is light at the end of the tunnel! We have suffered many things in this world. But in Christ, we are saved forever! No more fear! No more doubts! If you are a believer, give thanks to God! You will never go to this fearful place called hell! But if you are not saved, don’t waste time! Give your life to Christ! Now! Oh, how sweet to know Jesus, as my Savior and my Lord! “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long!” Give thanks to God! “Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4, 5). Child of God, please be encouraged today! Weeping is over! JOY COMES! JOY COMES! Worship the Lord!