Yesterday, hubby and I found ourselves defending the Heavenly Father and His Son from the accusations of a hostile young man. The man was cursing God and saying He was sick because He created hell, an eternal place of punishment. I explained firstly that God is extremely holy and that we have all rebelled against Him by breaking His commandments: lying, using His name as a cuss word aka blaspheming, lusting, which Jesus called adultery, stealing, the list goes on.
He is perfect so to Him, these repetitive offenses are disgraceful and wicked. But God, in His great mercy, made a way to cleanse us from our filth by sending His perfect Son to die in our place so that those who repent and trust in Christ to deliver them from the power of sin and death can receive forgiveness and be cleansed from their unrighteousness (but they must continue in Christ).
My husband mentioned our judicial system and how crimes are punished, even capital punishment is given here. Again, the offenses caused on earth are considered deserving of punishment by sinners who often break God’s laws, but to God, all sin is rebellion and punishable by death.
I tried to mention how we were never created to die, that death is a curse. Our bodies are inhabited by an eternal spirit that never dies so when this earthly body dies, we enter into eternity, and there are only two places for us to reside in eternity: heaven or hell.
While in worship, the thought hit me, maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons why hell is so severe is so that it will greatly discourage people from wanting to go there so that they can choose the Father’s love and the gift of His Son that they might dwell with Him forever instead.
If hell was just a boring place maybe we’d think it’s not that bad and be fine with going there for eternity. In fact, how many falsely believe hell is like an eternal party where all the wicked go? They laugh and say they want to go there. But the truth is that Jesus described hell as a place where their worm does not die and the fire is never quenched. It’s horrific, and hopefully that puts fear into people so that they would see their temporary pleasures of sin are not worth an eternity of separation from God in a place of fiery destruction.
In fact, God takes no pleasure in punishing the wicked, for it His desire that “none would perish, but that all would come to repentance.”
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? ” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
Another fact worth noting is if a person rejects Christ on earth, why would they desire to live with Him and serve Him forever and ever in the next life? God gives all the opportunity to make Him the God of their life but if they consistently refuse Him, why would He let them into heaven? How could He even trust that they will obey Him forever if they couldn’t even do it for their temporary stay on earth? Satan was following God, but then he decided he wanted to be his own god, and thus, he led a rebellion and needed to be cast out of heaven. Earth is like a trial round. If we can be faithful to God here in the midst of all the evil and darkness surrounding us, we can surely be faithful in His presence where there’s only goodness and light.
First, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, living according to their own desires, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” They willfully ignore this: Long ago the heavens and the earth were brought about from water and through water by the word of God. Through these waters the world of that time perished when it was flooded. But by the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God. The heavens will be on fire and be dissolved because of it, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell. Therefore, dear friends, while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found at peace with Him without spot or blemish. Also, regard the patience of our Lord as an opportunity for salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. Therefore, dear friends, since you know this in advance, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:3-15, 17, 18)