Some naively wish and believe that hell is not real, or that it is not that bad, or that long to be endured. Or that no one or hardly anyone (only people much worse than themselves) will end up there.
In Jesus’ account in Luke 16, the rich man says, “I am in anguish in this flame,” begging for “a drop of water to cool my tongue,” which he is denied without hope.
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’Luke 16:19-26
Tormented Day & Night
Hell is described in Jesus’ Revelation to St. John as a “lake of fire and sulfur” where the devil and his human instruments of deception (summarized as “the beast and the false prophet”) “will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Can you imagine anything worse?) Included in this tormented amalgamation are those described as “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.” Repeated for emphasis in the next and last chapter of the Bible:
“Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”Revelation 22:15
The Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul affirms: “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The Holy One of God
God didn’t send His Son to the cross to save us from a “time out” or a slap on the wrist or a brief detention. Nor does God want us who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior to go on living like hell. Repentance and faith necessarily results in a changed life. A mere recognition of who Christ is does not save, “for even the demons believe–and shudder!” (James 2:19) The demon who recognized Jesus as the Son of God cried out in fear, “What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.” (Mark 1:24)
His Full & Free Salvation
A healthy fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10) But “by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6) Then trust in the Lord as your Savior and live a life pleasing to him in gratitude for His full and free salvation. “He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15) “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) What are you practicing?