Many folks don’t want to believe the alternative to Heaven is hell. They refuse to accept that people will actually end up in an eternal furnace of torture.
Athiests say we’re born, we live, we die, and rot. End of story. Agnostics aren’t all that sure; prove it to them. Various religions believe in hell but have varying ways in which to escape it following death. Some say you can “baptize a proxy”, to get them out. Others think you can pray them out. Others believe when you die, God will put your sins on one side of a scale and if your good deeds weigh more than your sins, then you get to come on into the place with no more sorrow, no more pain, no more night. You get to live eternally with the Most High and Holy God.
To be honest, the urgency with which most Christians share the Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free card, you’d think they believe that, too. However, the Bible speaks emphatically about a real place, an eternal furnace, an eternal punishment. I don’t like it. I don’t like the idea that someone can be as kind or kinder than me in life and because they refuse to accept the gift of God’s grace through Jesus, that they will end up separated from God forever. I don’t like that Lucifer took all the beauty, glory, and God-created brilliance he possessed and decided to elevate Himself above God, either. He misused every single portion of his being to reject God and lead others to do likewise.
Few folks have any problem with Satan ending up chained to the burning abyss, unable to exact harm upon creation anymore. They can see the justice in Satan going to hell for his rebellion against God…for his rejection The Great I AM, Jehovah. They even accept that all his demons belong right there next to him for causing such havoc and chaos in the world.
But it’s hard, for some, impossible, to wrap their minds around the idea that a person, created in God’s image, could possibly end up in Satan’s lap for all eternity. Yet, Jesus says that is exactly what is going to happen when He returns and separates the goats from the sheep. The tares from the wheat. The unrighteous from the righteous. The ones with lights in their oil lamps from those without light.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41
If you don’t want to believe it; it doesn’t change anything. It is what it is, and will be what God says, anyway. The Lord would have all men to come to His saving grace. He wants that so much He literally came to earth to show us Himself, to live among us and show us how to talk to Him, how to live as He lived. He came to die and become the perfect and holy sacrifice to attone for our sins. He took our sin upon Himself so we wouldn’t have to spend an eternity with Satan who rejects God, who refuses to bow to God’s authority. God doesn’t want a single soul to spend a second away from Himself. He loved us before we first loved Him. He longs for us to come to Him.
Since He before we were created, He wanted us to know Him in all His fullness and glory. Just like you long for others to know you and love you and be part of your life, God wants that, too. He wants to give us all He has and the glory on this earth and more. The happiness we get, the comfort, the joy is nothing–nothing compared to what He has prepared for those of us who trust and believe.
LORD, lay some soul upon our hearts, and let us share today.