What does it mean to go to Hell?

It’s Monday Grace!

I wish I could say that no one likes to talk about Hell. The truth is that some preachers like to talk about it way too much. They think the way to keep their members in line is to threaten them with Hell. The problem, of course, is that no Christian will be going there. Unless these churches are filled with unbelievers, messages about Hell are meaningless.

In our day it is becoming popular for people to say that there is no such thing as Hell, that all people are or will be saved and Hell is just the way the Catholic Church frightened the people into submission. They ignore a good amount of Scripture to say this, of course.

Frankly, if I thought the Bible taught that all were saved and there is no danger of Hell for anyone, I would be happy to proclaim that. But the Bible does not teach that. At minimum, the Bible makes it clear that some are in and some are out at the end. Whatever we think happens to these people, they are not in Heaven.

And that’s the point. You see, the presence of the Lord is the key to understanding both Heaven and Hell. In Heaven, we will be fully and freely with the Lord forever. There will be nothing between us. Our past, our desires, our weaknesses – nothing. In His presence we will find the welcome and acceptance we have never fully felt here. Even as believers we can only begin to feel that connection, that love, in this life.

But unbelievers can never feel it. How can a person feel a connection and welcome from someone they reject? How do you receive love from someone you don’t want as part of your life? How do you benefit from a gift you refuse?

Let’s get a couple of things straight. Hell is not a punishment for sin. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. Those who teach these things miss the point. We have been taught to equate bad actions with harsh punishment, and Hell is the harshest we know. So, those who do bad things are in danger of Hell, we are told.

No. That’s not right. Hell is the natural state of those who are separated from God. All of us were separated from God in the beginning. Our birthright was that separation. Call it “born in sin,” or “depravity,” or “brokenness,” it means the same thing. Apart from God we are in big trouble.

So God calls to us. He reaches out to us. He has initiated our reconciliation, our salvation. He has done the work, paid the price, and offered it as a gift. He has done everything short of forcing us, because forcing us to love Him and live with Him would not be right.

No one is sent to Hell at the end of their lives. Instead, they are allowed to go their own way and the natural progression of their own way is separation from God. Heaven is for those who will come to God in Jesus. That’s how the work was done. But Hell is for those who want nothing to do with that gift.

I realize this brings up all kinds of questions about those who seem to have had little chance to hear or understand the offer of salvation in Jesus. There are many such questions. I leave that in the hands and heart of a loving God. He understands, and He is good.

We are also moved to wonder about what Hell will be like for those who remain apart from God. We simply don’t have those answers. God has promised that Heaven will be very good. He has warned us about Hell because Hell will be very bad. That’s about as much as we know.

There probably are not going to be demons with pitchforks, but there will also probably not be an eternal beer party with a great band. If Heaven is beyond the imaginable extension of the good of this world, then Hell may be beyond the imaginable extension of the evil of this world. There are some very dark places in the human heart. I don’t want to think about that much.

Yes, Hell is real. By their own choice and according to their own plan, some will spend eternity apart from the Lord. God did not design Hell to punish them. He offered Heaven to rescue them.

**********

I am still excited!

We have a temporary fix for those who would like to receive books directly from us without going through Amazon. It’s simple. Just make a donation and let me know that you want a book. The donation button is just under my picture on the right side of the page. That will take you to Paypal, where you can make a donation of any size. Several give regularly through Paypal, and it works well. After you make your donation, send me a note at: dave(at)gracefortheheart.org. If you want an ebook, I will send you a file by email. If you want a paperback, I will send one to the address you give me.

In order for this to work, I would ask for the following donation levels:

$5.00 donation – I will send an ebook file of the Jesus Loves Me book in both pdf and epub

10.00 donation – your choice of ebook or a paperback of the Jesus Loves Me book

Of course, you are welcome to make a larger donation. These days that would be greatly appreciated. For anything larger than $10, I’d be happy to send you both the ebook and the paperback. (Those of you who already use Paypal to donate to this ministry, please drop me a note and I will send you your choice or both.) If you want multiple copies of the paperback, please send me a note, and we can work something out.

These prices will seem higher than Amazon to those who have Prime (and have already paid shipping costs), but they will be comparable for those who must pay shipping. The ebook will be less on Amazon, but they will only send a Kindle version. You should be able to read the pdf or epub on almost any tablet or phone.

Also, I have only 10 of the paperbacks available right now. More are on their way. Be patient. If I run out, it will take a bit to replenish my supply.

So, two steps:

  1. Make a donation using the button on the right side of the blog post.
  2. Send me an email telling me you did that and what you would like me to send.

I’ll do my best to keep on top of this and get your books out quickly. If this works well, I may begin to offer my other books this way as well. We are in the process of reworking the GFTH website with a simple store. I’m looking forward to that.

And, for those of you who still use Amazon, just click on the book cover to use the link.

Click on the picture to go to the Amazon page.

Special note for those who have read all this way: I just published a book on the Revelation! It is on Amazon. If you are interested in a grace-filled perspective on the last book of the Bible, one without charts and timelines, you should check this out. I will just give a clue here: the title of John’s work is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

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