Hell is not a popular topic nowadays. To believe that God would send people, any person, to a place of painful perpetual punishment seems backward and hateful in today’s world. Today, nobody wants to hear that they’re wrong. Nobody wants to hear that what they believe or do is false and wrong. But hell is a proclamation that God does indeed punish sin, and that those who die without trusting in God’s one and only Son Jesus Christ for salvation will be lost forever.
I just read a post from Pastor James Hein of Rochester, MN (hey! that’s the city where I spent my vicar year!) on his aptly titled Pastor James Hein’s Blog. The post talks about a book from a Pastor Rob Bell that will be coming out soon. If the reports of this book are true, it will espouse a universalist approach to salvation. In other words, it says that no one goes to hell and everyone is saved. Pastor Hein does a good job of showing how this is simply not true from God’s Word. Read his post here. I’ve also added his blog to my “check out these blogs” list on the right hand side of the page.
One last thing, the existence of hell does one great thing for us: it reminds us that hell is what we all deserve. We’ve all fallen short of God’s perfection and deserve nothing but his punishment. But God sent his Son. Jesus lived perfectly in our place. He was punished and endured the pain and suffering of hell to pay for the sins of the world. And by the faith that God gives us to trust in him, we are rescued forever. The truth about God, hell, and salvation is not a story of hate and a barbaric deity; it’s a story of grace, forgiveness, and eternal love.