It’s not every morning I wake up to find myself thoroughly studying the depths of hell and all that it entails. I’ve got to be honest: I have a Christian background, and I think I have done my best to gloss over that whole hell section. I mean, I’m saved — have been for most of my life — so hell seems like this really small detail that I get to skip over, like I have some sort of God-given Disney World FastPass.
But as I look up verse after verse on the topic of hell, I slowly realize the gravity and, more specifically, depravity of the entire concept.
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
— Matthew 5:30
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
— Matthew 10:28
But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
— Matthew 8:12
Just as weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire so will it happen at the end of this world. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will uproot from the kingdom everything that is spoiling it, and all those who live in defiance of its laws, and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
— Matthew 13:40–43
If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire.
— Revelation 20:15
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where they beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
— Revelation 20:10
Most of the time when thinking of my salvation, I focus on the thoughts of being saved from this crooked, broken world, being promised a future with no disease, broken hearts or trauma. I focus on the hope I have in Jesus, in a gift of eternal life in a future, perfect world beyond this one. I feel relieved for being forgiven of all the truly terrible mistakes I’ve made, and how Jesus has thrown them out of his mind as far as the East is from the West. These thoughts are well and good, but they still sell the story of Christ short. He wasn’t merely saving us from this broken and depraved world. He came down to earth, sacrificing everything and taking the weight of the entire world on his shoulders, dying in agony to save us from what’s yet to come, from what’s beyond this world: a place that we can’t even fathom. A place where pain and hurt is so entirely intense that it destroys our very souls and lasts for all eternity. A punishment so severe that the devil himself is doomed to endure it. He saved us from that, each and every one of us that have placed our faith in him, solely out of his love for us. How do we skip over that so easily, so often?
Hell is real, or else Jesus wouldn’t have spent so much time on the subject. It is the future for each and every one of us if we don’t choose to believe in Christ and the salvation he has for us. With all that Jesus Christ has done for us out of love, I think one of the most remarkable is that he doesn’t force us to choose him. He wants us to make that decision ourselves. He wants us to choose and follow him through our own free will. The story is all laid out there, in a book that is thousands of years old. A story of a Creator, a perfect God, who sends his Son to save mankind whom he loves, by dying our deserved death, and redeeming us from our sinful nature and rescuing us from eternal damnation and separation from his everlasting love. It’s time to stop glossing over the subject of hell and selling our Savior short. The Gospel is remarkable and it’s time to share it for the remarkable story it is.