Hell is indeed real. We know this from what the Bible says about it. If you have doubts about the truth of the Bible, go to ‘the Bible’ page to learn how we can know that the Bible is the true word of God.
How do we know Hell exists?
We know Hell exists because Jesus Christ talked about it’s existence and described it as a real place. Jesus’ statements about Hell occur in the Bible, in the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus said in Matthew 23:33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” There all also descriptions of Hell all throughout the whole Bible. Hell is seriously real. Even if you don’t believe in it, it’s real. Unfortunately, there are millions of people who reject the idea of Hell and scoff at it, saying, “That’s just fairy tales!” Or, “I’ll wait and see what happens after I die.” But then it’s too late. I can’t imagine why anyone would take a chance on suffering horrible, excruciating pain and torment forever, but there are millions who do. I pray that you are not one of them.
What is Hell?
Hell is a place designed and created by God to punish wrongdoing. This punishment lasts forever. The Bible is filled with descriptions of Hell calling it an unquenchable, eternal fire, a furnace of fire and then that, “…the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night.” [Revelation 14:11]. Hell is also called chambers of death, the pit of destruction and deep pits of fire from which no one can escape. The severity and extreme agony that Hell is for those who go there cannot be overstated, nor are there any words or any language that could accurately describe it. We’ve all likely been burned on a hot pan or a stove and know that small burns really hurt and take a long time to heal. But to be caught in a fire and to have some part of you actually burning is a pain that we cannot imagine unless we have been through it. We could say the words that it would be terribly excruciating, but actual experience is the only thing that would make us know the reality of it. The reality of Hell is worse that we can ever imagine in this world because in Hell a persons whole being is engulfed in flame and is never burned up, but goes on burning forever. For an eye-opening perspective on Hell, get the book, “23 Minutes in Hell” by Bill Wiese (Charisma House 2006 ISBN 1-59185-882-8)
Who goes to Hell?
Since Hell was created and exists to punish wrongdoing, those who are guilty of doing wrong will go there. The Bible says: “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.” [Nahum 1:3] “…and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” [Matt 5:22] "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [Revelation 21:8] This paints a pretty grim picture for the whole human race. According to this last passage all you have to do to qualify for Hell is to be a liar. We have all lied and if you say you haven’t, then you’ve just made yourself one anyway. Seems like a very unfair penalty though: tell a lie, suffer in Hell forever. Why is the punishment for telling a lie, or any other sin so severe? It is because when we do wrong, it is a sin committed against God himself. When we do wrong to God, who is infinite and holy, the penalty necessarily has to be infinite. In other words, it’s not the size of the crime, but the size of the one who the crime was committed against. The point is, every person who has ever lived has done wrong and that deserves a penalty. “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction,” [2 Thessalonians 1:9].
How to not go to Hell
The only way to not go to Hell is to be not guilty of doing wrong. Obviously, as we have seen, we are guilty and there is no way to undo our past sins. Proverbs 20:9 says, “Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?” Some imagine that if they do enough good deeds, it will outweigh the bad and so save them from the sentence of Hell, but Romans 3:20 says, “…because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight;” This is saying that doing the right things (works of the Law) cannot make someone innocent (justified) in God’s sight. It kind of sounds like we’re all doomed, like there’s nothing we can do to help ourselves and that is exactly right. Imagine that a woman has caused a car accident, having mistakenly run a red light and slammed into another car. The driver is seriously injured, but the woman has no insurance. Eventually she is before a judge, who has to rule that she must pay $1,000,000 in damages or go to jail. Since the woman has no means to pay the amount, she acknowledges her guilt, but pleads for mercy. However, the judge must pronounce the sentence. He cannot ignore the law or he would be a wrongdoer himself. The woman begins sobbing with regret and looks up at the judge, whose eyes are also filled with tears. Then she does the unthinkable and asks the judge to pay her fine for her. Unbelievably, the judge suddenly stands up, lays aside his judges robe, goes to the court clerk and pays the woman’s fine. She ecstatically accepts his payment on her behalf and is now completely free of the debt. The judge was the woman’s very, very wealthy father. That is our only hope too, that someone pays our penalty for us.
Since we are guilty of sins that require an infinite penalty (because we have sinned against an infinite God), we need someone with the means to pay that for us. Only God can do that and thankfully he has. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). We deserve to die for our sin, but Jesus Christ, who was both God and man, came to earth and died in our place. Similar to the judge in the preceding story, Jesus can now pay our penalty for us. He will pay what we owe, but just like the woman in the story, we must admit our guilt and ask him to forgive our debt.
To Hell with Yourself or Not?
The choice is yours. Jesus Christ stands ready to pay your fine and absolve you of all guilt, but will you accept? “For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:3) Will you believe? I pray that you will believe and accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers. Remember that for those who do not believe, “…their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [Revelation 21:8].