Going to Hell as the Watchmen Sleep
The end of chapter 20 in Revelations details how the dead in Christ will one day stand before the Great White Throne in judgment. The books will be laid out and the details of the lives of those who lived a life apart from Christ will be used to pronounce a sentence that is hard to fathom.
I began the class I was teaching with this question:
Do you believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell as detailed in the bible?
There were about 20 adults in attendance and everyone of them said, “Yes”.
Chapter 21 of the same book begins with a description of the new heaven and earth that those alive in Christ will enter. I don’t think its an accident that those two different views are juxtaposed so closely together. As believers we can sit and daydream about what heaven will be like and know with a certainty that our expectations aren’t even a hint of the beauty and perfection that we will witness one day. We will be in the presence of God, the provider of everything Good. There will be no more sorrow, tears, or pain. We will have gained everything.
But before those set of verses that bring us such joy are those verses that detail how the souls of the lost will be cast into the lake of fire. We can’t soften it or philosophize it away. Eternal suffering instead of eternal joy awaits those who have rejected Christ. They will never experience anything good again…. EVER. They will spend eternity dying in the misery of knowing that they missed eternal joy. I believe that they will also dwell on the pain of standing before a righteous and holy God with no excuse for the sins committed in their lives. As much as we cannot fathom the perfection of heaven, I don’t believe we can fathom the complete and utter horror of standing before God in that moment knowing the wretchedness of our sins.
I also don’t think we can fathom the hopelessness that hell will be.
Christ had this to say about believers:
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ “
How many people that we claim friendship with or are family to, are walking the path that leads to eternal damnation? Their futures are on a collision course with fire and we have the ability to impact them because we contain ‘rivers of living water’.
Are our hearts broken before God for those we love? Or those we meet on a day-to-day basis? Truly, are we justly moved to action by a factual belief of what awaits those who will face God guilty in their own sins?
Here is the thing, our motivation is not about helping people escape the fires of hell, though that is a great blessing, nor is it about gaining the splendors of heaven. Revelations chapter 21 verse 7 says this:
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Do we live like we believe that we hold rivers of living water that lead to an inheritance of all things? Do we reflect the joy that should envelop us when we consider that last phrase, ‘and I will be his God, and he shall be my son’?
We can offer everything, through Christ, to those who have nothing.