The Other 'H' Word in the Bible

 


Over the years since I was a child in church, in various worship services, we have sung the old hymn, "When We All Get To Heaven."

The chorus of the hymn says: “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!” This song was a constant reminder that Christians are looking forward to being in Heaven with Jesus Christ some day because of their faith in him. Like the Bible challenges us, we should be anticipating that day with great joy. Heaven will be our eternal home after Christ returns to earth and raises his followers from the dead.

It’s like Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” The Lord also said: “In my Father’s house are many rooms… I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” And the Apostle Paul wrote: “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Just like the Scriptures promise, Heaven will be our home, if Jesus is our Savior.


However, there is another promise in the Bible that is equally true, but tragic. It is the fact there is also a very real destination called Hell where some people will spend eternity. Once again it was Jesus Christ who spoke about this sobering reality. He said: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.” On another occasion, Jesus spoke of a time to come when he will say to some people: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”


That is similar to what the Apostle John wrote about the coming end of time, according to the book of Revelation: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The Apostle Paul summed it up when he wrote: “…This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” Sadly, this will be the destination of all throughout history who have rejected the truth about God. Hell is very real.


However, there are many people who do not believe this to be true. Some don’t believe Hell exists, even though they might still believe in Heaven. Others have convinced themselves that a loving God would never send anyone to Hell. They would question or doubt the justice of God if he was to do so. While others think that perhaps a limited number of really evil people might end up in a hell of some kind, or that they will simply cease to exist for eternity. Ironically, some of the same people who deny the existence of Hell will angrily tell others to go there.


The problem with that kind of thinking is that it contradicts the Scriptures. That is because the same Bible that teaches us about Heaven also teaches us about Hell. Jesus spoke about Heaven and Hell. The Apostles wrote about Heaven and Hell. According to the Bible you cannot have one without the other. Dismissing any belief in Hell is not an option, unless you also dismiss your belief in Heaven as taught in the Word of God. Simply not believing in Hell will not change the fact that it exists.

That is why we need to be certain about our eternal destiny. We need to know that Christ has saved us from our sin because of his death and resurrection. We need to know, once and for all, that we have placed our faith and trust in him alone to forgive our sin and to give us eternal life. There must a point in time when we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin and death and Hell.


Listen again to what Christ said: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

Doug Birky

Pastor, Evangelical Free Church

 

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