“when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
Hell is the presence of God’s wrath and holy justice.
Some say that Hell is what it is because God’s presence is not there. Even Paul, in the above passage, speaks of hell as eternal destruction that takes place “away from the presence of the Lord”
But tell this to a person who doesn’t want to be with God in the first place.
The conversation may go like this:
“Don’t you believe?”
“No, I don’t”
“Unless you believe, you will die in your sin and be cast into hell apart from his presence forever”
“Well, good! I’m not sure I want to spend eternity with God anyway.”
See what I mean? The unbelievers logic is solid here. Why would someone who wants nothing to do with God mind being in hell if all it means is that God is not there? So, is God’s presence there? Or is it not?
Consider this text:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee? If I go into heaven you are there, and if I descend into Hell, you are there.” Psalm 139:7
If God is truly omnipresent, and He is, then He is also in Hell. But it’s a different kind of presence altogether than what the redeemed will experience. In that outer darkness His presence will not be enjoyed. The comfort that his presence gives to those who worship Him will not be there. That is why Paul said that part of the punishment is to be away “from the glory of His might”
Hell is the very real presence of God’s anger, wrath and judgement. One may wish for annihilation there, but the end will never come. The torment will be forever.
Hell is Eternal Dying
Charles Spurgeon once said that “It is the hell of hell that everything there lasts forever. Here, time wears away our griefs, and blunts the keen edge of sorrow; but there, time never mitigates the woe. Here, the sympathy of loving kindred, in the midst of sickness or suffering, can alleviate our pain; but there, the mutual upbraidings and reproaches of fellow- sinners give fresh stings to torment too dreadful to be endured.”
The Scripture concurs with this thought that the fires and torments of hell are unceasing.
Mark 9:47-48 “And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’’
A God who loves perfectly also must hate that which opposes His perfect love. A God of perfect kindness and grace must also be a God of perfect justice and judgement against all who do not obey His truth. Jesus shed his blood at the cross, and in so doing, killed death for all who believe in Him. But Hell is where death never dies, for those who go there did not believe in the Resurrection and the Life.
“and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:26
In Light of Hell we Preach Christ
Hell is mercy removed and grace withheld. It is unrelenting slavery to sin and the filth of the flesh. The drunkard will desire to be drunk, but with nothing even to temporarily satisfy. The thief will be constantly haunted with his evil desires to take what is not his. The covetous man will covet forever but gain nothing he desires. Hell is constant emptiness with no reprieve in sight. With this, let us look upon this world, not with apathy, but with compassion. We have the only news that sets souls free.
Do not be ignorant about what happens after death. All who believe upon the gospel with genuine faith will be saved. All who do not will perish forever in everlasting torment and unrelenting regret.Their punishment will be just. But we do all we can to join in Christ’s mission of reconciliation and redemption.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” (2 Corinthians 5:18)
The devil’s first heresy was this, “You will not surely die.” But we did die, all of us. Man is so deeply depraved that no one can pull himself from the despair. Only by God’s grace can man have life. Through the One who is eternal life can life be restored.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)