“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that there are only two options available on where your spirit or soul will spend eternity when we have departed from this life and into the next. Once you have been born, there is no cessation of your existence; one will either enjoy an eternal state of bliss with Our Creator in His Heaven, or they will be banished to a place of “outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13). The prospect of a literal Hell is serious business. God’s Word confirms its existence; He would not lie to us about that place of torment. Don’t go there!
Jesus even warned His disciples about the literalness of such a place and to do whatever is required from having to wind up in such a state of perpetual torment. He told them that it would be far better to cut off a hand, a foot, or pluck out an eye if it offends a person – or causes them to sin – than to be cast into Hell “where the fire is never quenched” (Mark 9:43-47).
It is that serious; avoid going to Hell!
Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus usually spoke in parables to His disciples and those around Him listening in. These were truths about Heaven, God the Father, life in general, and were delivered in a somewhat cryptic form that required further study or enlightenment to mine the nuggets of truth contained in each of the parables. But Jesus told of an actual account involving two literal people who had lived and then passed on to the next phase of their existence, each going to a different destination.
The story is found in the book of Luke (16:19-31):
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
“Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
“And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
This is a rare glimpse of the afterlife, especially one that takes place in this infernal abode. Obviously, Jesus felt compelled to include this scene in His attempts to warn people of what lies ahead if no precautions are taken to avoid having to spend eternity in this state of being. The Holy Spirit also inspired Luke to include this back-and-forth conversation between Abraham and the rich man in Luke’s gospel as also a forewarning to change one’s destiny if they are on the fast track to a similar outcome.
The message should be loud and clear: don’t wind up in Hell!
And this place where the rich man is still presently is just a way station: he is awaiting his court date when he will be required to stand before Jesus at the Great White Throne to receive his sentence. He is in a place of torment, a state of suffering now, and he is already aware that he will be condemned at his trial, but the real Hell for him still lies in the future when he will be sent to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. He has it bad now, but it will get even worse.
This is not a feel-good story; he has been in this condition for at least 2,000 years so far – since Jesus’ time – and will have to wait at least another 1,000 years before Christ sits on His throne to mete out His judgment to all lost sinners. On the other hand, Abraham and all the believers that were on the opposite side of the gulf in this place, Hades, are now in the Kingdom of God because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. Much, much better to be there than where this rich man presently is.
Hell was never created for man to spend eternity there. It was constructed by God as a punishment for Lucifer and the rest of the fallen angels that rebelled against the Creator. They were created and dwelt with the Lord in a perfect environment but instead chose to heed the sedition started by the lead angel, Lucifer, after he became filled with pride and wanted to establish his own rule. He got a third of the angels to follow in his insurrection against the God of Heaven, and so they will ultimately be cast down out of Heaven forever and banished to this eternal state of fire. They won’t or don’t govern from there; they, too, will be prisoners of that abode, and their eternal destiny has already been fixed. Unlike humans, there is no opportunity for redemption for angels.
They chose wrongly. Don’t choose the same fate.
God created mankind to enjoy His fellowship and to inherit the universe and all of its wonders. Those who believe on Jesus for their salvation are guaranteed to become joint heirs with Christ and all that He has created. God wanted beings that He could love, and He desires that we, in turn, would love Him back. He knows that we are imperfect people. He knows that we inherited a sin problem. He also knows that we in our present sinful state cannot see the Kingdom of God; that our sin issue must be dealt with before we can be allowed in. That is where Jesus gets involved to become our Savior and Redeemer. He is called the Lamb of God because only His sacrificial death on the cross appeases God of our sin problem.
The Bible says that before we were even created, God knew that there would have to be a remedy to atone for all the transgressions that we are guilty of. We could not atone for our own sins. Before the foundations of the Earth were even designed, God came up with the plan to send His own Son to Earth, have Him put on human flesh, walk among His created beings, and suffer an excruciating death on the cross to cover the cost of all our sins. There could be no other way. God becoming man and sacrificing Himself for us was the remedy; we are not capable of paying the cost for our own sins.
The 10 Commandments were given on Mt. Sinai as God’s standards to show us how perfect we would have to live our lives in order to be right in God’s eyes. The Bible even says that in breaking just one commandment, we are guilty of breaking them all. No one has lived up to this standard, nor are we capable of doing so. God’s Word even says so in Romans 3:23. “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Another means – a Godly means – is required to satisfy the wrath of God for our sins.
In biblical times, bulls and goats and sheep were sacrificed to cover up the sins of the Israelites. They merely covered them over until a more perfect sacrifice could finally be offered to God to cleanse all of unrighteousness. Jesus Christ is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Only He – as God and man – is capable of atoning for our sins. He is the Way, The Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). No other way is possible. All who try a different method will not be allowed into Heaven. This is how serious God takes the rejection of having Jesus Christ trusted in for being our only means of salvation. In failing to do this, one inherits an eternal state of punishment, not an everlasting condition of joy and contentment.
Do what is needed; don’t go to Hell!
Getting back to the story of the rich man and Lazarus, we see that he is not questioning why he is there. He knows that he greatly erred, was more concerned with living a full, self-centered life, and gave no thought to the condition of his soul nor where he would spend eternity. He only lived for the here and now. He made no provision for his sin state and was now doomed to be eternally separated from God, from Abraham and all others who got right with God before they passed on.
Being apathetic about what lies ahead is not conducive to a positive outcome. Everyone must make a decision about their future; the consequences are too severe to not give it a second thought or to flat out reject what Christ has done for us. God has done His part in offering up His Son for our salvation; we must do our part in accepting it.
Jesus even spoke a parable about this kind of living and how dangerous it is:
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:15-21).
The message is quite clear: don’t overly concern yourself with the things of this life without making any provisions for what lies in the future. God calls this man a fool for trusting in his riches instead of placing his trust in the Lord for what comes next. Education, career, family, homes, and vacations are all good things, but we should not be overly obsessed with them to the detriment of where we will spend eternity. Don’t make them your gods or idols to the point that you are living only for the flesh and not making any spiritual plans; the outcome will be disastrous. Only a fool, according to God, goes to Hell. Don’t go!
No one can outsmart God. He has provided a way to escape that fate. He has done what is required to ensure that no person is relegated to spending eternity there. He has given of Himself, as a free gift of salvation, to those who accept His free offering. He won’t force anyone to accept His plan, but the consequences of not doing so will be horrendous and everlasting.
Don’t let pride prevent you from saying yes to Jesus. Lucifer was filled with pride, rebelled against God, and he will dwell in the Lake of Fire forever because of it. So, either openly rejecting Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, or just being indifferent to anything related to God or eternity, or even just plainly not accepting the fact that Heaven and Hell do exist will warrant the same outcome: barred from entry into Heaven and all that God has prepared for us and banishment instead to a place that no one wants to be in. The choice is yours.
The rich man in the story showed concern for his brothers, who were living a similar lifestyle to his own and were destined to join him once they departed this life and entered the next. He knew that they also would wind up there. Chances are, they are also there now. He wanted someone to go back immediately and warn them about the path they were on and where they would wind up. Instead, Abraham, in the story, tells the rich man that they have Moses and the prophets to warn them.
In other words, all that is necessary to avoid a similar fate lies in the verses of Scripture. All one has to do is heed what God tells us in His Word. If one winds up in the Lake of Fire, it is due to their own fault. They have a lifetime on this planet to read the Bible and heed its warnings. Besides, it is not possible for a human to leave their eternal state to go back and warn people still living in the physical sense.
God is allowing ample opportunity in this life to get right with Him before moving on to the next phase of our existence. Through Moses and the prophets, there is sufficient evidence of what lies ahead and how to avoid it. The two stories/parables cited in this article are just an example of such truths contained in the Bible that point to the existence of an afterlife and to the only two possible outcomes of where a person goes after death.
Christ has also left His Body of Believers in this world presently to get the word out that danger lies ahead if no precautions are taken in the here and now. Once you die, it is too late to change your destiny. It is then fixed, with no other escape plan possible. That is why it is extremely important to make a decision now; who knows what a day may bring or when your soul will be required of you to stand before God to give an account of yourself? No one can claim ignorance; there are missionaries going throughout the globe to point people to Jesus Christ. Accept Him now before it is too late!
In the end, will it really be worth it to say no to Jesus and His free gift of salvation? Who wins in that situation? Certainly not you, nor does God. He created you to love you and for you to spend a wonderful eternity with Him. He died for you to make that reality possible. He provided the real Truth in His Word on how to get there. The moment you die without Christ, you will have realized that you made a terrible, irreversible mistake and are forever going to regret it. The split second your soul passes on, all hope for a different outcome is horribly lost. Whatever pride you may have had to not heed God’s Word or to not pay attention to Christians pleading for you to accept Christ will be instantly vanished. There exists no pride in Hell!
You will be echoing the words of the rich man in Hades. Send someone back to warn them! Don’t let them come here! Do something, please, to change where they will spend eternity! It wasn’t worth doing my own thing! I want out of here, and I know that that is not possible! I made a huge mistake, an eternal mistake!
Don’t let that be your frame of mind. It is guaranteed that everyone who winds up in Hades/Hell has similar thoughts and harbors those feelings forever. There are no timeouts there, no exit strategies. No joy exists in such a condition; neither are there family reunions or hanging out with your like-minded friends. It is the furthest thing from a party-like environment. AC/DC may have had a popular song entitled “On the Highway to Hell,” but it is hardly a laughing matter nor a celebration once you have arrived there. It is dark – a place of outer darkness, as the Bible calls it – it is lonely, it is torment – a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth – it is devoid of hope or joy, and it is forever. Don’t go to Hell!
Do the smart thing. Say yes to Jesus right now. All who come to Him, He will in no way cast out (John 6:37). He stands outside the door of your heart, asking you to invite Him in:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
He wants you in Heaven with Him. He died for you to get you there. Imagine that: a God who loves you that much, who would put on human flesh and allow Himself to be tortured and crucified by His own created beings, just so that you could spend eternity with Him and all your loved ones who make a similar decision to accept Jesus Christ for the atonement of your sins? Who else would go through that much horror and grief to try to keep you out of an everlasting fire and instead offer you an eternal state of bliss, contentment, and untold rewards? No one. It isn’t possible through any other being or agency.
Say yes to Jesus and no to Hell. Don’t be eternally separated from loved ones either. You may be setting the wrong example right now by doing nothing, and they could follow in your footsteps to the same fate just because of careless living, being indifferent, or openly defiant to God or anything dealing with being “religious.” Christianity is not a religion, though; it is a relationship with the Son of God, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Religion does not get one into Heaven; having Christ in your life does.
You need to have Jesus in your life to make it past the Pearly Gates: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
Without Christ in your life, you will be eternally lost. You will have to stand before Him someday as your judge instead of as your Savior. Don’t let these dreaded words enter into your eardrums and then have them reverberate over and over in your mind throughout eternity:
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23).
“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
Don’t let those words be the last ones that you hear from God. Far, far better will be to hear these words from Jesus when you stand before Him upon entering into His Heaven:
“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23).
Choose wisely; Don’t go to Hell!