Hell and the Heart of God

We have discussed that God is not hesitant, nor will He regret the need to punish. John 3:36 says that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”  One will go to eternal life, and one will bare an eternal wrath. There is no end to the punishment in Hell.  Sins done on earth cannot be made right again. The day of repentance has passed; the hope of gaining salvation by works has proven futile. God’s anger cannot be removed from sinners; their condemnation is sealed and set in stone. In the dark world they condemned themselves by loving evil and refusing light. The pain of Hell will be in knowing one’s own worthlessness and foolishness, while hating a God whom they can never escape from. God’s anger will forever burn against them, and all they will experience is infuriation, loathing, and misery.

The unpleasant subject of Hell is seldom talked about in Christianity today. But with multitudes of people boldly marching onward to this eternal destination, how can we turn a blind eye to it? Can you imagine if these were your eternal cries?

Jeremiah 8:20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

Lamentation 3:1-3 “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.”

Can you imagine the horror of at last facing God as His enemy? Not only are you His enemy, but He is yours. The following words are among the most terrible I have read in the Bible, spoken by a man alive on earth. Can you imagine how much worse the cries of a man will be who has spent a million years in Hell?

Lamentations 3:16-18 “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”

If we are Christians, shouldn’t our hearts break? So many lives are going to be proven as vain as the grass that withers and the flower that fades. One wretched gush of wind and it’s over. People will have eternity to deal with the consequences. The utter waste of it all should rid us of selfish desires in this world. We should cry out “Lord, detach our hearts from this fleeting place!” Only two things will endure forever- the souls of men and the Word of God. Why do we flitter with all the things that are passing away?

Charles Spurgeon said “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay…. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned or unprayed for.”

Should our hearts be filled with such urgency and grief? Aren’t people only getting what they deserve for their sins? Certainly yes, but let us pray to have a heart like Paul:

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Romans 9:2-3).”

This is the contrition of heart that pleases God, unlike the prophet Jonah who was pleased only that sinners received what they deserved. Would God not rather be pleased with Jeremiah who said to disobedient people: “If you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive (Jeremiah 13:17).”

If God’s followers are to be broken over impending punishment for sinners, do you think the Lord is unfeeling toward them? Can the Lord be satisfied in doing right, unhesitant to punish, and still feel grieved over sinful people’s lives and loss?

I believe the Word of God teaches that He can.

This leads us into our next section of study, which is God’s heart towards lost people. But I will close with these verses for now:

Ezekiel 18:31-32 “Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn and live.”

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