The Bible teaches us that everyone will exist eternally either in heaven or hell.  For those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they will live eternally in the presence of God in glory.  In John 5:24 the Lord says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  But for those who refuse to accept God’s gift of eternal life, they will exist forever in torment and darkness. It is said of the unsaved in Matthew 8:12, “(They) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Revelation 20:10 says they, “…shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Why such a harsh and never-ending penalty for not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ?  To get a sense of God’s rage against sin, let us look at a prophetic portion that deals with how the Lord treated His own Son, Jesus when He suffered and died for our sins on the cross.  We read in Psalm 88:6-7, “Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.”  We also read in Lamentations 1:12, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”  Both of these verses, and many others, describe the fierce wrath of God on the Lord Jesus as He died for sinners on the cross.  GOD HATES SIN and His righteousness demands that He punish sin.  When He punished His Son for the sins of unsaved people, He truly exhausted His wrath on His dear Son.  We read in Psalm 88, “Thy wrath lieth HARD upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with ALL THY WAVES.”  We can only imagine to some degree the Lord’s hatred for and punishment of sin.  If God were to look the other way, or let sin go unpunished, He would defy His own righteousness which demands that sin be punished.

For those who reject the Lord Jesus and the price that He paid for their sin debt, they must face eternal punishment from God.  It is not possible that, after suffering for a while, that anyone could be forgiven of their sins and have their slate wiped clean.  Their suffering does nothing to put away their guilt before God.  To allow the unsaved to simply cease to exist would be an act of mercy from the Lord, but there is no mercy to those who die in their sins.  James 2:13 shows us the Lord shall, “…have judgment without mercy…” upon those who reject His simple and loving gift of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The reality is that NO ONE has to go to Hell.  2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that all should come to repentance.”  The Lord does not want us to have to suffer for eternity.  He wants us to be in glory with Himself.  So, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, God determined that His Son would die in our stead.  All the wrath of God that was reserved for those who sinned was transferred to the Lord Jesus while He was hanging on the cross.  1 Peter 2:24 tells us that the Lord Jesus, “…bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  The fierce, fierce wrath that rightfully belonged to us, God poured out on the Lord Jesus so that those who believe in Him should NEVER suffer in Hell. 

Hell is real.  Hell is forever.  Yet, no one need go to Hell.  God has provided salvation to all who will put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He becomes their sin bearer when they trust in Him.  How about you, dear reader?  Have you been forgiven for your sins or will you suffer for eternity for your sins?  (442.6)