Do you remember the last time you heard the word hell in a sermon? Many of us will probably say that we don’t even know if we’ve ever heard that word in the church because many of God’s people are ashamed of His Word and therefore don’t preach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
To the dismay of those who think they are doing the unconverted a favor by not talking about hell, and those who want Christians not to think about hell and sin in the church, God often speaks hell in the Bible, and this is for salutary reasons as we will see.
Let us remember that Jesus Himself, the model of love par excellence, spoke more of hell than of paradise during His earthly ministry. The overwhelming majority of verses about hell in the New Testament are words of Christ our Savior. Eleven of the twelve occurrences of the Greek word geenna (γέεννα), translated as Gehenna or hell, come from the mouth of Jesus Christ.
Was Jesus unloving when talking about hell? Certainly not, since He is the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Let us, therefore, be like Jesus and speak to the love around us about hell.
10 Bible Verses About Hell
Here are ten Bible verses about hell:
Hell was not created by God for men
1. “Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you accursed people; go into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the devil and for his angels ” (Matthew 25:41). In His love, God does not want men to go to hell but rather to repent:
“Say to them: I am alive! says the Lord, the Eternal, what I desire is not that the wicked die, but that he change his ways and live. Come back, come back of your wicked way; and why should you die…?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
If men do not bend the knee before God and obey His Gospel, thus following the proud way of the Devil and the demons, they will join them in hell when their judgment comes.
Hell awaits all who do not repent
Some false doctrines teach that you don’t have to repent to be saved, yet the rich man who went to hell in the story of Luke chapter sixteen didn’t believe it for a second when he said:
2. “27 […] Therefore I beg you, Father Abraham, to send Lazarus to my father’s house; for I have five brothers. 28 It is that he may testify to them these things, that they may do not also come into this place of torment. ” 29 Abraham answered, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them.” 30 And he said, “No, Father Abraham, but if any of the dead come to them, they will 31 And Abraham said unto him, Unless they listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded, though any of the dead shall rise again ” (Luke 16:27-31).
The true Gospel announces “repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) because without sanctification “no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14, cf Matthew 3:8; 7:19,23). The text of Luke 16 also teaches us that those condemned to hell suffer consciously and physically (Luke 16:24-25).
Hell awaits all unbelievers
3. “I want to remind you, to you who know all these things very well, that the Lord, after having saved the people and having brought them out of the land of Egypt, then destroyed the unbelievers; whom he reserved for the judgment of the great day, eternally enchained by darkness, the angels who did not keep their dignity, but left their own abode; that Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities, who gave themselves up like them to fornication and to unnatural vices, are given as an example, suffering the penalty of eternal fire ” (Jude 5-7).
“Let us, therefore, be like Jesus and speak to the love around us about hell ”
We also see in this text that God first sent the fallen angels to hell (which this place was prepared for) because they had practiced sexual sins (see Genesis 6:1-2,4) like Sodom and Gomorrah.
All sinners and unbelievers will go to hell unless they repent of their sins:
4. “But for the cowardly, the unbelievers, the abominable, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all the liars, their part shall be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8, see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Forgiveness is available only through faith in Christ (John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9).
Hell is eternal punishment
Some people think that hell doesn’t exist, or that it really isn’t an eternal punishment because “God can’t do that”. What does the Bible say?
5. “44 [ the accursed ] will also answer: Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did we not assist you? 45 And he will answer them, Truly I tell you, whenever you did not do these things to one of these least, you did not do them to me. These will go to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life ” (Matthew 25:44-46).
The reason men try to deny the eternity of suffering in hell, thinking it would be unfair, is that men don’t realize how awful sin is before God. To sin against the infinite holiness and glory of God deserves equally infinite condemnation.
In the next passage, Jesus, therefore, speaks of hell as a place to be avoided at all costs by radically changing one’s life (true repentance), which is symbolized by the metaphors of mutilation (which does not solve the immorality of the heart and are therefore not to be taken literally):
6. “43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life penguin, 44 than to have both hands and go into Gehenna, into the fire that does not 45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, 46 than to have both feet and be cast into hell, into the unquenchable fire. 47 And if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than having two eyes and to be thrown into Gehenna, 48 where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched ” (Mark 9:43-48).
Hell is an unquenchable fire, an eternal punishment.
Men must fear God and the judgment of hell
Yes, fear of going to hell is a good thing because “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 9:10). God teaches us individually: “the holy letters, which can make you wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ ” (2 Timothy 3:15), wisdom to salvation that begins with the fear of God and His judgment:
7. “Do not fear those who kill the body and cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell ” (Matthew 10:28). The harlot Rahab feared the Lord and then fled into the arms of the Savior in faith. 8. “I will show you whom you must fear . Fear him who, having killed, has the power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, it is he you must fear ” (Luke 12:5).
It is folly to understand ” the fearful expectation of judgment and the fierceness of a fire which shall devour the rebellious ” (Hebrews 10:27) and not to have ” awe, for our God also is a consuming fire ” (Hebrews 12:29). The fear of God is a biblical necessity.
Hell is not the absence of God
9. “14 He also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, poured out without mixture into the cup of his wrath, and he shall be tormented in fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:10-11).
The passage in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “They shall be punished with eternal ruin, far from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power”, therefore does not mean that in hell God is not present because the Biblical expression “far from the face of the Lord” essentially means in Jewish culture “far from His graces”.
10. God is indeed present in all places, including in hell: “Where shall I go from your spirit, and where shall I flee from your face? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I lie down to hell, there you are ” (Psalm 139:7-8).
Hell is not a fatality: Jesus saves perfectly
The Word of God is clear, God is angry with you and me for our sins and our rebellion against His will (Psalm 7:11). Before conversion to Christ we are all “by nature children of wrath like the rest” (Ephesians 2:3). But this is not a fatality.
You and I are not hopeless in the face of certain condemnation from hell for our sins, Jesus died and suffered hell on the cross to redeem us from our sins. The Son of God took the place of the sinner who believes in Him to be saved and who also manifests his allegiance to the Lord through repentance:
“by His blood shall we be saved by Him from wrath”
“For when we were yet without strength, Christ, in due time, died for the ungodly. Hardly would one die for a righteous man; perhaps someone would die for a good man. But God proves his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, now that we are justified by his blood, shall we be saved by him from wrath. we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:6-10)
Jesus still tells us today: ” Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, have everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but passed from death unto life ” (John 5:24). Indeed, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Salvation is secured by biblical faith in Christ, and it cannot be lost.
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Oh, the glory of the good news of the gospel that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15 :3-4)! Let us understand and appreciate that the light of salvation through the Good News shines brightly when the darkness of the sin of condemnation in hell is clear to our eyes.
Why talk about hell? Because there is no good news without bad news! Why talk about sin? Because he who is forgiven much loves much and “he who is forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47b). What such great salvation, what such a great God and Savior Jesus Christ!
A person once said, “If you were on your way to hell, when would you want to know about it?”. It is an act of deep love to warn someone of the terrible danger that is hell.
Let us, therefore, be like Christ and speak about hell to announce the Gospel entirely for the glory of God and the salvation of the lost. Amen.