Heaven and Hell. Not two topics I hear a lot of conversation about. I think when people talk about them we talk in fear of the unknown. The Bible talks plenty of both and assures us that they are both very real. Death is rarely a plesent topic, but it’s something we must all be aware of and ready for.
I’ve grown up in church. I have fond memories of Bible stories and songs. However, when I was around 8 years old, we watched a movie about the end times. During one of the scenes there was the tattooing of 666 on people so that they could get food and water. Another scene was of people in a public place going to the guillotine for claiming Jesus was their Savor and rejecting the mark of the beast. We were assured that if we refused to be tattooed, and if we were willing to give our life for Christ, we would indeed go to Heaven. For a young girl of 8, it was a bit frightening. Of course I wanted to go to Heaven! And I prayed every night after that I would. However, somewhere between 8 years of age and now, I’ve learned that God does not want us to come to him in fear, but rather out of a willingness to make him Lord of our lives. I am coming to terms with the fact that I will never be perfect and that Heaven does not require perfection. (Thank you Jesus!) I’m like most people and have the inner struggle daily with the angel on my left shoulder and the devil on my right shoulder. I’ve learned though that God knows my heart. He sees me for who I am-the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s my job to follow Him and learn His ways. It’s up to me to cultivate the relationship I have with Him and to grow daily to be more like Him. Of course, because we live in a fallen world, some days are harder than others. When things get hard though, I find that if I press into Him instead of doing what society thinks I should do, the mountain I’m facing begins to move. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, he sent his only Son. Whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have an everlasting life.” The only way to Heaven is through relationship with Christ. It’s not about “being good”. We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. We do so daily. However, confessing our sin and following after God, we are covered by his blood.
Hell. What an uncomfortable topic to write about. However…here I am. The Bible tells us that Hell is a very real place and that people will spend eternity there with real bodies. Hell is described in words about fire and torment, tears, and suffering, darkness, and loneliness. Hell is a place where we are away from God. It’s mentioned 12 times in the Bible. Nine times he talks about fire and furnace. Judgement is referred to more than 20 times, and Haides is mentioned twice. We are told of weeping and wailing 7 times, and spoken to of eternal punishment 4 times. Jesus strongly warned us that Hell is not a place we want to go! (pg 103) People who reject him will be there.
I think this chapter really boils down to us making a choice. We can choice eternal life by choosing God, or we can choose eternal punishment if we reject Him. We are pretty good at making this hard, when in reality it’s not. I tell my children almost daily that all decisions have consequences. This is surely no different.
Have you accepted the Lord as your personal Savior? Do you believe in Him and desire to walk with Him? I pray that you do. If you are lost and looking for peace and forgiveness, I encourage you to find a local church where a pastor can answer your questions and help you find your way. I can tell you from past experience that there is nothing in your past that God won’t forgive. He sent His only son to die for you and wants nothing more for you to join Him in Heaven.