A wealthy man sold all his possessions for cash and bought an incredibly expensive diamond. He put the diamond in his pocket and took a voyage from England to America. On the deck of the ship, he pulled out the diamond and began flipping it in his hand. Some of his fellow passengers warned him not to be so careless with something so valuable, but he took great delight in how much they worried over his actions. To increase that worrying, he walked over to the ship’s rail and started flipping the diamond there. But as you’ve probably already guessed, during one flip the ship lurched forward unexpectedly and the diamond went down into the sea.
True story? I’d be shocked if it was. No one would be so foolish, right? But the fact is that millions of people act even more foolishly every day as they take the ultimate gamble with the ultimate prize, their soul. What I mean is, they walk around literally one breath out of hell.
Oh, there I went and used an inconvenient word, didn’t I? In this modern era we aren’t supposed to use the word “hell” unless it is for the purposes of profanity or explaining where despicable people such as Osama bin Laden go in the afterlife. But the Bible is still God’s written word, and it still teaches that the souls of all those who die without Christ as Savior go to that awful place called hell.
The New Testament original Greek word for this place is Hades, and in Luke 16:19-31 no less an authority than Jesus Himself described it as a place of torment, flame, separation, remembrance, and regret. In Matthew 13:42, He called it “the furnace of fire” and said it produces “wailing” and “gnashing of teeth.” Obviously, Jesus didn’t shy away from letting people know just how gruesome hell is.
You say, “Okay Russell, I’ll go along with you that hell exists and that the souls of certain people go there in the afterlife. But God only sends murderers, terrorists, pedophiles, rapists, and all the other ‘worst of the worst’ there.” Well, that certainly sounds logical and reasonable to our modern mindsets, but it simply isn’t correct theology. There are so many verses that I could cite here, but I’ll just use a few from the third chapter of the gospel of John:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)
And so, you see, the only way for you to escape the horrors of hell is to place your belief in Jesus as your personal Savior. Anything less than that and you are still flipping up the priceless diamond of your soul as you stand next to the ship’s rail of the afterlife. Why act so foolishly? If you’ve never done so, why don’t you ask Jesus to be your Savior right now?