Q. What is hell?
A. Hell is the place of torment where the unregenerate will reside after death.
The concept of hell is becoming more and more intolerable, which has led many to ditch the idea.
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t like the thought of hell, and I wish people didn’t go there. With that said, we don’t form our theology around what we wish, hope, or feel. Our doctrine must come from the Word of God, and in this case, the very words of Jesus.
While some words are debated (like “the pit” and “the grave”), we do know that Jesus spoke about hell at least ten times in the gospels. Some have tried to reduce the idea of hell down to a reference to the town garbage dump, but that idea has been discredited. The reality is Jesus taught that there is a literal hell.
Speakers like Rob Bell have argued against the existence of hell (Love Wins), writing that Jesus is too loving to allow people to go there. Francis Chan rebutted that we need to “stop apologizing for God, and start apologizing to Him” for trying to make His word sound better (Erasing Hell). Whether we like it or not doesn’t change anything; instead, as believers we need to warn the unsaved.
According to Romans 6:23, the punishment for sin is death. But if a physical death were the only punishment required for sin, than we would all be ok because we will all die. The Bible also speaks of a second death, that is, a spiritual death of separation from God. God cannot allow unforgiven sin into heaven, so those who have not turned to Jesus in repentance choose hell for themselves.
Luke 16 gives a description of a man who went to hell. Beginning in verse 19 we see this man was tormented in flames, desperate for water, worried about his unsaved brothers, and regretting the choices he made in life. This doesn’t sound like any place we should want anyone to go.
We can keep quiet because we don’t like hell, or we can convince the world that they can be saved from hell. Which would a loving God rather us do?