I recently viewed a commercial for the Freedom From Religion Foundation featuring Ron Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan. This foundation is comprised of atheists, agnostics and non-theists, with a mission to educate the public about non-theism. His closing statement was ”I’m Ron Reagan and I’m not afraid to burn in Hell”. That statement caught me off guard. I’m grateful to live in a country where religious freedoms are protected and whose citizens are free to worship as they choose, or not. Yet that statement by Ron Reagan got me thinking, just what do we know about hell and why are so many not concerned?
I accepted Christ as a young boy after seeing an illustrated sermon about hell. I remember seeing fake flames and hearing screams from people who had died not believing in Christ. As a young impressionable boy, it scared the Hell out of me. When the altar call was given I remember almost running to the front because I didn’t want to end up in Hell like these people. Salvation Insurance Policy, not the best way to come to believe but I eventually grew into my salvation for the right reasons. It’s just as difficult for me to believe the arrogance of those who adamantly deny the existence of Hell as it is for them to believe my absolute convictions that Hell is real.
So what exactly do we know about this place Hell? As believers who accept the Bible as God’s word we can reference the scriptures to get a clear image of Hell. We know that Hell was not created for us but for Satan and his followers. It’s not God’s desire that anyone spend eternity in such a horrible place. The following are some scriptural descriptions about Hell:
A lake that burns with fire and sulfur, Rev. 21:8
Eternal punishment, Matt. 25:46
Torment day and night, Rev. 20:10
Smoke of their torment rises day and night forever, Rev. 14:11
Eternal separation from God, 2 Thes. 1:9
Weeping and grinding of teeth, Matt. 13:50
Gloomy darkness, 2 Peter 2:4
Eternal fire, Jude 1:7
Unquenchable fire, Mark 9:43
Unquenchable thirst, Luke 16:34
However you wish to interpret these passages, Hell is a place that offers eternal torment with no hope of escape or second chances. Just as there have been stories of those who had near death experiences and describe what they thought was Heaven, so has there been similar stories describing Hell experiences with descriptions eerily similar to how the Bible describes it, falling down a shaft or into a dark pit, screams of agony, unbearable heat, total darkness, undeniable stench of burning sulfur, etc.. Why anyone would say that they aren’t afraid of Hell is difficult to comprehend. Why risk the existence of such a horrific place only to be eternally wrong?
Hell doesn’t preach well in churches. It goes against the Feel Good Goosebumps God people prefer to hear about, but one simply can not profess the reality of Christ without accepting the existence of Hell. The price Christ paid on the cross was specifically to save us from this awful punishment for our sins. You can be wrong about many things with opportunities to correct your views. But if you die not knowing Christ, you will spend eternity replaying all the times in your life when you were given the invitation to believe but didn’t, the ultimate Hell.