How Should I Be Thinking About Hell?
Series: Debated: Answering Hard Questions About Christianity
Pastor Jeff Dart
- What does the Bible say about hell?
- Matthew 5:22 is a key text. Jesus talks about Gehenna. Gehenna (Gk.) was a valley (“Valley of Hinnom” in English) that was used by pagan kings and Hebrew kings to make sacrifices. The most popular sacrifices were child sacrifices to Molech. King Josiah eventually tore down the pagan altars and turned this valley into a large, burning garbage dump (see 2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:31-32; 19:2-6; 11-14; 32:35).
- Heaven and hell are about relationship. People go to hell because they do not know Jesus (Matt. 7:22; cf. John 17:3).
- Hell is ultimately the separation of people from the presence of God (see 2 Thes. 1:8-10).
- There are two choices people people: heaven or hell. Matthew 25:31-46 tells us that the righteous will enter into eternal life and the wicked into eternal punishment.
- Hell is for people who chose it. C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
- God’s final word on hell is the cross (see Rom. 5:8-11). God has offered to us his Son because his desire is not for anyone to go to hell (2 Peter 3:9). John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world.” This shows us God’s great love for us, how much he loved us.
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Update: Make sure to see my follow-up post on some of my thoughts about hell and this sermon.