A Letter From Hell
Is Hell a Literal Place?
Hell is a topic most people would like to forget about but no one can.
The answer to your question is, yes, we do believe in a literal hell as it is described in Scripture.
The real questions are: Why do people go there and what do I do so I do not go there?
First of all a lot of people want to say to themselves
that when the Bible talks about hell that it is just a parable
or a story told by God so we will choose to be good or keep the law.
Just look at our world, if that's what it is, it isn't working.
As for hell being part of a parable, God teaches about hell many times
and never once refers to it as part of a parable.
God is true and what He says is truth.
If we start to delete, change, interpret or add to Scripture to suit ourselves,
we have nothing left but human ideas, speculations and opinions.
We make ourselves to be God. We think we know better than God
as if we have outgrown Him or have become smarter than He is.
How did we become smarter than the God Who created us
and all that is in the world, even the things we have yet to understand.
If we do this, then Scripture becomes meaningless and we assume the right
to change whatever does not suit us.
We then have just another man made religion.
However, the Bible is the Word of God, His message to us.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…"
2 Peter 1:20&21 (NASB) says," no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will,
but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
Some will say the Bible has changed over the ages or has mistakes in it,
but God says in Matthew 5:18 (NIV), "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen,
will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished."
What Scripture teaches about hell is true and literal and though we may not like it, it is real.
Scripture teaches us why hell was created.
In Matthew 25:41 God says, "He will say to those at his left,
'depart from me, you who are cursed, into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
2 Peter 2:4 (NKJV) says of some angels that, "He did not spare them
but…cast them down into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment."
Read Revelation 20:10-15 and Revelation 21:8.
These teach that the devil, the beast and the false prophet
will all be "thrown into the lake of fire…and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
It goes on to say that after God judges individuals that,
"anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life,
he was thrown into the lake of fire."
In Luke 16:20-24 a rich man was in hades,
tormented in flames (verse 24) while Lazarus was in what is called Abraham's Bosom.
It says there was a great gulf between them through which they could not pass.
From these passages we learn that hell will be darkness,
flames and separation from God and torment forever.
Romans teaches us we will be judged according to our deeds. (See Romans 2:6)
In Romans 2:16 it says He will judge the "secrets of men."
So why do people go to hell?
Just look at the world around us.
It is filled with hate and greed, wars and murder and torture of innocent people.
There is fraud and deceit everywhere. There is evil of all kinds.
Romans chapter one clearly describes the state of man.
Verses 29&30 give this list of sins.
It says in the NIV, "They became filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful;
they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless."
Verse 32 says, "Although they know God's righteous decree
that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things
but also approve of those who practice them."
We think that only people who commit murder or other sins
which we think are gross sins deserve hell,
but in the Scripture, God paints a different picture which shows us
what all of us are really like and why we all are accountable and deserve condemnation.
Romans 1:18 (NASV) says, "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."
Romans 2:1&2 (NASB) says, "Therefore you are without excuse,
every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another,
you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things."
We need to look no further than ourselves (myself), our own hearts, to find sin.
When I look at myself I can't go a whole day without doing something selfish
and sinful or at least thinking about it.
Here are other Scriptures to show us how depraved we are in God's sight.
In Matthew5:27&28 (NIV) Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said,
'Do not commit adultery',
but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully
has already committed adultery withher in his heart."
He had already said in Matthew 5:21&22 (NASV),
"anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.
But I tell you anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.
Again, anyone who says to his brother 'Raca' is answerable to the Sanhedrin.
But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."
Matthew 15:18&19 says, "But the things that proceed
out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornication, thefts, false testimony, slanders.
These are the things that defile the man."
James 3:2 says, "We all stumble in many ways.
If anyone is never at fault in what he says he is a perfect man,
able to keep the whole body in check."
Have you ever thought about what keeps one person
from acting on their feelings or doing what they think about while others act on them.
Mostly it is fear of punishment, but sin is still there.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NASV), "Because the sentence against an evil deed
is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men
among them are fully given to do evil."
Why do we get angry? Do we fight for our rights or put ourselves first?
Do we gossip or speak evil of a neighbor?
What about what we refer to as sins of omission?
Do we always act out the love of God?
No, we all sin, we all fall short.
Do I pass up a neighbor or friend who is in need?
Do I help the poor, the afflicted, the sick?
Do I hate anyone in my heart?
Is there anyone I refuse to forgive?
I John 5:17 says, "Whoever has the worlds' goods and beholds his brother
in need and closes his heart against him,
how does the love of God abide in him? Guilty?
James 2:9-11 (Read it.) says, " if we sin in one point of the law
we are guilty of breaking all of it."
We are called a transgressor of the law (NKJV) or a lawbreaker (NIV).
Remember, even what we think about or look at can be sinful.
I John 2:9 talks about hating your brother
and I John 3:15 equates hating your brother with murder.
As we saw in Scripture sin is in our heart.
We all commit sin every day and we are all worthy of punishment.
Romans 3:9 says the conclusion is that, "all are under sin,"
and verse 23 says, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Every epistle in the New Testament, the Gospels,
in fact, all the Word of God teaches us things God wants us to do or not to do.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
We all fall short! Jesus always loved. We do not.
If all this is not enough, read the list of sins in Revelation 21:8 (NIV):
"but the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral,
those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars
– their place will be in the lake of burning sulfur, this is the second death."
In John 8:24 Jesus told the Pharisees, "unless you believe that I am He,
you shall die in your sin."
Romans 1:8 and Romans 2:8 (NIV) talk about those
who suppress and reject the truth.
John 3:18 (NKJV) says, "he who does not believe is condemned already
because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God,"
and verse 36 (NIV) says, "whoever rejects (other translations translate this "does not believe")
the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
(The Greek word translated "reject" or "does not believe"
actually means to refuse to be persuaded, to refuse belief.)
If we diminish or do not acknowledge our sinfulness,
it won't change the fact that we are sinners.
If we don't agree with God, we convince ourselves
that the consequences don't exist.
Then we think we can accept ourselves just as we are and our sins as well.
Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 (NIV).
It tells how "justice is perverted." Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV)
describes our world when it says, "woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness…"
John 3:20 (NASV) describes us also when it says,
"everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light,
lest his deeds should be exposed."
Jesus is the Light.
Romans 3:9 (NIV) concludes that, "Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin,"
and quotes Psalm 14:1-3 by saying in verse 10,
"there is none righteous, no not one," and in verse 12, "there is none
that does good, no not one." Isaiah 53:6 says we have, "each gone our own way."
We each have our own ideas; that's a lot of ways.
Another thing we do to avoid facing sin and our accountability
and to justify ourselves is to invent our own set of rules (our own religion, as it were),
a tweak here or an exclusion there, which allows us to continue to sin and feel better.
To make things worse (as talked about in Romans chapter one)
we encourage others to do the same, mostly to gain friends or the approval of others.
We think we are not hurting anyone,
but just think how even a look or one word or comment can devastate us.
Think how when we encourage others to do even a seemingly small evil,
like even jesting about evil, we affect their lives, sometimes forever.
No wonder God hates our so-called "small" sins.
Most people think that they can do good deeds
and that will outweigh our bad deeds, "tip the scales in our favor" as it were,
and thus earn our salvation.
So say most religions, but not God.
Isaiah 64:6 says, "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags."
Most of our good deeds are done to earn something;
besides trying to earn God's favor we seek to earn man's favor and make a good impression.
Most of our good is done out of pride, or to gain glory, praise orrecognition.
We think we are pretty good people, when really we are self-seeking and arrogant.
The Pharisees thought they we "OK" because of their Jewish heritage
and keeping the law as they understood it.
The Jews thought that riches were a sign of God's approval.
Lots of people think they are 'good enough', "better than most",
or "not that bad." What do we depend upon to get us into heaven or "out of hell."
Some don't even give it a thought.
Most people fall into the category of thinking they just need
to do just "a little more good" to earn salvation.
Remember Romans 3:12 says there is "none that does good."
Romans 3:20 says, "by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified."
Ephesians 2:8&9 (NIV) says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, so that no one can boast."
Titus 3:8 (NKJB) says, "not by works of righteousness we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us."
Romans 4:2 (NASV) says," If Abraham was justified by works,
he has something to boast about, but not before God."
In Romans 3:27 we read, "boasting is excluded" because verse 28 says,
"a man is justified…apart from the works of the law."
2 Timothy 1:9 says, "Who has saved us…-not because of anything we have done."
So how does God save us apart from the Law?
2 Timothy 1:9&10 tells us "it is because of His own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
but it has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ,
Who has destroyed (NASV – abolished) death and has brought life
and immortality to light through the gospel."
God provided a way for the punishment for our sin to be paid.
He sent His Son to diein our place.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…"
and in verse 17 it says, "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world
but that the world through Him might be saved."
In Matthew 26:28 (NKJV) Jesus said,
"This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
I Peter 2:24 (NKJV) states, "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree,
that we having died to sin might live for righteousness,
by whose stripes you were healed." Read Isaiah chapter 53.
I Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the gospel.
It says, "By this gospel you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
that He was buried, that He was raise on the third day according to the Scriptures."
(This is the GOSPEL.)
In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life;
no man comes to the Father, but by Me."
How, then, does this salvation become ours? What must we do?
A very interesting verse which plays on the word works, gives us the answer.
John 6:29 (NASV) says, "this is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent."
Remember Jesus told the Pharisees that they would die in their sins if they did not believe
and John chapter three makes that clear also.
In Acts 16:30&31 a jailer asked Paul this question, "What must I do to be saved?"
and Paul replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."
Over and over in the Book of John and elsewhere God says to believe.
Re-read Romans chapters three and four.
In Romans chapter four God illustrated this by the life of Abraham, saying,
"Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness."
He was declared righteous.
Later in this chapter God says that this was not for him alone,
"but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness –
for us who believe in HimWho raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (Verse 24)."
Verse 25 says, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."
Romans is one of the Scriptures that describes our hope,
our salvation and how to appropriate it.
Romans 3:22-28 says (I am quoting only parts),
"this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe"
…and we are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood."
We have seen in John 3 that we are condemned already
if we refuse to believe in Him, But all those verses say the good news
is that if we believe we will have everlasting life (John 3:16, 17, 36).
Scripture says, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation (Hebrews 2:3)?"
The choice is yours.
Revelation 22:7 says, "Whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely."
Jesus said, "Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37)."
Romans 10:13 says, "Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,"
and verse 14 says, "How shall they call on Him Whom they have not believed."
In Luke 18:13 a tax collector cried to God, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner."
The thief on the cross, who admitted his punishment was deserved
called on Jesus and Jesus said in Luke 23:43,
"Today you will be with Me in paradise."
Righteousness is credited to us by faith in Jesus' death for us; it is not earned.
Romans 4:4-8 says, "Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift,
but as an obligation.
However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked,
his faith is credited as righteousness.
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man
to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
'Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.'"
John 1:12 says, "As many as received Him to them He gave the right
to become the children of God, to those that believe on His Name."
Come to Him, receive Him!
Don't reject Him as they did in Romans chapter one.
In John 5:24 Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him
Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has passed from death unto life."
We all fall short. The choice is ours.
I have already made mine, so the choice is yours.
This was hard to write about and I can only do so because,
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)."
Ephesians 1:7 says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
Do you have the assurance that if you were to die today,
you'll be in the presence of the Lord in Heaven?
Death for a believer is but a doorway that opens into eternal life.
Those who fall asleep in Jesus
shall be reunited with their loved ones in heaven.
Those you've laid in the grave in tears,
you shall meet them again with joy!
Oh, to see their smile and feel their touch...
never to part again!
Yet, if you don't believe in the Lord, you're going to hell.
There is no pleasant way to say it.
The Scripture says,
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
~ Romans 3:23
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved."
~ Romans 10:9
Don't fall asleep without Jesus
until you are assured of a place in heaven.
Tonight, if you would like to receive the gift of eternal life
first you must believe in the Lord.
You have to ask for your sins to be forgiven
and put your trust in the Lord.
To be a believer in the Lord, ask for eternal life.
There's only one way to heaven and that's through the Lord Jesus.
That's God's wonderful plan of salvation.
You can begin a personal relationship with Him
by praying from your heart a prayer such as the following:
"Oh God, I'm a sinner.
I've been a sinner all of my life.
Forgive me, Lord.
I receive Jesus as my Savior.
I trust Him as my Lord.
Thank you for saving me.
In Jesus' name, Amen."
you have never received the
Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, but
have received Him today after
reading this invitation, please let us know.
If you have never received the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior,
but have received Him today after reading this invitation, please let us know.
We would love to hear from you. Your first name is sufficient.
God's Simple Plan of Salvation in Various Languages:
If you would like to contact us for spiritual guidance or for follow up care,
feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate your prayers and look forward to meeting you in eternity!
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