Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Wouldn't You Trade Hell For?

Society rarely gives an accurate, biblical concept of hell. The common notion seems to be that a person's "bad" friends will be there, so at least that will be some consolation; and that if bad people go there, then you can do bad things there continually without recourse, and Satan is there to host the event. To some that might sound appealing, something like a huge ongoing drinking party without fear of neighbors calling the police.
Throughout the Scriptures, God paints a very different picture of hell than what society pictures. I don't think most people would be able to so easily accept the idea of going to such a place as the biblical view. It is not a place to commune with friends; a person would be too occupied with the torment he was in to even notice them even if they were nearby.
Just as there is no heaven on earth, there is likewise nothing here to equate with the suffering and pain of hell. Picture the worst suffering you have heard of on earth and it does not equate--it simply cannot--with that of hell. I remember a news account about 8 or 10 years ago of some drunken teens walking in the dark through Yellowstone. As you might imagine, they fell into a firepot--though they pulled themselves out as fast as possible, they died. To me that is as vivid an illustration of a moment in hell as I can fathom anyone experiencing on earth--and they died in that short experience. Hell doesn't last only for that short time, but on through eternity, and the torment is ongoing. There is not the mercy of death there; that is past.
Unbelievers often say that they aren't ready to commit to Christ, which actually indicates that perhaps they aren't chosen by God, or their chosen time for salvation has not yet occurred. If it were only a matter of logic, it seems anyone could be argued into salvation...but it's not. If I were to choose an argument, though, I think clarifying what hell really is might be convincing.
What would you trade eternity in hell for? For anything, for nothing--were that possible. Trading that fiery furnace for an atom of matter or a momentary pinhole peek at heaven would be a worthwhile trade; keeping any habit or attitude that would knowingly secure your place in hell would be extreme stupidity.
On the other hand, the Scriptures assure us that the exchange would never be so meager; quite to the contrary! Instead, when a person accepts Christ as his Savior in faith, he no longer needs to live in fear of hell, but in full contrast becomes a child of God and an heir to heaven. He is made a new creation, equipped to serve Him, and gains God's approval. 2 Corinthians 5:20

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