In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the nature of sin and what it really means to be sinful. As established, sin is the act of loving something (or someone) more than loving God Himself. Thus, when we prioritize something other than God and continue to not live by the Will of God, we are living sinful lives.
As we commit sin, we draw ourselves further from God and thus separate ourselves from the Source of Love and Life. This creates an instance of internal turmoil and destruction which destroys us from within, just as a log is destroyed in a fire. Therefore, the fire of hell is not literal, but rather a symbol of the sin we cultivate in our own life.
To demonstrate the nature of hell, it’s best to tell a story of a sinner (let’s call him Max).
Max was raised Christian and believes that Jesus is real. He goes to church, gives large offerings, and reads his bible on occasion. However, the main priority of Max is not to love and submit to God, but rather to focus on his financial status and wealth. Max believes he is better than those around him due to his success and even considers himself to be a good Christian based on his good deeds. He refuses to acknowledge that he is prideful and does not take kindly when people try to correct him. As time goes on, Max becomes easier to anger and develops more aggression toward those around him. As Max grows old and dies he finds himself before the Throne of God.
God asks Max “why should I let you into heaven?” to which Max replies “because I’ve believed in Jesus and been a good person of course! I earned my way in!”.
However, when God brings up the sin in Max’s life, Max becomes more and more offended. You see, Max’s pride blinds him from his own sin as he refuses to let go of the idols he has made in his life. He refuses to submit to God and rejects any gift of sanctification. Max’s soul has been on fire, destroying him and making him into an insidious person. And because Max does not want to let his pride go, nor confront his sin, his soul remains destroyed. In His Love, God will still allow Max to have his free will (even if He is hurt by it) and therefore, God will separate Himself from Max. God will allow Max to try to create his own heaven and do things his way. But away from God, Max realizes that his riches are gone and thus becomes miserable. He now hates God and blames Him for all of this. He feels like God has robbed him of eternity and blames Him for not steering him on the right path. In hell, Max’s hate, anger, and idols torment and destroy him and he never once considers submitting to God. Max also resents God for separating him from his Christian family members in heaven. Ultimately, Max is eternally separate from the Source of Life and Love; thus, he experiences the wages of sin that is death.
This is what hell is—eternal separation from God. And the people in hell have chosen to be separate from God. They much rather not confront their sin but instead, try to pave their own path to happiness. They hate God and reject His Love, thus causing them to deal with their own misery and torment. And just as their idols pass away, so too will they. Max’s goal was never to have a relationship with God, he just desired the good things God can give to him. He feels as though God robbed him of happiness, ironically failing to realize that he has rejected the very Source of true Happiness.
It is only through Jesus that our souls are made whole again and reconciled to God. At Calvary, Jesus took hell upon Himself, becoming one with sin and separate from His eternal Father. Along with His flesh, His soul was destroyed and tormented as He paid the wages of sin for us. Not only was he physically dying, but His very soul was shunned from the source of Love Himself.
You will never understand how much Jesus Loves you until you realize how much He suffered on the cross. He so desires a relationship with you that he died so that you may eternally live.
Stop trying to do it your way, because your way will destroy and kill you. Realize that you cannot get to heaven alone and that you need a Savior. A Savior that not only saves you from hell and sin but one who saves you from yourself. As a log in the fire is destroyed, even dousing it with water cannot restore its original form. In the same way, just as sin destroys you, your good works cannot save you. Therefore, you will never be restored until you invite God Himself to restore you. You must submit to His way and base your identity on the only perfect and infinite source in existence. Failure to do so will only lead to your own destruction.
Hell is not some fiery furnace that God tosses people into for fun. It is the destination of those who reject God and His Love, thinking they do not need Him. Hell is where God gives people to the lifestyle and choices they have made, all of which never satisfy. In the end, they spend eternity in misery after choosing idols over God.
In the words of C.S Lewis, there are two groups of people. Those who say to God “Thy Will be Done!” or those to whom God says “thy will be done".
Follow Chasing Truth on Instagram and Twitter @thechasingtruth to keep up to date with everything. Also, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. God Bless you all.
Michael Jones, InspiringPhilosophy Ministry
C.S Lewis, “The Divorce”
Is it possible for Max to realize his sin in hell? If he does, would God save him? It seems easy to justify hell for someone who is too prideful to ask for mercy, but what if Max did ask for mercy? I am thinking of the rich man from the parable you discussed in part 1 (Luke16:19-31): "Father Abraham," he cries, "have mercy on me" (v. 24), but "none may cross over from [hell] to [heaven]" (v. 26). Then, in a moment of compassion, the rich man says "then I beg you, father, . . . warn [my] brothers, so that they will not also come to this place of torment" (v. 28). It seems easy to justify hell for someone who shows aggression to those around him, but what if Max was compassionate? Can a loving God refuse to help someone who asks for mercy for himself and others?
I have faith the Logos—the Word—and the Spirit of Truth will show you good answers that you can give to me. His will be done, always! I think these articles were excellent. God Bless you, Anurav.