“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” – Luke 13:24 NAS
The purpose of this post is to encourage you to strive to insure that you are indeed saved and going to heaven; if you live a decent life on this earth and die in your sins, that isn’t ultimately helpful for you. (Matthew 16:26)
If I am not completely exhausted when I wake up in the mornings from the previous night’s activities (especially in dealing with children who are ill), I can usually get out of the bed and get my day going. The best times are when I wake up energized and ready to start the day; the worst times are when I have to get out of the bed for some commitment in the mornings and yet still feel like I need a few more hours of sleep. Waking up groggy isn’t pleasant.
Yet, even worse is the following scenario: Imagine waking up in Hell:
The torment has begun. You first become aware of the pain of burning… you know the feeling you get after touching a hot iron or stove top pan (or to an even lesser extent, the pain of a sunburn). Now, consider that pain covering every square inch of your body. Follow that by the fact that when you first entered into torment, your body was rejuvenated into a form that could experience every feeling to minute detail, you know, the way you experienced things as a kid. Combine that with the reality that you are now in a body that is incapable of deteriorating. After all, you have already died. You are now in what is called a resurrected body – one built to endure for eternity. (See Luke 16:30, Revelation 20:15)
You begin to become aware of a number of other things. You are quite busy. In this life, you would be sweating as a relief mechanism so that your body could cool itself; not so, here. You find that you can’t stop bouncing back and forth between a few actions – gnawing at your tongue in order to try to distract from the pain of burning, screaming at the top of your lungs which are also being seared by the intense heat, gnashing your teeth, again primarily due to the pain, but also secondarily because of anger- your own anger… directed toward yourself. If you could speak, you would be crying out for relief. You would be seeking help, maybe even an ear from someone who could help you deal with the horrific situation you are in.
Because it is absolutely dark, even amid the flames which do not release light, it is impossible to see if anyone else is around you. You feel no solid ground under your feet – your inner body is not receiving the feedback associated with gravity of walking about on earth as you use to. You are in a condition of weightlessness, but also of some type of immobility. You try to move, but every movement is associated with another wave of searing pain, as each part of your unclothed body that is exposed, upon moving, exposes another part to the pain of the heat.
You also, upon feeling different parts of your body, begin to realize that there are little objects squirming about on you, eating into your flesh and causing yet more pain. The eating into your flesh would, in your previous existence, would have caused decay. But not here. Your body automatically heals itself, so to speak, in preparation for yet another wave of pain. You try to scrape the worms off with your hands but they do not respond. They are in some way embedded into your flesh and you are powerless to remove them.
Your throat is parched, and the smell of the fire, similar to the campfires you use to have as a child, is overwhelming your nasal cavity, but it is an even more intense experience because the inhalation of the air is more like breathing tar or burning coals.
As you grow weary of the screaming and in the midst of the searing pain, you begin to realize that this state of existence that you are in is going to be forever. You begin to consider what lead to your being there. If you could escape, you would give anything that you could in order to get out of this predicament. But, you have no access to any of your former resources. No money, certainly no credit, no people that you could befriend, intimidate or manipulate, or force to remove you from this condition.
You begin to consider your previous life. You think of all of the times that those ‘Christians’ told you to turn from your sins, to believe the gospel. You remember your attitude of pride: “How could they tell ME to do this?” “Turn from my way of life? – You’ve got to be kidding?”. You begin to remember how many times in your life you were approach with the opportunity to remove yourself from this impending consequence, which you also full well knew was coming. And, you rejected it – you rejected each circumstance of God’s grace shown to you.
After another few decades of screaming, gnashing your teeth, and gnawing at your tongue, you begin to weep… you remember the beauty of the multiple thousands of sunsets that you saw, the millions of good things you experienced, the taste of chocolate. None of this will ever be available to you, ever again. Your conscience, now completely and fully activated and not numbed by the drugs you use to take- the alcohol, Prozac, immoral relationships, etc. All of these things you use to use in order to suppress your conscience are now unavailable to you. Your conscience is now a roaring fire in your mind. There is now no way to hide or avoid the full accusations of the warning system that God put into place in your life to keep you from going here. You tried to keep it all down and out and away from you. Now, just like the worms you tried to scrape off with your dull fingernails, are ever biting at you.
More than that, you begin to consider God. God, the One who, in your life, you rebelled against and sought to remove His rule from your life, is now demonstrating to you by way of this horrific place you are now in, the true state of who you were, but even worse yet, who you are. You are nothing, now, but a piece of trash. You have ended up in the ‘trash can’ of the universe. You are in the Lake of Fire, Hell, and Eternal Destruction.
In your previous existence, you mocked God and His Son. Now, is payback time. You have been caught exposed. You have been judged based on the standard that you flaunted so many times. You had shown up to court and you had no defense. You were declared guilty, and as your conscience attests to, the judgment rendered against you was accurate. You have now arrived at your place. This place is Your place… this home is yours. It is what you, by your actions and through your words, have always known was coming to you, and you pursued it with might. You are the damned.
But, reader, it doesn’t have to be this way for you. Below, I have listed Five Key Considerations to help prevent you from ending up in this place of dread and fear:
- Settle out of court with God – God has provided a way for you to escape Hell. It is to repent and believe the Gospel. The Gospel is this: Although you have broken God’s law and deserve eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire forever, God has provided a covering for you in order to escape His wrath. That covering is the work that Jesus, His Son and the second person of the Godhead, did in living the perfect life in full obedience to God’s commands and standard, and through offering Himself as a sacrifice on the cross as a full satisfaction for your sins and everyone else’s sins who will ever believe. Trust Him in faith that He did this for you, and embrace all that His sacrifice means for your life. Ask Him to apply what Jesus did on the cross to your account – the wretched life that you have willingly chosen to live apart from His goodness and relying on your own. If you ask Him to save you, He has promised that He will. Embrace Him as your Lord and Master and turn from your sins.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19
- Don’t Fear People – People can hurt you. People can be your friends. People can make you popular and people can hate you. But, after you die, what people think of you doesn’t matter. All that matters is, “What did God think of you?” or to be more clear, are you lacking in fulfilling all of what God has wanted for your life? If you realize that you can’t, then congratulations! You have realized that which is necessary for you to be saved.But here is the point: if you reject the gospel because you are more concerned about what others think of you than of your own ‘escape from hell’ plan (the gospel, mentioned above), then you are too afraid of people. Don’t let what other people think of you be the thing that foils your escape plan.
- Don’t Fear Your Circumstances – If believing the Gospel will result in your having difficulty in this life, make the comparison: Would you rather experience eternity in torment, or would you rather undergo a few ‘bad’ experiences here on this earth for a brief time? I put ‘bad’ in single quotes, because comparatively speaking, the worst on Earth compared to one second in the burning lake of fire is actually cake.
- Don’t Be Lazy – Procrastination in eternal matters is the assurance that you will go to the Lake of Fire. Since the possibility exists for you to deal with this issue right now, why not deal with it now? Start with talking to God… Tell Him the things mentioned in point number 1 above.
- Be Diligent – Although you can do nothing to save yourself from Hell AND God can do (and has done) everything you need in order to escape from the burning lake of fire, you need to consider this as your primary job until you are certain that you are covered. God has promised that if you do come to Him, He will come to you. He wants you to escape. Do you want it?
There is more that can be written, and more that, by God’s Grace, I will write in the future. Leave your comments below if you have any thoughts.