Hell Is Our Default Destination

And, we have to assume hell is eternal, because the same word that is used for “everlasting life” is used for “everlasting death.”

You say, “But how is that fair? An eternity in hell for only 70 years of sin?”

Sin gains its wickedness by the one it’s committed against. If you punch a hole in a wall, you have to pay for the wall. If you punch a dog, that’s worse. If you punch the woman behind you in the grocery line, you’re going to jail. If you approach the Queen of England with your fists raised, something worse than jail may happen to you. Sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely wicked.

You say, “Why can’t God just let it go?”

Because he is just. And justice demands restitution in some way. The desire we all have for God to ultimately right all wrongs and restore justice to the universe—that necessitates judgment.

You say, “Well, why doesn’t God do something about it?”

He has! He put on Jesus the full punishment for our sin. He took on every single ounce of it so nothing would be left for us.

There are only two ways to pay for sin: The eternal Son of God can die for it, or we can pay for it eternally in hell.

And if we don’t receive what he has offered to us—the free gift of salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross—then what other choice does God have? If we won’t accept salvation, if we continue to push God away, if we insist on subverting his will and exalting our own, what more can God do? As C.S. Lewis said, there are, in the end, only two groups of people—those who say to God, “Your will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Your will be done.” Hell is a door locked from the inside.

The predominant image of hell in the Bible is that of fire. Fire represents insatiable desire. Leave a fire unchecked, and it continues to grow. Nurse a particular sin—jealousy, lust, racism, pride—and that fire will eventually consume you, burning brighter and brighter until you are indistinguishable from it. Hell is the place where God removes his hand and allows you to become your sin.

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you.

Look at how John ends Revelation: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).

The last voice you will hear as you step out into a godless eternity is Jesus’, pleading with you to take his hand, to receive life, to come.

This article on the default destination of Hell originally appeared here.