Hell is Real

By Chad Taylor

Jesus tells a story in Luke 16 of the rich man and the poor man. The rich man cried out, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in the flame..." It is clear what this man was going through. This is one of the rare times that Jesus does not refer to this as a "parable" or an example. He was speaking of it as a reality.

Abraham's response is even more revealing, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus evil things? But now he is comforted and you are tormented..." (Luke 16:25). The word literally means, odunao (od-oo-nah'-o); sorrow or torment. Hell is a reality and that is why Christ was crucified. "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness... (1 Cor 1:23).

It may seem foolish or beyond reason why Christ had to die for us. But it is still as relevant now as it was centuries ago. No wonder then Paul was so determined, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (1 Cor 2:2). Let us all have that same determination.

What is also startling is that there is a place where the mercy of God does not reach. "Father Abraham, have mercy on me..." did not work in this place of torment. No wonder the prophet Isaiah told us, "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." (Isa 55:6). God's mercy is now. We must take full advantage of this mercy and demonstrate it everywhere we go. Today is the day of salvation, tomorrow may the be day of judgment. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
(2 Cor 5:10).

Hell is the motivating factor for evangelism! Paul knowing this exclaimed, "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is me, if I preach not the gospel! (1 Cor 9:16) God give us all that necessity!

Paul must have had the save revelation as Jesus did in Luke 16, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2 Cor 5:11). There is an awful terror awaiting those that reject the blood of Jesus, but there is also awesome mercy for those that do not. "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise..." (Luke 23:42-43)

Whether we are thief or murderer on death row, a druggie or a prostitute, a rich man or poor man, one whisper of His name and we can be set free. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord... (Rom 7:24-25).

It is shocking to imagine that everyone that has ignored Christ in this life is crying out from their own torment and begging us to go and preach the gospel. If the Lord's commands are not enough, "Go and preach the gospel to every creature..." Maybe the cries of hell will be... "Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment..." (Luke 16:27-28)

Chad Taylor chadtaylor@consumingfire.com