Some of the many questions amongst Christians and Non-Christians surrounds the concept of hell. In western culture, the most common view of hell is that it is a place God sends ‘bad people’, whereas a ‘good person’ would go to heaven. I am going to try and challenge this paradigm. I believe that our eternal destination depends on something far more complicated, and far deeper than simply being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – not to mention that these terms are not even clearly defined.
First of all, when dealing with such a matter from a Christian perspective, it is imperative to understand that God is the only qualified judge. Only God has the understanding, wisdom, knowledge and insight to judge correctly and fairly. Humans cannot judge, angels cannot judge, animals cannot judge, demons cannot judge – God is the only one who can judge you. Reason backs this up. For anybody to judge 100% wholly and fairly, they must have an eternal wisdom and understanding. Any being who has this = God.
When we die, we will stand before God, and He will judge us. Judgement is mentioned countless times in the scriptures:
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…” – Matthew 12:36
“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God…” – Romans 14:10
“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” – John 12:31
There are many more references to be found, but this is enough to show that we will be judged one day. The next logical step in most minds would be, ‘How can I survive this judgement?’ or ‘What am I to be judged on?’ The answer to this can be found in the Bible, yet again. One of the scriptures above (Matthew 12:36) suggests that we will be judged on every careless word we have spoken. Other Bible verses show us that we are to be judged according to our actions upon this earth. Ecclesiastes 12:14 says in the NLT version:
God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
Since we are following the logical thought trail, let us take the next step. My next thought when I read such verses is this: ‘Who can survive judgement?’ When I think of everything I have done, and I remember all the sins I have commited, I become saddened and wonder why I even bother. God will surely punish me, and all humanity. No man can survive God’s judgement. At this point, it seems we are all hell bound. But do not stop reading here, because there is hope.
Many people do not see beyond what has previously been explained. For many people, Christianity is this: ‘Good man – heaven. Bad man – Hell.’ … This is misunderstanding at it’s height! Christianity is about hope, and I am about to explain this hope to you.
If you have been paying attention, you will know that the Bible tells us of God’s judgement one day. But God is not stupid. Do you really think He expects us all to be 100% perfect human beings? He’d be having a dangerous gamble if he expected us to be 10% perfect! We are stained with sin. We have the mark of pure evil upon us – every one of us, or at least we did. God knows there is no way we are going to survive judgement on our own. We can’t enter heavens gates and walk into God’s presence with even one tiny spec of sin. So He devised a plan. He was going to take away our sin.
How was he going to do this? The same way the Israelites had been doing it for hundreds of years. An offering.
If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done… If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering. – Leviticus 4:1-3
The ‘Sin Offering’ – a common practice in the Old Testament. It is used to take away the sins of the people, but it was only temporary. Therefore, it had to be carried out regularly. Job, a man from the book of Job would carry out offerings daily for himself and his family. It was usually done with a lamb. The interesting thing about this offering, is that the lamb had to be spotless. It could not have had any illness, and could not even have any spots or freckles!
So, it follows that God needed to take away our sin in the same way. With a spotless lamb. His name is Jesus. God provided a perfect lamb, and that lamb suffered, and that lamb was killed. His blood is on us, and our children, just as the people shouted:
All the people answered, ‘Let his blood be on us and on our children!’ – Matthew 27:25
But that is a good thing, because His blood washed our sins away. That sacrifice took away the stains of sin, and the stamp of pure evil. Jesus took on our every sin. He accepted the punishment we should have received. He passed through the judgement, with our sin, and did not survive. Just as we would not have survived if we were to pass through judgement with our sin. He loved us too much to see us condemned, and so he condemned Himself.
Now you don’t have to worry about surviving judgement day. If you know Jesus, and you have accepted Jesus as your saviour – when you stand before God on that day, God will see the pure blood of His son Jesus. He will say to you: “Come, be blessed.” and you will enter into His kingdom. Don’t try and get in by your own works – it won’t work. The only way to the Father is through the Son. Jesus is the only one who can save you. He can save you from sin – and that entails a lot. Hell is not a place for ‘bad people’. We’re all ‘bad people’ in the sense that we have all sinned! If we went by that philosophy, we’re all doomed. Judgement and hell are for those who are not saved by the blood of Jesus. If you’re saved, praise God. If not, God is calling out to you. Come, be blessed… ?
Here is a prayer one can pray to remind you of what Jesus has done for you, or to ask Him to become your saviour. It takes no more than a prayer from your heart:
Dear Jesus, thank you for saving me. I could not have done it on my own, and you loved me too much to see me suffer. Thank you that I am saved by your blood. I have a guaranteed place in Your kingdom. Now I ask You to come into my life, and to do things the way You know is best for me and for Your kingdom. Amen.