Why do our sins, even the little ones we may consider acceptable like white lies, pride etc…sins that don’t seem to hurt anybody, land us in hell for eternity? Doesn’t that seem a little harsh? Does the punishment fit the crime? Questioning our punishment implies that our sin isn’t serious to us. But it is to God. Sin is serious and we must see our own sin before we understand that we need to be saved from it. Otherwise, there is no need for a savior. God is a holy God and does not tolerate any sin, no matter how big or how insignificant it seems to us. With that in mind, we must understand that eternal punishment is fitting for the unrepentant because we have sinned against an eternal God.
Some Need More Proof:
From the beginning of Christianity, the word of God has gotten out to the world, to all continents. People have heard the word and have had a choice to repent of their sin and accept God’s gift of salvation or to reject it. For those who have chosen to reject it, or who say they need more proof, I say they will never have proof enough. One form of proof is the verses in the New Testament. There are countless verses in the New Testament that clearly tell us what we must do to be saved. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that we must believe that God exists to draw near to him and that He rewards those who seek Him. Romans 10:9-10 tells us we need to confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord to be saved. Romans 10:12-17 teaches that the Lord bestows His riches on all who call on Him. In John 14:6 Jesus Himself claims, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Peter tells us in Acts 4:12 that there is no under name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
A second type of proof one would seek would be miracles. Jesus performed plenty of miracles. But those are dismissed as coincidence or magic to the skeptic. The wicked always seek more evidence. People say that Jonah’s story is far-fetched and not believable. To that, I would say, If God can speak the world into existence, Jonah’s story is child’s play. People who end up in hell have had plenty of chances during their life-time to respond to the gospel and chose not to. They’re not just good people who made an honest mistake. They’ve made their conscious decision and now their fate is sealed.
Would a Limited Time in Hell Be a Deterrent?
A limited time in hell would not be a deterrent. An eternal hell doesn’t deter people. Why would a limited time in hell be a deterrent? People in hell are unrepentant. That’s why they’re there. Look at the story of the rich man in hell in Luke16:19-31. He is in anguish and asks two things; for Lazarus to dip his finger in some cool water and give it to him and for Lazarus to go to his father’s house and warn his brothers so they will not be in hell with him. He never asks how he got there or never shows remorse. He still is not repentant even in hell! Abraham tells him that his brothers “Have Moses”. The rich man replies, “No.” This is not enough? He said if someone from the dead goes to his brothers, then they will believe and repent. Abrahams replies, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” It’s the hard heart of a person that landed them in hell. That’s why a limited time there would not be a deterrent.
God never forces himself on anyone. He gives us a free will and with that will, we choose to believe in God’s truth claims or not to believe. But in the end, God is going to give each one of us exactly what we want. Heaven or Hell.
Those in Heaven and those in Hell will have two things in common: They will each believe that they don’t deserve to be where they are (humility versus pride), and each will be in their respective places by choice. Not by force.
No one is perfect. Romans 3:10 says no one is righteous. Not one. Not one of us can live up to the 10 commandments. We’ve all broken them. See your sin for what it is. Ask the Lord to show you your sin and ask His forgiveness. No one deserves Heaven. We all deserve Hell. But God’s son came to testify to the truth and save us from hell. If you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and confess your sin to Him, you will be in Heaven with Him eternally and you can rest in knowing that while you’re here on this earth. Heaven begins now my friends.