The Stakes are High

As we conclude our study, let’s consider three closing points.

First, when we consider the teaching of hell, we should realize that the stakes are inconceivably high. The teaching of hell should wake us up to the urgency of making a decision for Christ. We cannot doddle around forever. Atheist Sam Harris agrees with this, when he writes,

The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t. Either Jesus offers humanity the one, true path to salvation (Jn. 14:6), or he does not… If Christianity is correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer the torments of hell. Worse still, I have persuaded others, and many close to me, to reject the very idea of God. They too will languish in ‘eternal fire’ (Mt. 25:41). If the basic doctrine of Christianity is correct, I have misused my life in the worst conceivable way. I admit this without a single caveat.[1]

Harris goes on to write that he believes that Christianity is simply false, so he finds no reason to believe in it. And yet, at least he has understood what is at stake! We are not playing games when we say that there is a hell, and people are going there. This claim needs to be taken seriously.

Second, while the teaching of hell is severe, the way out of hell is simple. Jesus said that we can avoid hell by simply believing in his message of forgiveness. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (Jn. 5:24 NLT). Therefore, while hell is severe, the way out of it could not be any easier.

Third, this radically differentiates Christianity from all other religions. While other religious systems teach that men can avoid hell through moral living, the Christian view says that we could never earn this. Instead, Jesus died to put every human’s eternity in hell onto himself (1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Cor. 5:15; Titus 2:11). The Bible teaches that we can avoid hell –not through moral effort –but by trusting in Jesus’ work on the Cross.

Are you ready to ask for Christ’s forgiveness on the Cross?

Don’t kick this decision around forever. There will come a day, when you will realize that this decision is no longer available (Jn. 9:4). The Bible teaches that all people will bow before Christ. Some will bow to him as their savior, while others will bow before him as their judge. But, make no mistake about it, all of us will bow (Phil. 2:10-11). As C.S. Lewis writes,

All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it; or else, that it was within your grasp and you have lost it forever.[2]

Wouldn’t it be horrible if you read through this entire study on hell, and you ended up going there?

Return to original article: “Is Hell Divine Overkill?”


[1] Harris, Sam. Letter to a Christian Nation. New York: Knopf, 2006. 3-4.

[2] Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain. New York: Harper Collins, 2001. 152.