Question 10: What is the punishment for sin?
The punishment for sin is hell, the place of eternal torment.
How much does God hate sin? Enough to punish sinners for eternity in hell. Is hell for real? Absolutely. The words of Jesus are found in 1,830 verses in the Bible, and thirteen percent of those deal with hell. The Greek word for hell is Gehenna. It is used twelve times in the New Testament; eleven of those are from Jesus Himself. Hell is very real.
What is hell like? It is a place of “outer darkness (Mt 8:11-12).” There is “weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 8:11-12).” It is an “unquenchable fire (Mk 9:43-44),” and an “eternal fire (Mt 18:8; 25:41).” It is a “blazing furnace (Mt 13:42).” It is described as a place where “the worm does not die (Mk 9:43-44).” It is called the “lake of fire.” The devil and his demons will be there (Mt 25:41). Those who go there will be “tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:10).” We can conclude from the Bible that hell is the most horrible place imaginable. It is a place of non-stop, indescribable physical and emotional suffering. It is eternal. Once a person goes to hell, there is no escape; no second chance (Heb 9:27). Once in hell, always in hell. There is no death in hell; only constant torment for all eternity.
How could a loving God send people to hell? God is an infinite God, and therefore the punishment for sinning against Him must be infinite. It would be unjust of God to allow sin to go unpunished. But it is important to understand that God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell (1 Tim 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9). God wants everyone to be saved. In a way, God doesn’t send anyone to hell. God has made a way for everyone to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, who paid for the sins of the world (John 3:16-18). As well, God not originally create hell for human beings; it was created as a place of punishment the devil and his demons. The only people who go to hell are those who refuse to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The only people who go to hell are those who choose to go there by rejecting Christ.
Because hell is real there are two things we must do. First, we must make sure that we do not go to hell. We can avoid hell by admitting our sin, believing in Jesus who died and rose again, and calling on Jesus to save us (Rm 10:13). Second, we must make sure to help as many people avoid hell as possible by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. This is called evangelism, and it is one of the most important things we can do with our lives. Without Christ, people will spend eternity in hell. We must rescue as many as we can.
Is it rude to tell people that they will go to hell if they do not turn to Jesus Christ? Not at all, as long as we speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Would it be rude for the doctor to tell a patient that they have a deadly disease so that they could seek the proper treatment before it is too late? No. In fact, it would be loving to share information with someone that could save their life. Telling people about the reality of hell and that they can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ is not only life-saving information, but eternity-saving information. It is the most loving thing you could do for someone.
Questions for Discussion:
- What is hell like?
- How long will hell last?
- Do you believe that hell is real?
- What is the scariest thing about hell to you?
- Is it rude to tell people about hell? Explain.
- How could a loving God send people to hell?
- Matthew 8:11-12
- Matthew 9:43-44
- Matthew 13:42
- Matthew 18:8
- Matthew 25:41
- John 3:16-18
- Romans 10:13
- 1 Timothy 2:3-4
- Hebrews 9:27
- 1 Peter 3:0
- Revelation 20:10