Understanding Gods Character

It’s important to understand that regardless of how long hellfire burns, it will not be a picnic for the sinner. While the Bible doesn’t specify the duration, Jesus indicates in Luke 12 that the amount of suffering will be based on the hardness of each individual’s heart. It would be pure speculation to suppose how long the fires of hell may actually burn, but we can be sure the suffering and anguish endured by the lost would be beyond our ability to describe.

For too long, the concept of hellfire has been used to scare sinners into salvation. However, true surrender to God comes from love, not fear. We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). While a healthy respect for the consequences of sin is necessary, it’s love for God that truly changes hearts.

We can know for sure that God is not a despicable, heartless tyrant who will take His very own created beings and torture them without mercy or relief throughout all eternity. It seems incredible that while society locks child abusers in prison, so many are willing to hold God guilty of the most horrible case of child abuse ever perpetrated!

According to Jesus, hellfire isn’t even meant for human beings. It is “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Yet because many refuse to accept Jesus’ great sacrifice for them and choose instead to follow the great enemy of souls, they must share his fate. Satan and all sinners will be destroyed, the earth will be cleansed, and “affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9). Sin and sinners will be utterly destroyed, forever separated from God, the source of all life.

The Motorway

Years ago in Auckland, New Zealand, a young woman crashed her car on the motorway while driving home in the early hours of the morning. Though she survived the crash unharmed, she found herself trapped in her wrecked car as flames engulfed it.

Several people, including a delivery man, two postal workers, and an off-duty policeman, rushed to help her. Despite their efforts, they couldn’t free her. Eventually, the heat forced them to retreat, leaving the woman behind, pleading with them not to leave her to her fiery fate.

One of the rescuers later recounted, “As we left, she grabbed my arm and said, ‘Don’t go; I’m going to die here.’ But we had to get out.”

The police officer was badly injured, having burned away much of the flesh on one of his hands in his desire to free the young lady. But she was hopelessly trapped in the fiery car wreck. 

Likewise, even today Jesus is doing all He can to save people from the wreckage of their sins and from the fire that will one day burn and destroy all sin. The Bible says, “He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). 

Just as those who are lost do not possess the Son, and therefore cannot have life, those who possess Jesus Christ are assured of life everlasting. Jesus will forever bear the scars He received at Calvary in the greatest and costliest rescue attempt ever conceived. 

Unlike the hell conjured up by many teachers today, the end of sin and sinners is assured. It is not arbitrarily imposed by a God of cruelty but is a necessary act that assures the future safety of the universe. This event will bring intense pain to the heart of Divinity but will also open the door to an assured future for all who love God.


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