The average modern view of Hell is reflected in Johnathan Edwards statement “we haven’t sense enough of the evil of sin to stir up indignation enough in us against it, to balance the horror that arises from a sense of the dreadfulness of his suffering. This makes us pity the sufferer, and this raises objections against God.” Too often in our day this sort of sentiment is held by the average Christian, in fact even preachers make the most outlandish and unbiblical statements about the eternal woes of the lost. No matter how men may try to do away with Hell, it is still in existence and a grim reality that Christ Himself warned his hearers of it’s torment. We cannot explain away the revelation He gave us of the eternal punishment. He clearly spoke of the broad way where one loses his soul to the eternal punishment of everlasting fire (Matt 7:13, 16:26, 19:23 25:46, 9:43,44)
It is not always common knowledge that Christ spoke of the topic of Hell more than He did of Heaven. The most graphic detail of what the damned can expect is illustrated in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man is tormented in Hell’s flame, not because he was rich, but because of disregard for his soul’s most significant need. He prays in agony for just a drop of water, but instead of relief his torment is increased tenfold by the sight of the beggar whom he regarded with sinful partiality. At that point it was too late for the rich man, there was nothing he could do to escape his reality.
As Christians we understand that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and never sends a sinner to Hell. The eternal punishment of the wicked is not arbitrarily imposed by God but is the inevitable result of the free choice to become a slave to one’s sins. Having chosen the path of destruction, they are left to reap the full and dire consequences of their sin. This reality cannot be explained away with lofty words, and it does mankind a disservice if any minister of the Word attempts to do so.
If our obligation is the preaching of the Gospel, the blessings of God’s Word in good news, it is imperative that we also teach the woes of Scripture. When it comes to warning sinners to flee from the wrath to come, we do as the Apostle Paul preached to the Philippians: “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”