The Hopelessness of Hell

The other day I heard that a friend’s relative was dying and would likely die soon.  Later that morning I heard the news that he had died.  He did not believe in Jesus.

As hard as it is to know that someone is suffering physical misery in this life and as much as we may end up desiring that the Lord allow them to die so that they can be relieved of it in the here and now, there is no comparison between the temporal pain experienced here on earth and the eternal horrors of those who are rightfully punished for rejecting the God who made them.  “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Not only are the tortures of hell horrific, but the future of its inhabitants is hopeless.  There is no light at the end of the tunnel, no bright sunrise following the night, no happy tomorrows that can erase today’s agonies.  Hell has no pleasant surprises.  It is predictable, guaranteed, and inescapable.  Hell is a hopeless place.

Hope gives us strength.  It enables us to persevere in the face of massive and mounting odds.  It gives us a sense of purpose when life seems aimless, a sense of joy when we’re called to labor, and a sense of resignation in our sufferings.  Even in the darkest, blackest night, the candle of Christian hope cannot be fully extinguished.  It will flicker and grow dim, but it will never go out.  But there is none of this in hell.

The ten thousand tomorrows of hell will be as miserable as its ten thousand yesterdays.  Take a Hubble telescope and look as far into hell’s future as you can see.  You will not find a ray of hope.

Look at hell.  Think about it.  Close your eyes and imagine it.  Smell it.  It will expose the emptiness of your gratitude, the thrill of free redemption, and the urgency of making disciples.  I am never more sobered than when I consider hell, and never more awakened than when someone goes there.  It’s hard to think about for long, but it just might be that the less you think about it, the more people will end up there.

Your neighbor is going there.  Your brother is going there.  Your father is going there.  Your co-workers and your friends and your relatives are going there.  Most of us have at least dozens and at most thousands of people in our lives that will be separated from God forever, dying but never dying in what the Bible calls a lake of fire.  They will be hopeless.

This is not the only reason to share Christ, but it is the starkest and the most bleak.  There are many things in life that don’t matter, and a few things that do.  This is one that matters.  Say something.

6 thoughts on “The Hopelessness of Hell

  1. I am a 56 year old, now spirit filled, gulf war veteran that is very active in the church and involved in prison ministry. I have never been arrested in my life and when I tell you this story you will think, “There has to be more to the story. He had to be asking for it.”
    There’s not, and I wasn’t.
    It’s after 10 pm and the wife and I are in bed when the phone sounds. We check it and it is a Christian brother in need of support while going through a rough time. I call him and asked if he needed someone to come over. He told me he would really appreciate that.
    I got out of bed, got dressed and headed out the door to jump in my old farm pickup that just so happened to have the lens cover on the back tail light broken. Light still worked, but I must admit the lens cover was broken.
    The town he lives in is about 40-50 miles down the way with a population of about 2000. While going through the city I see some flashing lights pull in behind me so I turn off main street at the next block and stop. To spare the time I’ll just say, that it ended up, my tag on the old truck that seldom leaves the drive was a month and a half out of date. And if that wasn’t enough, my driver’s license had just expired and was 17 days out of date.
    Well its plain to see this city cop could throw the book at me and right me up for 3 expensive tickets totaling about $600.
    Oh yes, I get the tickets he decides I need, but only after handcuffing me, impounding my vehicle and putting me in the back of his police car to haul me to jail.
    To get to the point, that night I asked the Lord what I was supposed to learn out of this experience and He laid in my heart the following:
    You remember how hopeless you felt when there was nothing you could do or say that seemed to matter.
    I thought, yea, but I knew it was going to be alright because You were on my side.
    He continued, think how people are going to feel when they are cast into hell. They will have no hope!
    Enough said. It put a new urgency on my ministry. That thought has stayed in the forefront of my mind since. I thank God for that experience. It’s a small price to pay to receive revelation from the Lord.

  2. Well done Gunner. Sobering. I sent this link to a friend of mine who is a Christian from Sri Lanka here at work. It sparked great conversation – the type of conversation that is sometimes lacking and I must pray to have in this environment. Thanks for the reminder.


  3. Gunner,

    At some time, you should read “That Hideous Doctrine,” which was an article published in Moody Magazine by John Thomas. I don’t remember it’s date of publication, but it will strike a few tears in your eyes. It describes the person’s experiences who has just entered hell and the awful first few moments of being there! Frightening!

  4. Gunner,

    This blog really disturbed me – not in a bad sense, but in a really sobering sense. What a clear reminder that hell is ever so real. It is just as real as heaven. It is just as real as my life I’m living now.

    And the most disturbing part is that most people I see throughout my day, people that drive next to me on the freeways, people I meet in the grocery store, and family members are all headed there.

    I appreciate your frankness. To God be the glory for plucking us out from this real pit of eternal hopelessness.

    Thanks man,



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