Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)

Forever Is A Mighty Long, Long Time

Christian journalist Nick Harrison makes this important comment about the life of the Christian:

My wife is a skilled seamstress. She quickly restores garments that need mending, giving them many months of extra use, whereas they would otherwise be ready for the trash. In our own unique ways we all have talents given to us by God to help mend torn people. Some may help financially, others may pray diligently still others may be called to daily hands-on involvement. But whatever our gifts, the mending pile of humanity grows daily.

In my view it’s good sometimes to be reminded, that although God is sickened by the sin in this world, He still loves people within it. And one of the reasons the Lord has chosen to delay the Second Coming of Christ is because God the Father is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But alas, the sad truth remains that there are many who will not make it. And in the end this will prove to be the result their own choices.

You see, when God made man He could have “programmed” us to obey Him. However, even though the LORD God Almighty is completely sovereign, at the same time He also holds man to be responsible for his won moral choices. And God, Who is love, knew that people cannot be forced to love because that would, in fact, no longer be love.

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying along the lines of: If you love someone set them free; if they love you they’ll return. In the case of our Creator, that’s essentially what He did with His cherished creation mankind. However, because sin has now warped our perceptions about God, and with not a little help from Satan, we are incapable of returning to Him unless the Lord draws us to Himself. And God knew along what the cost would be for mankind to be able to live with Him; our Creator Himself would have to come into His Own world and die for His Church.

The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8) is what the Bible calls Christ Jesus of Nazareth. However, there is the “other side of the Good News” as Dr. Larry Dixon has pointed out, that all who die apart from the Lamb, and whose name was not found written in the book of life, [will be] thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

In point of fact this lake of fire actually refers to a literal place Jesus Himself calls Hell. It is a very sobering thought, and rightly so, because the Bible says that man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The truth is that every person will have to account for how he lived the life that was given to him by God—and you only have this one lifetime to seal your fate—and this for eternity. Some have said: “Well, I didn’t ask to be born.” As has been well stated humorously elsewhere by Dr. Walter Martin: Well, if we took a vote maybe we might not want you anyway!

We are about to see that God doesn’t so much “send” people to Hell; He simply honors their own choice to go there. For that is the cost of loving your own ways above the better ways of the One Who created you. You see, that “freedom of choice” that so many people worship today comes with a terrible price. As Jesus wept over His beloved Jerusalem He said — “how often did I desire to gather together in one place your children, even as a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you did not desire it” (Luke 13:34, Wuest, An Expanded Translation).

Dr. Martin also stated the truth when he said: We must face the fact that the vast majority of mankind will not make it to Heaven, as they just will not repent. It is true that John 3:16, perhaps the most recognized verse in the Bible, does say — For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Only Two Choices Remain Before You

However it’s also important to keep in mind that John 3:18 reads — “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son [Jesus Christ of Nazareth].” The Bible clearly teaches that we are already condemned to Hell because of our sinful nature. And John 3:36 informs us — Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

The Greek word used for believe in each of these verses is pisteuo; a word that means “to place full confidence in, to trust fully,” and not just to merely acknowledge a fact intellectually as it used in our culture. Whoever believes — [totally trusts in] — believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on Him. If you are not in Christ you need to understand that your only choices are to remain “condemned” to suffer God’s full anger or to repent of your sin and accept the Lord’s free gift of salvation.

And in his classic book All The Teachings Of Jesus Dr. Herbert Lockyer writes these sobering words;

From the [historical] records of our Lord’s ministry among men we discover that some of the most solemn utterances about the eternal [horror] of the lost fell from the lips of Him Who died that men might not perish. No matter how men try to do away with hell, it is still in existence and was a grim reality to Jesus who constantly warned His hearers of its terrors.

While some of His descriptions of the place of final punishment might be figurative, they yet indicate a dreadful reality. The words He used all imply utter and hopeless ruin and reveal how candid He was when speaking of the eternal destiny of those rejecting Him and His witness. We cannot explain away the revelation He gave men of eternal punishment. It was the Savior who came as personification of divine love who spoke of:

“The broad way that leadeth to destruction” (Matt. 7:13).
“Lose your eternal soul” (Matt. 16:26; see Matt. 19:23).
“Eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46, RV).
“Outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).
“Unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43, 44).
“Wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42, 50).
“Thy whole body cast hell” (Matt. 5:29-30).
“Everlasting fire” (Matt. 25:41, 46).
“Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:46-48).
“Eternal sin” (Mark 3:29, RV). (274)

Men and women, this fact can never be escaped because it was the most loving Person Who ever walked this earth, the Lord Jesus Himself, Who warned — [God] will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire [of hell] (Matthew 25:41).