When you examine the words of Christ as recorded in the gospel accounts of the New Testament, it is revealing to see Jesus spent more time warning about the dangers of hell than speaking of the joy of heaven. This is not because He didn't want us to think about the beauty of eternal life, or to realize how wonderful it will be, but because He didn't want us to face eternal punishment. Undoubtedly, Jesus knew hell to be real, but a question that many desire answered today is why hell is real? Why does God have a place of punishment reserved in eternity for sinners?

Scripture reveals to us God as a righteous God. The term righteous, or just, refers to what is right, the standard established by God for us to live by. That God has a specific way for us as His creation to live is evident in Scripture. The Psalmist reminds us, "I have sworn, and have confirmed it, that I will observe thy righteous ordinances" (Psalm 119:106). John reminds us sin is a violation of God's will, His righteous standard. "Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). Humanity may feel each person has the right to choose how to live and it be acceptable, but being our Creator, God has authority over us (Ephesians 4:6), as does His Son (Matthew 28:18).

As God has established His righteous will over humanity, a day of judgment is demanded, a day of accountability for the course in life one has chosen to live. "So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). If there is a reward for those who have lived by God's righteousness, there is punishment for those who have lived unrighteously, as well. Paul wrote God "will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation" (Romans 2:6-8). In teaching about the judgment, Jesus concluded, "And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46). In describing both conditions, Jesus used the same term. The never-ending nature of life in heaven is also true of the never-ending nature of life in torment.

Hell is real for the same reason heaven is real. God is a righteous God, who has established His righteous will for us to live by. Because there is this standard for conduct, there must of necessity be a day of judgment, a day in which those righteous will be rewarded by being in the presence of God and His Son for eternity. It is also a day in which those who live unrighteously will be removed from the presence of God and His Son forever, and be tormented for eternity. This reality revealed in Scripture begs us to examine ourselves in light of its teaching, and determine for which we live, heaven or hell. It begs us to find life in Jesus Christ while there is still time, instead of condemnation in sin. You choose which eternal destiny is yours by how you live today; are you choosing poorly or wisely? "Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29).

Robert Johnson
Longview, TX


"One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."