"The wicked shall be turned into hell." Psalm 9:17
"How can you escape the damnation of hell?" Matthew 23:33
God has built hell built on purpose, for the damned to lie in. See the dreadfulness of that place! Hell is the epitome of misery! Besides "the punishment of loss," which is the exclusion of the soul from the gloried sight of God, which some think is the worst part of hell--there will be "the punishment of sense."
In hell there will be a plurality of torments:
There will be the "chains of darkness." 2 Peter 2:4.
There will be the "never-dying worm." Mark 9:48. This is the worm of conscience.
There will be the "lake of fire." Revelation 20:15. Other fire is but 'painted fire'--compared to this.
This house of hell is haunted with devils! Matt 25:41. Anselm says, "I had rather endure all torments, than see the devil with bodily eyes." Such as go to hell, must not only be forced to behold the devil--but must be shut up with this lion in his den! They must keep the devil company! This red dragon is full of spite--and will spit fire in men's faces!
The torments of hell abide forever! "The smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever." Rev. 14:2. Time cannot finish hell. Tears cannot quench hell. Mark 9:44. The wicked will always live in the fire of hell--but never be consumed. After they have lain millions of years in hell, their punishment is as far from ending, as it was at the beginning! If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain--it would be a long time before that vast heap would be removed! Yet, if after all that time the damned might come out of hell--there would be some hope; but this word FOREVER breaks the heart!
If anyone should ask, where is hell? I wish he may never know experimentally. "Let us not so much," says Chrysostom, "labor to know where hell is--as how to escape it."
Why must there be a hell? Because there must be a place for the execution of divine justice. Earthly monarchs have their prison for criminals--and shall not God have his? Sinners are criminals, they have offended God. It would not be consistent with His holiness and justice--to have His laws infringed, and not inflict penalties.
How does it seem to comport with God's justice--to punish a sin committed in a moment--with eternal torment?
1. Because there is an eternity of sin in man's nature. They will continue to sin in hell. "Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done." Revelation 16:10-11
2. Because sin is "committed against an infinite majesty," and therefore the sin itself is infinite, and proportionally the punishment must be infinite.
3. Because a finite creature cannot satisfy infinite wrath, he must be eternally paying what he can never pay.
"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!" 1 Thess 1:10
What infinite cause have they to bless God--who are delivered from hell! Jesus Christ suffered the torments of hell in His soul--that believers should not suffer them. Oh, how should we bless God to be preserved from the wrath to come!
It may cause more thankfulness in us, to realize that most people go to hell when they die. To be of the number of those few who are delivered from hell--is matter of infinite thankfulness. "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14
"Divide the world," says one, "into thirty-one parts, nineteen parts of it are Jews and Turks, and seven parts are heathen; so that there are but five parts of professing Christians--and among these, so many deceived Papists on the one hand, and so many formal Protestants on the other--that we may conclude that the major part of the world goes to hell.
Scripture compares the wicked to "the mire in the streets." Isaiah 10:6. Few precious jewels are in the street--but you cannot go a step without meeting with mire! The wicked are as common as the dirt in the street! The devil has most of the harvest--and God has only a few gleanings. Oh, then, such as are delivered from hell, have infinite cause to admire and bless God. How should the vessels of mercy run over with thankfulness! When most others are carried as prisoners to hell--they are delivered from the wrath to come!
How shall I know if I am delivered from hell?
(1) Those whom Christ saves from hell--He saves from sin. "He shall save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21. Has God delivered you from the power of corruption, from pride, malice, and lust? If He has delivered you from the hell of sin, He has delivered you from the hell of torment.
(2) If you prize, trust and love Christ--you are delivered from hell and damnation. "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1. If you are in Christ, He has put the garment of His righteousness over you--and hell-fire can never singe it!