I was sitting in Panera Bread earlier this evening and working on some homework, and my mind started thinking about eternity. What if I ended up in hell? Normally when I stop to think about the possibility of ending up spending an eternity suffering the wrath of the Almighty God, the thought terrifies me. But for some reason this evening it didn’t, in fact it encouraged me.

Here’s why….because as I thought about my sin and the punishment it deserved, I thought that hell would be a fitting end. Would not God be justified in midigating carrying out such a sentence on a sinner such as I? Even more, would not His righteousness and His justice be rightly displayed for all to see? I thought much like the Psalmist who said,

Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:4).

And what a wonderful thought that should be! That God will be justified when He speaks. That He will be blameless when He judges. How often to we, even as Christians, think that hell is a bad place? How often do we think about the suffering that will take place there, but not why it is taking place? I think if we thought more often about why hell exists – because of our sin. And we thought more often about the character of God – His righteousness, His holiness, His justice. We would not think hell to be such a horrid place, but rather a most fitting demonstration of God’s wrath and power.

I fear that the reason most of us think hell to be such a bad thing, it is because we don’t think it is fair. And we don’t think it’s fair, because we do not understand the gravity of our sin, of our offense against God. May we all be able to say like the apostle Paul, “let God be found true, and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:3). May we be mistaken, but let God always be right (which He is by the way).

But in the final analysis I should add that hell will not be the perfect demonstration of His righteous condemnation of sin, the cross of Jesus Christ will be. If for no other reason than this: When God poured out His wrath on the Son on Calvary, His wrath was satisfied once for all for those who would believe. Those in hell will never satisfy His wrath, and that is why it is eternal.

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