The knowledge that God judges the sinner for eternity in hell is a very uncomfortable consideration. Many within the evangelical church have tried to gloss over this biblical doctrine by diminishing the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, God’s provision for the sinner through His Son Jesus Christ, and the centrality of repentance and personal conscious faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. They disregard and contradict what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they so we preached and so you believed. In this passage of Scripture God makes it abundantly clear through the apostle Paul that belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the sinner is the fulcrum upon which the salvation of any who will be saved is hinged. He also declares that this is the message which was preached by the apostle Paul and the twelve. Paul encourages the Galatians to remember that they received the Holy Spirit by hearing the gospel with faith and they are justified before God the same way that believing Abraham was justified, by belief in the gospel. O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?- just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. Galatians 3:1-9 These two passages undoubtedly declare that salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. As Paul says in Galatians 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Additionally, Paul tells us in Romans 8:8-9 that those who do not have the Spirit do not belong to Christ. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His. The false gospel preached by many within the evangelical church today, that faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation from God’s just judgment in hell, condemns those who preach it and those who believe it, leaving them in their trespasses and sins, the works of the flesh, and without the regenerating and renewing work of the Holy Spirit in their lives so that they cannot please God.
Those who consider God unjust in His judgment of rebellious sinners are not mindful of the true nature of the human heart or of their very own selves. The Holy Scriptures, the Word of God declares over and over again the true nature of mankind. “What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous? If God puts no trust in His saints, And the heavens, are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is abominable and filthy, Who drinks iniquity like water!” Job 15:14-16 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Romans 1:18-23 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good no, not one. Romans 3:10-12 Man drinks iniquity like water, their minds are darkened, there is none who seeks God and none who does good. They prefer idolatrous images rather than the true and living God. How can such pass any sort of judgment upon God or call into question His Word? They reject the revelation that God has made known about Himself in creation, in the Scriptures and most clearly in His Son Jesus Christ; suppressing God’s glorious revelation of Himself in unrighteousness.
In contrast to this disclosure of the corruption of mankind the Scriptures declare the holiness and glory of God: In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:1-3 Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Habakkuk 1:12-13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. James 1:13 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. Luke 18:19 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:9-11 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. Acts 17:30-31 God is holy, just, righteous, good and abhors sin. He justly judges the wicked and expresses His anger against them every day. He not only sent His Son Jesus Christ to save the world from sin, Satan, and sure damnation in hell, but He has also promised to send His Son to judge the world. Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”, eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness-indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:4-11 God will judge the world in righteousness and hold all accountable. He holds His saints accountable. That’s why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. Therefore, as those called of God to live for His glory and praise, let us share the gospel with the lost, hold fast the faithful word as we have been taught, and expose those who deny and reject the truth as the apostates and heretics that they are. Let us not get caught up in vain speculations, but instead judge all things by the plumb line of God’s word, cling to the truth, teaching it with patience, praying that God will grant those who enjoy airing their own foolish thoughts rather than mining the truth from God’s word, repentance so as to become diligent students of His word.
I had such an opportunity recently when I responded to a blog that declared Hitler was in Heaven. This is what I wrote in response: Very interesting, but I don’t see any Scripture to back up any assertions. Praise God that He does forgive sinners or there wouldn’t be any hope for me. However, when we read the Bible there are innumerable examples of those whom He did not forgive and they are of course in hell. As far as death bed confessions go we can see illustrated in the Scriptures in the gospel of Luke what a genuine conversion while facing death looks like by the thief who repented and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. The other thief however, continued to revile Jesus Christ with the unbelieving crowd. That snapshot of the believing thief’s testimony right before he died, his confession of faith in Christ and rebuke of the fellow thief’s blasphemy, gives us information by which to understand what happened to Hitler. Did he repent of his evil doing before he died? He committed suicide rather than have the Allied forces capture him and bring him to trial. The thief on the cross acknowledged his wrong doing and accepted his punishment; Hitler hid behind death rather than face up to the evil he had perpetrated upon humanity and answer to justice. No, Hitler is in hell, there is no evidence that he repented. He was led by the devil in all that he did, as all unbelievers are, and he sowed to his evil sin nature and is reaping what he sowed, eternal damnation in hell. As genuine believers we must expose the foolishness of vain speculations by revealing God’s word as we are led by the Holy Spirit, for the benefit of all and God’s glory. May we be diligent, faithful students of God’s Word to His glory and praise, and everyone’s edification, most assuredly our own. May we by God’s grace strengthen our faith in the gospel knowing that it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.