How Bad Is Hell?
Hell is real. Jesus warned the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, saying, "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33, NKJV). Many people live their lives unconcerned about hell even though most are headed there (cf. 7:13-14). The truth is that every sinner who fails to come to the Lord on His terms in order to receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ will end up in hell. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
But, as eternal destinies go, is hell really that bad? If we miss out on eternal life, is it really that big of a deal? How bad will hell really be? According to the New Testament, it will be:
1. Worse than being maimed. Jesus said, "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire" (Matt. 18:8-9). To be maimed is to be injured, damaged, or disabled. As terrible as it would be to lose an eye, a foot, or a hand, to end up in hell would be infinitely worse.
2. Worse than dying. Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28). As the common end of all men, physical death is universally anticipated with dread (cf. Heb. 2:14-15; 9:27). And yet, the termination of one's physical wellbeing is not the most horrible thing that can happen to a person. As terrible as it would be to lose one's physical life, to end up in hell would be infinitely worse.
3. Worse than not existing. Concerning Judas Iscariot, Jesus said, "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matt. 26:24). Had Judas not been born, he would not exist. However, the ultimate outcome for the Lord's betrayer would be far worse than a state of non-existence. As terrible as it would be to not exist, to end up in hell would be infinitely worse.
Never doubt the fact that hell will be even worse than anyone can imagine. John the apostle writes, "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8). God's just and holy nature demands that sinners be punished. But God's love has provided the means, through the sacrifice of His Son, by which sinners may have salvation (cf. Rom. 5:8-11; Mk. 16:15-16). Will you escape the condemnation of hell?