Since ancient times, much has been said about the nature of Heaven and Hell. Yet, even today, speculation enshrouds the reality of these finalities.
Have you ever been told that “Good people go to heaven, bad people to hell”? If, or when you do, ask the person, “what do you mean by ‘good’?” We read in Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19 Jesus’ reply to an assertion by a wealthy young man:
17And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
“No one is good except God alone” determines that none of us, not even the angels, merit the title of ‘good’. Any ‘goodness’ exhibited by humans is given by God through His Spirit.
Jesus knew the question the man was about to ask, so he used this opportunity to give a revelation. He was inviting the man to connect the dots in his reply. If no one’s good except God, to truly call Jesus “Good teacher” thereby means that he’s either from God or is God.
Have a look at the answers to “Don’t all good people go to heaven?” offered by Robert Velarde from Focus on the Family.
What and where are heaven and hell anyway?
If you Google ‘what and where is heaven?’ you’ll receive 580 million results within a second. I’d be interested to see how many of these websites were created following the Coronavirus pandemic of 2019…
Particularly in the West, the media’s weaponisation against the truths found in God’s Word is a much more virulent and contagious pandemic. As a result, wobbly notions of heaven and hell are instilled into our sponge-like minds from an early age.
God’s told us a lot about heaven and hell throughout His Word. Here’s a small selection for you to read and think through:
4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”Revelations 21:4-7
That which was promised long ago has been completed through the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our faith in this good news lists us as children of God, brothers and sisters of His Son. This verse epitomises the grace of God.
30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.Matthew 22:30-32
In this verse of Matthew, Jesus tells us some important details about the nature of our lives after we leave this earth.
Firstly, we will not be plagued with the needs, lusts and desires of humanity. When my wife and I got married, the last part of the vows was “till death do us part”. This declaration was originally worded “till death us depart“, found in The Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer, Arch Bishop of Canterbury.
Secondly, we’ll continue to be known by God as we are today. When Abraham, Isaac and Jacob departed the earth, they received immortal life in heaven.
15Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.Revelations 7:15-17
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 10:28
Why do we fear people? What can they really do to us? In the wake of Jesus’ resurrection, we can all stand by Paul’s rebuttal to death in 1 Corinthians 15:55, “”Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”.
43And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48‘where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 49For everyone will be salted with fire.Mark 9:43-48
Woah! Careful now. Not every piece of wisdom, advice or manner of Biblical instruction is meant to be taken literally; the cutting off of hands and plucking out of eyes are allegories.
For example, suppose your friends or colleagues encourage you to get drunk every weekend, take illicit drugs, speed, entertain lustful desires, or do any other sinful behaviours. In that case, Jesus instructs us to walk away, to cut them loose. Lives of deliberate, unrepentant sin lead to our separation from God, an eternity in hell.
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment…2 Peter 2:4