Why Does Hell Have to Be Forever?

Colin Smith
Colin Smith

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.  Matthew 25:46

Isn’t it reasonable that people should experience hell for a time, and then it comes to an end?  You’re going to be asked this question someday. How are you going to answer it?  

The reason hell goes on forever is because sinners never stop sinning. If you think sinning stops for the sinner at the end of this life, you’ve really not understood the Bible’s teaching about sin.

When the judgment of God comes, sinners hate God even more than they did before.

No repenting in hell

People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.  Revelation 16:10-11

Nobody will be repenting in hell. The sinner cannot change his heart, and it will not grow softer in hell. Remember who the sinner has for his company in hell—the devil and his angels. Sin will sink deeper into the sinner and the sinner will sink deeper into sin.

In heaven, our love for each other will be more and more, as we grow in the knowledge of Christ. But in hell, any remnants of affection will grow less and less, as people become more and more absorbed with themselves. 

The tragedy of sin

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  John 17:3

Would going to be with God be a reward to you? Your answer to that question is a statement about the condition of your heart, your spiritual condition.

The tragedy of sin is that the sinner could not be happy in heaven, and he cannot be happy in hell. Do you see what a terrible thing sin is? Sin is a complete dead-end. It leaves you with no place to go. Of course, sinners will want to be out of hell, but they will not want to be in heaven. 

Are you resisting God? Your prayer today should not be “Deliver me from hell,” but “Deliver me from the sin that leads there. Wash me. Cleanse me. Give me a new heart. Change this will that’s always resisting you.”

This LifeKey is based on the message (Feb 19, 2012) called: “Hell,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “The Inside Story of Your Future Life.”

Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.

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Originally published April 28, 2014.