What Is It About Hell That Terrifies You?

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Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Tonight in family worship, we were reading about Philip leading Nathaniel to Jesus. We then talked about the importance of us trying to help lead our friends and family to Jesus, and how people who do not have peace with God will be punished by him, and that God is currently angry at those who are not in Christ.

You ever have those moments where your spiritual eyes are greatly opened? That's what happened to me when dwelling on hell. The seriousness and weight of people dying apart from the gospel, made me want to become a whole lot more serious about sharing how to have peace with God.

So what are some of the worst things about hell that you can think of? For one, I was thinking of the darkness and loneliness that must be felt in that place.
 
The eternality of it!

Indeed, as Thomas Watson says,

Eternity is a sea without bottom and banks. After millions of years, there is not one minute in eternity wasted; and the damned must be ever burning, but never consuming, always dying, but never dead. “They shall seek death, but shall not find it” (Rev. 9:6). The fire of hell is such, as multitudes of tears will not quench it, length of time will not finish it; the vial of God’s wrath will be always dropping upon a sinner. As long as God is eternal, He lives to be avenged upon the wicked. Oh eternity! eternity! who can fathom it? Mariners have their plummets to measure the depths of the sea; but what line or plummet shall we use to fathom the depth of eternity? The breath of the Lord kindles the infernal lake, (Isa. 30:33), and where shall we have engines or buckets to quench that fire? Oh eternity! If all the body of earth and sea were turned to sand, and all the air up to the starry heaven were nothing but sand, and a little bird should come every thousand years, and fetch away in her bill but the tenth part of a grain of all that heap of sand, what numberless years would be spent before that vast heap of sand would be fetched away! Yet, if at the end of all that time, the sinner might come out of hell, there would be some hope; but that word ‘Ever’ breaks the heart. “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.” What a terror is this to the wicked, enough to put them into a cold sweat, to think, as long as God is eternal, He lives for ever to be avenged upon them!

 
Isaiah 66:24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

I'm not sure what all is wrapped up in that metaphor, for I don't believe there is an actual mound of corpses of the godless just beyond the gates of the eternal heavenly kingdom. But clearly there is some thought reserved in glory concerning those who can never enter there. There is no "terror" in the contemplation, if by that idea is meant fear and urgency to avoid that destiny. No doubt some have been moved to run from hell and unto salvation to escape the dread they felt was doomed to swallow them; but perfect love casts out fear, 1Jn.4:18. Those who think them saved and try to "stay in God's good graces," being motivated by fear hardly know God. Truly knowing God means knowing a hellbound destiny can never touch me in Christ.

We will not fear hell in heaven, and we need not be terrorized by it now; but we should always be stilled to awe and solemn wonder at the terrible destruction of the wrath and justice of God. This is what the love of God spared us, who deserved nothing less; but it was meted to Christ instead.
 
That there would be no hell..nor heaven.
(In other words, that this whole faith has been a mirage)
 
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To be deserted from the love of God and all goodness and instead remain under His condemnation for ever with absolutely no hope of recovery is the most dreadful prospect in all the world.

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
 
Isaiah 66:24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

I'm not sure what all is wrapped up in that metaphor, for I don't believe there is an actual mound of corpses of the godless just beyond the gates of the eternal heavenly kingdom. But clearly there is some thought reserved in glory concerning those who can never enter there. There is no "terror" in the contemplation, if by that idea is meant fear and urgency to avoid that destiny. No doubt some have been moved to Those who think them saved and try to "stay in God's good graces," being motivated by fear hardly know God. Truly knowing God means knowing a hellbound destiny can never touch me in Christ.

We will not fear hell in heaven, and we need not be terrorized by it now; but we should always be stilled to awe and solemn wonder at the terrible destruction of the wrath and justice of God. This is what the love of God spared us, who deserved nothing less; but it was meted to Christ instead.

I liked this post, but have questions. I suppose in asking them I may also be obliquely pointing out what troubles me most about hell.

1. The hypothetical possibility, however remote, of finding myself there: Apostasy is a sad reality. We are told that for the elect, they will persevere until the end by the grace of God, for He who started a work in them is faithful to finish it. However, I haven’t died yet, so this poses a bit of a problem. Although I acknowledge that for some there is a genuine, blessed assurance, I also must acknowledge that some individuals who experience a seemingly genuine assurance are confronted with the sad fact that such an assurance was nothing more than a self-imposed counterfeit when they find themselves in hell. Secondly, when I look at Matthew 7:22, I have always considered this verse to describe professing Christians who were self-deceived. In moments of - I don’t know what to call it - maybe doubt or humility - I have reflected on the fact that I may be self-deceived in some critical way. Now as I examine myself, review the gospel and my theology and God’s Word, I find no evidence that I could be self-deceived in a salvific way whatsoever. However, I also am still moved to acknowledge that that’s precisely the conclusion a self-deceived person might come to. I praise God that at this point in my walk I am not conscious of any sin unrepented of, though I do continue to sin and do not advocate sinless perfection. Still, how to resolve this minor, yet lingering epistemological “splinter” in the mind, I know not. What do you make of this?

2. The worms and fire: I have always interpreted these literally and see little reason at the moment to interpret these in some other way. Just as in the resurrection we will be given glorified bodies which can not die, I have always supposed that those bound for the lake of fire will similarly have bodies incapable of death, constituted to bear the eternal punishment which is due to the lost soul. Is there any reason to suppose these pictures aren’t to be taken literallly?

3. The social component: I have often surmised that there will be people who find themselves in eternal torment that will blame others in some sense for where they have found themselves. Yes, there will be an awareness of their own sinfulness, but even on earth that doesn’t prevent us from shifting blame to others. I think of popes and Muhammad, Buddha and many other false teachers and antichrists. I think of parents being blamed by their children, and children by their parents, eternally. I also reflect on the fact that the scriptures I’ve read seem to suggest an awareness between the righteous and the wicked, as well as the wicked and the righteous. I think of the possibility of the sheep witnessing the torment of the goats, whether it’s only witnessing the angels casting them down into the pit or seeing the smoke rise from that terrible place. I think of verses like Psalm 58:10 and Matthew 13:42. Is there any reason we should not suppose that the saints will see the wicked punished?

4. The separation from God and common grace: One of the most comforting things to me about Heaven is being able to see my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ face to face and commune with and worship and adore Him forever. Contrariwise, the notion of an outer darkness is probably the most terrifying aspect of hell to me.

Curious to hear your thoughts, but of course I would welcome insights from others also.
 
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Before I came to know the Lord, it was the eternal irrevocability of hell that terrified me. In lucid moments, when I wasn't drowning myself in debauchery or distraction of some sort, I would lie awake at night, fearful that I would pass into eternity in my sleep and come face to face with a wrathful God. On stormy nights, I would wonder if Christ was coming back that night, and every clap of lightning was a possible precursor to his appearance. It was the finality of it - no hope, no shred of possibility of relief or change, no rescue from self - an eternity incomprehensibly awful in its immutability. It was a fear that ate away at my sanity and corroded every aspect of my life - a foretaste of the eternal gnawing of the worm - until God in his mercy used that fear to bring me to the cross.

As a believer, I no longer fear hell, though there are moments when, either for my conduct or for some other reason, the Lord allows my assurance of salvation to subside for a season, that I might be reminded of what awaits me apart from Christ. And the first-hand experience of anticipating such judgment strengthens my fear and grief for those who do not know the Lord.

What troubles me most about hell now?

As a believer, I long to be eternally in the presence of the Lord, to have all barriers to that communion removed. He is the only one who has ever been a true and faithful friend and Father to me. Were he to beckon me now, I confess that in fleshly weakness I might pause for a moment because of loved ones and earthly attachments - but I would go, trusting myself to his forgiveness and my worldly concerns to his care.

For the unbeliever, though, nothing is more dreadful and terrifying than the presence of the Lord. And yet he no less than I will be fully in the presence of the Lord for all eternity - but that very presence will be a judgment and a horror, magnified by the eternal outpouring of wrath that accompanies it. It is the missed opportunity of all missed opportunities; they were not worse than I, and they could have known, as I do, the boundless love and mercy offered to them in Christ. It is heart-wrenching to think of not having the Lord as a friend and comforter, and to enter the unfathomable finality of eternity in such a state.
 
I don't know that it's wise for the child of God to contemplate the 'horrors' of hell. For it is none such to us. It is God's righteous judgment on man.

Of course, it IS right glorious to contemplate God's goodness to us.

Not due to saving us from hell(which we all deserve on our own merit), but in making us his beloved children through Christ.

Escaping rightful punishment is good. Being taken into God's family, and made whole is infinitely greater.

Witnessing to the truth of the latter should take precedence when we speak with unbelievers.
 
I don't know that it's wise for the child of God to contemplate the 'horrors' of hell. For it is none such to us. It is God's righteous judgment on man.

Of course, it IS right glorious to contemplate God's goodness to us.

Not due to saving us from hell(which we all deserve on our own merit), but in making us his beloved children through Christ.

Escaping rightful punishment is good. Being taken into God's family, and made whole is infinitely greater.

Witnessing to the truth of the latter should take precedence when we speak with unbelievers.
Thanks for the thought. That is interesting. I often contemplate hell to strengthen my resolve to live for God, have stronger faith, pursue righteousness, end sin, love others, and express thanksgiving.

Not as if I believe I'm going there, but a soberness of knowing it's a real place where real people go, and I've been spared.

Even as a genuine Christian, I still have a fear of God, knowing that if I am ever not in the state of grace, this place could be my destination. I think of it in the same way that I do our civil authorities. I desire to obey all civil laws, but I fear the idea of prison, and that is one of the many reasons why I choose to obey the laws in which I live under.

Maybe that's not exactly how a Christian should live with their thoughts on hell, but I'm thankful to say that such thinking has proved to be a blessing to me over the years.
 
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Without a doubt, like JB had said, the eternality of hell. No matter how terrible and awful a place it is, if it were finite that would at least be something..but to just allow your mind to dwell on trying to comprehend the ‘everlasting’ is not something I can spend much time doing i’ll readily admit. Time would be better spent thinking much on Christ and His loveliness and the goodness of God in sending His Son who gave up His life for me.
 
I liked this post, but have questions. I suppose in asking them I may also be obliquely pointing out what troubles me most about hell.

1. The hypothetical possibility, however remote, of finding myself there: Apostasy is a sad reality. We are told that for the elect, they will persevere until the end by the grace of God, for He who started a work in them is faithful to finish it. However, I haven’t died yet, so this poses a bit of a problem. Although I acknowledge that for some there is a genuine, blessed assurance, I also must acknowledge that some individuals who experience a seemingly genuine assurance are confronted with the sad fact that such an assurance was nothing more than a self-imposed counterfeit when they find themselves in hell. Secondly, when I look at Matthew 7:22, I have always considered this verse to describe professing Christians who were self-deceived. In moments of - I don’t know what to call it - maybe doubt or humility - I have reflected on the fact that I may be self-deceived in some critical way. Now as I examine myself, review the gospel and my theology and God’s Word, I find no evidence that I could be self-deceived in a salvific way whatsoever. However, I also am still moved to acknowledge that that’s precisely the conclusion a self-deceived person might come to. I praise God that at this point in my walk I am not conscious of any sin unrepented of, though I do continue to sin and do not advocate sinless perfection. Still, how to resolve this minor, yet lingering epistemological “splinter” in the mind, I know not. What do you make of this?

2. The worms and fire: I have always interpreted these literally and see little reason at the moment to interpret these in some other way. Just as in the resurrection we will be given glorified bodies which can not die, I have always supposed that those bound for the lake of fire will similarly have bodies incapable of death, constituted to bear the eternal punishment which is due to the lost soul. Is there any reason to suppose these pictures aren’t to be taken literallly?

3. The social component: I have often surmised that there will be people who find themselves in eternal torment that will blame others in some sense for where they have found themselves. Yes, there will be an awareness of their own sinfulness, but even on earth that doesn’t prevent us from shifting blame to others. I think of popes and Muhammad, Buddha and many other false teachers and antichrists. I think of parents being blamed by their children, and children by their parents, eternally. I also reflect on the fact that the scriptures I’ve read seem to suggest an awareness between the righteous and the wicked, as well as the wicked and the righteous. I think of the possibility of the sheep witnessing the torment of the goats, whether it’s only witnessing the angels casting them down into the pit or seeing the smoke rise from that terrible place. I think of verses like Psalm 58:10 and Matthew 13:42. Is there any reason we should not suppose that the saints will see the wicked punished?

4. The separation from God and common grace: One of the most comforting things to me about Heaven is being able to see my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ face to face and commune with and worship and adore Him forever. Contrariwise, the notion of an outer darkness is probably the most terrifying aspect of hell to me.

Curious to hear your thoughts, but of course I would welcome insights from others also.
1. There's the possibility that I will get in a car wreck today, or tomorrow, or the day after. There's a remote possibility a piano could fall on my head before the sun goes down. I've seen pictures or the actual mangled results of devastating vehicle accidents, and many of us have been subjected to recent, vivid news reporting about the crushed submersible; all which events stimulate my limbic system to some degree by the contemplation: "It could have been me, I suppose." If I obsess over these possibilities, it is more of a sad distraction than a serious concern. By focusing on my duties in the moment, I have no time for fruitless speculation.

Something similar holds true for spiritual possibilities. One way to cease being consumed about whether my faith is ultimately strong enough to see me to the end, is to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of me. Just serve the Lord with love in your heart for his evident love and mercy to sinners, for his salvation to everyone who believes. Why not say with Paul, "I could wish myself accursed," if such a thing would increase the salvation of others through their faith in Christ. Of course the apostle knows that nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus his Lord. His appeal to hypotheticals like the above, or like "... lest I should be a castaway," acknowledge his lack of omniscience must permit some results in theory, while presently resting in the assured results of that which is promised to believers like him.

"Let tomorrow worry about itself." While it is today be softening your heart, not hardening it. Hold onto Christ now. Make your calling and election sure not so on some future date you may recall what moment you achieved assurance, but so on that future date you may keep assured remembering as you do now his cleansing you from your sins, and that he has given you every gift of life and godliness. Making efforts, as Peter urges his readers, is not unto union with Christ but because of it; and by not counting on the virtues mentioned but on "knowing Christ," fruitfulness and assurance are produced in us.

If you thought your wife didn't love you, would you love her less? Put differently, do you think you love your wife because you think she loves you? There's a part of my mind that fears I might in some future date cease to love my wife. Knowing her as I do, I think it is almost impossible she should cease to love me. If, contrary to all evidence, she did cease or proved she never had love for me, I suppose it would be possible for me to love her still for she already made my life better. Imagine loving someone so much, you would be willing to be immiserated if such suffering would give him proper joy. I think that's what Paul was allowing by his hypothetical. Not even hell was too terrible to face if God be glorified in his damnation. "If I be deceived... will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Thanks be to God, a theory is all it could be.

2. I think that with ALL the descriptions of damnation in the Bible combined, some ideas are literally incompatible with others being literal at the same time, in the same sense. So, at least a few things must be metaphorical, if only to allow some other things to be more literal. Hell's real horror is knowing the pure fury of the wrath and justice of God, unmitigated, unrestrained, unlimited--no more grace, only indignation forever. Hell is the presence of God for sinners lacking a Mediator or substantial mediation of any kind. Hell is being unable to hide oneself from the Almighty. Hell is utter alienation--from God, but also from others. There are no friends in hell. Hell is permanent suffering of soul and of body, with no prospect of release. I think burning, drowning, piercing, flaying, paralysis, contortion, deformity, disintegration, darkness, isolation--all these fears and others that go to the end of imagination and beyond are only able to convey the smallest comprehension of the terror of mind that will be eternal conscious-death.

3. If it is necessary in eternity for the godly to make a real-time observation of the wicked in their judgments, then it will be possible and done. If it is necessary for some aspect of punishment for one of the wicked for him to know and be ashamed of the evil he did to others, perhaps to hear the curses of those who now suffer along with him who was a primary cause of their lostness, or for the hatred of his victim to be actualized in some eye-for-eye kind of vengeance, then it will happen But only God knows what punishment fits the crime, or what interactions are correct for the everlasting penal estate. Think how every moment in hell is a new occasion of sin, and draws down ever more divine justice; inmate-on-inmate retributions and excesses begetting ever more enmity. "Hell is a place of perfect malice and contention," wrote Jonathan Edwards. Retreat to a cell, and there one's own memory and conscience accuses interminably. Self-loathing must follow, but there is no escape from hell. It is impossible that it should ever end. But for those that reign forever in glory with Christ, no acquaintance with the particulars of punishment for the wicked will teach the wages of sin more accurately than acquaintance with Christ and his perfect suffering once for sin.

4. Quite, and true. Yet, how is there "social interaction" in the bedlam of hell if it is outermost darkness with no "light of divine countenance" or any light? Hence why I say that something literal has to give when we have a heaping up of biblical descriptions as God alerts rebel sinners to their desperate plight using manifold depiction, some more literal, others more metaphoric.

Those are some of my thoughts.
 
1. There's the possibility that I will get in a car wreck today, or tomorrow, or the day after. There's a remote possibility a piano could fall on my head before the sun goes down. I've seen pictures or the actual mangled results of devastating vehicle accidents, and many of us have been subjected to recent, vivid news reporting about the crushed submersible; all which events stimulate my limbic system to some degree by the contemplation: "It could have been me, I suppose." If I obsess over these possibilities, it is more of a sad distraction than a serious concern. By focusing on my duties in the moment, I have no time for fruitless speculation.

Something similar holds true for spiritual possibilities. One way to cease being consumed about whether my faith is ultimately strong enough to see me to the end, is to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of me. Just serve the Lord with love in your heart for his evident love and mercy to sinners, for his salvation to everyone who believes. Why not say with Paul, "I could wish myself accursed," if such a thing would increase the salvation of others through their faith in Christ. Of course the apostle knows that nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus his Lord. His appeal to hypotheticals like the above, or like "... lest I should be a castaway," acknowledge his lack of omniscience must permit some results in theory, while presently resting in the assured results of that which is promised to believers like him.

"Let tomorrow worry about itself." While it is today be softening your heart, not hardening it. Hold onto Christ now. Make your calling and election sure not so on some future date you may recall what moment you achieved assurance, but so on that future date you may keep assured remembering as you do now his cleansing you from your sins, and that he has given you every gift of life and godliness. Making efforts, as Peter urges his readers, is not unto union with Christ but because of it; and by not counting on the virtues mentioned but on "knowing Christ," fruitfulness and assurance are produced in us.

If you thought your wife didn't love you, would you love her less? Put differently, do you think you love your wife because you think she loves you? There's a part of my mind that fears I might in some future date cease to love my wife. Knowing her as I do, I think it is almost impossible she should cease to love me. If, contrary to all evidence, she did cease or proved she never had love for me, I suppose it would be possible for me to love her still for she already made my life better. Imagine loving someone so much, you would be willing to be immiserated if such suffering would give him proper joy. I think that's what Paul was allowing by his hypothetical. Not even hell was too terrible to face if God be glorified in his damnation. "If I be deceived... will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Thanks be to God, a theory is all it could be.

2. I think that with ALL the descriptions of damnation in the Bible combined, some ideas are literally incompatible with others being literal at the same time, in the same sense. So, at least a few things must be metaphorical, if only to allow some other things to be more literal. Hell's real horror is knowing the pure fury of the wrath and justice of God, unmitigated, unrestrained, unlimited--no more grace, only indignation forever. Hell is the presence of God for sinners lacking a Mediator or substantial mediation of any kind. Hell is being unable to hide oneself from the Almighty. Hell is utter alienation--from God, but also from others. There are no friends in hell. Hell is permanent suffering of soul and of body, with no prospect of release. I think burning, drowning, piercing, flaying, paralysis, contortion, deformity, disintegration, darkness, isolation--all these fears and others that go to the end of imagination and beyond are only able to convey the smallest comprehension of the terror of mind that will be eternal conscious-death.

3. If it is necessary in eternity for the godly to make a real-time observation of the wicked in their judgments, then it will be possible and done. If it is necessary for some aspect of punishment for one of the wicked for him to know and be ashamed of the evil he did to others, perhaps to hear the curses of those who now suffer along with him who was a primary cause of their lostness, or for the hatred of his victim to be actualized in some eye-for-eye kind of vengeance, then it will happen But only God knows what punishment fits the crime, or what interactions are correct for the everlasting penal estate. Think how every moment in hell is a new occasion of sin, and draws down ever more divine justice; inmate-on-inmate retributions and excesses begetting ever more enmity. "Hell is a place of perfect malice and contention," wrote Jonathan Edwards. Retreat to a cell, and there one's own memory and conscience accuses interminably. Self-loathing must follow, but there is no escape from hell. It is impossible that it should ever end. But for those that reign forever in glory with Christ, no acquaintance with the particulars of punishment for the wicked will teach the wages of sin more accurately than acquaintance with Christ and his perfect suffering once for sin.

4. Quite, and true. Yet, how is there "social interaction" in the bedlam of hell if it is outermost darkness with no "light of divine countenance" or any light? Hence why I say that something literal has to give when we have a heaping up of biblical descriptions as God alerts rebel sinners to their desperate plight using manifold depiction, some more literal, others more metaphoric.

Those are some of my thoughts.

This was very helpful. I believe I have, with Paul, even taken comfort that in the remote possibility I should find myself in hell, the Lord is just, and He is no less worthy of my life and worship. Even so, Amen. Amen to all of the above. You’ve ministered to my soul this day. Thank you, Pastor.
 
1. There's the possibility that I will get in a car wreck today, or tomorrow, or the day after. There's a remote possibility a piano could fall on my head before the sun goes down. I've seen pictures or the actual mangled results of devastating vehicle accidents, and many of us have been subjected to recent, vivid news reporting about the crushed submersible; all which events stimulate my limbic system to some degree by the contemplation: "It could have been me, I suppose." If I obsess over these possibilities, it is more of a sad distraction than a serious concern. By focusing on my duties in the moment, I have no time for fruitless speculation.

Something similar holds true for spiritual possibilities. One way to cease being consumed about whether my faith is ultimately strong enough to see me to the end, is to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of me. Just serve the Lord with love in your heart for his evident love and mercy to sinners, for his salvation to everyone who believes. Why not say with Paul, "I could wish myself accursed," if such a thing would increase the salvation of others through their faith in Christ. Of course the apostle knows that nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus his Lord. His appeal to hypotheticals like the above, or like "... lest I should be a castaway," acknowledge his lack of omniscience must permit some results in theory, while presently resting in the assured results of that which is promised to believers like him.

"Let tomorrow worry about itself." While it is today be softening your heart, not hardening it. Hold onto Christ now. Make your calling and election sure not so on some future date you may recall what moment you achieved assurance, but so on that future date you may keep assured remembering as you do now his cleansing you from your sins, and that he has given you every gift of life and godliness. Making efforts, as Peter urges his readers, is not unto union with Christ but because of it; and by not counting on the virtues mentioned but on "knowing Christ," fruitfulness and assurance are produced in us.

If you thought your wife didn't love you, would you love her less? Put differently, do you think you love your wife because you think she loves you? There's a part of my mind that fears I might in some future date cease to love my wife. Knowing her as I do, I think it is almost impossible she should cease to love me. If, contrary to all evidence, she did cease or proved she never had love for me, I suppose it would be possible for me to love her still for she already made my life better. Imagine loving someone so much, you would be willing to be immiserated if such suffering would give him proper joy. I think that's what Paul was allowing by his hypothetical. Not even hell was too terrible to face if God be glorified in his damnation. "If I be deceived... will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Thanks be to God, a theory is all it could be.

2. I think that with ALL the descriptions of damnation in the Bible combined, some ideas are literally incompatible with others being literal at the same time, in the same sense. So, at least a few things must be metaphorical, if only to allow some other things to be more literal. Hell's real horror is knowing the pure fury of the wrath and justice of God, unmitigated, unrestrained, unlimited--no more grace, only indignation forever. Hell is the presence of God for sinners lacking a Mediator or substantial mediation of any kind. Hell is being unable to hide oneself from the Almighty. Hell is utter alienation--from God, but also from others. There are no friends in hell. Hell is permanent suffering of soul and of body, with no prospect of release. I think burning, drowning, piercing, flaying, paralysis, contortion, deformity, disintegration, darkness, isolation--all these fears and others that go to the end of imagination and beyond are only able to convey the smallest comprehension of the terror of mind that will be eternal conscious-death.

3. If it is necessary in eternity for the godly to make a real-time observation of the wicked in their judgments, then it will be possible and done. If it is necessary for some aspect of punishment for one of the wicked for him to know and be ashamed of the evil he did to others, perhaps to hear the curses of those who now suffer along with him who was a primary cause of their lostness, or for the hatred of his victim to be actualized in some eye-for-eye kind of vengeance, then it will happen But only God knows what punishment fits the crime, or what interactions are correct for the everlasting penal estate. Think how every moment in hell is a new occasion of sin, and draws down ever more divine justice; inmate-on-inmate retributions and excesses begetting ever more enmity. "Hell is a place of perfect malice and contention," wrote Jonathan Edwards. Retreat to a cell, and there one's own memory and conscience accuses interminably. Self-loathing must follow, but there is no escape from hell. It is impossible that it should ever end. But for those that reign forever in glory with Christ, no acquaintance with the particulars of punishment for the wicked will teach the wages of sin more accurately than acquaintance with Christ and his perfect suffering once for sin.

4. Quite, and true. Yet, how is there "social interaction" in the bedlam of hell if it is outermost darkness with no "light of divine countenance" or any light? Hence why I say that something literal has to give when we have a heaping up of biblical descriptions as God alerts rebel sinners to their desperate plight using manifold depiction, some more literal, others more metaphoric.

Those are some of my thoughts.
I have sometimes wondered that even if I did find myself in hell I would still cry out for God to forgive me even though He would not give ear to my plea.

Cast me not away from thy presence
Psalm 51:11
 
Tonight in family worship, we were reading about Philip leading Nathaniel to Jesus. We then talked about the importance of us trying to help lead our friends and family to Jesus, and how people who do not have peace with God will be punished by him, and that God is currently angry at those who are not in Christ.

You ever have those moments where your spiritual eyes are greatly opened? That's what happened to me when dwelling on hell. The seriousness and weight of people dying apart from the gospel, made me want to become a whole lot more serious about sharing how to have peace with God.

So what are some of the worst things about hell that you can think of? For one, I was thinking of the darkness and loneliness that must be felt in that place.
For me, it’s not so much the flames (which would be really fearful in and of themselves), but being away from the divine favor of God for eternity would be the worse fear.
 
By far, and it's not close, the thing that is most terrifying about it is the concept of "forever". No second chances. No end. It's such a disturbing thought that I have a hard time even writing it.

It should cause us to consider how great our sins must be, if a perfectly just God deems that such a punishment "fits the crime".
 
"Let tomorrow worry about itself." While it is today be softening your heart, not hardening it. Hold onto Christ now. Make your calling and election sure not so on some future date you may recall what moment you achieved assurance, but so on that future date you may keep assured remembering as you do now his cleansing you from your sins, and that he has given you every gift of life and godliness. Making efforts, as Peter urges his readers, is not unto union with Christ but because of it; and by not counting on the virtues mentioned but on "knowing Christ," fruitfulness and assurance are produced in us.
This resonates.

For some reason I have fallen into viewing my life as a fighter pilot on a mission. Leaving Walter Mitty aside, God has given me a strong sense of focus. Having wrestled with my many rebellions, I take to heart in a desperate sense Luke 9:62:

"But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Am I fit for the kingdom of God? That is up to him. Meanwhile, God willing I focus on the target. I've seen figurative wingman drift off from distraction. It grieves me, but I can't spend much time worrying about what led them astray. It is eternity I press towards. All I can do is proclaim God's promise and trust his grace.
 
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