In the past month or so, the weather in Singapore has been excruciatingly hot and humid. In fact, it was reported that a record-matching temperature of 37.0 degrees Celsius was recorded on 13 May. Because of the heat, Singaporeans have been forced to hide indoors within the comfort of air-conditioning, or to seek shelter under trees. In Singapore, although we are supposedly exposed to hot weather all year round, the recent hot weather still brought about complaints from every corner, and it’s not uncommon to hear comments like “it’s hot as Hell.” It is perhaps an appropriate time now to be reminded that, despite the scorching weather we have endured in Singapore, it is nothing compared to what Hell is like.
1. Nothing is as hot as Hell
Understandably, the phrase “it’s as hot as Hell” is a hyperbole: it is an exaggeration. Nevertheless, I do caution Christians against using the phrase “it’s hot as Hell.” Firstly, and seriously, nothing we face on earth will ever be as hot as Hell fire. Secondly, by comparing the weather to Hell, we are severely trivializing the horrors of Hell. The Bible describes Hell to be the most terrible place of torment and pain.
Hell is described as the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10). Those who find their end in that lake will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10). Hell is a place of eternal darkness (Matthew 25:30). It is a place where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). Those who are in that lake will experience the second death (Revelation 21:8). Our first death happens when our spirit is separated from the body (James 2:26). To have our spirit woken up in the lake of fire, would be like dying a second time.
2. No one ought to go to Hell
Hell is a place that is prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Seeing how terrible a place Hell is, we most certainly do not want to join the Devil there! God Himself does not want any person to go to Hell. On the contrary, it is God’s desire that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). In fact, God is patiently giving men everywhere time and opportunity to repent, before He sends His Son Jesus to judge the world on that great day (2 Peter 3:9-10).
As much as God desires all men to avoid Hell, God cannot force any person to choose otherwise. From the beginning of time, God has given men the privilege of free choice. Back in the Garden of Eden, God gave the first man and woman a simple command: they could eat from any tree in the Garden, except one, that is, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; in the day that they ate of that tree, they would die (Genesis 2:16-17). Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were tempted, and made the wrong choice: they ate of the forbidden tree, and suffered the consequences thereafter (Genesis 3:6). God presents to all men 2 choices: a way that leads to eternal life, and a way that leads to eternal condemnation. Unfortunately, the majority will nonetheless choose the wrong way (Matthew 7:13-14).
3. None can avoid Hell without Jesus Christ
God knows that men will struggle with the problem of sin, and hence be in danger of Hell fire. Therefore, out of His abundant love and foreknowledge, He has prepared His Son Jesus to be the sin sacrifice for the entire world (Revelation 13:8). 2000 years ago, Jesus forsook His divine glory, came to this earth, and died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for the world (Philippians 2:5-8). Men are doomed for Hell because of sin; but because of Jesus, we can escape the punishment and inherit eternal life! (Romans 6:23).
In order to receive the saving power of Jesus’ blood, God calls for men to obey our Lord Jesus. The good news of Jesus can offer us salvation (Romans 1:16). We can attain everlasting life if we believe in Jesus (John 3:16). We can receive forgiveness of our sins if we repent (Acts 2:38). We can obtain salvation if we confess Jesus with our mouths (Romans 10:10). We can be saved if we submit ourselves to baptism in water (Mark 16:16). We can receive the crown of life if we remain faithful to our Lord even to the death (Revelation 2:10). The only question is: will we choose to serve Jesus, or will we choose to serve sin?
As much as we may have suffered from the scorching heat of sunny Singapore, let us be reminded that Hell fire is infinitely worse than anything we experience here. If we have not yet fully appreciated the horrors of Hell, may the present heat remind us that an eternity spent in the lake of fire is an eternity spent in tormenting flame. Thankfully, God has made possible our salvation from that dreadful place. May we serve God wholeheartedly all the days of our lives, and not look back.