“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
I have not counted the references myself, but I have heard it said on many occasions by others who have counted them, that Jesus Christ warned more about hell in the Scriptures than he preached on heaven.
Hell is a real place, a place that contains souls of men and from which there is no escape. “Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46) is that which never ends. Hell is a place of fire and darkness. It is a place of pain and anguish. It was created for Satan and his angels, but they, contrary to the cartoon images, will not be inflicting pain on others. They will be the objects of torment themselves. Such a terrible place, why do people end up there?
When God created Adam and placed him in a perfect environment (the Garden of Eden), he could have made man a robot, who would have always done exactly as God wanted. Instead God made man with a will and with it the ability to make decisions of his own volition. Adam disobeyed God and sin entered the world. Death came. Spiritual death first which is separation from God. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12).
God did not hesitate when Adam fell. He immediately gave the first promise of the Redeemer (Genesis 3:15), which made it possible for all men to be delivered from God’s judgment. Man only needed to believe God and accept God’s provision for man’s salvation. God sent his Son to die in our place and to rise again from the dead.
What God provided is adequate for every sinner who ever lived, but it is only applied on our behalf when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures, accepting him as our own personal Saviour. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36).
Why do people go to hell? They do not go to hell because they are immoral, profane or dishonest. The committing of any sin, whether in the heart or in the life, is simply an affirmation of our sinful condition and our need for a Saviour. These sins can be forgiven.
They do not go to hell due to lack of provision for God has provided salvation and forgiveness of sin for all men based only upon the merits of Christ’s substitutionary death and bodily resurrection.
People go to hell because of unbelief. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
The Scriptures say that the demons believe. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.” (James 2:19). Is our belief any different from their belief? Does that mean that those demons are saved from God’s judgment also?
Their belief is similar to how we might believe in George Washington. We know when he lived, we know facts about his life and we believe he existed, but we do not know him personally. Many people believe in Christ in this way but this is not true belief.
True belief is to be persuaded of, and therefore to place confidence in, to trust, to rely upon. Have you trusted Christ as your own personal Saviour? Are you depending on Him as your only hope of salvation?