Hell. It is not the most pleasant of topics. And yet Jesus taught on it. And in this passage he makes it very clear that it exists, and what’s more, describes what it is like.
First, it’s place of torment. You see this idea all throughout the passage from beginning to end. More, it’s a place of conscious torment. There’s no idea in this passage that people’s consciousness is wiped out upon entry to hell. Rather, people are conscious of their situation and just how awful it is.
Second, there is a chasm that cannot be crossed between the righteous and the unrighteous. Once you are in hell, there is no way out. There can be no repentance at that point.
Third, it’s so awful that no one wants to be there, nor do they want their loved ones there. Sometimes, in Japan, people don’t want to become Christians because if they do, they have to face the reality that their grandparents or parents that have already passed away are in hell. But listen to the rich man’s plea.
Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment. (27-28)
Abraham told them this was impossible. That even if he allowed it, his brothers had already rejected God’s word to them, and they still wouldn’t believe even if someone came from the dead to warn them.
Ironically, another man named Lazarus did rise from the dead as a testimony to the people that Jesus was truly the Son of God. But Jesus’ enemies rejected him anyway, and plotted to kill not only Jesus, but Lazarus as well.
But the point is, this man did not want his family to join him there. And I don’t think anyone wants their loved ones to join them in hell either. So if you or your friends are refusing God’s salvation because your loved ones are in hell, remember this man’s words. They don’t want you to join them.
How can we avoid hell? Only by putting our faith in Jesus. By believing that he died on the cross for our sins and that he rose again. By making him your Lord and Savior.
Some people say, “How can a loving God send people to hell?”
What they don’t understand is life without God is hell. Without the Source of life, love, joy, and peace, how can you call that situation anything but hell?
God doesn’t send people to hell so much as people choose to go there. They choose to turn their backs on the Source of all that makes life worth living. And when they do, when they cut themselves off from Him, what do they have left? Only despair. And that is hell.
How about you? Will you turn to the Source of life? Or will you turn your back on Him? It’s your choice.