“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath when His righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5
God wants us to contemplate hell now, so we don’t end up there. We are told to behold both His kindness and His severity (Romans 11:22) as a protection from us ever having to experience His severity. In His mercy toward us, Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven, not as a threat to His enemies, but as a warning to His friends. Jesus doesn’t want any of us to go to hell.
As we take a look into hell from this text, we can see three things:
- God doesn’t send anyone to hell; we send ourselves there. “You are storing up wrath against yourself.” Jesus died so we could be forgiven; He’s already tasted death for us. (Hebrews 2:9) No one needs to go to hell when God’s expressed will for all of us is to be saved. (2Peter 3:9) If we end up in hell, we will have only ourselves to blame.
- God’s anger and wrath against sin is being “stored” now, but will be poured out then. We all outlive our bodies and will face the day of judgment. (Hebrews 9:27) Those who have rejected Christ’s love and payment for their sins will make their own payment in the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
- God’s judgment will be righteous. Those who have not received eternal life will eventually be destroyed in the lake of fire, body and soul. (Matthew 10:28) They died physically once, received back their bodies before final judgment (Revelation 20:13), and then will physically die again in the lake of fire which is called the second death. They will eventually perish in hell (John 3:16) but not before they pay, by conscious torment, for every sin they committed against humanity. (Luke 12:47-48) They will ultimately be consumed by eternal fire and will eventually be remembered no more. (Matthew 3:12; Hebrews 10:27; Psalm 37:38)
C.S. Lewis said in The Great Divorce, “Some would rather rule in hell than serve in heaven. And to those who reject Christ’s rule He will say: ‘Your will be done.’”