“Don’t worry, I’m sober enough.” “It’s safe.” “Everybody does it.” “Hey Joe, watch this!” “God would never send anyone to hell.” Of course, the latter may not be someone’s last words, but they will prove to be the most haunting. Hell will be populated with legions who denied its existence.
People give many reasons for not believing in the existence of this terrifying place of judgment. One popular notion claims that a God of love cannot hate and would never send anyone there. Others reject God’s existence and an afterlife and therefore deny a future judgment of evil. Here today, gone tomorrow, and that’s all she wrote goes the refrain. Others claim belief in God but have little understanding of God’s justice or what Scripture teaches on the topic. Yet, a common thread among outright denials of hell involves the rejection of the authority and witness of Scripture to hell’s existence, either by denying Scripture’s authority in total, or by denying aspects of Scripture that speak of things people may not like or accept as true.
In all belief regarding the afterlife, the source and explanation can be reduced to two alternatives: human opinion or God’s revelation. Of course, Satan is the greatest source of error concerning God and reality, but he expresses his ungodly ideas through people. Opinion can be our own or that of another presumed expert, but in the end, we either trust what God has told us or trust what people say. The same can be said about the existence of heaven, moral absolutes, the nature of God, history, Christ, etc. Inevitably, we trust the meaning of our life and ultimate destiny to God’s revelation in Christ through Scripture, or speculation about things we could never know if God did not tell us.
Therefore, whether or not you believe in a literal place of eternal torment, as Scripture clearly teaches, we are left with two different objects of faith in which to entrust our souls. When an atheist tells you not to worry because hell does not exist, he or she is asking you to trust their opinion. Are you willing to trust your eternal destiny to the opinion of someone who cannot remember where he put the car keys and has no idea what lies beyond the three or four dimensions of this life? Or, will you trust the One who created, sustains, and knows all things, whose Word is the ultimate and final authority with respect to His universe and what lies beyond, who can never lie, who has loved us with an infinite love, has condescended to be with us and take infinite wrath on His soul to purchase forgiveness of our sin and give us eternal happiness, whose excellence and existence shines clearly in every aspect of the universe? Whose word would you rather trust?
The cost for a few years of imagined independence from our Creator comes with a high price—an eternity without Him, separated from the source of all good things, and the penalty for treating with contempt the One to whom we owe all love, honor, and thanksgiving. Moreover, we will miss in this life the joy and contentment of a sure hope of heaven, forgiveness of sin, satisfaction of the deepest needs of our soul, and a love beyond all earthly comparison, in addition to the immeasurable blessings of heaven itself. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:7). Trust in wishful thinking about our ultimate destiny will eventually give way to reality as God determined it to be, unchanged by the guesswork of those who refuse to humbly bow the knee before Him.
Therefore, every blessing and the evidence of God’s excellence and authority that surrounds and confronts every life calls us to “seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live” (Isaiah 55:1-3). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). May your last words be followed by the words of your Creator and Savior, “Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1995. Used by permission.
Yes, I Want a PDF of “Famous Last Words”
We respect your privacy. We’ll NEVER sell, rent, or share your email address. That’s more than a policy, it’s our guarantee!