Hell is a place of separation, darkness, and torment. We established that in Part 2 of this series. We also examined why such a horrible place would even need to exist in the first place in Part 1. If you have not read the previous parts, please do so before continuing. In this particular installment of my hell interpretation series, I am going to be talking about what has not yet been answered in the previous additions. I talked about the why and the what of hell. Now I will talk about the who. Most specifically, I will talk about how we can avoid hell.
How can we avoid it, exactly? Many people are misinformed about this. While some people believe that you must merely believe in God to be accepted into Heaven, it simply goes much deeper than that. Of course, our God is not a legalistic God. He is not the type of God to say, “you must do x, y, and z in order for me to accept you.”
God loves us unconditionally. Both sinners and saints. However, there are several things we must do if we are to enter Heaven.
- Acknowledgement of God
This simply means that we must accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
- Confession and Repentance
We must confess our sins to God and present them to Him in submission and surrender.
“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
- Born Again
We must have a definite renewal of our minds and a changed lifestyle. One that follows God’s standards and is closely aided by the Creator.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
The Blood of Jesus covers all of our sins, but only if we approach Him and ask Him for it. God does not force it on us. However, it will not touch us at all unless we ask. We should never assume we are going to Heaven if we have not done the three things I have listed above.
We can assume that whoever does not meet that criteria unfortunately goes to hell. That sounds unbelievable, inconceivably, inhumanely harsh, but it’s true. And sometimes truth is sad.
The Lamb’s Book of Life
Judgment of the wicked is found throughout the Bible. We must first realize that there is a judgment. Though I could not tell you exactly what happens immediately following death, I can assure you that judgment takes place not long after. This judgment takes place prior to being allowed entrance to heaven or hell. In most instances it is referred to as one day. Judgment day. The day at the end of time wherein we are all judged for our actions.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)
I have wondered many times what happens in between the time of death of a human in the present day and the actual day of judgment. What if I were to die now? Would I simply be waiting for that day? Would I be sleeping? I ask this because I cannot be filed into heaven or hell without first being judged worthy of either.
My theory, until the Lord corrects me and I find other Biblical evidence (of which I will update you), is that once we die, we are moved forward through time to the day of judgment. I will explain this more later.
So, after recognizing that there is a judgment, we must answer the question, “how does God judge?” To this, let’s look at a scripture from Revelation 20.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
This is a scene which takes place after earth is already gone. As it says “there was no place found” for earth and the heaven (most likely referring to the skies and celestial bodies in this instance). Now, all the dead stand before God as He passes judgment on them. And the final standard of who goes where is based off of the names written in this “Book of Life.” This book contains billions of names. Every human’s name is written in it, although after a person has become tainted from sin and rejects Christ, the name is removed.
The three things I listed earlier are criteria for whose name remains or is blotted out from the book. We must complete those things if we hope to remain on God’s list. We must acknowledge God (invite Him into our heart), repent/confess, and be born again. Otherwise, we are not included. We are forgotten.
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (Matthew 7:23)
In conclusion, those three things are the key to avoiding hell. They are the deciding criteria for the names in the Book of Life. Furthermore, if you have not done those things, I would highly advise that you do. I do not like to shout fire and brimstone, however I would warn you heavily, and express my fear for you. This is a serious issue. Please, if you are not saved and have not given your heart to Christ, please consider. You need only say a prayer. Ask Him into your heart, confess only to Him and ask for forgiveness, and live your life for Christ. If you do those things, you will walk through the gates of Heaven with all of God’s children. Until then, here is this warning.