Hell does exist and it is meant for those who are not necessarily bad people but for those who do not repent of their sins, says Clayton King, a teaching pastor at NewSpring Church in South Carolina.
King's message is the second installment of the megachurch's current sermon series, "What Happens When You Die?," in which he focused on what the Bible says regarding the reality of damnation.
"It's not that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell," said King. "Forget that nonsense, that's not in the Bible, taught by Jesus or true. If that was true, we would all go to hell because we're all bad. The Bible says there is none righteous for all have sin and fallen short of the glory of God."
King delved into the story of the rich man and Lazarus, found in Luke 16, that reveals details about what hell is like. While speaking about the passage, King said that Jesus spoke about that particular parable because He wanted to warn people of an existing place "where sin is punished and God's wrath is poured out."
He also noted that if hell was not real, Jesus would not have warned about it as much as He did.
King asked, "Why is it so easy for us as Americans to believe that heaven is real but not believe that hell is for real? The idea of hell for a lot of people is offensive, it doesn't make sense to them that a loving God would create a horrible place like hell."
He added, "People make the argument that eventually, one day, everyone regardless what they believe, will go to heaven. I wish that were true. It would be great if everyone could live how they wanted to and the grace of God would save everybody but the scripture doesn't teach that."
To illustrate his point further, King asked the crowd if it would be an act of love if God took people who refused to love and serve Him on earth to heaven and made them worship Him, when they did not believe in Him before. He noted that if that was the case, heaven simply would not be called heaven.
According to Jesus, a person in hell has the ability to know that the Gospel was there for them but they rejected it and if only they had repented of their sins they would not be there, says King.
That is why he emphasized that doing good deeds does not guarantee an entrance into heaven, it takes more than that, King explained.
"Our good deeds are like filthy rags compared to God's righteousness, so you better not be banking on your good deeds to get you into heaven because they won't," said King.
King also said that although many believe that hell was prepared for evil people and those who have killed like Hitler, it actually was not.
"Hell was not prepared for us, it was prepared for Satan rebelling against God, trying to become God himself….why should we repent? Because the day is coming when we will all answer to God for what we've done, acted and treated people … God wants you to repent not because He is mad at but because He loves you … In order to avoid hell, repent of sins and trust Jesus … there is no salvation without repentance. None."