The Apostle John in the book of Revelation described some of God’s judgments on the wicked in the end times.
“The sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him” (Rev. 16:8-9). “Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done” (Rev. 16:10-11).
It is natural for man to curse God under such circumstances. Refusing to repent keeps man’s soul unconverted. No one can genuinely love and praise God without the Holy Spirit and without knowing Jesus Christ.
And while these verses in Revelation 16 do not specifically address suffering in Hell, we are nevertheless given a tragic glimpse of the hopelessness and hatred of those who will experience God’s wrath on Earth, and eventually in Hell.
No one in Hell is offered even an ounce of God’s love or mercy. The opportunities to repent while on Earth are no longer available once someone arrives in Hell, where condemned souls curse God because of the pain they are experiencing. It is truly a pitiful situation for people suffering in Hell to be cursing the God of Heaven.
If you are currently attempting to be “neutral” toward Jesus Christ, your neutrality won’t last forever. Those who receive Christ as Savior (see John 1:12) begin praising him in this life, and then praise him forever in Heaven. Those who ignore Christ in this life and die in unbelief have no option but to curse God in Hell. There is no motivation or ability to praise the Lord in Hell, where people hate God and suffer in torment. Hell is devoid of God’s grace and salvation.
The only time you can receive the free gift of eternal life in Heaven is while you are here on Earth. You need the forgiveness of sins and the new heart that accompanies conversion. New believers suddenly desire to worship, obey, and follow Jesus. Why? Because of their new nature. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
While you may not currently be cursing the Lord, it is only a matter of time if you remain unconverted. Unless you “repent and believe the good news,” (Mark 1:15) you will eventually be sent to a hideous and ghastly prison to pay for your sins. The Bible calls this prison “Hell,” where the agony is constant, and the sense of hopelessness is horrendously oppressing. You and I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors of Hell, and I hope you never have to experience it firsthand.
Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “I believe a great number of people are going to die and go to Hell because they’re counting on their religiosity in the Church instead of their relationship with Jesus to get them into Heaven. They give lip service to repentance and faith, but they’ve never been born again.”
God wants you to come to Heaven when you leave this world (see 1 Timothy 2:4 & 2 Peter 3:9). This is why the Father sent his only Son to die on the cross for your sins (see John 3:16). Christ endured the cross in order to spare us from paying for our sins in Hell, as I explained in my recent CP op-ed, “The Messiah Didn’t Endure Crucifixion for Nothing.” Those who refuse God’s gracious offer of forgiveness in this life will face the wrath of God in Hell.
Everyone joyfully praises God or hatefully curses the Lord throughout eternity. There is no third option. No one remains neutral about Jesus on the other side of the grave. The realities of Heaven and Hell are far too extreme to remain neutral about our Creator.
God revealed the truth about Heaven and Hell in Scripture. Now of course there are those who laugh and scoff at such revelation, just like those who laughed at Noah thousands of years ago as he constructed a huge boat out in the desert. No one, however, was laughing when “all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the Earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11-12). The only safe place was aboard Noah's ark, and a similar thing is true today. Those aboard the “ark” of the cross through faith in Jesus are the only ones who are safe from the coming flood of God’s wrath against sin.
The Apostle Paul pointed to Judgment Day: “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). How tragic! Many people are “storing up wrath” that will be poured out upon them, just as God poured out his wrath in the days of Noah. This time, however, will be far worse. Read what Jesus had to say about eternal punishment in Hell and you will see what I mean. (See Matthew 5:29; 7:13-14; 8:12; 10:28; 13:40-42, 47-50; 18:9; 25:30, 41; Mark 9:43,47-48; & Luke12:5; 16:19-31).
Charles Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher in London who wisely stated: “Morality may keep you out of jail, but it takes the blood of Jesus Christ to keep you out of Hell.” I often encourage people to humbly offer this simple prayer: “Wash me Jesus with your precious blood.”
Perhaps you think, “But I currently have no desire to praise the Lord or even to believe in him.” OK. Start there. Consider your sins against God, and then confess your sins to God. The Holy Spirit wants to convict you of your sins (John 15:8). Repent of them and ask Jesus to forgive you. In doing so, you will receive a new heart that does in fact want to praise God. Spiritual conversion provides the motivation and ability to worship, love and serve the Lord.
In other words, throw yourself on the mercy of God as you humbly come to the cross. You are a sinner my friend, just like each of us. And the sooner you realize God’s wrath against sin, the closer you are to understanding that Jesus bore God’s wrath against sin on the cross. It was there that God demonstrated his love for you and his desire for you to be saved, redeemed, justified, born again and forgiven (see Romans 5:8 & Isaiah 53:3-7).
So, will you be joyfully praising God for eternity, or instead, hatefully cursing your Creator?
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.