SATAN IS A LIAR; TEMPTATION IS REAL; HELL IS FOREVER

My intent in writing this article is not to scare or frighten the reader but to give them an understanding of a spiritual reality that is far too often ignored. For the most part it is not being taught in today’s church either.  May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read this article and my heart’s desire is that it will make you thirst for studying God’s Word to gain addition insight about not only hell but the eternal home for all Followers of Jesus Christ, heaven.

Sadly, in today’s organized church far too many have moved away from preaching the truth of the gospel and the reality of spending eternity in one of two places; heaven or hell. There are some fundamental issues that every Follower of Jesus Christ should be well acquainted with so they are prepared to talk to the questions that come up about eternity.  Many, including people in the church, believe that everyone will go to heaven because why would a loving god send anyone to eternal torment.  While a nice thought, that is far from what God’s Word says very straightforward and clearly.  Some believe if we just try to be a good person and do good things for those around us then that’s the best we can do.  Again this is not what we know from God’s Word which teaches us that even with our very best efforts to live a righteous life they are like filthy rags in comparison to God’s righteousness.  So let’s look at three critical elements of understanding Satan, temptation, and the reality of hell being for eternity.

Jesus was talking with the crown and questioned why they could not understand what He was saying.  He quickly identifies the problem and tells them You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [1] Since the fall of man, we have all entered this world as sinners.  From birth we have a sin nature.  If we surrender to this sin nature then our lives will be patterned after Satan who is described as having no truth in him and further described as a liar and the father of lies.  Deception, distraction and destruction are his tools to keep people in his web of sin.  We are told “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”[2]  Satan and his band of demons use any and all methods to create an inviting environment to follow the false teachings of false prophets created by sin only to lead a person or group to be devoured by their blind devotion to the enemy, Satan.  The church is not immune from these efforts as Satan boldly uses religion as a means of creating false prophets and false teachings.  That is why it is so incredibly important that we stay connected to our Heavenly Father through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word so that we can see through these ploys of destruction. Satan is a liar and from his very first interaction with Eve in the garden he has been telling lies ever since.

Our second critical element is the fact that temptation is for real.  When God condemned Lucifer to the earthly realm, He gave him power and dominion on earth.  Because of this power, anyone that loves the world cannot have the love of our Heavenly Father in them.  Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”[3]  It is because of this power that God intentionally gave to Satan that he can use temptation as a source of drawing people away from God and into his lair of destruction and eternal separation from God.  We can boil it down to a pretty simple concept; when we surrender to temptation our desire is to please ourselves instead of obeying God’s teachings to flee from destructive sin.  Paul made it very clear when he said “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”[4]   Seeking self-gratification and the pleasures of the flesh characterize the unsaved, however, those who are saved can find themselves slipping back into the characteristics described in this passage if we do not follow the guidance given in God’s Word that says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.”[5]

Our third and final element is hell is forever.  Barna Associates, a public survey/research firm, found in one of their surveys that only 32% of adults see hell as, “an actual place of torment and suffering where people’s souls go after death.”  No wonder so many people have bought into the ways of the world.  They don’t believe there are any consequences for doing so.  One of the false teachings that exist today is that hell is temporary.  Not true.  Hell, just as heaven, is for eternity.  In the Gospel of Mark it tells us “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”[6]  The Gospel of Matthew describes how it will be at the end of time saying “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”[7]  Seems pretty straightforward doesn’t it?  Yet people choose to put on blinders and go their own direction choosing to worship self over a personal relationship with their Creator.  The book of Jude states “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”[8]  The Gospel of Matthew gives us a word picture regarding the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”  This passage goes on to say “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.” Then he describes the fate of those on the left “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”[9]  Hell is indeed for eternity and there is no way to cross over from hell to heaven.

[1] John 8:44; all scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[2] Matthew 7:15
[3] 1 John 2:15-17
[4] Ephesians 2:1-3
[5] James 4:7-8
[6] Mark 9:43
[7] Matthew 13:49-50
[8] Jude 1:7
[9] Matthew 25:31-33, 34, 41

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