You wouldn’t get the idea that many people today take the concept of hell very seriously. “Aw, hell!” is a common statement of general disgust and disappointment. The word is also used to denote admiration: “That kid is a hell of a linebacker!” Or scorn: “Go to hell!” But it seems to me that when people use the word in those ways, they aren’t thinking about the reality of enduring God’s angry judgment and punishment for all eternity.
Skeptics don’t want to accept the reality of anything that they can’t see, sense, or measure. So far in God’s plans nobody has ever emerged from hell to describe the experience for the living. But there are two powerful witnesses to the reality of judgment and hell that cut deep even into agnostic and atheistic hearts. One is conscience. Every man, woman, and child on earth knows basic right and wrong and knows the taste and weight and fear of guilt.
The second is the Word of God. Even when people say they don’t believe it, inside they know it’s true. They just don’t want to submit to it. God’s Word is very clear, painfully clear, on what is going to happen when people die and when all are gathered before the Judge. 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” (Matthew 25:41).
Use the word hell as the Bible does. Mean it when you say it. Thank Jesus for saving you from it.