Make a Donation
You are here: Home Explore Blog Offended by hell?
Offended by hell?
Aaron Schultz
by Aaron Schultz
June 30, 2024

NPR published an article in 2017 about a government confirmation hearing that quickly turned into a religious debate. Talking about religion in a public setting can be stressful, but the biggest question that was raised in this debate would crush many people if they were forced to answer it: “Do you think that people who are not Christians are going to hell?”

Yikes! What emotions do you feel when you hear this question? Are you upset or annoyed that such a topic would be brought up? Do you feel nervous. Would you rather think about the “happy” and “safe” parts of Christianity? If these are your reactions, the biblical teaching of hell might be offensive to you.

Miriam-Webster defines offensive as anything that attacks, gives painful or unpleasant sensations, or causes displeasure or resentment to someone. Some are offended by hell because it goes against the popular belief that all humans have some form of goodness in them and that they will be let into heaven if they are good enough while on this earth. Others are uncomfortable with the idea that a God who “wants all people to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4) also sends people to eternal punishment, “where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48).

Hell is inherently offensive because it reminds us just how seriously God handles our sins. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). It doesn’t matter how great or small our rebellion is. Because of our disobedience toward God and his will, we are absolutely deserving of eternal punishment. Yes, God is love, but the same God who delights in showing mercy must also bring about justice against everyone who rejects him and his will, even if they fail to obey him even once.

If you feel uncomfortable with what I am saying, so do I. Our sinful nature hates talking about this. That is a good thing. It is good that our sinful nature is attacked by the teaching of hell so that all hopes of achieving personal salvation or creating heaven on earth are crushed. Let your sinful nature be uncomfortable with the truth that hell is God’s final and ultimate justice against Satan and his followers. Let your sinful nature resent the fact that Satan can never and will never overthrow God but he himself will be hurled down into the fiery depths to suffer eternal torment (Revelation 12:9).

Hell shows us that God’s wrath is only satisfied by a payment we could never pay. But that is where Jesus stepped in. Our debt of sin was paid by Jesus on our behalf. The wrath that should have been inflicted on us was put on Christ. The death we should have suffered, Jesus endured. Our blood should have been spilled on the cross, and yet our Lord’s blood is poured over us, washing our sin-stained garments to be pure and white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Let this gospel message offend you so you may continue to die to sin and live according to God’s will: Jesus died to save you, a sinner.