YOU CAN'T CRAWL OUT OF HELL!
On August 5, 2010, the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile's northern Atacama desert caved and trapped 33 miners. For 15 days, they were thought to be dead. Later on, rescuers made an incredible discovery that the men trapped were miraculously alive--thanks to a bore hole the width of a grapefruit. It served as a life-line to pass hydration gels, water and food, as well as Bibles, letters from their families and soccer videos to keep their spirits up. After 69 days, trapped in the hot, humid bowels of the collapsed mine, more than 66 metre underground, 32 Chilean miners and 1 Bolivian miner, emerged one-by-one from the earth on 13th October 2010 in an unprecedented rescue. One-by-one, the miners climbed into a specially designed steel capsule barely wider than a man's shoulders and took a 15-minute journey through 67 metres of rock to the surface. 1500 journalists from across the world covered this eye-ball grabbing rescue, live. Among those who watched this rescue live, via television, was the US President Barack Obama. "This is a miracle from God," said Alberto Avalos, the uncle of Florencio Avalos, a father of two, who was the first to emerge shortly after midnight. "Welcome back from hell!," so wrote an observer.
But did you know this? You can never go to actual hell and come back! The Bible teaches us this, very clearly. Take for example, the incident involving Lazarus and the Rich Man that Jesus narrated. The rich man wanted just a drop of water from heaven to be sent down to hell where he languished in great agony and unbearable pain caused by the flames that licked his living body. But his request was flatly and firmly refused. He was told about the unbridgeable gap between those two places by Abraham (Lk. 16:26). Yes, once you land up in literal hell, you can't bounce out of it, ever!
Some of us perhaps think this way: "I don't believe in hell. But if I do land up there after my death, I would plead with God and ask Him to forgive me and wash me with the blood of Jesus. He is a loving God. He will listen to my prayer. And He will pardon me and promote me to heaven." You will be in for a big surprise and grave shock, my friend, if you are thinking that way. The Bible makes it very plain that after you die, you have lost all the chances of your salvation. After your death, you have only judgment to look forward to (Heb. 9:27). After that judgment, you would either be sent to heaven or packed off to hell. There would be no Gospel Meetings and altar calls for salvation in hell! Those who go there will have to live there 'forever and forever'-the Bible repeatedly teaches. You may recall that Jesus called hell fire as 'eternal fire' (Matt. 18:8; 25:41). If there was anyone who knew if a hell existed or not, it was Jesus. And He warned us about hell, time and again! And He also warned us about the ever-conscious punishment its inhabitants would be subjected to. John records that hell is a 'lake of fire' in which the inhabitants would be 'tormented night and day forever and ever' (Rev. 20:10. ESV).
While the Bible teaches hell punishment is forever, it also teaches that sin's pleasures are, at best, fleeting. "The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever" (I Jn. 2:17, NASB). The writer to the Hebrews agreed with John. We see this as he narrated the story of how Moses chose to suffer ill-treatment with the people of God, rather than enjoy, 'the passing pleasures of sin' (Heb 11:25, NASB).
How foolish it is, that we choose to enjoy temporary pleasure (I refer to temporary pleasures such as watching a porn website for a few seconds, getting aroused, and self-stimulating ourselves to orgasm or gossiping about a person we hate and feeling awesome about it, or any such behaviour) only to land up in a place of eternal torment which the Bible calls 'hell'-a place far more hot and horrible than the place these miners, we just talked about, were trapped in? Their agony thankfully ended in 69 days. But ours will not ever end, if we land up in hell having finally and firmly rejected Jesus who endured hell for us on the Cross. Let us repent and turn to Him who gives us eternal and full life on either sides of eternity, this side and that side, even the Lord Jesus!