Truth #4: Every person will spend eternity in heaven with Christ and fellow believers or in hell separated from God forever.

The Scripture is emphatically clear about the reality of heaven and hell. In recent days, some evangelical leaders have challenged the idea of hell. Although I’m certain they are well intentioned, their teaching flies in the face of the most just and loving Person who’s ever lived—Jesus. Listen to Jesus’ own words:

Then they will go away and enter eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matt. 25:46)

Let me pause at this moment and say, nothing could be more important to you personally than knowing for certain of your relationship and eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. As a pastor for over thirty years, I continually meet people in excellent Bible-believing churches who are unclear about the gospel and uncertain about their eternal destiny.

Despite hearing the truth, they think that their “good deeds will somehow outweigh their bad deeds” and merit them eternal life. Others seem to have come to the conclusion that being religious, being nice, and going to church is the ticket to eternal life. Let me say as strongly as I can: Eternal life is a gift that is received by faith, solely through the grace and work of Jesus Christ on your behalf, as He personally paid for your sin by dying in your place and for your sin on the cross. It must be personally received, and you can know for certain that you have it.

Listen again to the very words of Jesus to you personally:

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24, emphasis added)

Read John 5:24 again and notice the tense of the verb, “has” eternal life. Eternal life isn’t something you get after you die. It’s a present possession that comes out of a relationship of receiving the forgiveness of God. The Spirit of God comes into your life and you are taken from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. It’s a picture of Jesus being a bridge and those who trust and believe in Him are carried over the bridge. His payment covers our sin.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)

So before we continue and talk about why a loving God would create a place like hell, let me ask you if you have ever personally received Christ. Have you turned from your sin and with the empty hands of faith asked Christ to forgive you and come into your life? If not, I invite you to do that right now. (See video at

Ingram, Chip. 2017. Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.

We have just completed a 6-Week Bible Study Lesson Series on Chip Ingram’s book, Why I Believe. It is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription plan. The idea is to invite each participant to purchase their own book and discuss it each week.

Topics include:

Why I Believe, Lesson #1
Chapters 1, 2
Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Did Jesus Really Die?

Why I Believe, Lesson #2
Chapters 3, 4
Why I Believe the Bible
Don’t Take My Word for It

Why I Believe, Lesson #3
Chapters 5
Why I Believe in Life After Death

Why I Believe, Lesson #4
Chapters 6, 7
Why I Believe in Life Creation
Science or God?

Why I Believe, Lesson #5
Chapter 8
Why I Believe in the God of the Bible

Why I Believe, Lesson #6
Chapter 9
How is that Working for You?