The Bible teaches that every soul was formed in the womb to live for eternity. Every soul is immortal, but not every immortal soul will live forever in heaven. In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis lays out the logic of hell. I will paraphrase Lewis' words to give you the gist of his thinking.
Lewis says, in effect, "I would give anything to be able to truthfully say, 'Everyone will be saved.' But my reason replies, 'Should God save people against their will?' The doctrine of hell says that God is so loving and merciful that He actually became a man and submitted Himself to death by torture to save us from eternal ruin—yet, when we refuse to accept the gift of salvation, God permits us to choose hell of our own free will, and He won't lift a finger to stop us from destroying ourselves."
While every one of us deserves hell, God in His mercy offers us eternal life as a free gift.
In his original quotation, Lewis concludes: "Here is the real problem: so much mercy, yet still there is hell." Lewis is absolutely right. The real question is not whether the doctrine of hell is detestable. Of course, it's detestable. The notion of hell chills us to the marrow. Yet we still must answer the question "Is it true?"
The Bible is clear: The wages of sin is death—eternal death (see Romans 6:23). So what is eternal death? It is separation from God in hell forever and ever. That's bad news—but there is good news, the greatest news in the history of the human race. While every one of us deserves hell, God in His mercy offers us eternal life as a free gift.
It may be elementary to you, but there are many false teachers who are denying these simple Truths—and many believers are falling for it. So I want to make sure you know that not only is heaven for real but hell is for real as well. God is holy and just. And God is love. If you reject His love, demonstrated on the cross, then you will be judged by God's holiness—and you will receive God's judgment.
Jesus tells us in Revelation that those who reject His offer of salvation will suffer "the second death" (21:8). But this warning of hell is coupled with an invitation to heaven and everlasting life: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children" (Revelation 21:6-7).
Prayer: God, thank You for Your incredible sacrifice. I am in awe of Your grace and justice. Thank You for saving me from hell and to heaven. I pray that You would grant me compassion and courage to share Your gift of salvation with those around me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28).