Why Hell is Good for You

Hell is good for you. Seriously. You should look forward to it. You should thank God for it.  It is one of the best things to ever happen to this world. Think I am joking?

Let me explain. Most of us think that Jesus came into our world and went to the cross so that God could decide who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. That is the caricature anyway.

This is why many of our friends don’t want to follow Jesus or go to church. The whole heaven and hell thing seems grossly unfair, capricious, intolerant, violent and downright lame.  This why many of us are ashamed to share our faith.  It is not because we are ashamed of Jesus, but we are ashamed of the caricature – because we fear it is true!

Well, what if our idea of hell is wrong because we have heaven and earth wrong?

Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Jesus went to the cross to reconcile heaven and earth. What’s that mean? It means he wants to bring heaven and earth together again as it was in the beginning. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Heaven and earth were torn apart from each other by sin. The real tragedy of Genesis chapter 3 is not that Adam and Eve chose against God, as bad as that was. The real tragedy was that sin separated heaven from earth and God from us!  Jesus went to the cross because he wants to bring heaven and earth back together again, reconciling them through his work on the cross. He wants a new and perfect world where everything we love about this earth is present and everything that ruins this earth is removed.

This is where hell comes in!  The word for hell in the gospels is gehenna in Greek. It was the trash dump outside of Jerusalem.  Jesus used this image to describe hell. Hell is where the trash goes. n the future all that pollutes our world: death, disease, war, violence, racism, sexism, addiction, pride, greed, anger, envy, selfishness, destruction, etc. will all be put into hell (Revelation 21).

The good news is that hell is God’s way of getting the hell out of earth. The good news is that hell is God’s way of getting the hell out of us. Hell is good news. No hell, no heaven. God cannot keep the future heaven and earth pure without a trash dump for all of the pollution. Hell is God’s way of making our world pure so heaven and earth can be restored. Without hell our future is bleak. With hell our future is bright.

We cannot reconcile heaven and earth. Only Jesus can. We cannot reconcile ourselves to God. Only Jesus can. We cannot get the hell out of earth. Only Jesus can. We cannot get the hell out of us. Only Jesus can.

Jesus came to get heaven into our world and hell out of our world.  Jesus came to get heaven in us and get the hell out of us.

No one else can do this. Only Jesus and his cross. Thank God for hell.