Let’s talk about the damned for a moment. Then, when we’re done talking about them, let’s talk about a very specific case, where the person on his way to hell honestly thinks he deserves something better.
Jesus, in an exchange with Nicodemas, who was a Pharisee and came to Jesus at night apparently inquiring about the miracles Jesus had performed, said, “He who believes in Him [the Son] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn. 3:18).
The Greek word translated “judged” is krinō, which has sometimes been translated as “condemned” (KJV, ESV, NET), is used in varying forms over 100 times throughout the New Testament. The action of the verb, in this particular context, is perfect, meaning that the effect of the condemnation is continual without any definite ending.
Condemnation is passively enforced by none other than Jesus/God. The basis for condemnation is non-belief or a failure to trust Jesus as the savior. Jesus would go on to explain why a person would not trust by stating:
19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.
To summarize, spiritually unregenerate men will not trust Jesus because (1) they love darkness rather than light and (2) they do not want anyone exposing their evil deeds. If they practiced the truth, then they would have no problem demonstrating that their deeds were of a godly source.
Since Jesus had already spoken with Nicodemus about the necessary spiritual qualification to enter God’s kingdom, those who are condemned receive the alternative, which is eternal separation from God in a place called hell (Mt. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47; Lk. 12:5; Jam. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4), eternal fire (Mt. 18:8; 25:41, Jude 7), or the abyss (Lk. 8:31; Rev. 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3).
Hell is a miserable, frightening, terrible place that was originally created for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41). It is the permanent habitation of the damned or the unregenerate. It is there that they receive their “wages” (Rom. 6:23) in full and that without the possibility of reprieve. The smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and ever (Rev. 14:11; 20:10).
One major problem many Evangelical churches have today is that they have strayed far, far away from preaching and teaching on the reality of judgment, condemnation, and the place called hell. Too many Evangelicals wish to ignore all the negativity surrounding the possibility that anyone could possibly be condemned for eternity in such as place. The end result has been the lost world dictating what it thinks ought to be or wrong right about sin, salvation, heaven and hell, and even efficacy of what Jesus did on the cross to purchase redemption for the lost. An alternative gospel centered on easy believism and touchy-feely sentimentalism has replaced the gospel of Jesus Christ. The truth has been relativized, making the lies of unbelief palatable and the truth of God expendable.
Robert Wamsley is a person I recently had the opportunity to converse with, briefly, at the request of a friend that was having difficulty delivering the truth to him.
You see, Robert is an atheist, even though he wants people to accept that he believes in some kind higher being or power, whatever that might be. Robert loves to rail on God, rail on Christians, and set himself up as the center of his own little universe. Boasting an IQ of over 200, Robert is the consummate moron, in the biblical sense. Believing no one could answer his questions or counter his arguments, Robert arrogantly lives in a fantasy world of foolishness, thinking that no one will hold him accountable for anything.
Then, God gave Robert cancer of the anus and it would not be until it had progressed Stage 3 that it was discovered. Whereas at one time Robert could work three jobs, now he cannot work any. His live-in girlfriend, whom he calls his “wife,” of 15 years has attempted to aid him by making special pleas and setting up a beggar’s account to hopefully get them a car. Supposed, where he lives, no one can get him to an oncologist, even though there a several, locally, he could contact.
The reality, though, is that even if he gets therapy, he has less than five years to live by his account. The tragedy is that Robert is still shaking his fist in God’s face, thinking he will get away with it. Let him be informed that no, Robert won’t.
When faced with his own condemnation, Robert turns a blind eye and shifts the blame. How dare anyone tell Robert that his obstinacy, bigotry, and blind hatred are only indications of someone on his way to hell! How dare anyone tell Robert that his unwillingness to come face-to-face with his self-refuting narcissism and contradictory worldview will only land him in the pit of darkness! How dare anyone tell Robert the truth, especially when he thinks that is nothing more than extremism!
Such is the mindset of the damned. Everyone else is to blame, but them. God be damned. Christians be damned. Christianity and Jesus be damned. Only the damned, like Robert Wamsley, should live and that on their own terms. But then again, along came cancer, and God said, “No, you won’t, Robert.”
We are all accountable to God at one time or another. Sometimes accountability comes sooner for some than others. For those who do not believe in Jesus as the Savior, their condemnation is already in place; the only thing left is the actual day of accountability and that is not going to be pleasant at all (see Rev. 20:11-15). For those who do believe, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
Robert, if you are reading this, your day is coming sooner than you realize or had realized. Those of us who believe pity you. While you should be on your knees seeking God’s forgiveness and regeneration, you are acting the fool, sputtering expletives, and digging your grave a little deeper each time you do it.
No one is guaranteed anything in this life. We are all at God’s mercy; not the other way around. And until you realize that, which may come way too late for you, then you will not only die in your sins, you will die with cursing and bitterness on your lips. Then you will awake in torment and regret every mean, nasty, foul thing you said to God and about God. In exchange, you will get what you deserve and what you earned. Again, you are to be pitied.
To everyone else reading this, if you are a believer, then please stop and think about hell for a bit. When was the last time you had a discussion about it? Do you present a milquetoast gospel that avoids the topic or is it something you bring up that ought to scare the person out of the hell they are headed into?
If you are an unbeliever, you are already condemned. You have no hope. You have no future. You have no God in this world (Eph. 2:12). You are lost and need of God’s forgiveness. Otherwise, hell awaits you and your destiny will be upon you before you realize it. Perhaps, today is the day you ought to start asking some real, hard, unprejudiced questions about that destiny and how it can change.
Otherwise, as Robert came to realize, everything can change in the blink of an eye. One day everything seems normal. The next day everything seemingly falls off the planet. Do not be taken by surprise. You have been warned. Do something about it, before it’s too late. An eternity in hell is not worth all the hand-wringing, cursing, and bitterness. Robert is about to find that out the hard way. You do not have to find out the hard way as well.