I understand, Alcorn’s words, we would rather not talk about it, it is not a cheery subject; there is a heaviness about it and there is no way around this heaviness.
Many books, writes Alcorn, deny hell. Some consider hell to be the invention of wild-eyed prophets obsessed with wrath. They argue that Christians should take the higher road of Christ’s love. But this perspective overlooks a conspicuous reality, in the Bible, Jesus says more than anyone else about hell.
When Jesus talked about hell, when he talked about heaven, about eternal realties, He didn't do so simply to satisfy people's curiosity or even just to impart knowledge. His teaching was almost always accompanied by a call to respond, to make a choice.
Life has a way of lulling us into a state of complacency; just drifting through our hours and days, until we look back and wonder, where have all the years gone? But every once in a while, the truth of the Bible comes crashing home to remind us that the stakes are high; matters of life and death -- eternal life and eternal death.
Alcorn writes: God loves us enough to tell us the truth—there are two eternal destinations, not one, and we must choose the right path if we are to go to heaven. All roads do not lead to heaven. Only one does: Jesus Christ. He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). All other roads lead to hell.
The high stakes involved in the choice between heaven and hell will cause us to appreciate heaven in deeper ways, never taking it for granted, and always praising God for his grace that delivers us from what we deserve and grants us forever what we don’t.
Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price so that people could be spared from having to spend an eternity in hell; to provide for us what we do not deserve. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
The Bible says God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus said He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). God has provided a way for mankind to enter into a relationship with Him, to be forgiven and to have the hope of eternal life; a home with Him in heaven (see John 14:1-3), but we must choose to embrace His plan of salvation; to accept offer of saving grace. (see, John 1:12; Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:1-5).
Alcorn writes: The reality of the choice that lies before us in this life is both wonderful and awful. Given the reality of our two possible destinations, shouldn’t we be willing to pay any price to avoid hell and go to heaven? And yet the price has already been paid, “You were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). The price paid was exorbitant—the shed blood of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Consider the wonder of it: God determined that he would rather go to hell on our behalf than to live in heaven without us. He wants so much for us not to go to hell that he paid a horrible price on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to.
This is the message of the Christian faith and we are conduits of that message; a message of grace and truth, of hope and triumph over death and the grave and hell.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:57- 58)