Submission and Obedience


"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Matthew 16:26

We hear little about hell these days. Oh, it's a word people use as a curse word, but carelessly and without concern that hell is a real place.

Society has dethroned God through the teaching of evolution not as a theory, but as fact, so that people don't fear Him as their Creator anymore. They do not believe in judgment or the need to listen to what God has written in His word, the Bible, because evolutionists robbed Him of His authority over us! Regardless, hell still is a real place.

Man has become his own god in one form or another. He loves the things his hands, sweat and brains have produced: houses, jobs, cars, technological equipment and toys, academia, education, and the list runs on ad infinitum. Man is his own boss with no Superior above him.

The more man rebels against God and His directives, the more man creates chaos and confusion and immorality to depths even the imagination cannot plumb.

So, what about the words italicized at the top of this article? They come from an infallible Book spoken by the All-Knowing, All-Powerful God who created the universe, including man himself. For so long I believed the words mean that a person's soul is damned for all eternity in the place of punishment called hell...that he or she will suffer there eternally apart from God.

Perhaps it's only semantics, but there is more in that verse than I realized for so long. In order to put forth those conclusions to you, I must digress a bit first.


A number of years ago after I had retired from nursing, I was transformed in my innermost being by something God did as a response to a drastic act of obedience on my part. At first, I could not figure out what had happened to me, but as I read the Bible and prayer, God showed me he had baptized me in His Holy Spirit.

Most of my life I thought that particular baptism was an emotional experience practiced by a group of people called Pentecostals and I wanted nothing to do with it. I believed it to be fanaticism. But when He happened to me, my perspective changed completely. The One Whom I had 'rejected' in His fullness became the center of my life. He opened my eyes to truths I had never anticipated before. His marvelous presence remains and continues to increase to this very moment. Regardless of a person's denominational tag, the baptism is for every believer, as directed by Jesus in Acts 1. Foolishly, I had resisted it for years.

Soon after that baptism, as I knelt in prayer one day, I felt myself sinking down, as though through the floor. I recall that all I said was, "I trust You, Holy Spirit."

Suddenly I found myself in a gray stone cell seated on a gray stone bench. When I say 'gray,' I don't mean the color gray. I mean it was the absence-of-color gray: ugly, drab, dead. Ahead of me was a rectangular narrow window cut in the wall that let me look beyond the wall. It, too, was gray like the ash that covered the landscape when Mt. St. Helens erupted!

As I sat there, I felt myself shift to the right as though I had slid along the bench. Yet, when I assessed my situation, I hadn't moved at all. Yet, something had changed. My position hadn't changed. The reality struck me. I was different! I was the one that had changed! A part of me was missing.

In an instant I knew what had happened! The image of God with which I had been created was gone! It had been removed from me. I was not the same person I had been on earth, the identity I claimed was me! All the times I had played fast and loose with God when He tried to get my attention to bring me to Himself were finished. Never again would I hear His voice or feel the tug of His Holy Spirit in my heart. My conscience would never ever bother me. No more could I run and ask forgiveness from Him for a sin I had committed. My opportunity to know God was over! He was absolutely gone!

All I had left was the shell of who I had been. Because it was void of God's image, it was ugly and evil and empty, crafted from selfishness, self-absorption and pride. I was all alone. Dreadfully alone. I would suffer and suffer endlessly for all eternity without relief or the comfort God gives everyone from time to time while on earth, that Presence I had taken for granted and so often shunned.

Separation from God forever was hell! While there is much more to hell that I did not experience, not ever sensing God again even when I refused to acknowledge it was God, was devastatingly awful and beyond despair in intensity. It would never end! I could not rectify it in any way. My aloneness apart from God would go on forever and ever! It was HELL!

Then, as suddenly as I had descended, I came back to where I was praying. Absence from God was so awful, so much hell, that I have never gotten over it. No matter how awful a person is and how dreadful the sins he or she commits, I do not want them to perish there, but to repent instead. Eternity without God is hell in itself, though hell is also fire and heat and thirst and pain and suffering filled with despair.


The book of Revelation, the disclosure of what will happen at the end of time, contains the final destiny of persons who go to hell. Chapter 20 says this:

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

"And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades (hell) gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was THROWN into the lake of fire."

vss. 11-15

As it says, all those waiting in hell for the Great White Throne Judgment will be belched forth from hell to stand before Jesus, stripped of the image of God. It will have been removed from them in hell, because God lets nothing holy remain with those who rejected Jesus, the Lamb of God sacrificed for them.

The records of the ones who stand before Him will be opened and their every action, thought, and motive while alive on earth will be exposed. Worst of all will be the opening of the Lamb's Book of Life. You see, Jesus because the sacrificial lamb for sin for every person ever born on earth. Eternal life comes only to those who claim Him as their redeemer from the condemnation and penalty of sin. Only their names are found written in the Book.

What follows is dreadful to think about.Those whose names are NOT found in the Lamb's book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire. They will be treated as refuse, trash, worthless garbage. They possess nothing that is salvageable. Such is the end of those who reject Jesus' death on the cross for them, those who refuse to humble themselves and bow before Him while they are on earth and can make that choice.

In case you're doubting what I've just said is true, hear these words spoken by Jesus to His disciples just before He went to the Cross:

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned."

vss. 5-6

Those who refuse to belong to Jesus by becoming one with Him are considered dead like dead branches. They are refuse, good for one thing: the fire, where they are thrown and destroyed.

Again, Jesus gave this warning:

"...he who falls on this stone (Jesus) will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."

vs. 44

Dust or dirt is what God created you from, my friend. Then He breathed into the first man, Adam, and he became a living soul. Without that breath, God's image, you'll go back to dirt: worthless, filthy, good for nothing. You will be thrown into the lake of fire to burn forever and ever, plagued by memories and memories of all the times you rejected an opportunity to find God or to hear His voice. Then it will be too late to come to Him or respond to His call.

Your suffering will last without end. Life on earth is a testing time; earth is a testing place. You still have time to seek after God, find His forgiveness for your sins and ask for His life to be rekindled in your innermost spirit. You need Him. There is no other way to have eternal life.

In His last prayer before the Cross, Jesus prayed these words:

""This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.""

John 17:3

Do you know Jesus? Do you know God? A vital relationship with Him is the only way you can have eternal life. Get on your knees right now and ask Him for mercy and forgiveness for your rebellion and sin. Determine that you will not walk against God anymore, but will obey Him and His word. Receive His eternal life and resolve that from that moment forward, He will be your Lord and the ruler of your life.

While you still have time, turn around and humble yourself before God. Only He knows when you will take your last breath. You still have time. Use it well. Seek God now!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
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