101 Bible Secrets
Bible Secret Number 40 

Is Hell a Burning Punishment?

Audio read by Tom Parks -  MP3
The Byte Show Interview - MP3

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How can one be sure that the punishment for sin is not to be in a literal burning "hell" (or purgatory) when one dies?

This is simple to answer. The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus paid the penalty for all sins (II Corinthians 5:21). If the wages of sin (as many preachers, priests and theologians tell us today) are to go to a burning hell for the rest of eternity, for Jesus to have taken all our sins on his back to pay for them all, then Jesus would have to be in "hell fire" right now and for the rest of eternity paying for those sins of ours. In no way did Jesus do this. He was resurrected out of "hell" (that is, the grave, his tomb) in three days and is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Colossians 3:1). What Jesus did was to die for all of us (he died a physical and spiritual death for us to pay for our sins of the flesh, our sins of the soul and our sins of the spirit) and this did not involve any suffering in "hell" at any time for Jesus, and certainly not for the rest of eternity as the preachers tell us is the punishment for our sins. To pay the penalty for sins (all sins), Christ died for mankind. And this is precisely what the apostle Paul said the wages of sin actually are. The consequence of sin is not life in hell, it is death (that is death in the grave). "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal (age-lasting) life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

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