By Clifton Angel
Recently, a good friend went to the hospital because of heat exhaustion. He was dehydrated, extremely fatigued, cramping in the stomach, and vomiting. He described his bout with dehydration and heat exhaustion as one of the most miserable experiences of his life.
Jesus had a lot to say about a place that we think of as hotter than anything we experience on earth, even in the summers of Mississippi. The place called hell. He said it is “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41; Notice: the devil is not ruling over this place, he is going to be punished there). But He also teaches us that anyone who is not righteous will go there (Matthew 25:41, 46). Perhaps in accommodating language (for our physical minds), it is described to us as “everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41), “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41), “hell fire” (Matthew 5:22), an inescapable condemnation (Matthew 23:33), “where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Matthew 9:44). In parables, Jesus also described hell using the concept of “outer darkness” and a place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). For my friend, heat exhaustion was miserable, but it does not begin to compare with the miserableness of hell. Jesus uses the most miserable aspects of this life and attaches to it eternity. Dear friends, I don’t want to go there! I hope you feel the same.
Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). His desire is to save us from an eternity of “heat exhaustion.” His tremendous sacrifice brought about a plan that is truly simple (not easy). Continuing faith (Mark 16:16), a penitent heart (Acts 2:38), confession with the mouth (Acts 8:37), and immersion in water (Romans 6:3–4) grants an assurance of a reservation in heaven and avoidance of the heat exhaustion of hell. Notice that the Bible teaches a continuing faith. After baptism, we must continue to walk in the light (1 John 1:7). It does not mean we will be sinlessly perfect (see 1 John 1:7–2:2).
Thankfully, after a night in the hospital and a day to rest and re-hydrate, my friend was back to normal. However, after we pass from life on earth, there will be no chance to visit God’s hospital. Do not delay. The “washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26) will prevent you from eternal heat exhaustion.
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/