I remember reading this passage once when I was in high school. It was shocking to me then, and I have tried to find it in the past and haven’t been able to. But, I have been reading through Luke and came upon it again. To me, it is a scary warning… Scary because it’s a reality we don’t want to think about. But we need to. Check it out…
“Now there was a certain rich man who was habitually dressed in expensive purple and fine linen, and celebrated and lived joyously in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, covered with sores. 21 He [eagerly] longed to eat the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.22 Now it happened that the poor man died and his spirit was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s [e]bosom (paradise); and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom (paradise). 24 And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in severe agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things [all the comforts and delights], and Lazarus likewise bad things [all the discomforts and distresses]; but now he is comforted here [in paradise], while you are in severe agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you [people] a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to come over from here to you will not be able, and none may cross over from there to us.’ 27 So the rich man said, ‘Then, father [Abraham], I beg you to send Lazarus to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may solemnly warn them and witness to them, so that they too will not come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have [the Scriptures given by] Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 He replied, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent [they will change their old way of thinking and seek God and His righteousness].’ 31 And he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to [the messages of] Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” – Luke 16:19-31, AMP
Reading this breaks my heart and motivates me to want to plead with my family, my loved ones who don’t know the Lord. I want them to seek God and His righteousness. Not only is it the best way to live now because Jesus loves us so much, but if we choose to live our own way apart from God – Hell is a reality.
To those who think that they will go to Heaven to be with God once they die no matter how they live now, I’ve heard it said – if you don’t want to live with God now – why would you want to spend eternity with Him? That’s what Heaven is. Loving and serving God for eternity. Hell is the opposite of that. Living apart from God for eternity. My grandma always says, “God doesn’t send people to Hell. People send themselves.”
“For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” – John 3:17, AMP