In these times, it seems that no one wants to hear about hell. Let me be honest, I do not enjoy preaching about hell either. Yet, I must because it is my calling to preach not only the good news of the Gospel, but of the hurtful parts as well.

Today, we are closer to the coming of the Lord than ever before whether it be through death, or through His coming back for His church. Just think, from the oldest person to the youngest babe, we are all one day closer to our appointment with God. We live in a time when people are indifferent to hell, or they do not believe there is a hell. One popular train of thought is that everyone is going to heaven regardless of the life he has lived.

It is the words of Jesus in the 16th Chapter of Luke that tells the story of a rich man and Lazarus. On earth, the rich man had the best of everything while Lazarus sat at the rich man’s gates desiring to be fed the crumbs that fell from his table. However, the tables turned when they died. Lazarus is caught up in Heaven in the arms of Father Abraham, but Jesus said in hell the rich man lifted up his eyes in torment.

Then, there is a great gulf between Lazarus and the rich man. Apparently, the two of them look up and down and see each other, but they are not able to get to each other. This suggests that whenever we leave this world and get to where we are going we will be there for eternity.

Hell is synonymous with the words Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. It is a place created for Lucifer and the fallen angels who rebelled against God. Our God never intended for man to go to hell. Hell is mentioned 54 times in the Bible. It is defined as a horrible place of eternal death and torment — a place of darkness and fire. Hell is not an option for mankind.

God loves us so much that He made us free mortal angels. All He asks of us is to freely choose to live for Him through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we believe in Him and live for Him, He has a place prepared for us with Him in a glorious Paradise. The only thing that can block that relationship is sin. Sin is a transgression of God’s will, either by omitting to do what God requires of us or by doing what He forbids. Transgressions can occur through thought, word or deed. Therefore, where we spend eternity is not God’s call, but rather our choice.

Is it not amazing how man prepares for everything except his eternity? We prepare for trips; we make plans to have children; we plan our careers; we prepare for retirement, and yes, we plan for our earthly burial. I appeal to you that together we might make it a labor of love to dedicate our lives to informing people that going to hell is not an option.

I am truly grateful that God touched my life one day and that I made a choice to live for Him. With a great sense of humility and reverence, I live for Him now, and one day I will live with Him forever in Paradise. Hell is not an option. Choose Christ today.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.