I was at a BBQ with friends and God gave me the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ. And then the question came, “So what you’re saying is, if I choose not to believe in Jesus I’m going to hell?” Wow—what a question! How do I tell someone they are going to hell?


That wasn’t the only time this question has been asked of me. I take some comfort in knowing that people have heard and understand the gospel to be able to articulate such a question. But it is an important question that demands a thoughtful explanation. After all, the good news of Jesus is just that because without Christ it is very bad news.


John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


When we see Jesus in the Bible, he never wavered from speaking the truth. He was straight in pointing out the sinful behaviour of people and calling people to repent of their sins – Matthew 4:17. Why is it that we often avoid confronting people about the eternal consequences of sin? Maybe it’s because we feel the weight of our own sin and don’t want to judge others. Maybe we think this will offend them, but most often it’s because we don’t want to ruin our relationship with people. But what was the result of Jesus speaking truth?


“News about him spread” across the land. Matthew 4:24

 Why did news about Jesus spread when he preached such a clear message of truth and repentance? Why was it that hell-bound sinners were attracted to him?



Remember, John tells us that Jesus came “full of grace and truth”. Even though some received his message as a hard message, in his actions Jesus loved them with a sacrificial love. They felt Jesus’ heart to see them restored to his Father. Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The people saw Jesus’ words match his lifestyle—a lifestyle of grace and a message of truth that brought life to their souls—and this was attractive to them.


Isn’t this the very thing that the people in your life are so desperately searching for? Grace in a world that judges them and truth in a world of lies and deception.


2 Peter 3 talks about the coming day of judgment for all that reject Jesus. A day God promises will come. But in that same passage we read “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise [to return] as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”


What a true picture of God’s grace in light of the truth of Jesus. He is patiently waiting, desiring all to be saved from the coming judgment. In grace and truth the Word became flesh and it is in grace and truth he waits for the day of judgment. As we live and speak the gospel are we characterised by those two words—grace and truth? God will provide you the opportunity, the open door to speak the truth for him. He will also give you each day to walk in his grace and display his grace in every encounter you have with people.


Last thoughts:

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

How do I respond to someone who asks if they are going to hell? As Jesus would—full of “grace and truth”, and as Peter explains—with “gentleness and respect”.  



13 Responses

  1. I agree with Laura, above – great article.

    But I’m also interested to know *what* you said in answer to the question!

    • Great question Andrew. Thankfully and most importantly the Lord gave me the words to say in that moment. I had been praying for an opportunity to share that night and he gave that opportunity, he gave the question and he gave a response.
      In response I clarified that it wasn’t what I was saying but it is what the bible teaches and the very reason Jesus came to earth – to save us from hell. It is important for people to know what authority we speak and the bible can stand up to any scrutiny.
      I briefly explained that the bible tells us very clearly that everyone will exist for all eternity in one of two places. Either with God in heaven or without God in hell. Its important for people to know this truth but we need to share this in humility with grace.
      I then went on to say again that its because of his love for us that God desires for us all to be with him for eternity but ultimately he gives us a choice. We all need to make that choice for ourselves and understand the consequences of that choice, life or death, heaven or hell, with God or without him.
      I trust this is helpful – I wish I could say that this person surrendered right then to Jesus, but I know God has used this conversation remarkably in their life and I have since had opportunity to have deeper gospel conversations with them.
      Remember – it is God at work in peoples heart and life. It is God at work in and through you as you speak for him. So, be willing to accept your own inadequacy and trust God to reach that person through you.

  2. Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19 said,

    “I have set before you LIFE and DEATH, BLESSING and CURSING” (and just in case you are thick as two planks, my words) “CHOOSE LIFE ” !! ( Fair warning)

    • It’s a difficult conversation to have Jacob, but so important for people to understand their eternal destiny without Jesus. The beautiful truth is that God desires that every person comes to know him personally and has provided a way through Jesus Christ!

    • Hi Marsha, I am glad that you were encouraged by this article. The bad news about Hell is never nice but it does make the Good News about Jesus all the more beautiful. Bless you – Aaron

  3. Under no circumstances should a Christian ever tell someone they are going to hell. That power and authority is left solely to Jesus. Don’t be so arrogant as to supplant Jesus’ agency in this matter… speak the good news of the gospel and leave the spreading of fear to the evil one. The good news doesn’t include it, and it is used as a whip instead of trusting to Jesus’ sheep knowing his voice.

  4. Only Jesus Christ is allowed to decide who’s going to hell and who’s not, but as Texe Marrs said in one of his books, we can usually figure out of we are going there or not, by if we follow Jesus and do his commandments, study the King James (authorized) Bible and know what we should do to please God. And, pray to God to ask him to guide us so we are pleasing to him.

    But we don’t tell people they are going to hell, it’s written in God’s word, the bible. Jesus warned people about Hell more than anything else. Pray for their unbelief if they reject God’s message of truth. So, it’s in the bible that there is a hell, yes there is, and if you reject the truth of Jesus Christ, do not follow his commandments, then you’ll most likely end up there forever. A truly horrible thought!

    And, those false Christians out there that think they can keep willfully sinning and doing bad things but think God’s going to forgive them if they keep sinning on purpose, they need to get right with God. Like it says, Yea the devils believe and do tremble. What is the difference between devils who KNOW Jesus is God, and humans? The devils will not repent of their sinful evil natures and those who truly follow and love Jesus will do his commandments because they love him! You can’t be a ‘drunk’ and be a Christian. You can’t be a crackhead and follow Jesus. You can’t be intentionally defrauding someone in your business dealings and think God’s “OKAY” with that. He’s not.

    We have to be not “in” this world. Pilgrims passing through. For Jesus said that in the day (of judgement) many will say Lord we cast out devils in your name, and he will say depart from me I never knew ye, workers of iniquity.

  5. My ex girlfriend got me at my most vulnerable moment, aggressively taking my shoes and socks off against my will. I hate being barefoot and have always been shy about my feet. Unlike most men according to many women, I have nice looking baby soft but extremely ticklish feet. I never let anyone take off my socks because of pride. So it was a double blow to my ego when she was caressing my feet and tells me that “God hates the feet of a man running to do wicked, you are going straight to hell, these evil feet will burn forever”. She admitted that she fantasized the flames licking the soles of my feet. Of course it upset me but realized she was right and that I deserved the furnace awaiting my descent into hell. It made me fall in love with her. Unfortunately she passed away due to obesity and age. I am young and in shape. She helped me overcome my fear of being barefoot with daily aggressive shoe & sock removal. I have gone back to my old ways keeping my shoes on. Wish I could find another woman like that to keep me on track. Her keeping me barefoot,
    Prevented me from going out and doing sinful things. So In this case, a going to hell sermon is what a bad boy needs.

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