Smoking or non-smoking?


Pastor Thad Gifford - Contributing Columnist



Many people have the wrong idea about the devil. They picture him dressed in a red suit, with a long tail and holding a pitchfork in his hand. They joke about spending their eternity in hell with their friends, sitting around a table, while playing cards and smoking.

I’m going to say there will be smoke there, but not from their cigarettes. It will be the smoke of an endless fire, where people gnaw on their tongues to be relieved from the torments of hell. A place of outer darkness. That means that while you will be able to hear people around you, screaming for mercy from God, you will not be able to see them.

The darkness will be so black; you will never see anything again for all eternity; only hear the screams of those tormented by the flames as you, yourself are tormented. You will not be able to take your life to escape the pain of those eternal fires. You will not be able to call out to God because the days of mercy and forgiveness are over. You had a choice. You made your choice by not receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior while you could.

Your mouth and tongue and throat will be so parched, you will call out for one drop of water but it will not be given to you. All of the horrors of hell will be experienced but I believe the greatest horror of hell will be the realization that once you are there, there is no way out. You will never be able to escape hell. It will be your permanent, eternal home. You will experience separation from God. You will never be able to experience His love and His grace again. You will be separated from your family and from your loved ones. Forever. You will never have a chance to see them again. Ever.

And yet, I have people tell me every day they are OK with spending their eternity in hell. It’s like asking do you want me to stab you in the eye with a pencil or do you want me to really poke it in? What a terrible choice that is to make to say you don’t care if you spend your eternity in hell.

But, you know what? If you don’t care about God in this life and you want to turn your back on Him and you want to live for yourself and do the things that you want to do, God is going to be OK with that too. For there will be some who will expect to get into Heaven because of their good works, or that they were members of a church or their parents took them to church or some other “worthy” reason they should be allowed to spend their eternity in heaven. And God is going to say to them, “Depart from me you worker of iniquity. I never knew you.” The literal translation of this verse is, “Go away from Me. You didn’t have time for Me on earth. I don’t want to spend My time with you in Heaven. Leave.”

I cannot imagine hearing those words and finding myself in hell without any possibility of escape. I cannot imagine being separated from my loved ones forever. I cannot imagine never being able to experience God’s love again. I cannot imagine spending my eternity in a place prepared for the devil and his angels.

And yet, if you draw your last breath without Christ as your Savior, you will die without Christ and you will be placed into a Christ-less casket, buried in a Christ-less grave and go out into a Christ-less eternity. But that is your choice, because a number of people are allowing the devil to deceive them. Are you?

“Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I ask that You forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Be the new Manager of my life. I receive the free gift of eternal life and I thank you for saving me. Now, help me to live for you. In Jesus name. Amen.” Now get involved in a good Bible believing, Bible teaching church and start to grow in your faith. God bless you.

And that is Something to Think About for this week.

By the way, if you are on Facebook, you can watch our service “live” on Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. Simply “like” our Facebook page and watch.

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Pastor Thad Gifford

Contributing Columnist

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.